Friday, March 14, 2014

A Thank You and an Update

Hey everyone!

I was so overwhelmed by the amazing response I got to my last blog post. I seriously got ten times more views than I normally get, from all over the place. And that is so exciting! So thank you. Thanks for sharing the things that are important to you, and for telling me about the struggles you've been going through, and thank you for your encouragement. It has made my week. It feels like the bad things that happened were a month ago rather than just a few days, and I think it is 100% because of the amazing people in my life.

And the writing's not so bad either. ;)

I did my first full-time day on Wednesday, and absolutely loved it. I got up early, wrote all day (with a few short breaks, of course!), and by five I still felt so energized. I revised almost 40 pages worth of my current work in progress, which is more than I've revised in the last two months combined. And afterward, I felt happy. Like, really happy. I even made my husband a nutritious dinner (whaaaat?).

Day two was just as good.

I know I'm still in the honeymoon phase, and there will be days when it's harder to get up in the morning, but for right now I can't imagine things being any better. I love writing. I hope that that in the relatively near future (for those of you who don't know, everything in the traditional publishing world moves SUPER slow), I will  be able to make money doing this.

So far the hardest part is getting to bed early enough to get eight hours of sleep. I have a lot of problems with unrest at night, but I'm working on it.

I'll keep you posted as time goes on. :) Next post, I'll give you a look at my schedule, and the behavioral theory blog series that helped me structure it effectively!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Crazy Little Thing Called Life

This week has been a whirlwind of emotions, and I feel like writing about it is the only way that it's going to feel even remotely better, so here goes...

I had my first job interview in six months, last week. It wasn't for a particularly big or glamorous job, but I was still pretty excited. I spent the whole day before practicing how I would answer every possible question, and it paid off. The interview went well. I came out pumping my fists because I knew, just knew that they had to call me back for a second interview. And they did.

I want to take a detour here, and talk about a particular part of my application. It's pretty standard for applications to ask about your availability, so I put mine: I will work any hours, any day, except for Sunday. Then, when they asked me about my availability in the first interview, I was honest again. As part of my religion, I don't work on Sunday. It's a day I choose to worship. I am religious. It was never something I wanted to hide.

So I was so excited when I went in for that second interview, with the manager this time. It went just as well as the first one. She had my resume, my references, and all of the notes from my prior interview. And she said that she had to do a background check and call some of my references, but that she wanted to hire me as long as I passed those. After six months of unemployment, I was finally going to have a job.

I celebrated. My husband celebrated. Obviously.

But then yesterday morning, I awoke to a phone call from said manager, saying that my application says I'm not available Sundays, and am I sure? Because Sunday is their second busiest day, and not working on Sunday would be a deal breaker...

I wanted to be sassy. Point out that it wasn't a deal breaker when they called me in for the first interview, nor the second. Point out that I could work all day on their first busiest day.

I know working on Sunday isn't a big deal to a lot of people, and it's fine if other people choose to work then. But I decided a long time ago that I wouldn't. So I told her that no, I wouldn't be able to, and she  pointed out that there are plenty of other people willing to go to church and then come to work at another time of day.

 Gee, thanks. But the answer was still no.

So that's the story of how I got an awesome job working with books, and then I didn't.

I don't really know what is going to happen from here, and to be honest, I spent most of yesterday springing back and forth between moping and manically cleaning the apartment. But after a lot of talking with my husband, we did decide one thing.

Sitting at home and applying to so many jobs each week hasn't been great for my mental health. At all. So I'm taking a break from it. I've joked before about how I'm a full-time writer because I don't have any other day job. But yesterday while I was laying in bed contemplating making an entire bowl of brownie batter just so I could eat it like soup, my husband asked, "Why don't you become a real, full-time writer?" And he meant it. And I didn't know what to say, because I want that more than anything but I'm so scared and I'm not good enough and what about the money and there's no guarantee anyone will ever want to buy my work and and and--

I'm lucky to have a guy who supports my dreams, who has so much faith in my abilities. He is always there to help me combat those negative voices in my head that sound like Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada and tell me I should just give up or worse, that maybe I already have. I'm lucky to have great friends like the WordNerds and all of the people who comment on my WattPad story and family and friends who let me be a nerd and taught me everything I know about living a life worth writing. They help me remember that those voices are wrong.

And that's why I'm going to do it. Writing will now not only be my passion, but it will be my full-time job, and I will be a very part-time job-seeker.

It's really terrifying. And sometimes it feels like I'm giving up, which is a really crappy feeling to have about yourself. And I don't know what's going to happen, and it gives me a decent amount of anxiety to know that my work won't bring in any money for awhile. But I'm hopeful.

I hope this is for the best. I hope that this helps my mental health. I hope it helps my relationships and gives me back the confidence that I used to have so much more of. And there's a small part of me-- the vindictive part that I'm not necessarily proud of-- that hopes that the people running that store know that they treated me wrong, and that they have lost a lifelong customer because of the way they treated me when I was a potential employee. It was their right to choose not to hire me because I won't work Sundays, but it is my right to be treated fairly, to not be told that I had a job when I didn't.

I hope someone understands just how crushing it is to feel like this, because it's always nice to have a friend say that they get it. I hope I hope I hope.

I don't know how many of you are the praying kind of people. But if you are, I could use as many prayers as you can spare. And no matter who you are, I would love to hear about your own stories of hope. Because I get it. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Fancy Book Goal

Recently I've been thinking a lot about reading, and the state of my "Read" list on Goodreads. I love all of the books I've been reading recently-- in fact, I can't think of a single book I've read this year that disappointed me. However, I have been reading a LOT of young adult.

Don't get me wrong, young adult literature is amazing, and is easily my favorite type of book to read. It has everything-- all the emotions and adventures and wondrous self discoveries that teenagers really do experience as they grow up. As an adult who finds more and more often that I don't know that much about myself, it is awesome to read about other people who don't know who they are. But recently, I have been wanting to branch out a little more.

It started with reading just barely out of my normal genres. I read These Broken Stars and my first leap into Sci-Fi. I read Mortality by Kellie Sheridan and Ignite by Erica Crouch in part because they are my friends, but also because I had never read a self-published book before. I read Looking for Alaska by John Green, even though six months ago I would have passed it by without a second glance. But now I want to branch out even further.

That's why I have set a little reading goal. I have chosen 10 books, found from various different recommendations from my favorite authors, professors, and even high school teachers. These books are not standard commercial literature that I normally read (but I just want to say it again because I can't say it enough: COMMERCIAL FICTION IS BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL AND RELEVANT), and tend to be a bit more literary (with a lot of them being classics). I'm going to read one a month, and I'll let you know how it's going!

I'm starting with Blood of the Lamb by Peter De Vries, and am currently loving it. Here's the rest of the books, if you're interested!
  1. (Blood of the Lamb by Peter De Vries)
  2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  3. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  4. Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks
  5. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  6. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  7. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  8. Brave New World by Alduous Huxley
  9. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
  10. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New Blog Design

Guys, I am so excited about this new blog layout, and for a very good reason...

It's because I designed it!

I used an a bunch of awesome resources and figured out what HTML I needed to know to design the template, found the stock photo for the header and then edited it myself, and learned exactly what CSS is and how to use it to my advantage.

Okay, done bragging.

But seriously, I am so excited to reveal this one. It was a lot of fun, so let me know if you want help designing one for yourself! Right now I only know Blogger, but I'm hoping to expand my knowledge as time goes on.

But yeah. Now I'm really done showing off, because I'm blushing in front of my computer screen. Thank goodness y'all can't see me.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

On Writing Things That Matter

It's hard as a writer, being surrounded by so many awesome, poignant books that look at all aspects of human life and frailty and virtues, all of the philosophical things that matter. Sometimes it feels like I'll never write something that beautiful, or that important.

But then I have to remind myself, that no matter what I write, it is important.

And if I go into a project intending to write about the self actualization that comes from belonging to someone  (or someones) or something, or about the inevitability of death or about the nature of poverty in all of its forms, I will fail. All I can do is start with characters, and then let those characters tell me a story.

And more often than not, if I let the characters lead my story, those themes will work their way in, and they won't be forced. And even if my stories don't come out as deep and poetic as I might hope for them to be, if I can touch just one person then I've done what I set out to do. Just like characters give me a story worth telling, readers give stories meaning worth interpreting.