My professional life feels very up in the air at the moment. I'm not sure if it's time to start thinking about giving up freelance writing and anthology editing for the most part and find a job, let alone who would hire me, or whether to lean in, and if the latter, how to go about it. I feel like all I can see are all the things I didn't do, and won't get a chance to do again, even though I also know that there's a world of possibility potentially waiting for me. I have no idea, and that is probably the part of freelancing I hate the most: the precariousness. One day is up, one day is down. One royalty statement makes me feel like I'm awesome and one makes me feel like the worst editor ever. It's unsettling and I don't know if I'm cut out for the ups and downs, though I love diving into a new story like the one I sent out on spec yesterday that I am hoping someone out there wants to buy.
I think that part of freelancing, the part where you are always hovering on the verge of rejection, where rejection is built into the job, and it's hard to know what's a "good idea" and what's a "waste of time," is why I'm ready to start looking for a job. But I'm giving myself until my birthday. I'm turning 38 and treating myself to a trip to New Mexico, where I'll be teaching Erotica 101 on November 12th at Self Serve Toys (which apparently already has people signed up!), and hopefully being inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe in Santa Fe and Abiquiu. Until then, I'm tracing my fingers over the italics of my "open" tattoo and trying to listen and stay as calm as I can. The other day I was the opposite; the more I internalized the fear and panic and shame, the more I couldn't breathe. That's the feeling I'd be willing to give up writing madness to avoid. But I hope it won't come to that. I hope I can prove to myself, if no one else, that I can meet my goals, that I can not stagnate and wallow, but truly think and be different, better. I'm trying to be rationalize, a businesswoman, rather than take it all so personally, though I'm not sure I'm capable of that. Taking things personally is pretty much in my blood; you don't get the word heart tattooed on your arm if you don't take life personally.
But if I'm walking down the streets of Red Bank and see a great job opening, or meet the right person, I want that resume ready. I want to be open to the idea that giving up won't be failing, but opening a new door, hopefully a more stable and freeing one. I also know it's not all or nothing. I will always write, something, somewhere. But maybe this way of going about it is not for me. I've got a little less than two months until the big 3-8 to find out.