The day I wrote about losing confidence in my writing, I discovered a television series called “800 Words.”
“It’s a sign!” I thought. The show is on the Acorn channel (British-y programming). It’s about an Australian columnist, a widower with two kids, whose column always comes in at exactly 800 words.
That’s a game I love to play, too. He even uses the same trick of hyphenating-things-to-count-as-one-word.
It’s more about grief and the stupid impulsive decisions (often stupid financial decisions) you make when coping with loss.
I watched the first episode of the first season and was hooked.
And then I discovered I had to pay a subscription fee to watch the rest of it.
Curses! I coughed up my Roku account and subscribed.
More money spent that I shouldn’t be spending, without a day job.
That sent me into another spiral of anxiety and doubt.
How could it be a sign? Yes, I like to write blog posts of exactly 800 words – but my book is 60,000 words.
The protagonist on the show actually had a job as a newspaper columnist, left it, and was coaxed back.
I’ve lost or had to leave jobs I wanted and was never, ever “coaxed” or asked back. It was more like “don’t let the door hit you on your way out. Buh-bye.”
My recent job search experiences make me feel like I couldn’t buy a job – if I had any money to spend – which makes me more anxious about getting a job.
I’ve got an idea for a business, bought the domain, and I’m hoping to get a website designed and the business going by September.
But the numbers for this blog (over 5,300 views and 2,300 visitors, but only 162 followers) indicate I suck at social media self-promotion.
I’m going to have to force myself to return to Facebook to build pages for this blog again and for my new business. AAAAAK!!
I’d rather curl up in a little fetal ball and pull the covers over my head, but as I lie there whimpering, I’d be picturing myself wearing a name tag, saying things like, “would you like fries with that?” or “have you tried our new spicy shrimp?” or “can I get you that dress in another size?”
Between the morning workouts and the yard work and the house work and grocery shopping and the meal preparation and the caring for and helping Angelic Daughter, I can’t seem to find the time to write more than one or two blog posts a week, and no time at all to search for other places to submit writing for a chance to get paid.
Much less apply for that glorious future name tag job.
All the job search engines I’ve got going keep sending me jobs that have nothing to do with me.
LinkedIn seems to think I’m a nurse or other health-care worker, just because I’m looking for jobs in non-profits, and there’s a big non-profit hospital near me.
Glassdoor keeps sending me technical writing jobs that I probably could do but I’m sure I’d never get hired for, and the idea of making a mistake writing technical manuals or pharmaceutical label information sends me into paroxysms of anxiety.
All the NPO’s want fundraisers (“development” people) but asking people for money makes me squirm, and researching how much money people might have to give makes me feel like a creepy voyeur.
I indulge in silly rescue fantasies, typically involving younger men who know how to do things, and who are willing to do them for me, for free.
And who then move in and pay for things.
While also making wild, passionate love to me.
Hey, I said it was a fantasy.
I’ve figured out what’s wrong with me, and what went wrong in my career, but I can’t fix the past and the past follows me everywhere I go.
I try to focus on the now – on the incredible, cool air we have today, on the squash blossoms growing in the former chicken run, on the green beans starting to come in.
But I spend more time feeling frustrated by the dozens of bean seeds I planted that haven’t sprouted at all.
I’m a whiny, self-doubting mess.
The ancestresses are getting restless – I hear them telling me to get my ass outside and weed something. Not self-improvement, but yard-improvement, at least.
Perhaps other improvements will follow.
And as for signs?
Just as I was editing that line about anxiety and doubt, a monarch butterfly fluttered down and landed on the beans.
The ones that are growing.
Thanks for the Sign, Mike – of love and understanding – and the reminder to enjoy this beautiful day and stop taking myself so seriously.
Because what matters is now.
About-to-get-sweaty-and-dirty-and-feel-virtuous-about-it, I remain,
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay
13 thoughts on “800 Words”
Great post 🙂
I’m semi-retired. Well, mostly retired, but my son hired me to handle his social media accounts for his insurance agency. I really enjoy doing it, and he has over 300 followers—that’s pretty good for an Insurance company. The thing is, I post something for him every day. And I interact with his followers. We have a Trivia contest on Tuesdays and I post corny jokes on Fridays.
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I hate self promotion too. I can’t ‘push’ my stuff on people. The mere idea of sending a query letter, just so I can get rejected, gives me hives. So I write for free on the blog and turn a blind eye to the debt that’s piling up.
I hear you, is that I’m saying.
But I do have a silver lining. Dog walking. I’m down to one dog but it is summer vacation. But, September isn’t far away and I’m hoping to increase that by then. The pay isn’t bad (because I do have experience)…have you considered this as an option? At the very least it pays for some groceries in the meantime. There are also lots of people who need someone to pop in on weekends to feed the cat or clean the litter boxes…I don’t know. It’s just an idea.
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Thanks, Claudette – Angelic Daughter is afraid of dogs, and I haven’t walked one since I was a child. But I could definitely be a cat minder. I’ll look into it!
Hehehe. 800 Words is not Australian, RW. As a kiwi, I am morally obligated to point out it’s a New Zealand show! Thanks for watching us though 😍
Oh so sorry! The columnist is an Aussie who moved to New Zealand – great show, and bonus, the guy who plays George is quite easy on the eyes! I had a law school professor who was a Kiwi – made a lot of jokes about sheep! 😂
Lol. All good, we are used to it! The actor, Erik Thomson is Scottish born, raised a kiwi, who works mostly in Australia. Easy mistake.
I hope something wonderful comes along soon for you. It just must!
It is so difficult to self-promote! I tell people all the time, my “writing career” is about 45 minutes a day of actual writing, and then every other spare moment I have is spent networking on social media with other writers, editors, literary magazine editors, etc. I spend probably around 3-4 hours a day doing that! The daily gains are small, but in a year’s time, it all starts to pay off. People think writers just write, but oh boy, is that only a tiny fraction of the work involved!
I wish I knew how to do that! I suck at networking! I’m trying to screw up the courage to post my first “tweet,” if I can figure out how – what’s your Twitter handle? Can I follow you like a lost puppy?
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Absolutely! I’m @romcomdojo on there. If you go through and follow all the people I follow, you’ll end up following about 1,500 other writers! Nice ones, too! 🙂
Thanks, Maggie! Turns out someone already had “Ridiculouswoman” so I’m “@ridiculouswidow”
I haven’t tweeted anything yet but I’ll get up my gumption and get it done soon!
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I just hit the follow button. I’m your 4th follower! 🙂