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Tag Archives: jobs

Confessions of a night owl

I’ve always been a bit of a late-night junkie.

When people in my family hit puberty, we lose the ability to sleep. It’s like clockwork, really. HORMONES BAM WHY DO YOU NEED SLEEP? It’s impossible to FALL asleep, and once you’re there, you have to be very, very careful to STAY asleep, because once you wake up, all bets are off. You might get an hour’s sleep, or six hours, but if you wake up too much, there’s no falling back to sleep. Or you might wake fully up for no reason at 3 a.m. and there you have it, then! That’s all the sleep you need! (It’s not. Not at all. You’re sleepwalking all day and you yell at people, and sometimes walls and/or your own feet for being stumbly.)

My grandmother and great-aunt never used their beds because why bother? They slept in their recliners with the televisions on. That way, they figured, if they woke up, they could at least watch some fine late-night television. My dad’s currently getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night. That’s actually quite a bit for him.

(Ironically, Mom sleeps like the dead. She’s in bed every night by 9 and up by 4-5 a.m. and she’s one of those “I’m up, let’s sing songs of little BIRDIES!” people that make you want to throw things. Talk about opposites attracting.)

A normal 9-5 workday never worked out for me. I hate alarms. I hate getting up early. I hate going to bed before I’m tired. If you’re an insomniac to begin with, going to bed when you’re not even tired is a waste of time. You just lie there and every stupid thing you’ve said in your ENTIRE LIFE goes through your mind.

I was a little nervous about the new job. See, I’m working weird hours now – til 1am three weekdays a week and over 10-hour days on the weekend days (I have to get up kind of early those days, but I get out at 8.) I worked the late shift at the answering service quite a few times over the years, and it never bothered me that much (things always slowed down a lot, and mostly we could chat and laugh, which was always good) but a job where you were actually WORKING and expected to be MENTALLY ALERT until 1 a.m.? Eeesh.

Well. Come to find out, this works PERFECTLY for me. Who knew the solution to over almost 30 years of insomnia is shifting your sleeping/waking hours? (FINE, I’m sure some scientist knew this. Everyone has Circadian rhythms, right? Well, who’s to say mine aren’t much different from everyone else’s? I mean, my brain seems to run at a different weirdo speed than most of the world; I wouldn’t be surprised if my rhythms are all off, as well.)

It took a bit of getting used to (a month or two, to be honest) but come to find out this is kind of perfection. I get to go to bed when I’m tired. I only have to set the alarm twice a week. I can let myself sleep as late as I want 5 days a week. Let that sink in – I can sleep until NOON if I want to FIVE DAYS A WEEK. (I don’t – I usually get up between 9:30-10 – but I COULD.) I’m actually perfectly alert until 1 a.m. (well, most nights – some nights the copyediting and proofreading is very, very dry, and my most favorite cheerful goofballs happen to have the night off, and there’s a lot of hurry up and wait, and on those nights I get a little yawny. But who wouldn’t, even during a normal day of work?) Then I get to go home, and it takes about an hour to unwind, and I’m off to bed. AND I CAN ACTUALLY SLEEP. I’ve been getting almost 8 hours of sleep a night for months. IT IS GLORIOUS.

ME EVERY NIGHT. (Plus about 40 years, let's be honest.)

ME EVERY NIGHT. (Plus about 40 years, let’s be honest.)

(Well, side note, not EVERY night; there’s a certain cat who’s QUITE sure that once the sun comes up, it’s playtime. So he leaps into my bed and tromps all over me and says “MEOW MEOW MEOW” all up in my face and I say sleepily “No no good boy go lay dooooown” and he is VERY EXCITED to hear my voice and then there is MORE tromping and meowing and “HEY MOM HEY MOOOOOM maybe it is time for wet food? Mom mom MOOOM! Meow meow meow PURR IN YOUR FAAAACE!” and sometimes there’s tickling my nose with his whiskers, which is not optimal, and sometimes even WORSE, there’s licking of my forehead, which he knows makes me giggle and squirm and put my head under the covers. That’s a VERY fun game for him because it means he’s won! Man, is that guy lucky I adore him.)

