We call them “revolutions,” not “resolutions.”
This year I’m thinking of doing two things that make me very anxious: first, opening up my Facebook page to “friends of friends” instead of just “friends.”
That might not sound like a big deal to you, but my brother is one of my “friends,” and he is one of those people who never ignores a friend request – he has over 1,300 friends on Facebook.
That’s a lot of aging hippies who love to argue about politics to contend with.
(Oh, alright already, “with which to contend.” Happy now, internal grammar bitch?)
But my brother has 1300 friends because he courageously pursued his creative life from the tender age of 17, leaving college in the face of extreme maternal angst (but with paternal support, if not approval. And it was emotional support, not financial, as far as I know) and made quite a success of it. I’ve always admired him for that. Not sure I ever told him. I’ll do that today.
Which brings me to the other thing that scares me: posting the url for my blog on LinkedIn, and going all in on being the speaker, writer, blogger and singer (oh, and “aspiring professional party guest)” I want to be.
Oh, that’ll go over well among all those articles about how to improve teamwork and productivity and deliver deliverables, whatever the hell those are.
I’m supposed to be looking for a job. LinkedIn is one of the places I look. For a job job. You know, a day job. A real job. Something that might pay the health insurance and have a little left over for cat food.
But instead I’ve spent the last week designing products for an online store I intend to open to support my blogging habit, and emailing queries to literary agents who represent authors who are so, way, light years out of my league that I have a daily panic attack that goes something like this:
“Well, Annie, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Trading fear for flow, remember? Yeah, but look who she represents! I loved that book! I could never be that good! My God they turned that one into a movie! Who am I to be writing a memoir anyway? I didn’t grow up in a family of zealous religious survivalists (Educated) or dirt poor (The Glass Castle). The only group I might represent (see the interview with Stephanie Land, of Maid, who got an agent because she wrote an article that went viral – why didn’t you think of that, Annie, you dumbass? not that I could write anything that would go viral) is other widows in the US and there are about 11.75 million of them and 3.23 million widowers (oh, there’s some great odds for a date with a man who understands) and they’re all different from each other so no one person could be “representative” of them all and they’ll probably hate my story anyway because they are being good widow/widowers who don’t tell the world about the dark aspects of their marriages like I do in my book even though it is funny but also really sad and who wants to read that anyway? If I send it out there will be rooms full of snarky New York literary agents at conference tables laughing at me!”
Back here in reality, the second response I got, within two weeks of sending the query, was a request for the full manuscript. Rejected very politely after the read, but I got that far, anyway. I’ve received two other polite rejections, one that even took the time to say “sorry for your loss,” and one that was probably canned (auto-reject), but it was a response, not a pocket veto.
Responses from four out of nine agents I’ve queried so far, in less than a month, and the other five are pending, still within the 6-8 week window.
So while I wait, I’m here blathering on about how I’m going to boldly pursue the creative life, when I should be putting all my effort into getting a job. Or at least getting something published. Even if I do that, I’ll still need to get a job.
At my age, any job I’m able to land will likely involve a name tag, enforced cheerfulness and toilet cleaning. And still won’t pay the bills.
In the meantime I’m trying to work up the courage to do those things on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Facebook, maybe. I can handle aging hippies.
But LinkedIn? That’s my professional public face.
I’ll get another whole post out of that panic attack.
Losing my nerve, I remain,
Your shaky, anxious, fretful, stymied, what-the-hell-am-I-thinking?