Welcome to Day 221 (give or take), things are still pretty dodgy here in the ol’ US of A, if we’re being totally honest with ourselves. We’ve got a full blown pandemic on, people are denying there’s a full blown pandemic on, which is simply amplifying said pandemic, and work for anybody in the business services sector is super touch and go.
Sure, the actual work is there. But the getting paid for said work? We’re on a day by day basis now, I think. Too many small businesses are going under too quickly, the rest are hiding in their bunkers with their cash or investing in advertising with a great deal of hope that they’ll be able to pay the bill when it comes.
It leaves us, the writers of the world, in a weird place. Do we finally cave to that lucrative career at 7-11? Do we trade in our keyboard for a bar code scanner and a good pair of shoes to join the growing army of people working to ensure shipments are going where they need to go?
Is Waterworth Writing?
Waterworth is writing.
I’ve spent weeks, even months, turning over the current economic trends and looking for any kind of insight into how to proceed. I’ve closed my digital marketing business (at least for now) and am working on building up my writing work to keep us in tea bags and beans. Not together.
It was a hard decision. Being niched in so deeply that all you do is make words is a blessing and a curse. In one hand, you know exactly what every day looks like, but on the other hand, you know exactly what every day looks like. It’s an endless sea of characters and spaces.
And that’s fine for some people. Some people need that. For me, it’s difficult to get started when I know that’s the sum of it. Me, the keyboard, the pounding, the music in my head. That’s it. It drones on and I sit here working in a void, hoping someone will be able to pay in these unprecedented times.
I hope, I write, I hope, I write. But some days hope is hard to come by, which makes the words hard to come by. Some days I just scream in my head for hours because the horror of life is too much. Some days I have to escape to the woods because the orders pour in all at once and I am no longer able to really deal with the pressure.
How Do We Move Forward?
It’s the other question I’ve been asking myself for months. How do we move through this and to the other side? Of course, that assumes there *IS* another side. I’m beginning to doubt this.
If this is life now, if pandemic world is the only world, what’s to become of us? What happens to the writers and creatives of the world who need a bit of hope to keep moving? Those of you who thrive on darkness should be sitting pretty right now. It takes both kinds to make the world go ’round.
I try to include an actionable element in these blogs, and for today, it’s about moving forward. How do we move forward? I’m not entirely sure because this is all so new and uncharted, but I think it goes something like this:
- Remember that we offer a valuable skill that most people don’t possess. We communicate like champs, that’s what we’ve done for years, or decades, or since time immemorial. Before we can convince anyone else to believe in us, we have to believe in ourselves and what we have to offer.
- Keep swimming. The currents are rough and there’s no telling where we’re headed, but we have to keep swimming. If you’ve never seen Finding Nemo, I mean, it’s just about motion. Sometimes motion is a waste of energy, but sinking to the bottom and getting stuck in the mud never gets anyone anywhere.
- Know that every step is a step. On the same theme as keeping up the swimming, it’s important to remember that every step is a step forward. You don’t have to swim the English Channel to be swimming. Send out a few inquiry letters today. Rebuild your resume. Look over your samples. Every step is a step.
- Remind your fellow writers they can do it. I know it sounds counter productive, but for me, at least, having someone else to cheer on helps me feed my inner cheerleader. I think to myself, “well, if I believe Amanda can do this, how hard is it for me to believe I can, too?” And so it reinforces my belief in our profession entirely.
- Treat job hunting like a job. When the real estate market collapsed in 2007, I chose to bow out rather than to keep lead-chasing. I’m not doing that this time, even though our industry is threatened by so much uncertainty. I’m sticking this one out. And every day, I send out packages, I do something to make people remember I exist. Engage your social media, make a lot of noise (don’t be annoying, though, no one likes that), be seen. You know how to do it. We just have to be seen by more people than ever before.
I don’t have all the answers, guys. I’m not sure I even have some of them. But I do know that we can’t just sit around waiting for things to happen. I mean, I tried that and can confirm that it’s not horribly effective.
It can be really hard getting moving when there’s so much weight on you. But you’ll see. One word turns into three, three into ten, ten into a paragraph, then before you know it, you’re rolling again. The getting started is so hard, though. I know it is.
One word in front of the others, guys. And don’t forget to share your leads with one another. None of us have the same skill set and that means we’re not really in competition with one another. That potential client who passed on you will still pass on you if you tell your friend about the job. You either fit or you don’t, and it’s never anything personal.
Support your people. Support our people. We’re in dark days, indeed, but together we can work through it and not lose ourselves.
Love you guys. We can do this.