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Looking for work

As I mentioned a couple of months back, this past year has been a dry spell for my writing career, due to several different projects being unexpectedly and simultaneously subject to massive delays. Since I kept expecting one or more of these projects to pay off much sooner than it has, I didn’t do enough to look for alternative sources of income, and now I’m in a tight spot financially, in need of something to tide me over until things start moving again. So I’ve finally started trying to look for some kind of non-writing job to fill the void, something that will pay off sooner and more regularly than the various writing projects I’m currently pursuing.

The thing is, I’ve been a full-time writer for so long that my job-hunting skills — which were never all that good to begin with — have become rather atrophied. Ideally, I’d like to line up some kind of writing-related work that I could do from home, like perhaps a column for a website or a copyediting job. But I’ve never quite figured out how to look for that kind of work. On the advice of a couple of colleagues, I’ve signed up with the job-search site Indeed, but I’m still figuring out how to make use of it. I’ve also tried applying for a job at the local public library, something I’ve tried to do a number of times in the past without success, but I figure it couldn’t hurt to try again. The most fulfilling non-writing job I’ve ever had was the 3 years I spent as a student shelver at the university library in college. I love working with books — imagine that.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was more unsure of my options and kind of panicking about what to do, I got an e-mail out of the blue inviting me to come interview for a temp job at a business out in the suburbs. At first, it seemed like a job I might be content to do; the long drive and long hours were less than ideal, but I couldn’t afford to settle for ideal. And I was paralyzed by having too many options to consider, so having one clear option to latch onto felt like a lifeline. Still, as the day of the interview approached, I became more and more unhappy at the prospect of the job — not only was it a long way away, but it was the kind of full-time office job that I’ve always wanted to avoid — but the pay that was offered seemed too good to pass up, and I needed something that would pay off quickly, so I saw no choice but to make the tradeoff.

On the day of the interview last week, though, I quickly realized the job had more negatives than I thought. The introductory speech we were given specifically mentioned that they wanted people who could suppress their own opinions and slavishly follow the rules — which didn’t feel right either for me or for the kind of work it was. The person who interviewed me seemed to be just mechanically following a script and didn’t have any useful, non-packaged answers to my questions and concerns. And I discovered that the work wouldn’t begin right away after all; I couldn’t expect to see any money until the start of April. Once I realized that, it resolved the conflict. There was no tradeoff, no difficult choice to make; the job simply didn’t have any positives for me, period. The moment I realized that I’d have to look for something else instead was surprisingly liberating. Before the interview, I’d expected that if I didn’t get the job, I’d be panicked, not knowing what to do next. Instead, I felt incredibly relaxed and relieved once I got out of there, as if I’d dodged a bullet. Which tells me I really would’ve hated that job.

If nothing else, I think that the mental work I did convincing myself to try out for that job despite its drawbacks has helped firm my resolve for further job searching. It’s made me think “I can do better,” and I hope that will turn out to be true.

So if anyone out there needs a columnist, a reviewer, a copyeditor, a transcriber, or the like, I’m available. And of course, I’m still taking donations through PayPal in the meantime. Even if I do find work soon, any help my readers can provide would be of real benefit to me in the short term.

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  1. February 27, 2018 at 4:43 am

    Reading your Buck Rogers articles I always thought why don’t you write for something like https://www.tor.com/ ? That’s exactly the stuff they are looking for, isn’t it? And I think they pay for articles. (At least they do in Germany.)

    • February 27, 2018 at 8:33 am

      I have tried them in the past, without success. I’m open to suggestions of other sites that offer similar paying work.

      • Bernd Perplies
        February 27, 2018 at 8:44 am

        I’m sorry. I don’t know that much English genre websites. Another idea: Did you ever try https://www.patreon.com/ You could offer your fans original (short) stories or insights into writing and the sf genre for regular support. Or try a Kickstarter for a new novel like Keith DeCandido did some time ago. Or try to sell some original stuff through Amazon create space. Just some ideas. However I don’t know how much income is possible through that means. (And the problem is: You have to do all your advertising for yourself.)

      • February 27, 2018 at 8:50 am

        I’ve considered Patreon, but I think it would take a while before I could create enough content to make it feasible. It’s more of a long-term option than an immediate one, otherwise I’d have done it already. I have a Kickstarter for my upcoming story collection coming up in the spring, if current plans hold, but what I need is something to tide me over until then.

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