Saturday, May 26, 2012

Trying it the Nerdist Way

I've been away. Long time readers will know that I do that. I won't make any promises that I'm back to updating regularly. But, for now, here's a post.

So, my life has continued to crumble. Just when I think I can't mess things up any worse than they already are, I find another thing to ruin. I'm still married. I'm stunned that my wife puts up with me but she does. I am so not the person that I was when we met but, I can still make her laugh and I suppose that's something. Oh, and there's all that love and commitment stuff...

My book deal, the thing that defined and sustained me for quite a few months, fell through. It was mostly my fault; it was like I set myself up to fail in horrible slow motion just so I could watch the train wreck frame by frame. There were a few contributing factors that were beyond my control. I haven't really given the whole situation a good, hard study and I probably never will. Chances are I just used those factors as excuses. Anyway, I now owe the publisher my advance back so, yippee!, more debt.

Finances are a huge problem for me at the moment. When the book deal collapsed, I started looking for work in earnest. I had been casually dipping my toe in the job pool before then but, when it all came down in December, I cranked up my job hunting dial to eleven. Even so, it took me until the end of April to land a job. It's seasonal work and ends in June. Luckily, I found another job that I start in a week so that's something. Still things are eye-ball poppingly tight and everything feels like an upstairs stumble to the next payday. Plus, this is not where I was supposed to be at this point in life.

I'm still writing. Financial desperation makes it difficult to keep a positive voice. Magazines have stopped buying my work. No doubt the editors can smell my desperation in my pitches. I've still got my regular online gigs which pay pretty well. The jobs I took, both the seasonal and the new one, are part-time so I've been able to keep up. So, I'm hoping that in a month or two my finances will be back in shape and my writing won't stink quite as much.

Which brings me to the title of this post. I'm reading my first self-help book. It's called The Nerdist Way. I didn't set out to find a self-help book as most of them seem like hooey to me. I came to it simply because I'm a fan of the author, Chris Hardwick. As you may have guessed, he is a self proclaimed nerd and one of the guys out in front of the nerds-are-cool movement. I'm pretty nerdy myself - I know, shocker, right? - and am pretty tuned into most of what he talks and writes about. In many ways he's like me except successful. So, when I learned about his book I thought I'd give it a try.

It's pretty good. I'm only a few chapters in but I have to admit that I'm feeling a little inspired. The book isn't about depression; it's about embracing our nerdly qualities to succeed in life. And I could do with a little success just now as it seems like everything in my life is covered in an oily, black sludge of depression.

It's going to be a long and horrible road up out of this pit. I don't know if I can do it but, with the new job and a bit of nudging from Hardwick, maybe I can turn this train wreck around. (I realize the metaphor makes no sense whatsoever but just roll with it, okay?)