BUT! If you work nights (or want to sleep many hours into the sunrise) you have to follow many rules, such as:

  • DARKNESS! I had dark curtains but they weren’t enough. Em recommended blackout curtains and I got some for Christmas. They make ALL the difference. Those, plus closing all the bedroom doors most of the way (sadly, not all of the way, because there’s a certain cat in this household – YES, the same cat mentioned ABOVE – who cannot bear closed doors and would caterwaul and throw himself at the doors until I opened them, and that’s not going to help you sleep, because he needs to come and go or he can’t handle his FEEEEELINGS – are keeping my room dark like a TOMB and it is GLORIOUS.
  • QUIETNESS! There’s only so much of this I can get, because of the cat, you see, but quietness is important. I live on a somewhat-busy street, and the cars start being loud early, as do the children waiting for the bus and the upstairs neighbor who has a normal schedule and gets up early in the morning. I have mostly solved this with a very loud fan. I suppose I could use a white noise machine, but those make me nervous. Someone gave me one once, and my choices were “forest” (every now and then this very loud frog would be all “RIBBIT!” and how is that white noise?), “ocean” (which would have been fine but whoever recorded this put on screechy seagulls and also it made me have to pee all night), “wind” (which kept having these gusts which made me think the house was about to fall down and I was having nightmares about Auntie Em and the storm cellar) and “storm” (rain is soothing, except for the having to pee part, but random VERY LOUD THUNDERCLAPS are not. I’M AWAKE NOW IS MY HOUSE ON FIRE?) So I just turn on my fan and angle it away from my bed and it makes just enough whooshy white noise that I don’t hear much of anything except for the time some man came to my house trying to collect a debt from the prior tenant and knocked on my door AND all the windows (and you can be sure I reamed him a new one and he left apologizing and I think is so scared of me now he will never return.)
  • MEDICALLY INDUCED COMA! OK, so this one might not be for all of you, but I’ve been on meds for my sleeping issues for…oh, most of my adult life, and I take a teeny tiny pill every night that helps tip me over into slumberville. It doesn’t always work, but I’d say 90/100 times it does the trick. Aaah, prescription zzzzzs.
  • BEING COMFORTABLE! Comfortable sleep clothes are a MUST. You can take your sexy negligees and wear ’em to your heart’s content, my friends, I’m wearing flannel and t-shirts and, on very cold nights, a sweater over that, and maybe furry socks. And sometimes the cat is allowed under the covers because he is a warm little furry hot water bottle. You also need to know what kind of covers you need. Lots? Few? (Me, I’m a 4,000 blanket person. I like to feel MUMMIFIED under blankets. So I can barely MOVE. It is just my best thing.) How about pillows. Squishy? Hard? Feather? Foam? GET YOURSELF COMFY, YO. The more your bed’s a happy safe haven, the more you’re going to want to stay in it longer. There’s nothing worse than waking up because you’re freezing or in a pool of sweat. Plan ahead. And, related to this…
  • DO NOT DRINK ALL THE BEVERAGES BEFORE BED. Seriously, do you want to crawl out of that warm little cocoon you’ve so carefully constructed to pee like 14 times all night long? Especially when you KNOW when you get back the cat will have taken the warm spot in the bed and then you have to move him and he’s all “MEOW MOM YOU ARE THE WOOOORST” and then decides “Well, I’m awake, can I climb on you like you’re a mountain? Who cares, I’m gonna” and it takes forever to get back to sleep. Just curtail your orange soda after a certain time of night. You’ll be fine, my little gumdrops. You can drink all the soda in the morning, if you want. I won’t tell anyone.

SO, to sum up: I am getting the best sleep in my life by working weird hours. And when I tell people what hours I work, I get that face. That “oh, I feel so BAD for you” face. But I get to work with people who are ALSO happy to be working weird hours, and we’re kind of like kids who get to stay up all night and sleep in all day, and if anyone says anything about it we can say “I WORK NIGHTS” and this makes people kind of back away from you as if you might be radioactive (you kind of might) but little do they know, you’re actually kind of working the best hours ever.

(This all might be moot if you have children, or are in a relationship with someone who doesn’t understand weird hours. I decided about a month into this I was only allowed to date either other newspaper people, or writers, or maybe people who do long-distance truck-driving because who else is going to be up at these hours?)

Also, there is nothing better than doing errands in the middle of the day on a Thursday. NO ONE IS IN THE STORES! You can get in and out and it is like MAGIC! Yes, all of the employees think you’re unemployed, but who cares? YOU WIN QUICK SHOPPERY! Also, if you leave work at 1 a.m., no one’s on the roads, so you can drive really slow when the weather’s bad and NO ONE IS THERE TO CARE! It’s all very “I own the world, this is mine now” and empowering.

