I quit my job

That’s not a joke. The job that I said I was enjoying in my last post went from fun to chore to pure torturous hell in the matter of one month. Yes, you read that correctly, one month. What started this you ask? Well, I can’t talk about that yet. There is some legal stuff going on with that, but stay posted for the BIG explanation as for the past five weeks I have written down my life day by day to help me cope with what happened.

Anyway, back to the here and now. I was done. My boss and I were no longer on the same page and I was so stressed each day that it made the anxiety from the event that shall not be named (yes, I did just reference Harry Potter) so bad that I was constantly having to take more and more anti-anxiety meds and muscle relaxers. I spent a lot of time reflecting after the event, on my life and where I was and was I *really* happy or had I just accepted that maybe the best I could ever do was be content with where I was. Yes brain, you were correct, I had just accepted that I was content with where I was and what I was doing so that was okay. WRONG. Oh g-d was I wrong.

So what did I do? I started applying to other jobs, and when I say other jobs I mean I must have sent in about 100 applications. Yes, you read that correctly 100 applications. I was desperate, and I knew my boss was not happy with me any longer either. I was so miserable I just didn’t care, which was not good for me or their business. I didn’t say a word to anyone, I just kept the smile on my face, went in each day and did the bare minimum of work I had to do and then left. I was tired. I was done with the business, but then something else happened. I was at work and on Valentine’s day one of my employees called out. He was sick and sent me a doctors note and everything, it’s Valentine’s day so no one is coming in to cover his shift obviously, so we started calling clients to reschedule them. Most were understanding and nice about it, but then there was one who decided that because his plans were ruined that I got to be the focus of his anger.

Now, I was used to clients being angry and needing to vent, that is easy enough to deal with, hell, I need to do it occasionally too, but this man took it to a level that crossed all boundaries. Within minutes of the call being passed to me from my manager out front, I was called stupid, retarded, told I didn’t know how to do my job, that I should be fired and so should the employee that called out, that I need to get another employee to come in to cover and that I was even more of a retard for not having people on call on a holiday. I warned the man that if he did not watch his language with me that I would end the call, that there needed to be a respectful conversation. His response, “then end the call you f*cking c*nt.” So I did. I hung up and the immediately called my boss to tell him what happened. I gave my boss the man’s information and then thought it was over with.

A few minutes go by and my manager who had originally taken the call comes into the my office and closes the door because the man who had just been on the phone decided to drive over to us to continue. When he stepped outside to take the call from my boss I was grateful, my boss would send him on his way and that would be that. My front manager tells me he said similar things to her so she was uncomfortable being out front with him there. We both stayed in the office. When my boss called me back, he told me that I was to put credits on the man’s account and his wife’s account that in total probably equalled out to about $300. That was when I was done. I had told him what this man had said to me and my employee and instead of telling the client that he couldn’t speak to us that way, he let us become dirt. I equate it to a parent rewarding a toddler when they throw a tantrum, you give them what they want so next time they do it, they know they will get what they want again by throwing another tantrum.

It was at that moment I checked out completely from my job. I actually refused to talk to any clients, which I admit was NOT the way to go about it, but if my boss was going to treat me that way, then he could deal with the clients and I would just sit there and make sure the building did not burn down. Cue more applications being filled out. It is good to note at this point that my fiance is also having problems at his job, has been since before the ‘event’ took place so he is also looking for new employment. So me just walking out with no job lined up was NOT an option. Then it happened, I finally got a call back. It was for an executive assistant position, after talking with the HR woman about my salary needs, she decided I would be a better fit for a different position and would forward over my resume and would call me back. I kind of took it as a blow off, okay, they can’t pay me what I need to make, on to the next I guess.

But then, she called me back, they wanted me to interview the next morning. So what did I do? I went shopping and bought new business clothes (it actually felt nice to be professionally dressed and not just in a polo and yoga pants), I made sure to cover my tattoos and decided that it was time to ditch the lip ring after 8 years (RIP lip ring, you will be missed). I went in the next morning to interview jittery, it has been almost 2 years since I had to interview for a job after all, but instantly relaxed when meeting the HR woman and the woman who would be my direct supervisor.

