Trying to Write

I know, it’s been a while. My writing has slowed to once a week, if even that, and I’m ashamed. How can I call myself a writer if it’s something I have to make myself do and I can’t even find the willpower to start trying? I find no more joy in it. I should be eager to get home and write, or write as soon as I wake up, shouldn’t I? I should be thinking up original ideas that get people thinking and are spread around the web like wildfire, starting important dialogues and garnering attention from people who can make a difference in the world. I should be making a difference.

Instead, I am marathoning Bones. That is literally all I do. Every moment that I am not at work or sleeping, I am watching Bones and scrolling down Tumblr. Before this, it was Angel, Buffy, Stargate SG:1… I have an addiction. I have plenty of time to write. I want to write. I often wake up with an idea for a blog post and am all prepared to get it written by the day’s end, but I still wake up the next morning having written nothing. This goes on for days, weeks. Why? Why can’t I write free-standing articles that mean something and send them to magazines in hopes that they’ll hire me? Why haven’t I still applied at Nordstrom to be an editor? A coworker at Victoria’s Secret told me that they’re always hiring editors at Nordstrom. They start at $18 an hour. And yet, I think it’s the crippling fear of rejection that is stopping me. The worst they can do is say no, but that is still literally the worst thing, because it confirms yet again that my degree means nothing. I BS’ed the whole thing. No, I never cheated, or made anything up, but I could have worked harder, put in more effort. Why didn’t I? Because I was afraid of work? How on earth do I expect to live in the real world without working hard for anything? Yes, I am having an existential crisis. Yes, I am doubting the choice to major in English writing. It’s getting me nowhere and I’m starting to fear it never will.

I often wish I had studied forensic anthropology, and not just because I’m obsessed with Dr. Temperance Brennan and the amazing things she can do. Solving crimes by studying evidence in a lab used to be a dream of mine. I watched a lot of crime shows with my family growing up. It fascinated me. Yes, I know it’s not as glamorous or as fast in real life; I’m not stupid. But I think I could do it. I could actually make a difference. Identify victims and their killers. Potentially save lives. I tell people these days that if I could afford to go back to school, I would go into forensic anthropology. That, I could actually do something with. English teachers tell you that an English degree is so versatile, and it makes sense, but tell that to every single employer who posts a job listing with all the requirements being “an English degree” and then “3-5 years of experience in copyediting.” Nobody wants to train anybody. Nobody wants to be anyone’s first job. How am I supposed to get experience if everyone wants experience before they’ll hire you? And I’m pretty sure that it does not take three years to be competent or even excellent at a copyediting job. I was the best copy desk chief my college newspaper ever had–the rest of the staff will tell you that too–but who cares if it was only for 3 months? I would have done it for the rest of my life, if it wasn’t a student-only position. But I graduated. Whoops. Silly me.

I don’t remember where this post was going. I’m frustrated with myself for choosing a major that is getting me nowhere, and I am frustrated with employers who refuse to hire people straight out of college. There is literally no sense in that.

And yet… I’m about to apply for a writing job right now. It makes me physically sick to think about rejection and fiery hoops to jump through in order to maybe get an opportunity to do what I want to do, what I excel at, but I’m going to try anyway. Because no matter how much I hate it, no matter how much I want to pull my hair out, I can’t stop. I can never stop. Maybe I’ll go months without adding to my novel or sending an article to a magazine, weeks without blogging, but I can’t stop being a writer. I’ll never stop completely. I hate it but it’s who I am. At least sometimes.

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