Now you know a secret: people working at night don’t always hate it, after all. Just don’t tell anyone. Then EVERYONE will want to work nights, and who’d open the stores early then? THE WHOLE AMERICAN ECONOMY WOULD COLLAPSE. I’d feel TERRIBLE. Eek!

And if anything goes on before, say, 10am on a weekday, you guys will let me know, right? Good, good. Much appreciated. All the love. *smooooch*

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When it rains, it pours. And I never remember my umbrella.

The universe has a funny way of loading a lot on you all at once and then saying, “‘kay, I’m going to leave you to figure this out…good luck with that” and then taking off to traipse through the celestial flowers or whatever the universe does on its day off.

2014, so far, has been the year of both getting my ass kicked and kicking ass back. Gigantic highs and huge old lows.

I went to the land of the Finns…

Where I was amazed by the fact that you could TOUCH LEMURS (well, illegally, but still, it wasn't like anyone stopped you...)

Where I was amazed by the fact that you could TOUCH LEMURS (well, illegally, but still, it wasn’t like anyone stopped you…)

...and I got to see this in really real person...

…and I got to see this in really real person…

...and I got to hang out with my most favorite little Finnish girl in the whole world...

…and I got to hang out with my most favorite little Finnish girl in the whole world…

...and Andreas evilly tried to poison everyone with windshield washer fluid in a Coke bottle...

…and Andreas evilly tried to poison everyone with windshield washer fluid in a Coke bottle…

...and I got to sleep with this guy...

…and I got to sleep with this guy…

...this lovely lady...

…this lovely lady…

...and the two most perfect red pups in all the world.

…and the two most perfect red pups in all the world.

Then things kind of went to shit once I got home…in a nutshell, I was let go from an amazing job and all-too-quickly took a job that was offered, mostly out of fear of not having one. To say it was a nightmare is to speak a little too well of what went on at that job. But, professional grown-up ladies don’t badmouth places of employment, right? Right.

I put up with what I think can correctly be called Emotional Abusetown for four months, and then quit. Without a backup plan. Because sometimes you need to run. I mean, come on, Kenny Rogers taught me that when I was a wee Amy, right? I’m still not sure when to hold ’em or fold ’em, but I am VERY good at knowing when to run. Even when it doesn’t seem like a good idea because you won’t have health insurance in your life on the lam.

However, the universe (good old universe) decided maybe I didn’t have ENOUGH going on, so threw in the MOST EPIC CURVEBALL.

It said a lot about Emotional Abusetown that after three days there, I started jobhunting again. I applied near, and when nothing seemed to be coming of it, I applied far. And I decided to stretch a little for the kinds of jobs I wanted, not just settle for the kinds of jobs I could do, but wouldn’t be all that soul-enhancing. What the hell, right?

So when I got a call from a newspaper wanting me to do a phone interview in the middle of the day one day, I looked around for the hidden cameras. People like me didn’t get calls from newspapers, right? Unless it was a person wanting them to SUBSCRIBE to the newspaper.

Over a few weeks, I actually got calls from TWO newspapers. I had multiple phone interviews and one full-day in-person interview. (Yes, you read that right. The interview was – withour the slightest bit of hyperbole – six and a half hours long. It was almost an entire workday. And I did work, too. It was as if I was actually working for quite a bit of the day.)

Hey, guess what?

Both papers hired me.

One paid so little I couldn’t afford to take the job without taking another job (at least part-time, if not close to full-time) to make ends meet. It would have been a very good job. It was a reporter position for my hometown paper, the paper I read growing up that taught me to love newsprint. But it’s a very small town, and a small-town newspaper can’t afford to pay much. I said no, but sadly.

The other paid better, but not as much as I’m used to making. There was a lot of thinking involved. When the editor called with the job offer and explained that, in order to get me to say yes, he’d moved some things around and added on some extra things here and there just to bump up the bottom line…well. How can you say no to that?

So of course I said yes. I am their newest copy editor, and will also be doing some social media, and maybe some writing and reviewing, if the need arises.

Thing is…the really HARD thing is…

…the job is here.

You know I love it here in the Capital District. It’s home, and it’s been home for 12 years (12 years this weekend, actually – I moved here Labor Day weekend 2002.) My heart is here. That’s never happened anywhere I’ve lived, this sense of pride and ownership of place. I’m completely at home here. I feel very safe here.

But, around the time I got back from my adventure overseas, I’d started to get the itch.