After introductions were made, the HR woman laid it out very clearly for me, on paper I was perfect, the interview was basically just to make sure I wasn’t some psychopath. This made me more nervous, the entire job rested on my personality alone? Shit. Just kidding, it went great. They said they would need me to start immediately if hired and I told them I would quit without notice (not my usual style, but I wanted out of my current position). They made me sweat it out though, they had a few other people they were interviewing and would call me the next day. So I waited as patiently as I could, my interview was at 9am so I had a VERY long day of waiting.

The next morning I had just woken up and was starting to get ready for work (this would have been Friday, which used to be my Monday) and barely after 8am I got the call. I had the job and I was starting Monday at 8am. Holy shit. I did it. I got out, not only did I get out, I got a job that not only pays a lot more but that actually uses my education and passions as well! Next thing on my agenda, resignation letter. I made it as professional as I could and sent it off to my boss and then danced around my house as I collected anything I needed to turn in to work. I decided that that day would be my last, give me a few days before starting to relax and do some shopping for office clothes and what not.

Let me tell you, going in that morning was NOT what I expected. My boss was already there and he was not happy about my no notice quit. The conversation though was thankfully short, but instead of working that last day, he sent me on my way. I can’t really blame him, I was his only manager who knew everything back and forth, front and back. He could barely log into his own email without my help some days. I know they will be fine there though, they have great junior managers that I hired and trained that will keep the front working well. I am sure there is already crazy gossip going around about me there because that place thrives on that stuff, but I am so happy to be gone that I don’t even care about it.

So here I am, getting ready to do my hair and get ready for my first day as an assistant events coordinator, I get to travel around the US and Canada helping plan events…what does that all entail, I really don’t know yet, I guess I will find out in 2 hours when I start. But that is why I quit my job. I quit because I was tired of just being content and not being happy. The second I quit I didn’t have to take any medications anymore, the anxiety (other than the anxiety of starting a new job) went away, the pain went away and now I feel like I can really focus on myself and where I need to be in life.

Stay tuned, I will let you know how my first day went and hopefully soon I can tell you about the event that shall not be named.

The dark side of this process and a little advice for those thinking of trying…

If it isn’t obvious by previous posts, I have been in the process of looking for an agent for my novel. A couple rejections and some possible interest has been received until today. I understand rejection, I understand the competitiveness of the industry. I understand it all. What I will never understand is the snobbishness and the blatant rudeness that seems to plague the world in every industry.

Today I received the most rude and snobbish rejection I think I have received in any industry I have ever been in. I will not divulge names or agencies as I believe it is in bad practice, a belief I almost destroyed today after reading this email. The basis of the email was a rejection, which is not much to be bothered by, but the condescending tone and word usage nearly sent me over the edge. I am a respect driven individual. I will always show respect to those who deserve and show me the same respect. This agent though obviously does not subscribe to the same practice.

I was told by this agent that my query letter was extemporaneous and I needed to spend time looking at sample queries. For those of you who do not know the word extemporaneous, it means that it was done with little preparation or forethought. First, let’s start at just the word use. I have a very large vocabulary. This is from spending hours looking in thesauruses for different words to use in my novels other than the basics, it is also from the intense studying I did three years ago when I took the GRE to enter graduate school. A consequence of this is I am often told that I sometimes come off as condescending or snobbish as I will use large words that many do not know the meaning of. It is unintentional on my part, it is just the language I am used to using in my everyday life and academic writings. I found myself in my friends shoes today when I read this email. I know what extemporaneous means, but the tone of the email was what made the word sound more like a cruel and humiliating laugh rather than a simple, “this letter needed some more work for me.”

Does this person think I did not spend hours upon hours looking over sample letters, reading blogs and websites and each submission page of agents to make sure that the information contained in the letter was not exactly what was asked for? I followed guidelines, I put the information that the agency asked for and I receive a response saying that I threw together a letter with no thought or preparation. I spend hours on my query letters. Maybe it is a personal thing with me, but I saw this as a huge disrespect to me. Would someone really think I would be so careless with something so important to me that I would send out a letter without thought? That I would slap together some sentences and not care?

