Dealing with Doubt

As much as I enjoyed my short trip to Thousand Oaks, there was a little blemish when I talked to some people about what I’ve been doing in terms of work.  No one was surprised that I was pushing forward with my novel, and a lot of people – old English professors in particular – were pleased when I told them how easy it was for me to slip into the writing.

I also talked about this new staff writer gig I’ve got with Carpe Nocturne and the story analysis class I just started taking at UCLA.  Again, there was a lot of support with what I was doing.  Not like anyone was going to urge me to stop.

One of my professors recommended that I try looking for some work in a non-creative capacity for the Cal State University system.  It might not be something I truly want to do, but at the same time I’m pragmatic enough to understand that I need to find stable work wherever I can, so I have no hesitation with that.  He also told that the UCLA course could just be a money-maker for the school, a class that’s probably good for building knowledge but like a study abroad course on frescos; what use is there for that?

I can understand my professor’s point of view.  The pessimism seemed more like a game of Devil’s Advocate than scorn.  Still, I told him the benefits of the course and the doors it could open for me, and as clichéd as it might sound, I really don’t have anything to lose with this class.

What really bugged me was what happened last night when I hung out with a friend and talked about the writer I was doing for Carpe Nocturne.  She asked how much the job paid.  I said it paid nothing, but it was good for my résumé.

“So you’re volunteering,” she said, toning the word volunteering to make it sound like I was wasting my time.

“I’m padding my résumé,” I said.

“So you’re volunteering,” she repeated with greater emphasis.

“I’m padding my résumé,” I countered.

My point is that when you hear the doubts long enough – it doesn’t matter if your 28, 18, or 88 – you get used to it.  It’s background noise.  You’ll hear it from friends and family alike.  The important thing is that if you recognize the risks but understand the benefits, then to hell with what other people say.  Just stand you ground and say, “Dammit!  If I don’t do anything, I’ll never get anywhere!

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