Do you get this? This itch that something’s off, and something needs to change? It’s not something small, like, something that can be fixed by going out and buying a new outfit or a getting a kicky haircut (although those itches happen, too, sometimes.) This is a bigger itch, where you don’t feel comfortable in your skin, and something BIG needs to change. I used to get this quite often, which was ok, because when I was younger, I changed jobs or apartments or cities on the regular. But it seems you don’t outgrow the itch. It still shows up out of nowhere and starts bumping around your head like a fly made stupid with autumn.

I thought that finding a new job would satisfy it, and it would – it will. But the universe is, if anything, a trickster. So the universe said, “Sure! Here’s a new job. The new job is, actually, a job you’ve been dreaming of for, oh, only your whole LIFE. But here’s the catch – you have to move three hours away to a town where you only know one person and that you’ve never been in for more than half an hour. Also, the winters are kind of cuckoo-bananas. So, how are you going to handle THAT?”

I’m handling that by spending the last week packing everything I own…

This is my living room right now. Say hello to Mount St. Amy. It's insurmountable.

This is my living room right now. Say hello to Mount St. Amy. It’s insurmountable. Believe me, Dumbcat has tried. And failed.

…cancelling all my utilities, apartment-hunting, saying goodbye to people, quitting my two part-time jobs, sleeping too little, fretting too much, trying to get Dumbcat to understand I will NOT be leaving him behind so he doesn’t have to cling to me like a remora, and getting ready to leave my home for my new town.

I somehow had the best luck in the world and found the perfect apartment with the very first one I saw – really close to work, in a nice area, wood floors, fireplace, a ton of space, a yard, a porch…and only a wee bit more than I’m paying now. And the new landlord seems delightful. She gave it to me almost immediately, even though other people had applied. I think she knew it was a me-place as much as I did. It has good vibes. And it’s almost 100 years old! I have old-building love. Always have.

The town is about a third of the size of where I live now, but has a lot of history and is well-appointed – lots of shopping, lots of green space, beautiful old buildings, a zoo(!). Two of my most beloved people live within an hour of my new place, so I’ll get to see them more often, and I’m an hour closer to my family.

And, it all comes down to this: I’m ready for a grand adventure.

This is a job I’ll love, and dammit, I’ll be GOOD at this. The apartment is great. I don’t have anything I can’t leave here – I love it, but it’s not like I have family I can’t uproot, or something along those lines. I’m ripe for a change, and when better to make one?

In two days, my family will show up with trucks and trailers and such and we will have a day of MUCH physical labor…and by the end of it, I will be the newest resident of Watertown, NY, with a new job waiting for me just a few days later.

*deep breaths*

It all happens at once, or not at all…I guess I got the all at once this year.

Onward and upward.

(P.S. – apparently, it pays to be a grammar nerd. GO ME!)

 


Curved like a road through mountains

What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved like a road through mountains.  –Tennessee Williams

This is a line.

(It was supposed to be a straight line, but listen, I cannot draw a straight line with what software is free on the interwebs, ok? So just ignore the fact that it squiggles a little. Pretend it’s totally straight. DO NOT JUDGE MY LINE-DRAWING ABILITIES!)

Most people’s lives follow this straight line, for the most part. They’re born, and they go to school, and then probably college, and they meet someone squishable and they marry that person, and buy a house with a porch swing, and maybe have some kiddos who are equally squishable, and get a job, and work that job for many many years and put money into their 401ks and buy cool things to play with that are shiny and pay their taxes and eventually they die.

This is very stable, isn’t it? It’s really nice. It’s nice to know you’ll wake up, and the same thing will happen, and you’ll have someone there to share things with, and maybe kids, and probably, oh, I don’t know, family picnics, or something. Vacations. Probably a dog.

This is ALSO a line.

However, it is squiggly and all over the damn place and sometimes backtracks upon itself and has strange valleys and peaks that kind of look like a man’s face and I think in one place it kind of might look like I tried to make a penis, and in another place a rabbit, to make you laugh, but I totally didn’t. (Again, please do not judge the line. There’s a reason I’m a writer and not an artist. It is not the nice line’s fault.)

This line is MY life.

There is nothing straight about this line. Like, it starts out kind of straight, but then it goes kind of haywire, and then KEEPS going haywire, because it does not know where it is going or what it is doing. It is a very confused line.

And sometimes, when you think it’s going straight (like, see where there are places where it SEEMS it’s going straight?) it decides “HA HA! I WILL GO JIGGEDY-JAGGEDY ON YOU!”