The disrespect and condescending tone of this email nearly pushed me over the edge. For an hour after receiving it the small, ill tempered and irrational part of me screamed to write a scathing response email. I wanted to rip this agent apart, I wanted to educate her on how to treat someone who wanted for nothing but to chase their own passion. Luckily, I am not the ill tempered and irrational girl I used to be. Five years ago I would have sent a response email with no problem. Now though, I stopped and told myself that I would regret it.

Why would I regret letting out the frustration and anger and disrespect I immediately felt upon reading this email? This questions brings me to the second part of this post. Some advice on what I have learned so far in this process.

1. Don’t write a generic “Dear Agent” query letter and assume you can send it out to every agent. I read blogs and looked at samples and still find myself having to rewrite every time I want to send to a new agent. If it is generic, they will know! They are agents and they read for a living! They know when you are being generic and when you have actually taken the time to write a specific letter to them. Does this mean you have to spend hours each time you want to send a letter? Probably not. It means you need to read the submission guidelines for each agent and make sure that your letter meets their requirements.

2. Don’t send a letter that you are not 100% ready to send. If it doesn’t feel right yet, don’t send it! There isn’t a deadline on this. Don’t send it just to get it out there, if you do this then you knock that agent off the list of people you can submit to later after you are 100% happy with your letter.

3. Read sample query letters. Most agencies will have links to sample query letters they like. These letters will literally tell you what to write in yours. They wouldn’t link you to them, if they didn’t like them or they weren’t successful queries to their own agency.

4. Don’t be ill-tempered and irrational. The world is full of those snobbish, rude and disrespectful people. No matter what industry you are in or deal with, there will be those people. The problem is, you have no idea who that person knows. If I had sent a response today like my temper had wanted me to, I could have ruined any chance I have at finding an agent. Sending that one email to one agent could mean much more than just ripping apart one person verbally, it could have been viewed has me thinking I do not care about the opinions of people in the industry I wish to be part of, or that I think I am better than they are in some way.

Even though I have had this one bad email, all others have been respectful, nice and encouraging. Which I guess is my last piece of advice, don’t be discouraged. If it doesn’t work out, you can self publish and still get your story out there. Keep writing and keep trying.

 

~SKG~

write, write, write…. wait, what I am writing for???

No, seriously, what am I writing for? Sometimes this process is just exhausting. I get told my project is strong and that it could go far, but that it’s not for them. What does that mean??????? I take it to mean, I don’t like it, so leave me alone….

So, rejection sucks, I know this and it hasn’t got me down completely, but come on, how does this work really? I have a book, that I literally conceived when I was just 5 years old. It’s my passion, it has kind of kept me sane in times of insanity in my life and I finally finished it. 80,000 words of pure imagination. I guess I can’t be mad, I knew that the odds of finding an agent and being published were pretty slim. It wasn’t like I wasn’t prepared to be told no. But it doesn’t make it any easier.

I probably didn’t write for a whole four days after the first rejection. I swear it felt like I got hit with a ton of bricks, part of me was like, “Okay, that was fun, time to focus on real life again.” But then the majority of me was like ‘SCREW THIS SHIT! I WORKED FAR TOO HARD TO JUST GIVE UP!” The voice that said screw you won out and I push on with my dream of being a published author. To the point where I started the second book in the series. I have 20,000 more words of pure imagination that have flowed from my mind. It is such an amazing release of energy and creativity for me. I can stay up until 3am just writing and rewriting and rewriting until I think it is perfect.

So, the other day when I got another rejection I thought about this further. What am I writing for? Then it hit me, I’m not writing this for an agent, I’m not writing this for a publisher, I’m not writing for the millions of people who I wish could read this story. I am writing for me. I didn’t write this story twenty years ago for anyone else, I wrote it for me. I wrote it because in my head was this crazy story about a girl who found out her life was some kind of twisted fairy tale. She is powerful, yet weak, loving but guarded. She is pushed further and further and further until she breaks and has to decide between the easy and the difficult paths in life. I guess she is what I feel every girl should be. She is looked at as this super womanesque person because she has the power to free those who are imprisoned, she can save those who are about to perish and she is the one everybody looks to to solve every problem in her kingdom. She fails quite often, but she succeeds occasionally also, she makes wrong decisions most of the time, but she usually gets it right in the end. Overall, Ariana is the perfect girl, not in the sense that she does everything right and does it while looking perfect and always succeeds. But in the sense that when she falls, she gets back up and keeps going, that when she makes a wrong decision she apologizes and makes it right, that when it comes down to the end she would rather save those who have attacked her instead of destroying them. That makes Ariana the perfect girl in my head and that is why I have written her story even if no one will really get to read it.

