Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Back and Whinier Than Ever!

We should be moving into our new place this weekend. It's totally awesome, and I'm very excited. And, while I've grown attached to my little house, and while it has been a bitch trying to downsize from a four-bedroom house to a two-bedroom townhome, I have to say I can't wait to check out our new area and live in a place built AFTER 1957, for the first time in my adult life.

But, I have been a little down these last few days, and here's why...

When we moved into this house five years ago, I was 22. I was a recent college grad and had just landed a job as a middle school teacher at a local private school. I was feeling pretty damn accomplished. A wife, teacher, and homeowner, all at the infantile age of 22!

But, then I decided I didn't want to teach middle school; I wanted to teach college. So, I quit my job and started grad school and subbed at an elementary school. Then I had a baby and quit working all together, but stayed in school. THEN I decided I don't want to teach at all. I want to be a writer.

Which brings me to now. I have half of a Master's degree, no job, and have made very little progress with my writing career, mostly due to a gross lack of effort on my part.

This path has also led us to needing my mother in law to be a co-applicant for our apartment so we don't have to pay an obscene security deposit. And, I feel like, what happened to me? What happened to being AHEAD of the game? The bright-eyed, ambitious, twenty two year old girl I once knew is now pushing thirty and can't even qualify for an apartment.

It's totally incredible and kinda hot that Chris is doing so well in his career that he can afford to keep us in this ridiculously expensive area with no financial help from me. But, even if we didn't need a cosigner, I'd still feel like a failure.

I know, I know. I'm staying home with my daughter, and that is very, VERY important. I get that, I do. And, don't get me wrong, I am totally having a blast. But, she will grow up, despite my best efforts, and I don't want to be wondering whatever happened to my career, my accomplishments outside of raising this beautiful, little girl.

So, here's my dilemna: I absolutely, no questions asked, need to get off my ass and try harder to make the writing career happen. I need to scour the internet for jobs, submit pitches and articles, and work on the blog. I will do that. But, there's the matter of this MA. I'm a few quarters away from finishing, at which point I would need to write a thesis or take the graduate exam. It would be a lot of work on top of everything, and it would increase my student loan debt exponentially. But, I feel like I really need this degree. It might even come in handy someday. So, when do I go for it? Now, while I still know some people in the program and am still (sort of) in the groove of it? Or, later, when Charlotte could feasibly go to preschool a few days a week and maybe I'm more established in my as yet non-existent writing career?

Ugh. I'm so confused. And I hate that all I've been doing on this blog lately is whining, and now asking for advice. I will try to get back to regularly scheduled programming very soon.

Until then...Angst! Confusion! Ennui!



  1. I am so there. I have 3/4 of my M.A. in special ed done. The fire happened. I quit school. My face had an epic fail. I quit teaching. I should be writing. Instead yesterday I played Mario Party and napped. Maybe we can be accountability partners. Because I can't afford to keep taking writing classes to meet deadlines!!

  2. Accountability partners? I like it! Once I move, I'm going to come up with a goal list and a weekly schedule. I'll send them to you, so you can kick my butt, and I'll do the same for you!

  3. Umm, can I join this accountability team? I could use it, too.

    Megan, you are a FANTASTIC writer (as is Brooke, but she already knows what I think of her) and I have no doubt that you will be successful in your chosen career. So as for that - I will tell you that freelance writing is in kind of a sucky place right now, as a field. Rates are at an all-time low and too many people are willing to work for pennies, and since everything is online now, good journalistic outlets are few and far between...

    Point being - do NOT stress yourself out too much about getting paid writing gigs right now. If I were you, I would definitely go the pitching route - or if you have any book ideas cooking in that pretty head of yours, I'd work on that.

    In the meantime - I think finishing up the MA - if that is something you want to do - would actually be a good thing to focus on. Charlotte would do great in a preschool-like program at a daycare - do they have anything like that near you? Here, some of them start at age 18 months... and even more at 2. Maybe you could plan on doing the MA stuff as soon as she is old enough to do something like that? And while you're waiting, work on getting some good clips (even if they are low or non-paying, if they are good subjects, they can definitely get you future work), or think of a great idea for a novel and get cracking. I'd read anything you wrote, for what it's worth...and I have good taste. HA!

