It is what it is: a kick in the gut, a knife in the back, and overall cause for worry on my part. The wound is quite fresh. I've only been out a couple of weeks and I have good reason to believe I will be back in the workforce sooner than later.
All the same, it would seem that such a circumstance could be a blessing for an aspiring writer such as myself. After all, best sellers have been written in times of unemployment. There is, theoretically, greater psychological and temporal real estate that can be contributed to the cause. Yet, I find that my productivity has slowed to a crawl.
The very act of writing is selfish and narcissistic. To put words to page and attempt to sell or publish such words is to say to the world "My imagination time is so gripping that you will want to read it!" I have largely come to peace with this part of the writing life. Periodic publication helps fortify my will to keep cranking out the words, and the occasional payment in exchange for my imagination time scribblings helps me see the writing as modestly valuable undertaking.
At the same time, I enjoy it too damn much. No matter how much time I put into the job hunt each day, when I sit down to start writing, I feel as though I am giving myself a reward that I have not earned. There's this tiny voice in my head shouting "What? You think 4 hours worth of job hunting, resume submitting, and follow up phone calls earns you some down time with your words? Do something productive!" So I job hunt some more, tackle a few more chores around the house, take my little girl to the park.
While out of work, I am running myself even more ragged than when I was working, and I'm not even getting the kind of writing done that I suspected I would. It's the kind of thing that makes an artist doubt their ability. If I was destined to be a Writer with the capital W, then I would be able to knock out 2 hours worth of job hunting, a couple hours of daddy-of-the-year time and then dedicate a meaningful chunk of time to making words happen.
Sure, the odds of my writing becoming a meaningful source of income are only slightly better than my chances of being able to retire off of a lottery ticket. And even then writers are not known for their easy access to great insurance benefits. All the same, John Steinbeck, David Sedaris, JK Rowling, and Quentin Tarantino all gained valuable traction in their creative work while unemployed.
Time is a strange thing. Our most precious resource, and like any resource subject to all sorts of strange hang ups and neuroses. I have more time available to me now, but I feel it must be spent in the most valuable way possible. When I look at the way I prioritize what I do with this wealth of time, I start to worry. Do I no longer consider my own writing valuable? Sure, it has no significant cash value, but it never has. I've always been able to make the time to write without these horrible bouts of guilt. The fact is that a couple of hours of job hunting is really all that's required to sift through the new listing in my search radius.
So what's the point of this meandering blog post that will be read by no one? Beats me. Maybe I'm just talking through a rough patch of doubt and loathing. Maybe I'm hoping for some piece of advice or word of encouragement. Who the hell knows? With a little bit of luck, I'll find that I just needed to get this navel gazing nonsense out of my system. I'm going to go make a pot of coffee, put on some tunes, and try to get to work. I've got over 20 applications and resumes that have been sent out in the last 3 days. I've earned some imagination time.
And who knows, maybe the results will be worth having other people read. Only time will tell.