I’ve decided to give you all a taste of this story. This is the opening of the story and just the beginning of Ariana’s journey. I am always open to comments when they are constructive, don’t be mean, don’t be rude but be constructive and up lifting.

 

The Other Side:

I have had the same dream since I was a child. There is barely a night I can remember that I didn’t dream of being carried through the woods by a strange woman. It was an odd dream, I was clearly a baby or small child, cradled in the arms of a woman with kind, dull gray eyes. The woman ran swiftly through the thick trees, though I could not recall a time when I had been in a forest this thick. I stared up at the woman as she ducked behind a tree and hid us in-between two prickly bushes. I could feel her arms shaking with terror as she held me tight to her chest. Her head snapped to the left as the sound of numerous other foot steps echoed off the trees.

After three others ran past where the woman was hidden with me in her arms, she took off at a sprint again, but this time ran perpendicular to our original path, before turning sharply into a thick line of trees that almost completely hid a large clearing from view. The woman paused again, and watched the clearing, counting softly to herself, on the count of one hundred, she took off straight across the clearing to a rock wall. Once at the wall, she felt her way through the vines that covered the rocks until her arm slipped through a small opening.

She held me closer to her and side stepped into the opening, it was cold and she paused only long enough to pull the blankets I was nestled in tighter around me. Soon the small cave opened up and directly in front of us was a jagged opening filled with a bright light. She stood for a moment just staring at the wall before holding me up in front of her. Her smiled made small wrinkles form in the corners of her eyes and the gray eyes glossed over as tears began to form.

“I am sorry I must do this, but I hope you will understand one day that I did not have a choice. You will be safe on the other side.”

The woman planted a gentle kiss on my forehead before stepping forward into the bright light.

I jolted awake from the familiar dream. I was breathing heavily as always and shivering, even though my room was always a little too hot for comfort. The alarm clock next to my bed was buzzing loudly, I rolled over and slammed my hand down on the snooze button and rolled over to my back. I stared at the ceiling, willing my heart beat to slow, until my alarm went off again. I turned it off and crawled off from under the blanket. I hadn’t been sleeping well lately, and my body was growing stiff from the lack of rest. I was only seventeen, but I felt like I was eighty some mornings.

Completion

It’s a weird thing when you complete something you have worked on for years. That moment when you type the final word of a story you imagined for the first time when you were barely six years old. It is bittersweet though. What do I work on now? For twenty years I have imagined a world beyond what I lived in and just over the past few years have I taken to really spending time writing it down. Tonight I typed the final word and it was amazing. To finally get the first part of the story down and complete was great. The next steps ahead are what terrifies me though. What if I just spent years writing out nearly 77,000 words just to find out I suck as a writer and that no one will ever read my story? What if I spent all this time just to be rejected by agents and publishers and be stuck with a manuscript that will never see the light of day. 

I guess that is why this is so bitter sweet for me. I love my story, I love the world I created and the plot and the characters, but I imagined them, so of course I love them. How do I make other people fall in love with them also? Especially since some agents do not even want a sample, they just want a summary. How do you make someone understand the progression and growth and depth of your characters and your story when all they want is a 1000 word summary and then if they want to read more they will ask for it. Pouring your heart and soul into something and then having to sell it like some sleezy used car salesman just so you can get the full manuscript read is counterintutitve to my nature. I hate forcing things on others, but I feel if I do not force it that it may not happen. The agents that ask for a sample I feel more comfortable with. I like knowing that they will at least get to read part of the story before they reject it or ask for more. It seems a more natural, though I would say ten pages is a little on the low side to really get a feel for the book. I typically say twenty five pages is when I decide if I like or dislike what I am currently reading. Twenty five may be too much or agents to read every time they receive a submission

They other part of the submission process I find annoying is that some agents say they will not even respond if they do not wish to read the manuscript in its entirity. I understand that not every submission is good enough yet, or is a good idea, but to not even take the time to write a simple email and say that you are not interested seems rude in a way. Someone has put time and effort into their submission, could you not spend a few moments to write a stock response that tells the submitter that though you appreciate them submitting you are not interested at this time? Otherwise they could sit there for 6-8 weeks just wanting a response. I would rather receive a letter saying an agent was uninterested than never hear back at all. 

