I've been sick for nearly a month and a half now. It started out simply enough, with swollen tonsils that led me to believe I was suffering from a bacterial infection of some kind. After a full run of antibiotics, the problem didn't go away, and I saw a nurse for the second time (within the private sector, because there was no way I was waiting five hours for a "sore throat" diagnostic). They were a bit stumped because I had no symptoms beyond the tonsils (my throat wasn't even in pain). I was told it was viral, given some more pills and sent home.

Well, those symptoms sure hit.

It feels like I've got a cold more savage than Schwarzenegger's ice puns as Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin. It could just be a bit old man cold, but in either case, it clogs the mind and slows the fingers. I wasn't too sure what to write on today anyway, things are either going too fast to document or slowing to an uninteresting crawl (mostly the latter recently). A fevered mind takes you to some strange places. Maybe I'll jot some of it down. Maybe I'll give everything up and become a cubicle drone. Maybe I'll be a secret agent.

One day at a time.

Writing is Writing

"Stay true to your identity and never waiver" - Gary Vaynerchuk

Why am I quoting an entrepreneur and businessman in a post on a blog about writing? Not because he's also actually a best-selling author.

Because I quit my job.

I can't pinpoint exactly when I got sick of it. At first, it seemed like a dream come true: getting paid $16/hour to write five articles a week, with complete flexibility with my schedule and where I worked. It was good, like having a hot tub in your backyard. I could just sit and relax, no matter how chilly it got at night. I hadn't really looked at the manual closely, and I had no idea how the thing worked but hey, it made bubbles. Who doesn't like bubbles? Little known fact, you have to clean hot tubs. Like, a lot. And much like a dirty hot tub, things of dubious origin started floating to the surface with this job.

The accumulation really got noticeable around the 10th article I had to write about cleaning a surface with different household products. I started noticing that articles needed revisions every single time I submitted them, and sometimes needed more than one round. The requested edits sometimes conflicted between editors, and it got real tricky keeping track of who wanted what. I was told I needed additional training, that the problem was on my end. Here's the thing. I had two hours to write each article. Well more exactly, one hour, since the other was meant for research. Oh, and I had no guidance on what to write beyond a title before I started. Now I've written a whole slew of papers by the seat of my pants during university, but none of them were done in two hours. I was used to tight deadlines, I thrive under them, but it was starting to get ridiculous. I realized I wasn't happy with what I was doing. I was spending more time looking for other jobs than I was getting work done. I actually started to dread having to write for this company, and it made any writing I did elsewhere suffer. It was like a gangrenous limb. I had to cut it off.

That was my only revenue source, and most writing gigs a writer at my level can get are for similar sites. It might come across as a bit entitled, but it's not work I want to be doing.

So instead, I looked for places that wanted to buy fiction. I happened upon lists of publications that wanted short stories pretty much by accident (after googling "making money as a freelance writer" for the 50th time). I found Worlds Without Master, a small sword and sorcery publication looking for fantasy short stories. I wrote a 2500 word story the same day and submitted it (I was determined to make money writing fiction after all). I haven't heard back. Also I discovered they publish very infrequently.

No big deal, I'm just going to have to keep writing stories and submitting them to more publications.

I found a horror anthology publication, and their deadline is at the end of September.

Maybe I'll write a story about a vampire vigilante...

Going in Circles

I didn't write a blog post Monday because I felt like I had nothing to write about. Most of the time, I'm writing about writing, acting or wrestling. All these things I'm trying to get good at, so that eventually I might make a career out of them and feel like I can be taken seriously. But I've been in such a slump these past two weeks (probably in part because I've been sick) that nothing really moved forward. I stopped writing for my main client because I couldn't handle the conditions anymore, and I didn't write much of anything else that week. I hadn't been able to wrestle because I was contagious, and I wouldn't want to get anyone at the gym sick and mess up the upcoming show. So what was I supposed to write about? Lack of progress?

Read More

Hope and Other Pursuits

So now we know for sure; I didn't get that commercial that I auditioned for last week. I'm sure most of me knew the odds were slim, but there's always that small slice of me that wants to defy all expectations. It's like this kernel of hope that keeps me going forward no matter how often I'm told I can't. I think that's really the only thing that's kept me going until this point. No, actually that's not really accurate. In truth there are other things that keep my feet from becoming anchored or worse, starting a shameful trek backwards. There's passion, drive, ambition, the classic buzzwords you'll find all over YouTube and those Instagram accounts that post motivational quote every day. Sure, I've got those things, but they all stem from that tiny slice of hope. It's dwarfed by doubt and insecurities, but it shines through regardless. It's hope that I'm going to achieve something worth doing, that I'm going to leave a legacy, and that I'm not stupid for pursuing a dream. It's born from this sense that yes, I am good enough to reach my goal. Yes, I do have the drive to get to where I need to be, even if the motivation might escape me now and then.

Read More

Driving Myself Crazy

Disclaimer: today’s Whiskey and Stardust are brought to you by three hours of sleep. Quality of contents may vary. May contain dairy.

You’ll often hear people talk about how much you’re willing to sacrifice for your dreams. At the core of this concept, you’ll get the number of hours they’re putting in weekly to reach their goals. The numbers start in the mid-sixties and end just before a hundred. It almost sounds like a competition. “I’ve been working on my album for years, and I put in 50 hours of studio time a week”, “I just launched a business, and I’m there two hours before we open and hours after we close”. I’m not saying this to discredit anyone, and I’m not even trying to make them sound silly. I commend people who put so many hours into their ventures (even if it sometimes sounds like more of a pissing contest than anything). In fact, I really wish I could keep up.

Because the truth is I’m lazy as fuck.

Read More