When, Lord?! When the hell do I get to see the goddamn sailboat?!

When, Lord?! When the hell do I get to see the goddamn sailboat?!

“Amy?”

I can hear you, you know, even though you’re using your most polite voice. It’s ok. You don’t have to be polite with me.

“Your line metaphor is very…nice…and SUPER-artistic…but…where are you going with this?”

Yeah, I probably should get to the point. I try to…but you saw that line up there, yeah? It has a mind of its own.

OK. So when your life is a crazy waggly line, there are good things and bad things. Like, you have a lot of experiences and stories and you meet some of the best people (whose lines are usually all over the place, too…us wacky-line people, we tend to flock together. Probably because our lines get all tangled like the last two skeins of yarn in the bottom of the bag and we can’t extricate ourselves…but that’s neither here nor there, really.)

It's easier to just stick together. We get all knotty if we try to split up.

It’s easier to just stick together. We get all knotty if we try to split up.

However, life with a wiggly line is also about making the most IMPRESSIVE mistakes (falling in love with the least-likely human beings who break your heart into a million pieces; losing your job repeatedly; crazy brain-chemistry; not being able to sleep for days; shall I go on?) and not ever knowing what’s coming up. You’ve heard about waiting for the other shoe to drop? Well, you’ve always got a big old workboot hanging over your head. At first, that boot comes as a surprise. You’re all, “what the hell? I JUST GOT BOPPED BY A BOOT! Where did that boot come from?” and you look up at the sky all suspiciously. Then the second boot falls, and you’re all, “another boot? WHAT IS HAPPENING.” But then another boot, and another boot, and you kind of get used to boots. You’re always on the lookout for boots. It’s not the easiest way to live, always having one eye out for gigantic metaphors falling from the sky. But if you know it’s probably coming, you don’t get so out-of-nowhere smacked.

Duck & cover. DUCK AND COVER, I SAID.

Duck & cover. DUCK AND COVER, I SAID.

This past Monday, I went into work. I do that, on Mondays. Most weekdays, actually. I worked. I went to lunch. After lunch, I came back to an email saying I had a meeting. I went to the conference room, and about ten other people trailed in, and we made some confused jokes about why, exactly, we were in this conference room, and there was this weird whistling noise and I was all, “huh, what’s that, I wonder, maybe the air conditioning?” and then the CFO and HR came in and told us all of our jobs had been eliminated and the BIGGEST BOOT EVER smashed me upside the head and I was all “SHIT that’s what that whistling noise was. It was coming from a really, really far distance, this time, is all. Breaking the sound barrier, far.”

Squiggly line! I had been so happy and comfortable with my amazing job with my awesome coworkers that paid ALL THE MONEY that I forgot about the squiggly line and (eep!) THE BOOT HANGING OVER MY HEAD AT ALL TIMES!

(Apparently I am to blame the economy. Any guesses who Dad thinks is to blame for this? Those of you who guessed “the government” win. What do you win? I don’t know. Nothing from me. I can’t afford to get you a prize. I don’t have a job right now, suckas!)

So here I am, yet again, friends and bloggonians, underemployed, waiting to hear from the unemployment people, waiting to hear from the food-stamp people, picking up a few hours as I can at the answering service (thank you again, answering service!), applying to a million billion jobs, networking with everyone I can think of in the hope I can maybe, just maybe, find a job that I actually really love, not just settle for because it puts money in my pocket but also sucks my soul out of my nose.

I'm not this serious yet. I can't guarantee you I won't get there, though.

I’m not this serious yet. I can’t guarantee you I won’t get there, though.

(Side note: I apparently am VERY equipped to sell insurance. I have, unsolicited, gotten four emails and a phone call from three different companies that want me to sell insurance. I assume they saw my resume on one of the job-searching sites. One was from the AFLAC duck, which was humorous, but I still don’t want to sell insurance, even if an anthromoporphic duck thinks it’s my calling. I also got an email from someone telling me I’d make an amazing realtor. I can’t think of anything I’d be worse at than selling homes or insurance. If I was living on commissions, I’d be eating out of dumpsters.)

Flattering, duck. But, no.

Flattering, duck. But, no.

Luckily, the upside of having a line o’squiggliness for a lifeline is that the ups always come. The downs are always right around the corner, but the ups are there, too. Sometimes you have to wait a little longer for them, but they’re there. The boot gets cranked back up to wherever it hangs in wait and things get rosy again, for a time.