  4. LOL.

    Hmm, that;s good advice about focusing on pitches. Like I was telling you yesterday, I have not come across too many desirable positions on the ol' internet. I'm not making money, anyway, so I might as well be coming up with some ideas in the meantime.

    As for the MA. I THINK I want it. I don't know. I just think it will haunt me to be so close to finishing, and then...not.

    But, I don't know if that's a good enough reason.

    Ack! Whatever. I'll just work at Starbucks. ;)

  5. Okay, here's what I think: finish the M.A., but try as much as possible to do it on your terms. So, the graduate exam is probably easier than the thesis, but since you're not planning to continue on, it's pointless. Is there a way to aim the rest of your coursework and your thesis toward your writing goals? That is, can you either write the kind of pieces you want to write, or study the history/foundations of that kind of work? (So, if you're thinking about modern women's magazine writing, for example, what is that as a genre? how did it develop? where is it now?)

    And as for being accomplished at a young age and then facing set-backs, well, look at it this way: you were able to do all that stuff then, and you are still the same person. You are doing, and will continue to do, more awesome stuff in the future. :)

  6. Here are my two cents as a person who works in advising AND is currently going through the MA:

    If you want to write your thesis, you should wait. This is coming from the girl who does and the amount of ancillary work that it is taking to research and read. If I had a small child who depended on me for more than running bath water and opening a Gatorade, I'd be MORE insane than I already am.

    If you intend on taking the exam, you can easily bust out the classes now, IF you really want to. It doesn't mean that since you can you should because if you aren't in it, you won't be in it.

    I think that last quarter was rough because f the instructor more than anything. Different class, same teacher, same BS. I didn't have a child that I was the primary care giver for and even I wanted a break.

    All that said, I know you can do it if you choose to. You have a huge support group (me included) and I am so willing to help you any way that I can. Even if it means weekly starbucks sessions. I'll make that sacrifice, for you IF I have to. ;) So just think about what you really want and do it. Easier said than done I know, but I have faith in you!

  7. Perpetua- The thing about the thesis vs. exam is that when it comes to this subject matter, I would much rather read than write, and I don't think I can tweak it too much to be relevant to my current goals. Soooo, IF I decide to finish, I'll probably do the exam.

    And, thanks. Intellectually, I know I'm not a loser or anything, but it's weird to not be where you expected to be, you know?

    Kristal- I know my last quarter was a bitch because of the class/instructor. I'm really kinda regretting not doing Chaucer last quarter. It would have been fun and a nice change of pace, but I was just SO burned out!

    We'll see. I might go chat with Frye and weigh my options. Do you know what's happening this fall? That might help me make my decision. ;)

    And, yes to Starbucks dates! We can drink coffee and yell at each other to focus. Totally productive!

  8. I feel your pain!

    For me, it should read: "Which brings me to now. I have (a journalism degree), no job, and have made very little progress with my writing career, mostly due to a gross lack of effort (and overwhelming fear) on my part." Uh huh. I also have a feeble attempt at an online business that I can't seem to get together and a half-hearted attempt at a book I'm afraid to write. Yay! Oh, and a two-and-a-half year old and baby on the way.

    (Please ask me, by the way, why very little writing gets done when said two-year-old is at daycare Mon, Thurs and Fri. I probably won't be able to justify that to another person like I can to myself!)

    I think the idea of finishing the degree when you're comfortable with preschool makes sense. (As long as you're more productive with preschool time than me!) I can imagine it being frustrating to be so close. I think if it were me, I'd feel the need to finish too. Seems like sad advice in comparison to what you've already gotten but, hey, I'll put it out there anyway!

    Can I just add that I find it oddly comforting to not be alone with the "I am 30 and have no career" blues from time to time?

  9. Cheryl- I always see your tweets about how you are reading blogs instead of writing/working. That is SO me, too! Maybe we just need a good kick in the ass. LOL

  10. Sounds about right! I did, however, just write two posts today. Yay for small victories ;)