Monday, June 30, 2014

71: What To Do When There is Nothing To Do

This summer has been a real challenge for me. No jobs, no moving out like I had planned, BFFF is all married and in a new life, struggling for school money so I can get a master's degree, family is evolving and changing and we can't really keep up--the list is endless as I'm sure yours is.
All of this and I don't know what to do. I feel really stuck and trapped. Every day (well, almost every day, at least 3 or 4 times a week) I sit down at my computer and search for jobs. I bookmark the good looking ones and make a pile to return to after my great search is over. Then I go through them one at a time, apply, write cover letters, send in resumes and CVs, and sometimes if the people are really annoying, I have to write whole new samples of my work based on their guidelines ("Write two 1000-word articles from different angles about the decline of youth involvement in society". Eh?) That's a lot for applying. Do you just want to see an academic paper I wrote about literature and psychology instead? 
If only life were that kind.
This can get very disheartening after a while. Especially since, after more than 5 weeks of doing this, I've gotten one rather rude rejection (littered with typos... I hate to be that grammar Nazi, but really? Pay me to edit your rejection letters...), one email of "we're interested" but then no follow up, and a whole lot of empty inbox. That's right, of the 20+ jobs I've applied for (even some craigslist! eeh!) I've received 1.5 replies. I understand they are swamped with resumes though. But even that understanding isn't enough to sooth my grieving spirit. (And Constantine died so that doesn't help). I need a job, like so many others. 
So in the mean time, what do I do to try to ease my father's anxiety and my mothers not understanding why I'm still here in her house? A lot of things.

1. Keep up with my hobbies.
So not as much as I should be, but I did get to teach a belly dance workshop in Defiance the other month and that was good. It made me practice up, eat right, and make sure I still had my dance technique. I have another coming up in September and maybe a class at a local Zumba joint. They are all spread out so the money isn't something I can rely on, but my physicality can. I workout with these things in mind and still watch what I eat.

2. Keep writing!
It is what I want my life to be about. I get so excited about writing sometimes that I have crazy, drunk butterflies in my stomach. That's how much I love writing! I get so much energy thinking about magic systems, worlds, religions, cultures, lizard-people, and giant monsters that I shake when writing! I get so pumped about sharing a lesson and life perspective that my mind races faster than I can type. I get jittery thinking about word-play and symbolism. It's all very nerdy and exhilarating! 
Also, this gives me practice to say things different ways and realize how I speak and how my words come across to others. I also have the time to try out characters, flaws, twists, plots, and other things that I would normally have to carefully craft before finalizing. The play is super fun. 
With so much material being produced, I now have something of a stash of stories, ideas, and novels. Yeah, I have 3 novels I can toy with and edit and a small series of novelettes too. This slumps has given me time to create a horde of things I can come back to. But don't misunderstand, I polish too and finish. Yeah, I finish now! How amazing is that? Usually, I can hardly finish a story let alone a novel. So when you're stuck, keep up with your craft. Even if you think it's a waste of time and you should be out hunting for a job 24-7, take a moment to practice what you want to do!

3. Do other things.
I have one or two very specific hobbies so this doesn't mean that. My hobbies are reading (for my craft!) and dancing. I change it up with going to a Zumba class (so fun!), swimming, nature parks, or going to a movie. Later to day, my siblings and I are going to see "How to Train Your Dragon 2" just to give me some space and something else to do with my head. Movies are fine, just don't watch ones that make you feel stupid. And I love TV shows like "Supernatural" and "Heroes" but I try to not watch more than 2 episodes in one sitting.
Play a game! I love boardgames like "Catan" and "Hero Quest". Harry Potter themed "Clue" is also really fun for some reason. However...I absolutely love "League of Legends" right now too. Yes, I play video games. And I will admit right now, sometimes I spend too much time on League. Especially if I'm feeling really down about jobs.
The trick with these Other Things is to know when to stop and go back to being profitable. Train yourself and discipline yourself to know what enough is enough. 

