When it Rains, it Pours; or: Renewing Focus
Last year, I planned ahead. I knew things would be slow, work-wise, and decided I wanted to focus on my own writing, so I could be productive then. I was moderately successful, and also did actually have some work during that month as well. But I still wasn't as productive as I wanted to be, so I got angry at myself. It did, however, force me to truly focus my energies and knock out my D2DVD-type horror script in 15 days during the month of January (with one quick revision). That script still awaits a more solid (but hopefully still quick) revision, but it was still an accomplishment of which I am proud.
Then comes this year. Things had been going well for me overall, with a new part-time job (started back in May or June or something) taking some of the monetary pressure off. I still had a good amount of work, but I knew that there was still the possibility that my reading work would slow down. Then it rained.
I got word at my PT job that I was no longer needed, at least not until after the holidays. Their work also slows in December. And to make matters worse, I was only given a week's heads up. This upset me, because when they hired me, it wasn't presented as a "temp" position, for just when they needed me. It was presented as a permanent, part-time position. I had no reason to expect that things might change, and they weren't unhappy with my work, so I was taken by complete (and unpleasant) surprise when they told me this.
Still, I decided, this would be a great opportunity in some ways. I was forced to recognize the reduced workload I'd have in December with extreme clarity. And I noticed it early, before it really hit. So it gave me the opportunity to try to ensure that I was productive through the next month or two. I began organizing my life with two goals in mind.
Firstly, I'd get back to writing more on the scripts, with the goal of getting them all in good enough shape to start taking out early in the new year. But I also decided to renew my focus on freelance writing. I currently write regularly for scr(i)pt magazine, and I've occasionally had other things published and/or had other freelance writing gigs. So I decided to make a target list of publications for which I might be able to write, and began to start thinking up story ideas to pitch. Many were film or writing related, but some focused on other interests I have. But I figured if I could get 2 articles a month, along with my other work (such as reading), I'd be in pretty good shape financially. My expenses, after all, are thankfully not that high.
Then it poured.
In a sense.
I got woken up this morning by my friend Jason, from whom I sublet my room. Jason is someone who used to live in LA, then moved to New York. When he found out I was thinking of moving to LA, he set me up with an apartment. He lived in LA, with my roommate, and since the rent in this apartment is really cheap, he wanted to hold onto the room in case he ever wanted to move back here. So he sublet the room, to other people previously, then to me. It did make for a weird situation, where I would send my rent check to NYC, and then Jason would send his check back to my roommate here in LA (since the roommate is the one on the lease). But it made no difference to me. So I was fine with it, especially because my rent was so damn cheap. Just what I could afford!
But when Jason called this morning, it was to tell me that he'd decided to move back to LA, and was going to want his room back. So now, I not only have less work (and therefore less income), but I also have to find a new apartment, most likely one that will cost me more overall. Ugh. Too bad I couldn't have lost my apartment in the same way that forced Julie to move.
So, what to do? I could allow this to distract me, as I've let similar things do in the past. But I know that would be bad. Instead of letting it get me off track, I need it to force me to redouble my refocusing efforts. Getting my scripts into good shape so I can get them out there has become even more important now. So has finding new sources of freelance income. Of course, I'll also look for an appropriate replacement job. But the bottom line is, I need to maintain, and even intensify, my focus. And hopefully, all the other pieces will fall into place as well.
Tags: paying+rent+in+LA, adversity, maintaining+focus