And there’s a slight possibility that the boot WON’T fall again. That’s the thing about that boot. You can’t trust that it will or will not fall. You’re just always nervously waiting for it…but that doesn’t mean it’s a definite.

And shh…I’ll tell you a secret:

Even though it drives me insane at times, and even though there are times I mutter angrily “WHY CAN’T YOU JUST BE NORMAL LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, AMY!?!?”, I’ll take my squiggly line over a straight line any day. My squiggly life has brought me such joy. I just have to wait out the bad patches. And avoid those falling boots.

I wouldn’t know what to do with a normal life, anyway. I think you have to vaccuum and wear polo shirts or something, in a normal life. I’d be very unprepared for such things. I look terrible in polo shirts.

Time for the next leg of the adventure. Don’t fail me now, squiggly line. I have to believe you have some sort of plan.

(You do, right?)

*grin* (I knew it.)

*grin*
(I knew it.)


Royal Rumpus, Day Four: Livin’ in Beverly Hills on your blogging millions. Also, thanks, you guys.

OK, I have to be quick like a bunny tonight. I went shopping and took WAY TOO LONG in the craft store. Like, insanely long. I’m a goofball. See, I had to buy craft supplies for the thing I’m doing for the Zombiecorn fiction contest? Which you’re all going to totally enter, because you want a piece of artwork by me in your home, correct? And then I’d get distracted by things like this…

I think this is for scrapbooking? Or maybe for a bumper sticker, I don’t know. Why’s it so huge? There were a lot of God things. I was just informed that religious people own Hobby Lobby. I only went there because it’s new and really big and I thought it might have a better selection of unicorns and zombies and skulls and rainbows. The answer is, it had none of those things (no, I take that back, it had some awesome skull stickers that I snatched up), but I found a workaround, so whoever wins this prize is really going to be super-impressed and they’d better put a photo of the most epic piece of artwork ever to grace their home on the interwebs, is all that I’m saying.

ANYWAY, today is day FOUR of the seven-day bloggiversary extravaganza, and my head’s not really in the game today. I’ll try to shake it around a little for you like a Magic 8-Ball or something. TRY AGAIN LATER, says Amy’s brain! Dammit.

I feel like a lot of days are Outlook Not So Good days, to be honest. I should probably get a tattoo of this somewhere.

I feel like a lot of days are Outlook Not So Good days, to be honest. I should probably get a tattoo of this somewhere.

What will we talk about today? You will be pleased to know I actually wrote down some ideas here on a post-it for what to discuss. You will be less pleased to know I spilled frozen dinner on it tonight so it’s sticky. Gravy, if you must know. I spilled gravy on it. I never said I was a gourmet chef, and I was in a hurry. ALSO, I was totally going to treat myself to new shoes tonight but my shoe store I always go to closed. Dammit. I think that’s because no one ever went there but me and I buy shoes every three years or so. But that’s why I LIKED it. Because it was always QUIET and I could shop in PEACE. Sigh. Now I have to go to the damn mall and I hate the mall.

Today, in our continuing series of things I have learned in the last almost 730 days of my life (that’s two years, aren’t you so proud I figured that out all on my own?) of blogging, is…

Don’t quit your day job, jellybean. (Although you might get fired from your day job.)

Blogging’s not going to make you your millions. I was recently reading the blog of a woman who purported to have been able to quit her job (come to find out she was downsized out of it) and makes a living blogging. But a little digging (I’m a digger, me, I think I have some mole in my bloodline) led me to find out that she’s not making a living just BLOGGING. She also freelances, sells a bunch of shady ads, solicits endlessly for donations (begging “please, if you like what you see, Paypal me some money!”), writes “books” (I say that in quotes because they’re not very good so they’re really, in my estimation, only books in that they have pages and words on them; they seem to be a self-help series that she wrote in about a week, and it shows)…it’s not like she magically started getting a paycheck for blogging. (I unfollowed her blog. It was a lot like reading a sales pitch every day. It was off-putting.)

It's ME, you guys! I AM THE PRODUCT BUY ME LOVE MEEEEEE! *unfollow*

It’s ME, you guys! I AM THE PRODUCT BUY ME LOVE MEEEEEE! *unfollow*

Yes, some people get paid for blogging. Again, I’ll invoke The Bloggess. She makes money blogging. By selling ads, mostly, I think. But she also wrote a best-selling book, and writes freelance articles, and does a lot of other things on the side, and I think that’s all part of her “blogging” paycheck. I think Dooce makes a living blogging now, I don’t read her blog, but someone recently bemoaned the fact that her blog’s nothing but ads and shilling. I never much liked her writing, so I can neither confirm or deny that, and I don’t care enough to research it. If she’s making a living blogging, it sounds about right.