4. PLAN!
This is my golden One Ring of power right here. I write down everything. Mostly because I cannot remember a thing and have very bad memory and pretty bad depression sometimes and if I don't see a  written task, I may not do it. Get a spiral-bound calendar that fits in your man-purse or book bag and keep it with you. I am very sad that mine has just a couple months left in it. I've had it for a year!
I write down daily what I want to do. Everything. Even Other Things and fun stuff. Not just the work and the exercise. 
To day I have things like "write/edit", "find short story ideas", "apply for bookmarked jobs", "dance exercise", "Go see dragon movie". Everything is on there that I want to do today. You will notice that League is not on there. *Sigh* 
When you do a thing, check it off! That makes me feel so accomplished. This is seriously the biggest thing on here. Plan what you do. Make time, take the time, and get things done.

5. Do things that make you feel worth while. 
I try to not watch or read anything that is *ahem* below my intelligence level. I like my leisure time to be challenging as well. Or I chose "easy" things that are not unintelligent. I do like the occasional Young Adult series of books (Looking at you, Heather Brewer) and the animated Disney flick. But those things are well-thoughtout and worth it. Do not dumb yourself down and do not get lazy. 

6. Lastly...
Do not be upset when you cannot get everything on your list or you do not hear back from those people you spent 24 hours preparing your resume, cover letter, and writing samples for. I do though, so don't worry. But telling someone else not to helps me not to. I am very down about jobs right now but I cannot let it nail me to the floor or I'll never get back up again. 
When the job-thing starts to tear you up and tell you your not worth it, stop and go look at something great you did. Don't go that Thing and be like "Nah, you suck! You didn't get me the job!" It's not the Thing's fault! And it's not yours either. The Thing is not badly done. Maybe it just wasn't right for that job. Take an idea from it and try something else. Keep producing ideas and Things. You are unique enough to make a lot of cool Things and someone will want it and you. 
Don't give up, and don't drown in depression. 

Sorry, that last one was for me, but you can take it too. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Chapter 70: Grown Up Things

I'll be 25 this year. Not till the end of this year but there it is. Looming up out of the cold, Ohio Autumn comes that age. The time when some people who know scientific things say that your body stops growing and starts to, well, get old. To die. Back in the European olden days, 25 was when you were considered an old maid. If you were not married by then, you were probably pretty screwed. You were not desirable, pretty, young, fresh, and lovely any more. You are old and rather useless.
Bring this to the 21st century. You're not really old until you are well over 40. And if you dress like a rave-kid with blond hair, all cropped and short and wearing short jean skirts--well, then you can pull it off for even longer. Don't forget the fake tan and excessive exercise. You know the women I'm talking about.
Here is me. College grad, English degree, some experience, lots of written words and stories, lots of passion and desire to change the world. The grown up thing to do would be to hunt like a tigress for a job. I am, don't worry. But when something doesn't show up, I suppose the other grown up thing to would be to just settle on something else. Be a banker or something. I wish I was that grown up. I want the job I want though. However, in the mean time, I am looking for something a little closer to home. Findlay is not exactly full of jobs but I am looking. To please my poor father who put love, sweat, tears, and blood and money into my education, I am applying at the public library. We'll see how that goes.
In the mean time, this blog will be far less formal as I have started "The Moral Alien" for my fancy work. And by fancy I don't mean refined and perfect. No writing is perfect and no one will ever think so. "Alien" is for things I research and edit at least once. This is nothing any more. Just my every thought. And I think my thoughts are worth writing down. If I don't think so, who will? No one will do anything for you, so you have to get it started yourself.
For now, I have applied for a job at Riot. I wish I could get the job, but I know I won't. In the mean time, I have applied to more than 20 jobs in the last 3 weeks. For each one I have had to at least write a new sample, hand in a resume, give ten titles for future stories another such shenanigans. It gets exhausting! I get so tired after a round that I want to sleep but then I have to work out. I get fat too fast. Maybe next time I'll tell you about something more specific like my exercise regime and how I eat. I find it interesting any way.
I shall writ about everything. but for now, I will hush up :) This is an old blog but at some point, someone must have read it. And someone will. And I will always write. I have things to say and I want to say them. The gown up thing to do is not give a crap about other people. I do that in real life. Not on here. This is my space. My grown up thing is to do what I need to.
Thank you and see you next time!
Oh, and I am making a vlog video as soon as I can about being a Support on LoL. I know, I wrote about it on "Alien" but I have more to say. Someone said that Support is the easiest role. I will show you why it is not. Thank you and goodbye!