The P-Word

I am struggling to stay Positive right now.

It’s one of my worst faults, my inability to do so, no matter how many people tell me to stop dwelling because it only makes things worse.

I am amazed by some bloggers who keep the venting to a minimum. There’s that adage: “If you don’t have anything nice to say…” blah blah you know the rest. Sometimes I think about that and force myself to write something very vague here to avoid the negativity I’m sure readers don’t want to hear. Sometimes I skip a day and don’t write anything at all, which is what happened yesterday. Sometimes I can’t help it—negativity is in my nature—and it just comes out.

Yesterday at work a coworker, a person I like very much, gave notice. It’s what she said she wanted, and I only wanted her to be happy. So I’m happy she’s happy, I am. Then the reality set in: when she leaves, some of her workload may well fall onto me, and I’ve already been taking my work home to keep up. Also, she’s one of the few friends I have at the office. She’s funny. She’ll soon be gone. What did I do?

I’m not in actuality upset. I do believe people should go for their dreams, and this job is one step closer to her dream. I was told yesterday that I shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing, that I’m better than this (copyediting) and I should look for something else. But I don’t want to look for something else. A job is a job. My dream is to be a writer, not to have a fancy job. This job pays the bills—well, not really, but it tries. What I should do, what I’ve seen others do, is get offers on other jobs, bring them back to this job, and get a higher salary, and more respect, from it. People kick and scream and the people who kick and scream are, in my experience, the ones who seem to get the rewards. If you sit quietly behind your desk doing your work and putting in your time, people tend to forget you. This keeps happening to me. When I’ve thought about kicking and screaming I end up whispering. I don’t want to be the person who puts up a stink to get her window office, as I’ve seen happen. I just don’t think it’s fair to act like that. But when I ask politely (which, if you know me, takes an amazing amount of courage), nothing happens… so guess who wins?

I always thought that if you worked hard at something, if you didn’t give up, you would be rewarded. But not so. Look at my writing “career”: all the nos I’ve racked up from literary agents, and I’ve been actively trying to do this for five, six, seven, eight (?) years. If I had, perhaps, been more pushy with my writing contacts from grad school or elsewhere maybe I would have gotten notice and some help. I never did that. When I tried to be pushy—I liked to think of it as assertive—I fell flat on my face. This—me, sitting here—is the outcome of being unable to network, being too shy to be pushy, hoping, just simply hoping, that some stranger will magically decide to help me publish a book. I am trying to go after my dream every day, I am. But maybe I’m too quiet about it, because I don’t know if it’s helping.

The P-word has flown out of my mind this morning. I do apologize.

I am going to stop talking about this now and do the only thing I know to do, the only thing that could possibly, one day, if I were lucky, help:


10 responses to “The P-Word”

  1. Oh sweets, I hear you.

    Running out the door cuz late to work (again), so this is short for now: What are your thoughts on full-time freelancing? You know many such freelancers, so ask them for their ideas/advice on it (taxes, schedules, etc.). An ex-coworker quit last year to freelance full-time, and she says it was her best decision ever. Now, in addition to freelance proofreading/copyediting at home, whenever somebody’s on maternity leave at a press, she’s hired to take her place for a few months. This is something I’ve been thinking of myself, in fact, but it won’t happen anytime soon.

    And come to the reading on Thurs. It will be good, I promise.


  2. Dear Nova

    Make plans to stay sane. I decided last year in the summer that at the end of Feb. I would quit my awful job. I saved up for months. Everytime I silently stewed or got depressed, I would remind myself that I would soon be free of my shackles. I’m free now. Officially as of a few weeks ago. No, I don’t have anything lined up, a move some might find stupid. I talked it over with my spouse, I put away a few paycheques and now I have until the end of summer to write. I know it won’t be a permanent thing, a girl has to make a living after all – but it is enough for now. A few delicious months all to myself to make things happen. I’ve waited years for this. I think I’m starting to realise that proper jobs won’t always be straight 9-5’s if I want to seriously write. Come September or whenever I start looking for gainful employment, I might be singing another story. But I’m not worried about that at the moment. I am confident it will be fine. Not having money sucks, but not having money and working at a souless job day every day is even worse. Good luck Nova. I hope you find something else soon.


  3. I like what Niki said above – A girl has to make a living…I like the ring of it. Anyway, I know just what you mean – I find it really hard to network as well, and all i want to do is just write, but in order to just write I need to publish a lot, and in order to publish a lot I need to publish a little, and on and on and on…it’s a cycle. However, if you are happy in your job I wouldn’t mess too much with it. I’ve found in my recent experience after making being more proactive that I actually am happier when I can balance my writing and my work, and screw anybody who doesn’t think so…okay, this is rambling, which really means there isn’t a solution, but i will say if i didn’t vent on my blog I would explode, and I enjoy reading your venting, so keep it up.


  4. Couple quick thoughts:
    1) Thank you for not being positive all the time. Nobody can be. Life happens. It’s ups and downs. I, for one, do not need to read blogs where everything is perfect – that isn’t real. Thank you for being real.
    2) I’m not sure I want you to change who you are – to be more pushy, squeeky, etc. – just to “make it.” I don’t know if that’s worth it.
    3) Your last sentence is the right approach.


  5. This post really spoke to me, to the plight of experience, of growing more wise. Things are never fair.

    I like that even though you are feeling not so positive, you are writing about it — I think that is a good sign.

    (I have added you to my blogroll, I hope that is okay.)


  6. Positivity is overrated sometimes, I don’t care what anyone says. If I didn’t have a core group of people I could vent at I probably wouldn’t be able to function on a day to day basis. Better to let it out than to bottle it up–and don’t apologise for it. That said, I relate to so much of this post in my own way and I hope the writing helped.


  7. I am so feeling this post. I, too, have days where I can’t seem to do anything but dwell on the negative. It’s hard to be a writer and live. I’m not a kicker and screamer or pushy either, but overall I think that’s ok.

    I try to see networking, when and if I do it, just as gravitating towards people I’d want to know and hang out with anyway. Work is a “noble necessity” (that’s a direct quote from a writer friend) and writing has helped me realize what’s important, what I really need. Groceries and rent yes, corner office no. Your dream keeps you human; your job keeps you alive. (Mine also keeps me laughing at “Dilbert.”)

    I’d say stay positive about *you*, but go ahead and have a b*tchfest about everything else if you want to! Venting is healthy.


  8. Thanks, all. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one struggling with these thoughts right now, and that venting doesn’t drive everyone away… And yes, writing it down (as I should have guessed) did help!
    I have thought of full-time freelancing. The main problem is dealing with the repercussions of student loans and credit card debts, the reality of which is just now starting to hit us… The few people who know the details about our financial situation were pretty shocked, so it’s too embarrassing to say here. All in all, I need a stable paycheck right now. Also, E and I are both on my company’s health insurance. Someday, one day, freelancing full-time would be a dream for me. I hope I get to do it, because I think I’d be able to carve out my own writing time around work time, setting my own schedule really well. I think I’d become very motivated. Maybe one day I’ll get the chance to try!
    And goodthomas, I’m adding you to mine!


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