July 20, 2019

Emailing for a Living Is Like Being Trapped in a Mason Jar of Writhing Worms

Emailing for a Living Is Like Being Trapped in a Mason Jar of Writhing Worms

Your worries are not stupid. Many people that you know and meet will think less of you, at least if you live in an absurdly competitive city like San Francisco. Any excuse to feel even a little bit better than someone else, right?

Because who knows what’s going on with them. Maybe they have sacrificed everything — even adequate dental care — to follow their dreams, and now their molars are falling out of their mouth and they can hardly eat yogurt, let alone subsist on all the writing they produce on a daily basis.

Or maybe they have a huge trust fund that they don’t tell anyone about, and they live in a hovel even though they could afford a mansion, and every week they complain to their expensive therapist about feeling like a fraud.

Maybe they have a professional partner who financially supports their work, and they write and they write, and they publish and publish, but it all sucks.

Maybe one day they meet you at a party. You say you have a day job, but instead of stating proudly that you work in a fine office with kind colleagues that you actually like, you act like an impostor. After the party, they go home and gossip to friends that you’re a sellout and a fool. Their friends outwardly agree with them, even though they know inside your writing’s actually really good, day job or not.

In fact, everybody knows inside your writing’s actually really good, but no one will ever admit this to themselves, let alone each other, because this might jeopardize whatever sort of unstable hierarchy they have established in the gloomy bars and insular theaters that they frequent as a group in their ridiculous amounts of spare time.

Trust me, these people who despise you and talk about you behind your back would like nothing more than for you to actually stop writing. It would legitimize their choices and it would also cull the field by one more body, which is more than none. But don’t give them what they want, O.K.? Just keep writing and, maybe more important, just keep putting yourself out there.

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