Procrastinating, Job Hunting, Dealing with Stress, and Japan (Notes from the Diary of a Literary Rebel)

It’s funny how appropriate this blog comment is even now, though I’m procrastinating much less now than I had been.  It’s also interesting that I mention the parallels between dating and job hunting, which I expanded upon in this post.

September 11, 2008 – Thursday

Current mood:  anxious
Category: Life

Well, what I should be doing is obvious; I should be using the Internet to look for a job.  What I am doing is writing this blog.

We all have things that can calm us down when life’s stresses get to us.  I remember buying pints of ice cream in London whenever I had a bad day there.  And yes, testoterone was present at that time in my body.  In Japan, I would go for a bike ride.  Getting out of my room and seeing so many other people on (what usually was) a gorgeous day, either walking or riding bikes themselves, always helped me to feel better about myself.  Of course, there was no substitute for hanging out with friends, but on my bike, I could ride to a nearby park and people-watch, write, or just ride my bike around some more.  On one occasion, I even talked with a Japanese couple whose daughter (or son?) was going to school in America.  They spoke English with me, though I can’t remember if I let on that I knew some Japanese or not with them.  My speaking ability certainly wasn’t as good then as it is now, and even now, it could be better.  I’ve managed to steadily improve my retention of things I learned (but didn’t always remember) for my level 3 test, though having no one to practice speaking with has been a challenge.  As for writing and listening, I can write emails (and letters) to my friends in Japanese, and I have some Japanese movies and CDs (including the ones that I studied for the test) that I can listen to.

Listening to CDs, however, has to be done on my dad’s stereo, as mine has recently gone “kaput.”  I began having problems with the CD player as soon as I got home from Japan three months ago, but now nothing works–no radio, no CDs, not even sound coming from my TV through my stereo.  The speakers still work, but the amp that sends the sound through them does not.

I got off to a late start today, helped by my recent obsession with the show “Mindfreak.”  It’s on A&E at 10 pm on Wednesday nights (and often repeats are shown at other times), but I’ve been watching the shows on ON DEMAND.  So, instead of getting ready to face another boring day of the same old routine, I get up and watch one or two episodes of that show, putting me back about an hour.  Getting up at 9 or 9:30 doesn’t help, either.  I don’t think I need to go back to getting up at 5:30, like I did my last year in Japan, but getting up earlier would benefit me.

I see parallels between my job search and dating.  In both cases, both I and the other party have to agree that I am what they are looking for and vice versa, the selection process is helped through friends (having an “in” for a job; knowing a girl for a date), and I’m not good at either. Concerning my job search, I don’t do well when trying to find something from my parents’ home, and I don’t do well unless my back is against the wall (there was a possibility that NOVA wasn’t going to renew my contract for a third year, which greatly helped me to find another job in a hurry online, taking only three weeks).  Also, I respond better to challenges from without rather than those from within–at least when I’m at an emotional low or feeling emotionally blah.  I’m also not as big of a risk taker as I should be.  For example, I think that being a voice actor, in addition to writing, would be a kick ass career, but as there’s less even security acting than there is writing, I probably won’t ever sign up for classes.

I am traveling to Portland, OR in about three weeks to see 1.) if I have a better chance at finding a place to work in person than I do looking online, and 2.) to see what I think of the city.  I’m hoping that, giving the opportunity to be out of the state, never mind out of my parents’ house, for a few days (though I really only have two days in Portland, due to flight times and durations) will create the sort of luck that always accompanies me when I find a job that I stick with for more than a season.  Wish me luck. 

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6 thoughts on “Procrastinating, Job Hunting, Dealing with Stress, and Japan (Notes from the Diary of a Literary Rebel)”

  1. I’ve probably spent more time procrastinating than doing anything else in my life, save perhaps for sleeping. Getting started on something is usually the hardest part. I’ll sit at my desk to write a blog entry, log onto wordpress, stare at the screen for a minute… then get up and walk to the kitchen to grab a snack, or open a new tab in my browser and start reading stuff I’m not even that interested in just to be doing something else. (case in point: after writing that last sentence, I opened a new tab to check on a couple random sites, and refreshed Twitter for updates.) And before I know it, a couple hours have passed, and I really don’t have time to write that blog post today, and I guess I’ll do it tomorrow then, and it’s been over a week since my last entry and I’m starting to feel bad about it, and…

    No wonder I work best under pressure (I’ve got a huge love/hate relationship with deadlines). But even then, it’s hard to resist the urge not to work when you know you should. I remember the end of my first quarter in Chicago, when I got to the library at 8 in the morning to write a 12-page paper that was due that same day at 4:30. Well, let’s just say I still managed to screw around on the internet for a good hour or so during the day–though in hindsight, that may have been necessary for me not to go insane. Perhaps procrastinating is some sort of defense mechanism? (no, I don’t really believe it either)

    1. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking breaks and having fun, but procrastination is only there to protect us from our eventual successes, as useful to us as an appendix is.

      Concerning writing everyday, I don’t think you have to be stuck in a routine to be a successful writer, but you won’t be a very productive writer if you can’t get into that rhythm of producing something creative every day, whether it be blogs, poetry, diary entries (yes, you can be quite creative with them), chapters in a novel, or short stories.

      As far as deadlines go: Ira Glass agrees with you, and talks about it in that link I sent you, as part of my comment to your latest post. And if you haven’t read it yet, sit down and read On Writing. If you don’t have time to read it, realize that Stephen King (and I) both agree on this point: if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.

      Finally, I can’t promise a speedy response, but I’d be happy to look at your novel and give you feedback when you feel it’s ready to be seen. Likewise if you want to read mine. I promise to be more critical than I am online. 😉

      1. Careful with that offer, I very well might take you up on it someday. And I’d be more than happy to read your novel! 🙂

        LD: Careful with YOUR offer, because I WILL take you up on it within the next year. 🙂

  2. Well, what I should be doing is obvious; I should be using the Internet to look for a job. What I am doing is writing this blog.

    Only thing easier than writing a blog is writing a comment. Comment writing, like blogging, is a current opium of the masses.

    LD: Comments on Facebook, in particular. 🙂

  3. I clicked on the name link for your blog at Ebert’s thread on loneliness. Almost a year ago he did a post on me and my website. Once or twice a week I check out his threads.

    A depressing thread, but your blog made me think you might want to learn more of art and interact with intelligent folk more. If interested, contact me and I can introduce you to some people with intelligence and drive in the arts.

    My wife, BTW- has read and reviewed many Japanese books, and there are a few folks who live or lived in Japan on my e-list.

    If interested, contact me.

    LD: I just may. Thanks for the offer.

  4. Give up on dating and be as I am and wallow in loneliness and sorrow and bitterness and crank out some awesome poetics 🙂 Travel is always a good thing. A chance for renewal and beginnings and most certainly a new job and life of love and excess!

    However, I cannot fathom that such a literary mind as yours is consumed by such an irrational show like ‘Mind Freak.’

    tsk tsk tsk.

    LD: Boredom makes us do strange things 😉 But seriously, I’ve always been interested in magic, because I am interested in possibilities.

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