This excellent How I Started Writing for Lifehacker piece by Whitson Gordon was so generous. I love it when writers help one another. In my own career as a writer I have to say it was 50-50. Some years were better than others. But those assholes who stab you in the back, usually, no always, they are people who can't write as well as you and they are jealous. They spoil the game a lot, at least they did for me. But I guess writers are people too.
Anyhow, when they offer good advice like that, I want to hug them. It's what we should be doing for one another, just like women should be helping each other in the workplace rather than competing with one another. But I'll write that post whenever I get accepted at Groupthink.
In the meantime, this is for...myself I guess. This is for myself and whoever else might find it helpful. How to survive being a nobody seems to be what I am best at these days. And if there's one thing in life I have learned is that I'm never alone. Our plights are all so similar that life really is one giant soap opera. Nothing new going on anywhere, just the set design and lighting is different.
1. Accept humility. Turns out humility isn't just something you pretend to have while people are complimenting you. Being humble, nothing special, isn't just a party act anymore, it's your real life. You are nothing special. This may take years to get through your thick skull. The more "important" or "rewarding" your old career was, the longer this period lasts. But you'll get there, make no mistake. Because the world will take you there. No more calls returned right away — hell, "friend" won't even return your emails. Suddenly it becomes all too clear how many of your "friends" were actually just placeholders, waiting for their chance to call in their friend chip. You may not have been aware of this, but you were going to be helping them in some way in the future. Now what they wanted of you, you can no longer provide. So guess what, you're not there. This will happen gradually, as the tide goes out. You will be able to know you have arrived at acceptance of this when you no longer check your email box, padawan.
2. Accept loneliness. Nobody wants to be around somebody who's broke and jobless. And you don't want to be around them. You can't bring the party and you won't want to anymore, in any sense of the word. And so even your other broke and jobless friends will get tired of you, or you will get tired of them, because you're all so fricking broke and jobless and boring and sad. Which is a bitch for you because you suddenly have 24 hours a day to get rid of, and hardly anyone to do it with.
3. Don't be desperate. You will be tempted to fill the hours doing pointless things like commenting on Gawker all day. But if you do this too much, even the Gawker people will realize how lonely and desperate you are. Even Reddit will buy a clue. So don't be desperate. You're not bad company at all, and you will learn this. You will learn to enjoy the sound of your own thoughts.
4. Do something. Do what you want. If you've been a slave to your career your whole life, like I was, it may take years of de-programming to believe you still have use. But it turns out that those fuckers who so hurt your feelings by firing you or laying you off or downsizing you or not hiring you. Turns out they have no actual importance in your life. Zilch. They're like rocks on the sands of life, you say "Fuck" when you accidentally encounter them and then go on. Go do what you wanna.
5. Don't do anything. Fuck it. Sleep late. Put off going to the grocery store until there is literally nothing left in the refrigerator except mayonnaise. Stay in bed all day with the dogs. Let Netflix loop Law & Order. Look up those deliver-your-groceries places to see if they deliver. Apply for credit cards until you find one that will accept you despite your lousy credit so you can buy expensive online groceries. It took me forever to revel in being able to not give a fuck about anything. So many wage slaves out there would kill for what you have. Don't have to shower for a week if I don't wanna. Don't have to be awake. Don't have to make sense. Don't have to wear clothes. You will never know whether or not I wash my underwear (although ew, I wouldn't wear dirty underwear, what dark part of my id did this crawl out of? Down, id!) This is the ultimate freedom, being a nobody. It's pretty fucking awesome, having people not care what you're doing, when you look at it from a freedom perspective. It is pretty fricking free. Would be hard to return to a job, after doing nothing so long. I'd be like a wild pony, kicking and bucking, and I'd just get fired and be right back here. So ahhhh, I'm settling in....
6. Realize life is a great big wave. I'm 51, so I've been on this wobbly little gasball for half a century. And to quote the great Frank Sinatra,
"I've been up and down and over and out and I know one thing
each time I find myself laying flat on my face
I just pick
and get back in the race.
7. Realize you can end the list whenever you want. Because it doesn't matter. Being a nobody is not about giving advice or being heard. It's being one with the universe and if you think that sounds too "cosmic" or (tip of hat to my friend Neffertitties) like I've "had one too many Jamiesons" I have! Frickin' A! i can type in all small lowercase letters OR ALL IN CAPS LIKE AND SPELL WERDS FUNY BCUZ
8. I don't have to write a blog. Or be a brand. Or give my name to authorities. If you say I wrote this I'll call you a liar. I don't have to make sense, Beezlebrox so q298fsadoij8
9. I forget.
10. I have to feed my dogs. Oh, I get to pamper the ones I love all day long. BRB
11. I spend all day researching things. I hone in on something and might research it for weeks. I keep files. Yes, you should all be very afraid. jk. I don't keep files on people. I do know some old reporters who probably do, though. You should be afraid of them. I hope they're gainfully employed or otherwise occupied.
12. I was a softie. I liked to write fluffy features about puppies and old grandmas battling cancer. I did not like writing about kids with brain tumors but I wrote about that. Also the kids who toughed out four hours with a killer who had blood-spattered everyone else all over the living room. It smelled like Pennies in there and the boys were watching a Michael Jackson video. Oops I capitalized pennies. wHO fucking cares. Oops my capslock slipped. So anyway, the point is, I had to do things I didn't want to do back then. BUT NOT ANYMORE. Now I can do what I want. And I don't have to read anything I don't want to, or see anything I don't want to, or talk to anybody I don't want to. Sometimes you can do and read and see and talk to too much. Y'know?
whatevernumberI'mon. The point of this, without further doxxing myself (I saw the NYT spell it doxing but I go with the two x's, do you?) because the point is not to dox oneself but to be invisible. To be invisible is to actually be as big as the universe. We are all a part of the same matter, molecules swirling around and colliding and bouncing, growth and entropy and growth and entropy.
Should I spike this? You need not my advice to be nobody. You just go off and be nobody. But maybe you need a hand held? This being a nobody business is not easy. It takes adjustments. One should not tread so far into being nobody as to travel into oblivion. You can be oblivious, though. That's fine.
So, in conclusion, FUCK ROGER AILES. IF HE CAN WRITE A FUCKING WHOEL BOOK ON HOW TO CHART HIS GRAND LIFE'S DESTINY OR WHATEVER FUCKING RACIST HOMOPHOBIC ANTIGAY FOX NEWS HORSESHIT HE IS SELLING, then I can post this. Thank you for reading, you big nuts, you.