The sweet side to all of this is that after twenty years the first story I ever wrote is at its full potential. Not only is it at its full potential, it has a sequel that needs to be written. Though the first book has been completed, there is a second and possibly more if I leave enough open ends. I even left room for a prequel if I feel like moving backward in time within my world. I have so many options that I am excited for where to move next. I have the second book in my head, and there will most likely be a third. I can’t see myself drawing the story out much further. I was never one to enjoy series’ that continued long after they should have ended. 

I have a road ahead of me when it comes to the publishing process, but I also have a road ahead of me to work on other aspects of my story. Both roads are equally exciting, and luckily I can travel both at the same time. 

A 15,000 word week

With only about another 40,000 words to write for my novel at the beginning of last week, I was surprised to look at the word count yesterday to realize that I had managed to write 15,000 words last week alone. It is pretty rare that I have enough time and enough focus to get that much work done. Something last week clicked though and it all started when I took the time to write out the full character plots.

When you write a story with a lot of charcters and character twists and about characters who have more depth than 90% of the people you have met in real life, it can be really confusing. I have a list of 7 main characters. These are the characters that the story focuses on and revolves around. If you take any one of these characters out of the story it will dramatically change the entire story line. I had been putting off doing this step because I had not made all the final decisions about my characters. I hate feeling like I am committed to a character story line when all I want to do is write a story that is organically flowing from my mind as I write.

The whole process took me under an hour to do. I simply started by listing the characters who I thought could not be taken out of the story without having to rewrite the entire story. I then wrote about that character up to the point in the story I had completed. After this step, I simply continued with how I wanted my characters to end the story. The different twists and turn each character would take, the secrets that each character held and if those secrets would be revealed by the end of the book. It was like a million lightbulbs were turned on inside my head at the same time. I could not even remember writing as much as I did that week. I know I had written about how much I hated outlining chapters in my Writers Block post. I still hate the idea of outlining so much that I have restricted my own creativity, but there was something about putting all my ideas about the characters on paper that opened my mind to the point where I wrote without effort for hours upon hours each day. 

With my story nearing completion, I am also looking to the next phase, finding an agent. As my research into different agencies has shown me that each has varying submission processes, most do require not only a synopsis of the story, but also a character description list. Taking the time to write these descriptions then became beneficial twice, it helped push my story to the next level and past two-thirds of the way done and put me one step ahead in trying to find an agent hopefully.

Being a Storyteller Could Be Your Greatest Asset

By my previous posts, it is easy to see that I enjoy writing. Though I have mentioned it in passing, I have not fully explored my love of digital media marketing or how my two passions combine. Blogging is a part of what I do for a living, and no, this is not about to turn into a “how to be a better blogger” post. This post is to fully explore the connection between my job, my love of writing, my success in academics with my writing and my ability to keep an audience compelled during a speech. You see, it all comes down to one thing, my ability to tell a story. With my degrees in Communication Studies Rhetoric, I have basically been trained to be a polished speaker and writer, I even taught Public Speaking at the University level while in my Graduate program. I heard speech after speech after speech and though my students and peers were very good at following the templates that they were taught and could easily follow to pass the class. Problem with these template driven speeches? Even as the instructor it took every once of self discipline I had not to lose focus during all 75 of my students speeches. Mind you, I love listening to speeches that are done by famous politicians, writers etc… I rarely remember what the speaker says (besides maybe one or two key phrases that the speech is designed around) but I always remember that distinct feeling I have when I walk away from listening to a speech. Why is this? Why do I never fully remember what was said, but I remember how I felt and the feeling that I needed to take some kind of action. It is a very simple trick used by well practiced speakers, writers and even marketing professionals today. It is the simple art of storytelling.

Storytelling seems easy on the surface, you have a beginning a middle and an end. Simple right? Not so much when you realize that it is not just a simple story anymore. The princess can not just meet prince charming and run off into the sunset anymore. There needs to be drama and intrigue and mystery and action. There also needs to be imagery, metaphors and hyperboles. Without these things and much, much more a story is just a sequence of events that occurs. The dull transmission of information from one person to another is not very valuable anymore.

