I have several bees in my bonnet right now, but I’m going to leave the sociopolitical ones alone for now and focus on the maelstrom in my head. (Note to Ed: you get a pass today, but we are still going to have a little chat soon, about your convenient ‘integrity’ and your inability to actually vote against terrible legislation.)

The more evidence that I see of the fragility of the human psyche, and my own easily derailed peace of mind, the more I’m convinced that the default mental condition of humanity is “barely sane”.  It’s an important thing to recognize, because when you assume that every person is psychologically resilient and durable, you hold them to practically impossible standards in tiems of stress. In reality, every one of us would come close to breaking into tiny crazy pieces if we were subjected to real hardships. Or, maybe more accurately, we would break to some degree and then rebuild ourselves into some kind of functioning emergency-mode. If you’re very lucky, you find a way to transition away from emergency-mode to peacetime thinking. Even if you do, the scars persist, and they affect your future decision-making. maybe it would help us all deal with the strange and irrational behaviour of other people to tell ourselves “they’re under a lot of stress, because dealing with X is hard.” For X, use any one of life’s challenges. Pick one that you have sympathy for, like “new parent” or “just learning to drive” or “just got fired”, and cut the other person the same amount of slack you’d like if you were in that situation.

On to my personal faulty brain wiring. I’m caught in a failure loop that is feeding off of itself, fueled by money woes and obligations. Here’s the gist of it: unless something very unlikely happens (read: giant sack of money falling from the sky) I’m going to have to go back to a regular job. So I’m back to looking at job ads, feeling terrible about my lack of job opportunities, trying to find something that I can both do and tolerate, but it’s hard to pick a new prospective job when you really don’t want to go back. When I get discouraged about my job prospects, I start to feel guilty about not doing a better job with my writing career, because if I had been more successful at selling my novel and maybe even found a publisher, maybe I wouldn’t be facing this situation. But, I can’t bring myself to write, since it won’t bring in any money. Caught between these two monsters, my brain locks up and I end up accomplishing nothing. Fantastic.

For the record, I’ve accepted the reality of going back to work, with one notable exception.   I want my little dude to always have a parent home when he comes home from school. I don’t know why I feel so strongly about this, but whenever I think about Max having to go to daycare to accommodate both my wife and I working, I feel like I’m failing him and I get angry at myself. I know that most kids go off to daycare. I know he can handle it. That isn’t helping me.


Published by Chris

I'm an author, freelance writer, dad, and civic busybody living in London, Ontario


  1. My sympathies are with you, Chris. Job hunting makes me want to reach for a gun with one bullet in the chamber.
    Don’t know if this helps with anything, but I always tell myself that if I can make a single buck writing, that’s one more buck I’d have than if I had watched more TV, played more video games, had a slightly cleaner kitchen, or surfed the net more.

    Hang in there.

  2. How about the idea of treat the job search as a job and the writing as a reward. Set yourself a reasonable goal of x hours on job search with the promise of getting to spent y hours writing after you are done.

  3. If this isn’t relevant anymore, forgive me I am just catching up on the blog-o-sphere. If I may make an observation, the original blog format of the first book broke it down into smaller manageable tasks, like a serial novel or a comic book (sans illustrations). Each post, once completed, created a stream of smaller successes and provided feedback as you went thereby fueling the motivation engine. Smaller tasks mean they might fit more easily into your day of job searching, raising a youngster or what have you, your mileage may vary. I’m not certain what part of the process from the first book made you decide against it for the second. You may have very concrete reasons for deciding against it but I thought I’d post what I thought made the process of the first book unique and interesting. Maybe that process might help with the problems you mentioned.

    1. That’s all very true. It’s great to get feedback from people who watched the process from the other side of the glass, as it were. I’m still working on it, but there’s progress to be seen (just did a chapter this morning, for example, and I’ll try another one this aft.)

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