My brain can only do so much.
I have forever been a mono-tasker even before I knew such a term or definition existed. It’s not even possible for me to read two books simultaneously because I simply cannot handle processing two different worlds and why I was a wretched piano player, to say the least.
For years I told myself I wasn’t good enough to be a “real” writer.
My past failed blogs and other endeavors no longer mattered, all that mattered was I was finally writing. As the pandemic clings on, no matter how many people try to pretend it’s a thing of the past, I made the decision that I would not go back to the dead-end jobs I had before. I was going to write because I AM A WRITER— so it would, without fail, be my full-time gig from now on.
But you know what they say about too much of a good thing…
I spent weeks making accounts for writing platforms, creating a portfolio, and applying to any and everything that was even remotely suitable.
I made an excel sheet to track myself and dutifully looked for work each day. My money was teetering on non-existent and I could no longer live in the fog of my depression. My YouTube would need to wait because it certainly wasn’t getting monetized any time soon, and my other projects would need to be put aside for a bit so I could focus on finding a steady income.
See — mono-tasker extraordinaire.
So, color me surprised then, when I not only found work that was meaningful but right up my alley and in record time. It was like the universe was for once working with me and I was jumping for joy. “Literal” joy.
I couldn’t wait to get a routine going where I was working this job and tending to all my other projects. I could picture it so perfectly in my head and it appeared I was finally going to be living the life I always wanted.
Because for a brief, joyful moment, I forgot I am a mono-tasker.
And then the joy quickly flitted away and of course, reality set in.
When I’m desperate, I don’t always think things through.
I suddenly saw a light at the end of my very dark tunnel and like a fool, I didn’t read the fine print. Nope, not I — I was signing on the dotted line before any questions had been asked or before I had actually done the math and saw what a pittance I would be making compared to the work expected to be done.
It didn’t matter because they wanted to hire me and I so badly needed work and money — that I failed to pay attention.
Then again, in my world, that’s pretty par for the course.
The work has been helpful and I technically am an independent contractor, but I am also working almost all the time, and still, I am struggling to make ends meet. And of course, my anxiety over not having enough energy to do anything else has been realized.
My ultimate fear of having everything I was truly passionate about pushed to the side came to fruition.
Things take time.
Building a business despite what social media says can be a slow and grueling upward battle. Success doesn’t always happen overnight or even after a year. Sometimes it is a slow, steady building of momentum which can be wonderful — until the rent is due. There are multiple factors that can keep you in the trenches, such as lack of income to help boost your “marketing.” In the end, I had no choice but to work for someone else, even if it has been years, and interacting with managers all of sudden, has sent me into an anxiety spiral of epic proportions.
The internet can make freelance life look glossy, just like it does everything else. And I don’t deny there are successful people out there, but many are just getting by. I had hoped that even if I was writing for others, I would still be doing something I was passionate about, and the upside was I wouldn’t have to interact with customers determined to make me cry. But I also feared any job would suddenly take over, leaving no room for anything else.
One month in, and well, it’s almost as if I am right back where I started.
Have I squandered all that time I was given just to end up back at the beginning?
The initial email when my new job hired me talked about passwords and work emails and I had no idea what a Teams was because I’ve never needed to know. As I pushed forward though, I could feel my heart racing as I clicked on buttons and downloaded apps. As I write this in the brief spare time I have, my mouth is filled with canker sores from stress and I have bitten my tongue so badly in my sleep I can hardly speak or eat.
I am a mess.
On top of all that I have not touched any of the things that are important to me, for my overall dreams or goals, in weeks. I’m too tired from working late every night and waking early, to work some more. My eyes are crossed and blurred after hours of typing, proofing, and editing others’ work to focus on my own.
I have never been the person to finish a long day of work to then write my own stuff. It’s too exhausting and mostly everything ends up in the bin because my brain needs sleep not more screen time.
I know I can’t simply quit right now, but I also know that this is not sustainable work in the long run. I need to pay my bills, yes, but I cannot, absolutely cannot, live month to month anymore; it’s too draining on me mentally and physically.
It appears however that my life is stuck in some sort of a loop. An endless loop.
And all I want to do is close my eyes and drift away.
That’s the rub when you sometimes go for your passion — it doesn’t always turn out how you envision it. It’s more the nitty-gritty work that has nothing to do with what you actually love.
So now I am left wondering if my desire to write full-time truly means I won’t actually have the energy to write full-time.
I wonder if my next book, which I have already been struggling with for many months now, will be another piece of work long forgotten or if my other projects will completely fall apart because I don’t have the energy to do it all.
I wonder if I’ll ever get to where I want to be and if there will be time enough at last?
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