If you go into blogging expecting a fat paycheck…well, you’re going to either get really hungry or really depressed, depending on whether or not you quit your job. There are ways to make a LITTLE money from blogging, but they take work, and not all of them leave a good taste in your mouth. (Ew. I just realized I made it sound like you have to give blow jobs in order to make money from blogging. Please know that was not an intentional euphemism, although it is a very funny and a very good one, and that I don’t advocate you prostituting yourself for blogging revenue.)

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, sell yourself to this guy for blogging revenue. You just know he'd pay you in shoe insoles or old shrimp or something weird.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, sell yourself to this guy for blogging revenue. You just know he’d pay you in shoe insoles or old shrimp or something weird.

I’ve been blogging for two years. Over those years, I’ve made…drumroll…$125. I’ve spent probably $100-ish on the domain and the custom blogging package and what-have-you, so really I only made $25 and I spent that almost immediately on my cell phone bill. Oh, shit, and then I did a giveaway and there was postage so, yeah. I’m in the red. IN. THE. RED. (I have a friend that can’t remember if “in the red” is good or bad and always has to ask me so the other day I told her “it’s like a stop light. You don’t drive when it’s red, right? Because red is bad. Also if a teacher gives you a test all marked up, what color do they use? Red” and she was super-impressed with my helpfulness.)

Well, bloggers, anyway, I think. Not ALL of us. Some of you might have some money, what do I know?

Well, bloggers, anyway, I think. Not ALL of us. Some of you might have some money, what do I know?

How did I make that money? Ads. Those ads you see at the top (and I think bottom? or side? I don’t know, I have an ad blocker, and I recommend everyone get one, even though it cuts down on my revenue, it’s the best) of my blog get me a few pennies every time you open my homepage (and a few MORE pennies every time you click on them.) Once I get to $100 or more, WordPress Paypals me the money. It took almost two years to get that money. Yep. I know. I’m fancy.

There are ways to get more money, however. And goods. And services. I do get free books/ebooks for book blogging (but one could argue I’m doing them a service, so it’s not so much a gift, but a trade – their book, my writing about it.) I’ve also gotten numerous shady emails from companies that want me to do sponsored posts. They’ll send me goods, I write about how much I love the goods. They never say, “You try the goods and write an unbiased review,” like publishers do. It’s always, “We’ll send you the goods in exchange for a sponsored post telling your readers how much you love them.” So far, I’ve been offered free sunglasses (which I can’t wear, as I wear glasses); free bumper stickers (I don’t approve of putting propaganda on my car); free business cards (fine, but you can buy those for like $6, and I think my soul is worth more than that); and, my most favorite, SOMETHING I WAS NOT INFORMED ABOUT. She was from a travel company and wanted me to work with her client but said “please note, we are not offering free travel.” Well, shit, what ARE you offering? I’d totally travel and blog about it for you if you were offering, but if it’s NOT free travel, what, you want me to pay for my travel and THEN write about how much I like your client? I don’t see that there’s a win for me here.

(Except not. Not at all free.)

(Except not. Not at all free.)

Otherwise, I hear you. “BUT AMY!” you’re asking. “HOW CAN I MAKE MY BLOGGING MILLIONS?”

Well, first, I think you either have to have a husband or wife with a lot of money to support you while you don’t have a revenue stream for a while, or at least a fat bank account. Do you have that? What? No? Hmm. This is going to be tough.

Then I think you have to get a massive following, because you’re going to market to these people. I don’t care how you get it. Write posts that you know will get in readers. Don’t believe in anything you say. Never write anything that will piss anyone off! You can’t afford to lose a single one of those potential consumers! Write things that are middle-of-the-road and that everyone can relate to. Read up on search engine optimization. You see a lot of things about SEO, right? DO THAT. Write about shit everyone’s searching for that day, even if you find it personally repugnant. Do you think same sex marriage should be legal? Well, you’ll get a lot more hits if you say it should be ILLEGAL! So you know which one you need to do! YOU NEED THOSE HITS! Be #teamfollowback on Twitter, that seems to bring a lot of people in, I mean, it’s not like you care about quality.

I know, it's going to be tough, but you're the one who wants to make blogging millions, so step it up, buckaroo!

