What to Do When Your Work No Longer Inspires You—And Everything Feels Like Ass-Flavored Drudgery
March 5, 2019
In: Hate Your Job?
CUE THE SCOTTISH CALVARY: I TURNED IN THE BOOK MANUSCRIPT TO PENGUIN ON FRIDAY! And then I proceeded to immediately shoved a pound of brownies in my face! Which I am celebrating! Because books and brownies! And, holy shit, I’m pretty sure March 1st, 2019 will forever be a personal holiday.
(To clarify, these were not illegal brownies. I don’t eat those. But my friend Chelsea is a pastry chef, and so I’m just going to leave that sentence right there and let you think about why YOU don’t have a friend who is a pastry chef.)
So, listen! I wanted to tell you something. I wanted to tell you my number. Not my phone number, nor the the number of human beings I have seduced, in my thirty-four decrepit years, but rather, the update on the number of hours it has taken me to write this particular manuscript from start to…well, this point. Because it’s not finished, yet. There are still multiple rounds of edits that happen at the hand of an editorial team, and then we’ve only just begun, because marketing comes next. And yes, make no mistake, I will be pulling out a bugle and calling you to arms. I have never been more invested in WOMEN + CONFIDENCE. It’s the crux of everything I do: it’s not about online business or entrepreneurship or creativity or money.
It’s about the anarchy in your ovaries.
I want to help every single woman who’s ever felt that twinge, get the confidence she needs to do the things she hopes. So much so, that I have dedicated a large portion of my regular business hours to writing something designed to show other women that they are possible. And just because I know you’ll be tickled, here’s an excerpt from an email I recently got from my editor:
So, it looks like title, “The Middle Finger Project” will be ride or die-ing right on up to a bookshelf at Barnes & Noble—and YOU WILL BE RIGHT THERE NEXT TO ME. Figuratively, of course, unless you come to a signing. In which case, you really will be right there next to me, and how effing cool is that? Will you sign my copy, please?
Anyway. So, my number. Are you ready for this wizardry? The number is:
1,455 hours and 48 minutes.
According to my time-tracking system, that's how long it took to write a full first draft of the manuscript from start to finish, including developing the concept, the proposal, the sample chapters, and the multiple and extensive rounds of edits I performed in conjunction with my literary agency before we even shopped it to publishers. It doesn’t include phone calls with agents or editors, though, because usually I wasn’t at my computer when I was doing those things. And it also doesn’t account for all the times I was drinking red wine and completely forgot to track. (In other words, OFTEN?)
The draft itself came in at 83,981 words, or 319 pages in Word.
Which means that every single one of those 319 pages represents approximately five hours of focused work. Five hours of my life per page. And man, did it feel GOOD. That’s what I want you to understand. That when you are doing the right work, IT WILL FEEL GOOD. Work should feel good! For far too long, we’ve been buying into the Protestant-inspired, ass-flavored work ethic of, “Work is suppose to be hard—that’s why they call it work.” I have a few things to say about that, many of which I wrote in the book, because I’m straight up sending that bullshit back to the kitchen. It’s an idea that was created a long time ago by the people in power to keep them in power—and keep you from asking too many questions. It’s a verbal iron collar. It’s a narrative designed to keep you small and obedient.
Pursuing work that gives you pleasure is one of the most rebellious things you can do. Something I know to be true: when you do things that give you joy, you will be a joyful person. When you do things that make you miserable, you will be a miserable person. And miserable people are the most easily controlled. They have lost their joie de vivre. They’ve lost confidence in the world. And they’ve lost confidence in themselves. And that certainly benefits the people who want you to keep your head down and do as you’re told. (That goes for husbands, too, ladies.)
So don’t be afraid of hard work. Be afraid of uninspiring work. Don’t be afraid to spend 1,455 hours on something if it makes you excited: be afraid to spend 1,455 hours on something that doesn’t.
There is so much power in joy.