Last night I found a post that I identified with so well that it brought me to tears. I guess we all feel this way at some point in our lives. As writers, we dream of one day having one of our pieces selected by a well-known publication. We figure that once that happens, our job opportunities will become less bleak and our readership will spike up to more than we could ever imagine. While your stats may go up, it doesn’t mean the jobs will come knocking. In fact, it often feels like a downward spiral with everything you thought you knew about this industry becoming a fantasy. Check out writer Lily Dunn’s post on going viral and wanting to give up HERE.
With the amount of career self-help books on how to “promote yourself,” (most of which are aimed at millenials and which I have guiltily read) I wish this world would revert back to the days when the QUALITY of your work was actually taken into consideration and what ultimately landed you a job rather than how you whore yourself out and how many followers you have. Sure, promoting is crucial and helpful, especially as a writer, but a tweet means nothing if your product is crap. I even had to add this sentiment to my LinkedIn profile (which I’m still debating over whether that was a good idea or not) along with a brand new personal mission statement because I want recruiters to know that I mean business. I am serious about what I do and if given a chance, I can prove it to them, silly stats not required.
Lately I’ve been thinking of giving up writing altogether. I’ve been furiously searching for a job for what seems like ages now. I’m pretty sure dinosaurs have walked by my apartment as I searched endlessly and applied to more jobs than I can even count. I’m even pretty sure I’ve used up an entire decade’s worth of Kleenex dealing with the rejections and the long nights of questioning myself and my abilities plus, not to mention the whole I’m-not-good-enough-for-anyone-or-anything days. I’ll be honest, this is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. As my whole world started to crumble this year, through the haze I’ve actually started toying with the idea of giving up. Why not? I figure all of the odds are stacked against me, and as long as list posts from my peers like 10 Reasons Why You Should Get Totally Wasted During The Holidays keeps getting page views, I feel like I don’t belong anywhere. It’s starting to feel like writing isn’t what it used to/should be. It’s about the page views. The stats. The numbers. Employers don’t care about me – they care about what can give their site more traffic, completely obliterating the fact that the so-called articles that are garnering attention have no substance whatsoever. Don’t get me wrong- not everything on the internet should be serious, but I refuse to dumb down my writing and compromise my values because it “doesn’t fit” someone’s criteria. Why don’t these companies realize that if you hire an excellent writer, your stats will rise anyway? Maybe even more?
This summer, I started a Facebook page for this blog and to promote my writing on my various platforms. I kept going back and forth with the idea, not sure how it would benefit my career. I can barely get my own friends to read anything I post on my personal account, so creating this page was kind of nerve-wracking to say the least. Who the hell would actually like it? Who would read it? Thanks to my supportive aunt and her friends, along with some very loyal readers, I have about 64 likes on my page as of right now. I’m shocked even 2 people liked it, nevermind the rest. But still, it’s a struggle to get people to engage with anything I post. Apparently, Facebook wants you to pay a fee to have your posts seen by everyone, which to a pauper like me, is ridiculous. Sometimes, using hashtags, my posts get seen by more people than the likes I already have, so I know people see what I post but aren’t engaging. Twitter helps but it’s not the kind of response I’d like to have. I guess if you’re not exposing your body to the entire world, it’s impossible to “break the internet,” so to speak. I’m tired of trying to please people who don’t care. (Yet here I am, linking you to everything under the sun just in this post alone. It’s a sick cycle.)
My dreams of making a career out of writing feel so far from reach, but I just can’t give it up. I’ve tried. I didn’t write anything for a week and a half and I missed it terribly. It’s impossible for me, and just the thought of not using my creativity every day sends me into a dark frenzy. I’m just going to take a well-needed break from my job search over the next month for the holidays (while still maintaining this blog and Buzznet because I need some fulfillment in my life) while I figure out what my next step should be. This is becoming tedious and I’m sick of hating myself and the world we live in.
I don’t want to become like my peers, giving in to what millenials should be doing in order to be successful. I’m not into the whole idea of promoting myself while leaving the quality of my work unaccounted for. For me, my work is a part of me. Everything I stand for including my beliefs, values and passions are usually incorporated into whatever I publish, so if you’re rejecting me and my personal brand, then you’re ultimately rejecting everything I have to offer. I don’t mind promoting my work, but when I have to scream and shout because no one is listening, it makes me question everything I thought I already knew. Why do we always have to follow the same path as our peers? Theirs may be paved with beer and list posts but mine is paved with yellow bricks and promise of substance.
This is how I do it. It may not be what you’re used to but I’m hoping you’ll stay and listen.
“We are all just passing through it, hoping for someone to notice how we do it. Ain’t how fast you run, but the way it’s done.”