I know, it’s going to be tough, but you’re the one who wants to make blogging millions, so step it up, buckaroo!

Then, once you’ve hook, line, and sinkered those people in, start marketing to them. Sell so many ads that you barely have room on your blog for text. Because listen, text’s not paying the rent. Put a huge, egregious Paypal donate button on your blog. Not one that you have there because you’re raising money for a charity or for a crisis; one that you’re relying on to pay your rent. Beseech your readers constantly to give you money. Partner with a lot of shady companies and write sponsored posts about how much you like Cream of Wheat, vibrators, and Polident (or all three at once, what the hell.)

The money’s going to start ROLLING IN. You can just backstroke along on it like Scrooge McDuck.

What? What’s that? You don’t want to do this because you think it sounds cheap and dirty and like you’re whoring yourself out and no one will take you seriously and you’d lose both cred and friends?

WHAT DID I TELL YOU AT THE TOP OF THIS SECTION.

You’re not going to make a living from blogging. Not and be happy about the result. Yes, Dooce and The Bloggess might have, but think of all the bloggers there are out there, and I can only think of two who’ve really made a living from it (and I’m pretty sure Jennie works her ass off with all of her projects – I don’t know anything about Dooce, but I can’t imagine she sits around all day and eats bonbons.)

You write because you love it, because you love the community you’ve created, and because you can’t NOT write. And that’s that. If you make a little money from it here and there – well, that’s just a happy side-effect, is all. Buy yourself a happy new hat or something.

(Also, you can get fired for blogging. Dooce did. I did – although I’m pretty sure they wanted me gone and saying it was for blogging was just the excuse they decided to go with because “we hate you, you hate it here, and this is obviously a terrible fit for all of us” isn’t really the way you fire someone, not unless you want to pay unemployment – and I’m sure there are plenty of other people out there with similar stories. I don’t do anything blog-wise from work anymore; I barely mention my job on here anymore. Did I wise up? Eh. I don’t know if I so much “wised up” as I like my job now and would like to keep it a good long time. I was kind of purposely sabotaging myself at the old one, I think, because I knew I’d never have the courage to quit. Nice job, subconscious! So if you blog, and you do it about/from work? BE CAREFUL MY LITTLE LADYBUGS!)

FIRED! Be cautious, unless you want to eat popcorn and water for dinner for a while. What? Is there butter on the popcorn? NO OF COURSE THERE ISN'T!!! You can't afford BUTTER!

FIRED! Be cautious, unless you want to eat popcorn and water for dinner for a while. What? Is there butter on the popcorn? NO OF COURSE THERE ISN’T!!! You can’t afford BUTTER!

OK, this is getting ranty-long. So before I fall asleep and/or you lose all interest, let’s talk about my FOURTH-MOST POPULAR POST OF ALL TIME!

Guesses? This one makes me proud as hell of you guys.

Fourth-most-popular post, with 807 views in just three months (you all shared the hell out of this one, and I appreciate that)…is…

An Open Letter to Jane Doe, the Victim of the Steubenville Rape Case (Trigger Warning)

It took me longer than it should to get to the point where I could write this post. A lot of other people had already written posts about this. A lot of other people had already written AMAZING posts about this. But I just couldn’t let it go. I saved an article from the New York Times when the story first broke for the longest time, trying to build up the courage to write the post. I drafted it in my head a number of times. I talked myself into, then out of, writing it, over and over.

But when the verdict came down, and it seemed that the loudest voices were not supporting the victim, but bemoaning the lack of a bright potential future for the convicted rapists…

Well, there are things I keep quiet about because I don’t think I’ll do them justice, or because I think they’ve been done to death, or because I tend to jump on the bandwagon once it’s already full and I tumble right off the back. But this girl. This brave girl. We were doing a disservice to her. She stood against an entire town, amidst death threats, and told what she remembered to have happened to her; I at least owed her a post. It was the least I could do.

And your response was more than I could have hoped for. I thank you all so much for that. Every comment, every share, every private message about it – thank you. It’s a subject very near to my heart, and I can’t thank you all enough.

OK. To bed with me. It’s Friday! And I get the whole weekend off! Because Saturday I’m going to a wedding shower so therefore I can’t work and that means I actually get a weekend this week! OMG IT IS UTTER INSANITY!!!

Happy Friday, everyone. And if any of you DO make your blogging millions, and you want to throw a little my way, I wouldn’t turn you down. I could use some new shoes, and the really fancy chocolate, you know, the kind that even TASTES expensive? Yum.


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