Not having a job sucks, and it can make you feel awful. And that can happen a lot when you’re applying for writing jobs.
My unemployment history
There were two points during the last 12 months when I was effectively unemployed. I say effectively as on the second occasion I was still registered as self-employed, but I had no work to do (I thought saying I was self-employed was better than saying I was jobless).
I spent almost all of this time on writing CVs and attending unsuccessful job interviews, which after a few months got tedious and depressing. I know writers are supposed to have ‘thick skin’ for dealing with rejection, but when you’re rejected so often it makes you feel terrible. Every day becomes horribly repetitive.
I should have had more days when I did something that didn’t involve applying for jobs and subsequently feeling awful. I should have had more days where I could look forward to spending my time usefully and free from the pressures of finding an income.
How to feel better
I’m guessing I’m not the only young aspiring writer who’s been through a jobless period, so the following list of things to do alongside job searching is for anyone who’s been or is in my situation.
- Volunteering. Spending some time selling and organising stock in a charity shop would have gotten me out of the house for a few hours a week at no financial cost. Plus, it would’ve given me something to talk to potential employers about if they invited me to an interview and asked me what I’ve been doing since my last writing job.
- Start a writing project. This one may be a little bit more daunting if you’ve already spent many hours on your computer typing up monotonous job applications. However, it can make for a nice change when you write something you actually want to write and, unlike with CVs and their end goals of being invited to a job interview, you get to determine what makes your writing successful. Again, its something you can talk to potential employers about when there’s a gap in your CV, and it has even more relevance to the job you’re applying for.
- Go on walks. Like volunteering, going out for a walk is a cost-free way of getting out of your house and spending your time on something different. Plus, you get the health benefits of light exercise.
Do other things
As an aspiring writer in a competitive job market, there may unfortunately be times when you’re unemployed. Spending all your time applying for jobs, as I learnt, can become frustrating. This is why it’s important spend some time doing other things, which may even support your job applications.