With A-Mixed Emotions

I spent some time yesterday writing a pitch for a piece that I might be working on in the future, if all goes well; it’s something that I, ironically, was hoping to do for THR, before I was laid off and was then invited to pitch for elsewhere. The plus side of this is, I have a pretty good idea of what I’d want to do, given the chance. On the other hand, my pitch alone turned out to be longer than some stories I’ve written for outlets in the past, so it would be a significant undertaking.

(But, oh! If I had a chance to do it! It could be so much fun, despite the workload…!)

I am returning, in my head, to work — or the idea of working, anyway. I’d planned to use February to step away and get my head straight, to plane future moves and take a break before returning to things properly in March and pitching everywhere, writing some things for outlets old and new, and generally discovering what the future “swing of things” would look like. It felt like a good idea at the time, not least of all because, while I didn’t realize quite how much I’d been affected by being laid off, I knew the answer was “probably more than I know right now.”

Now that I’m here, though, I find myself both excited at the thought of working again — which is, in itself, surprising and exciting — but also quietly terrified about the vague plan I have for my future. Really, the fear centers around a very simple idea: what if I fail? What if I can’t make a living doing this anymore?

It’s a fear born of rejection anxiety after being laid off as much as any practical, “real” concern, I’m well aware. It’s also coming from the knowledge that I really did have it unnaturally good before, with my relationships with THR and Wired, and that things will never be that good again. I’m trying to be okay with knowing that, though, and embracing whatever is next, in whatever shape it comes. Even if it means writing enormously long pitches and crossing my fingers that someone says yes.

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