On Being Jobless and Loveless

Okay, my present mental state is not well at all, and I know that because I had to rewrite this sentence thrice before I was even remotely satisfied with it.  Additionally, I am going through an enormous life crisis at the moment, which has, sadly, but prudently, made me question my life and career choices.

Up until sometime ago, I was on top of the world. I had a job, and a very well paying one at that. I was shopping, eating, and writing to my heart’s content, like an over sized bear trying to stack itself up with food for the coming winter. Then, one day, I received an email informing me that my contract with my client (the one who was sustaining my food supply) had been suspended.

As if it wasn’t enough that the news was the first thing I saw when I woke up in the morning, I found out that I could not resume work until the issues with the client’s account (the reason for the contract having been suspended in the first place) were resolved. Do you know what that felt like?

I could visualize the money draining from my account, as if the plughole in the metaphorical drain in my vault had been pulled mercilessly. Like an episode in a cartoon, clouds covered my sun, and rain came pouring down on my parade, removing all traces of a fair ever having been there.

This was followed by moaning, groaning, and ultimately, budget cuts. To those who have had similar experiences, I hear you! It was physically painful to watch cash come out of the ATM knowing that none was going back in. A week later, I started applying for more jobs. Sadly, I haven’t heard back from any yet. I am keeping my fingers crossed though.

I think this is as good a time to freak out as any.

I had been having dreams of doing this all my life (well, this and traveling). The calculations in my head were perfect! I could sustain myself by working eight hours a day on my computer my entire life! However, this life change, as I call it, forced me to rethink. I couldn’t depend on freelance jobs as my primary source of income, because there were chances that there often wouldn’t be any. And as they always do, the bills would keep pouring in. I could die starving, or be evicted from my house.

Like a bad apple that every other around it, one thought led to the other, and resulted in what I have now: a mental block. And this doesn’t seem to be doing any wonders for my self-esteem:

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What good is it to have pile upon pile of articles, press releases, ebooks, brochures, designs, guest posts, academic papers, scripts, reports, and other materials when they cannot land me a job? What good is five gigabytes of written matter when I cannot add to it? Add that to the fact that I am a single, unsociable, almost sociopath woman with a roommate loved by the world, my life sucks; and I’m not saying that with the despair of a damsel in distress, but with the surprise of an unaware, pessimistic, workaholic author. A better way to imagine the latter would be to think of Max from the show ‘Two Broke Girls’.

Well, I’m going to keep trying until either my self-esteem or a potential client caves in. Broke and pessimistic is not a good combination.

On the bright side, my desktop looks pretty clean.

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On the Plight of a Non-Native English Writer

So, I received this email a few hours ago:

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Needless to say, there really was no need for the exclamation mark following my name, because the news wasn’t really that good.

Both my articles on a writing site that I recently joined had been denied. The reason: they were not accepting articles from non US- based writers, which was strange, because they hadn’t mentioned any such thing during the sign up process.

That was just Exhibit A. There has been many a time when I had to pass up on good opportunities because the website wouldn’t accept applications from non US-based writers, or take entirely too long to reply to those who sent in test articles. For instance, a few weeks ago, I waited four days for a website to send me a test topic. I even contacted them through their “contact” link regarding the problem, but (like most websites do), they sent me a ticket number, and told me to wait while the issue was being addressed, which is really just a polite way of saying, “Get in line and wait forever!” The bottom line is that I never really received my test article topic, and now can never sign up for the site again.

All of this, coupled with my only too short experience as a freelancer, has ushered me to the sad realization that I really need a Green Card if I am ever to earn significant money by writing. Sure, there are writing websites and companies in my country, but have one look at their websites and you would never want to go back. Most of them have grammatical errors in their mastheads and testimonials, not to mention the fact that they pay in peanuts. No, really, peanuts.

Clients in my country will barely pay a quarter of a dollar for a five hundred word article. They would drain you dry, and look for opportunities to cut your pay. A client I worked for last year gave me twenty five articles to complete overnight, but never paid. Even after the job was done (can you imagine what it feels like writing on the same topic twenty five times?), she never got back to me. I called, texted and emailed her, but she blew me off by saying that the client the articles had been for hadn’t paid her yet.

Three months later, still no pay.

My point is: why, blogs, why?!

Just because we come from a country where the first language is not English does not mean that we cannot respect the rules of English Grammar. In fact, I can recite incidents when I found my writing to be better than many native English speakers’. My fiction blog has thousands of native English writers, but most of them write like a first grade student would.

What saddens me even more is that people don’t really care whether I have a convent education, or that I have a job as a newspaper correspondent and as an editor for an online magazine, or even the fact that I am usually ready to send a test article. Non-native speakers are usually discarded like things you bought but never used.

I think it really only boils down to education and skill, but, sadly, most clients never take the time to test that. Some do, and it pays. Some, on the other hand, start off the job posting by mentioning that they want only native English speakers writing for them.

It doesn’t really get any more discouraging than that.

The Archer

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Be the Change.”

I’ll be honest with you. This is my third attempt at blogging. The first time, I never really went back after my first two posts. I managed seven or eight the second time around, but gave up again. Third time’s the charm, they say.

Also, I am a Sagittarius.

The abrupt and supposedly completely unrelated statement above has relevance; I assure you.

Sagittarius are fickle, to put it nicely. Determined, yes, but fickle. We think of the future, and not the present. And again, I put this in a very light-hearted way, because we are obsessed with the future. We will be so busy thinking of what can happen that we can actually forget the task at hand. Thus, whatever we do, we always have a notion related to it; a vision that we strive to achieve.

The only problem is that we like driving fast, and the absence of quick results makes us restless. When I first started blogging, I had dreams that I would upload such amazing posts as will make me the greatest blogger in the history of cyberspace. Did I tell you we are a little extravagant as well?

I didn’t become the greatest blogger in history, obviously. I wouldn’t be writing this otherwise. But, I did get frustrated. What I didn’t realize then was that blogging is a slow and gradual process which takes time and commitment. Again, something us winter born people have trouble with. Also, I just realized that I am blaming my zodiac sign for everything that is my own doing.

My biggest flaw as a writer is that I am too attached to moods, and that I am lazy. I might have a lot of topics that I want to write about, but won’t if picking up the laptop feels like a chore. I regret to say that I have missed out on quite a few opportunities due to this. Additionally, I am impatient, and therefore, need results. If I don’t see action on my blog, I probably won’t write. By the way, this is a not a way to coerce you into reading.

Thus, I don’t hope to bring about a revolution with this third venture, but I do believe that as far as first blog posts go, this is not bad. However, I am largely a cyber being, which means I have more internet websites to visit than friends. I do want to have my voice heard through this platform, because speaking, frankly, is a chore when the other person does not have anything interesting to say (though I can’t figure out whom this statement insults more: me or the other person?).

My only goal with this blog will thus be to stick to it. With this blog, I hope to cultivate in myself responsibility. If I can take care of this as I would a baby, I feel it would be the closest I will come to personal development and success. As the Sagittarius archer would, I would take aim, and shoot to win. That’s how I hope to be the change.

On a slightly unrelated note, I would like to be less afraid of mice this year, because there is one in my room right now, which is why I can’t sleep.

Since this is a new adventure, I need some inspiring music. Eye of the Tiger would do.