:Cries For Help:

So after my long rant about not being confident enough to find a new job or career, I decided to take a real hard look at what I actually want to do with my life. Ok, so I definitely know that I want to write, but I also am smart enough to know that at this moment in time, writing for a living is not my best bet because I am not nearly comfortable enough living on the streets. BUT my problem is that the thing that I’m thinking I want to do seems unobtainable. Let me lay it out for you:

It’s been one of my dreams for a long time to work for a magazine (preferably music or action sports because I really love skateboarding?). So I guess I can always look for something along those lines in terms of editing, but the real problem comes here. I know editing is really the path most (all) Literature majors go because that’s what we do, except I’ve always been really interested and fascinated by how a magazine is put together–the design of it all. And I wish I could be a part of that. I wish I could help with the layout design of a magazine. My concern is that I have no experience in that. Granted, I did lay out my high school newspaper, but I’ve never been on a team that handled anything larger than that. So what do I do? I’ve been thinking about teaching myself different programs so at least I’d have the knowledge of it all, but I keep feeling like this is hopeless.

Does anyone know the process of these things? Or can someone provide any sort of insight/advice on the matter? Further, what programs should I be looking into? And are there any cool magazines in the Dallas/Fort Worth area?

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Completion

(The title of this makes me uncomfortable, kind of.)

Finishing a journal is a weird time. It’s like every one of those stupid cliched quotes that people say when you graduate or hit puberty: “when one door closes, another opens;” “keep writing your own story;” “your life is like the pages of a book.” And as much as I hate to admit it, those things are mostly always true. Finishing a journal reminds you of that. All of a sudden this empty book is now full of stories and events and feelings and opinions and sometimes really mean judgements passed and then you’re on the last page and the last line and then it’s done and this is part of your life. All these things you’ve written down has gotten you right here. (I originally spelled ‘right’ as ‘write’ ha ha ha.) Were they important enough to write down? Should you have written down everything you did? Maybe not. Will you go back and read the things you chose to remember? Who’s to say. Maybe you write things down so you can remember. And maybe you write things so you can forget–move on. It’s weird thinking about the things you chose to fill your life with. And I guess you never really finish your journal. You mostly just move to a new book, but at that point it all feels very different. Life is all very different at the beginning of this journal than it was at the beginning of the last one. Just like it will all be very different at the beginning of the next journal. And all you can really do is keep writing and hope that maybe one day it’ll all make sense.

A… Career?

(Imagine me making a face when I say that similar to the one Elaine Benes makes when she discusses grace with Mr. Pitt.)

Is it just me or does everyone have the most difficult time imaging the way people can obtain an actual job/career? Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in a mall for so long and the mall is basically the blackest of all the abysses. Nobody escapes the mall. At least not easily. The worst part about mall life in this moment is that I don’t even hate it. I don’t hate the company I’m working for or even the work I’m doing. Except this is the problem: as someone who has “zero” management experience, I can never be promoted. And another problem: as someone who has never been promoted, I can never gain “management experience.” So, mall conundrum.

But in all seriousness, I do not envision myself in a store at the mall for the rest of eternity. I’m not sure if that’s what anyone actually envisions their life to be. I’ve always seen myself teaching and hopefully inspiring kids to love school as much as I love school. I’d be that cool high school English teacher that makes all her students want to read books and major in Literature (maybe not that far, but bear with me). And then I thought about how cool it would be to be a professor. Because, ugh, “Professor Healy.” Let’s be serious, who wouldn’t want that? (Probably a lot of you, don’t answer that.) But my issue here is that, duh, graduate school has to be a thing. (UT AUSTIN, UC IRVINE, STILL HERE IF YOU’RE HERE.) And for graduate school to be a thing, I need money. And for me to have money, I cannot be working at the mall for the rest of eternity. 

Okay, so recently I’ve been imaging myself as someone who works in a really cool office, whether it be a publishing company or a magazine (it’s usually a magazine in my head because I like to think I’m really cool so I’d work at a really cool/hip magazine). How great would it be to surrounded by other people trying to get published? Like, I’d be experiencing both ends of the spectrum, as someone who wants to help people get published, but also see people like me get published. I can’t even imagine anything better. (Well, I mean, unless I can convince a classroom full of high school students that reading is cool.) So, like every other Literature/Creative Writing major, I figure I should try to get involved in editing/publishing. But, unlike many other Literature/Creative Writing majors, I, like a huge jerk, did not try to intern in undergrad. I worked at the mall. And now I’m concerned that maybe I’m behind. Maybe I missed my chance. Maybe new undergrads will come up and steal all the jobs I want. (I exaggerate, excuse me.) Can someone please just give me advice on how to get involved here? Someone? Anyone? SOS.

Lastly, though, none of these things would be a problem if I could just get published. And this would be a whole lot easier if I could just get myself disciplined to start writing again. But regardless, hello publishers, please publish me. 

On Writing

So in the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a drop in my own personal productivity level. I guess that comes with school ending and summer beginning and knowing that never again in my life will I have to go to class (until grad school, but please let me be dramatic for drama’s sake). It is with this low productivity level that I have noticed my lack of writing. This is a problem. See, when I don’t write for long periods of time, I get real unbalanced. (This is the only way I can describe it.) For a long time growing up, I was sure it was writer’s block. That I had to be inspired to write. It turns out, though, that no one has to be inspired to get pen to paper. I’ve learned that the only thing you have to be in order to write regularly is disciplined. It is through the realization that I have decided to add some structure to my life.

American poet Nick Norwood came to speak to my Capstone class last semester and offered one piece of advice that seemed to strike me as something I could do. And, after the realization that I have zero discipline, I’ve decided to give this piece of advice a fighting chance.

He told us that we should keep a schedule. But this isn’t just a schedule of writing during a certain time or day. It goes more further than that. He told us to schedule the days, the time, the place. Maybe there’s music that helps you write. Play that each time. Maybe there’s a ritual you do before you write. Make sure that happens each time before you sit down. The habit of continuously writing in the same space and time will help. Whether you end up liking what you write or not, the fact that you are writing is important, because at some point, you’ll write something you love.

Norwood also suggested that you give yourself a deadline, much like an editor or agent would give. Think about the size of your work and then divide that evenly among your days. How much do you want to write each day? How much do you want to have written in a week? A month? This will ensure that you’re writing to meet your goal. Again, don’t worry about how much you like what you’re writing. That’s a whole other process to deal with.

Don’t spend time reading the entirety of what you wrote the previous day. Read the last paragraph you wrote. The last two paragraphs you wrote. Spend more time writing than rereading. Not only does rereading take up valuable time, but I know, for me at least, when I start rereading, I start editing and rewriting. And that’s not what you’re trying to do here.

Finally, he tells us to risk sentimentality. Especially in a time where we’re all so worried about being too sentimental because who wants that, really? It’s the beginning stages of your piece. Risk sentimentality. Risk emotion. Risk everything.