“All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere”
- Orzabal; Roland. Song “Mad World” Gary Jules
In yesterday’s post, I hinted that I’d been going through a rough time. Even on the best days, I’m always plagued with self-doubt, which I constantly fight against. Last week, I was in pretty good spirits because my Miss Snark's First Victim dialogue entry received all positive comments* and my blog audience continued to grow. In addition, I have the best followers and commenters. My husband has been impressed with my blog progress, so he said he wanted to take me out to dinner on Saturday night. All good, right?
Saturday, based on Jackee and Susan’s posts**, I entered a query contest with my sparkling new query (Thanks, Jackee). Writer’s Digest had a first two-hundred-word contest for the same agent (see link on top of page), so I entered that on Sunday. This agent would have my query and beginning of manuscript. Since Miss Snark’s First Victim’s Secret Agent contest gave me some invaluable feedback for improvement, I was happy with what I was sending. Yeah, things were looking up. (You see where this is going, don’t you?)
On Saturday night, while my husband and I were waiting for my table, my lack of career came up. He said something to the effect of that because of his support, I had the luxury (my word) of not being forced to do something else. He wasn’t trying to be mean, but my internal reaction speaks to my insecurities. And I know it’s true – without him I’d be working for an insurance company, which is my only other area of expertise. I was employed full-time at a car insurance company for three years, and then part-time during graduate school for another five. Of course, I’ve been out of the business for as long as I was in it, which would count against me.
When I was full-time, before I got into graduate school, I dreaded going to my job. I logged in long hours and got no real job satisfaction. But that’s life – there has to be a person to perform every job there is to do. Why should I be special and get to do my dream job? Every Saturday night I’d get a pang because it was the last night where I wouldn’t have to work the next day until Friday came again. I don’t even get that feeling as a substitute teacher until Sunday night, so I must’ve been really miserable.
On Sunday, I should've known that something was amiss when I sat on the toilet seat and it cracked. My husband said it was already breaking but still. Then my husband and the kids left to snowboard at Pat's Peak for the school’s yearly trip. Since I hate the cold and thought I was going to die the few times I skied as an adult, I always skip the trip. I didn’t have the car, and the weather was rainy and chilly, so I stayed home, planning to get a mountain’s worth of chores accomplished. And I did: editing, cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, and laundry. But because I have too many weekdays like this, by mid-afternoon I was bored.
Then came Monday morning. The alarm sounded at 5:25am, which was painful since I’d gotten only five hours of sleep. My inbox had a rejection for the query contest waiting to greet me. This meant I wasn’t winning the word contest either. Added to the Amazon contest rejection that came on Saturday afternoon, which I’d barely given a thought to, now I was thinking about everything.
I was wasting my time. Why did I think I could actually be a writer? I had spent the last nearly four years fooling myself and was a poser writer. Writing hasn’t saved me from subbing. Subbing hadn’t led me to a teaching job. Worse was that I applied for a job as a building substitute last week and even sent a separate e-mail to the principal, whom I knew and had heard… you guessed it… nothing. (Oh yeah, and the roof has been an ongoing saga since Friday.)
It didn’t help that I had no job on Monday, which meant that my life now resembled the film "Groundhog Day". A second day to just focus on writing should’ve been a gift, but I had not a scrap of creativity or a bit of motivation. I decided to have a pity party for one instead.
I did accomplish some things, but nothing writing-related. (I’ve written a half-a-million words at this point, so why bother writing or editing any more?) When I was running errands, my allergies hit me, making me wonder if even the air was against me. Only in the last year have my sniffles plagued me almost year-round. What was the universe trying to tell me? I drove in the car, listening to “Mad World”, which did nothing to lift my spirits.
The funny thing was that on that day, many posts on the blogs I follow varied from introspective to depressing. Was it because it was March first? For me, this March is a tough month. I’m less than two weeks away from my one-year anniversary of subbing. That thought made me go from feeling like a poser to feeling like a loser. Then the last Friday in February meant it was one month until the dreaded Big Birthday. Remember that post ****when I mentioned that I wanted something happen by then? By Monday morning, I knew that NOTHING was going to happen except that I’d be older.
Old Kitty had a fun post**** where she put a link to see which Jane Austen character I’d be. Of course, I wound up being the older sister, Elinor Dashwood, who feels deeply, but behaves practically. In my quest to get out of my comfort zone, had I really changed?
KarenG wrote two excellent posts***** about mid-point turnarounds for a character in our books. Now that I was nearing that big birthday, was I at my mid-point in life? Was there some realization or turnaround for me? If I were writing the story of my life, where would I be in the story?
Of course, life is not a book. While books may have happy endings, real life does not. We all die at the end and that’s pretty depressing, even if we’ve been blessed with a fulfilling life. And books end with some unanswered questions, while death is pretty much the end (Unless you count a possible afterlife, which would make for an interesting sequel).
So, on Monday, I vowed not to write a post because it would’ve been whiny, boring, and self-serving (As if blogs aren’t self-serving enough). (I apologize if this post turned out to be whiny.) I’d like to say that I had some epiphany that would form the rest of my actions, but I did not. I do what I always do – thinking of the impoverished, the disasters in the world (i.e.: recent earthquakes), and try to be grateful about all of the things that are going right in my life. When I do this, it keeps me from deep, dark depression. For now, that’s enough. I haven’t quit yet.
What do you do to survive the rough patches?
(Please note that the pictures are from a contest to win a $20 Amazon gift card. Go to:
Talkin’ Heads (My entry):
** Jackee and Susan’s blogs:
*** Previous post:
**** Old Kitty’s post with Jane Austen link:
***** Karen G’s posts: