I had a meltdown about writing—the process of—this morning. Simultaneously, my son, a recent computer science graduate, did too—about job hunting.
He emailed me while I’m melting down:
I’m applying for jobs and contacting these people but when absolutely no one contacts me back I feel like I’m sinking. I just feel like a fucking failure.
I emailed him back:
The only thing I know that works for me to shed feelings of doubt is WRITING them down. I’m doing that now. Literally. I had a meltdown this morning so I’m journaling. I will for a page or so, then get on with watching Twitch streamers to educate myself before I continue writing the Power Trip—which is what I melted down about this morning.
From my journal:
‘The absolute hardest part about writing fiction is shutting out the voices in my head that tell me I am not good enough to write this:
- I’ll never get this right.
- It’s too complex.
- It’ll take too much research.
- I’m too fragmented.
- The subject won’t be topical if it takes too long to write.
- I can’t DO this.
- I keep losing the string.
- I get too wrapped up in superfluous details.
- I don’t get to the point quick enough.
- I’m too heady.
- Too technical.
- Too too too…
- Give it up. Too much work you’ll never finish anyway.
- This is stupid to pursue.
- You are wasting your time, not living your best life.
- You’ve been working at this too long and are still nowhere…’
His email back:
This is exactly what I freak out about as well. Just replace writing with coding.
Thing is, you have to combat the bullshit voices in your head. They are half-truths. Not lies, cuz there IS truth in our fears, but only HALF truths. I can counter every one of the voices I just wrote in my journal.
But there’s always these looming feelings that I’ve accomplished nothing, done nothing. Am nothing.
That’s fear—like you are a failure—because you’re scared you will be. And while the fear is valid, real, true, because there is a vague possibility you won’t find a job you want, the WHOLE TRUTH is you are virtually 100% guaranteed to find a job if you keep looking for one, and likely a coding job you’ll like.
Another truth is you’ve proven you can code as a straight-A graduate with a CS degree, which was your primary goal the last 4 years. And you did it. Well done!”
I seem to be unable to compartmentalize my feelings.
This is LEARNING, E.M., applying for your first real job that isn’t a part-time, low-level gig. You’re launching your career, and that’s a big deal. Let yourself feel scared, and frustrated, and excited and every other feeling that arises through this process. And you WILL get a job. Guaranteed, IF you keep working at it!! Just like I’ll get the Power Trip written. See, I’ve already proven I can write with 7 books out, with mostly good reviews… And the voices of doubt gather like locusts as I write the last two lines above:
- Yeah, you’ve written 7, but they’re all crap.
- And the good reviews, well, they were just being nice.
- The bad reviews are the truth about your writing.
- So GIVE IT UP BITCH. You will always fail at this.
- and so on…
But again, I can COUNTER all of these doubts with another POV:
- Yeah, you’ve written 7, but they’re all crap. BULLSHIT. I’ve gotten mostly good reviews.
- And the good reviews, well, they were just being nice. BULLSHIT. Just bullshit cuz this is such a stupid thought.
- Bad reviews are the truth about your writing. NOPE. They are HALF THE TRUTH, or a percentage, and in most cases the greater percentage of my reviews are positive.
- So give it up bitch. You will always fail at this. FUCK OFF, BITCH OF DOUBT.
Now GET TO WORK, honey, cuz writing is the only way you’re going to become a better writer.
Emoji smile. Clapping hands. Thank you hands.
Leave a Reply