The ability to tell a story has taken me very far. In academics I was able to turn dull 25+ page papers into compelling, intriguing rhetorical analyses without even batting an eye. I passed through my speech classes, debate classes and argumentation classes on sheer ability to make my audience remember me with my story telling abilities. As this ability carried me through undergraduate and graduate school, I was also secretly working on my novel. My novel has become my hobby and passion now that I am out of school. It is probably the one thing that keeps me sane after I work a fourteen hour work day I always know I can go home and escape into the fantasy land of my story. As frustrating as it is that my story is still only about three-fifths of the way done, it keeps me going during a hard day knowing I have something enjoyable to go home to work on.

My blog has spent a great deal of time focusing on my writing endeavors and not much discussing my actual work. Marketing, specifically digital media marketing. Though I can do traditional public relations and communications work, I so much prefer the realm of digital media and especially content marketing. Content creation is the simply the act of writing copy for a multitude of mediums. I have done everything from running Facebook and Twitter accounts to creating, designing and creating the content for entire websites. I even blog for a lot of my clients. What does all this have in common with my novel, my academic writing and speeches? Simple, storytelling is again key in content marketing. Just like in academic and creative writings my content creating needs to tell a story. Whether it is about the brand I am writing for, a product or service they are selling or about one of the employees for that brand, it is essential for me to evoke my talent as a story teller to make sure anyone who reads what I write for that brand goes away with a definite (and hopefully positive) feeling about that brand. A feeling that will drive them to do business with that brand as well. If I simply convey information about the brand to its audience, it is does not have that great of an impact. I need to make the person reading my content feel a desperate need for the product or service of the brand it was written for/about.

I think my entire life has been leading up to being a digital media public relations professional. My speech background, my writing experience and my overall passion for storytelling have set me up for success in my chosen field. Being a storyteller expands beyond just books and speaking. It encompasses almost every aspect of every day life. Movies, music, TV shoes, commercials, advertisements, tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, newspapers and much more are all examples of how storytelling is used to entertain us on a daily basis and make us feel certain ways about the world around us. Stories are meant to have us sympathize or empathize with certain people, places and things. If you can master the art of story telling, you can really master the world.

The Pressure of Writing….

As my novel inches closer and closer to completion, the more I wish I had never really told any of my friends and family that I was working on it again. I love my writing, I love my story, what I do not love is the pressure that is being put on me to actually go beyond just finally finishing the story. I always assumed I would try to have it published, whether or not it is good enough to be published will be left to an agent and/or publisher. Everyone putting this pressure on me to get a move on the story so that it can be published though is more than a little annoying. 

I have looked into having my novel published, for the type of novel I am writing, it is best to have it completed first, so everyone putting pressure on me now is just delaying the completion of the book. The more pressure, the less creative I feel. It is just how I am. I have always had one crazy, over active imagination, until someone starts putting the spotlight on me and pushing me to take my creativity to another level. It was the same with art and music for me. I love to draw and paint, but the second people were like “Oh! You should try to become an artist,” and started putting pressure on me, I became less inclined to draw because it wasn’t what I wanted to do. The moment anyone said that I should try to do more with my musical talent it was the same story. I become less motivated when people start to have expectations of what my talent will amount to. I said in a previous post, I do not expect to be the next J.K. Rowling. That kind of fame and money and success from being an author is not easy or really normal from what I can tell. I like the idea of having my book published because it is something that has been a huge part of my life and I want to see something come of it, but I do not like the pressure being put on me to actually get it done. 

Having my creativity feel stunted is not a good feeling. I have been staring at my novel for the past few days with absolutely NO motivation to continue writing at the moment. I want to, but it just isn’t happening. The worst part is everyone asking me how much progress I have made when I have literally made no progress at all. At what point do I stop being polite and saying that they will have to wait and see and just tell them to f*** off? 

In the meantime I am going to try and write parts of my story that I know are going to happen, even if I have not reached that part of the plot yet. Maybe if I go to the parts that I am still excited about the rest will start flowing again soon enough. 

~~SKG