Never not making the effort
Friday, 04.20.2018 - 5:50 pm.

I've made essential progress in my PhD: I've accepted that I'm not contributing anything to the world with it, and that my sample did not allow me to test what I wanted to test. However, all I've done and learned these last few years do merit getting a PhD, and I can still get some good writing going with my non-findings. 

This day has been very productive: I got a haircut, I'm attending a housewarming party in an hour, and I mailed my manuscript to a publishing house in Barcelona; I think it's the most handsome submission I've ever prepared, though this is just the third one for this story. I regretted adding one description about my main character on the cover letter, but hopefully they will bear with me, read the sample chapters, ask for the rest of it, publish the book, and make me rich.

This past Wednesday I went to a Doodle club. It was OK. It reinforced my awareness that I can't draw, but it was really fun and 10/10 would do it again. Maybe next time I can make more of this event for my comic strip. See, I was also somewhat intimidated by having friends from the Psych Department who came along with me, but they were good company. I'm glad I didn't go alone. 

Oh, look, I'm remembering this week backwards. The day before the Doodle Club, Tuesday, I went for coffee with M. I don't have a crush on her anymore. She's a smart, supportive, caring, badass woman, don't get me wrong. The spark just isn't there for me anymore. That's a bit of a relief, a bit of a loss, and a huge amount of who cares.

Plus, I'm not a very interesting person, and I'm hyper aware of that. It's the same thing that happened with T, the professor I admire so much: I have nothing significant to offer in our exchanges, and whatever hard crush I may have on this very intelligent person is buried by all my feelings of inadequacy. Still, it was nice to see her. 

Speaking of feelings of inadequacy, I've been thinking of writing something to try to get it published on a LGBT website. I have a notion of what I want to say, I'm just not sure it's interesting or relatable, both huge weaknesses of mine, not being so. I looked at other articles on that website and got discouraged, but hey, what's there to lose? It's something I'd like to write anyway. 

My friend Virginia, from my home country, has become this amazing freelance writer. She's brilliant, funny, critical, and knows a lot about many topics (not Psychology, I'll grant you that to salvage my self-esteem). It's because of her that I realized I've given away over a decade of intellectual labor for free, on the internet. I mean, that's cool, knowledge for all, but some of the things that I just threw into the wind and were barely noticed or appreciated it probably deserved a different treatment.

It stings when I see her say something like, I wrote this thing, hopefully someone will publish it. I suppose you have to know when something you write has a certain monetary value and/or requires to be backed-up by a serious media/community organization, rather than just posting it on your blog or on Twitter.

Seeing my friend just killing it in the freelance-writing world makes me want get some gigs like that. I enjoy writing, and I'm fairly decent at it. But now I've feel I've cheapened my labor so much, no one would pay me for a column or for my comic strip. Lots of time and knowledge and yes, material resources, go into getting that shit done, so it'd be nice not doing it for free. And I still have lots to say! But then again, there are lots of people who do too, and do it better than me, and know how to get themselves out there more than me. 

When I told my friend Eric about the columns I wrote for the Latin American newspaper in London (which has gone to shit since they changed editorial team, and thankfully I quit by then), he said "you could turn them into a book!". That's 30 columns, of 1200 words each, about being a Latin American PhD student in the UK and who comes out as bi in the process. I don't think it's a bad idea, and bless him for putting it in my head, but of course: Who would publish it? Who would care to buy it? 

Ugh, I keep feeling sorry for myself. When has self-pity been attractive? Never, that's when! I think I do a good job keeping it to myself, though, and if so, well, I can carry on moaning, can't I? I'm still publishing my comic strip, I'm still sending out my manuscript to publishing houses. I'm making the effort. I don't ever see myself not making the effort. That should pay off some day. Right?*

*And if it does, you'll see that "Make an effort!" is a line in my story. 

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