Stress Relief

I’m working my way through some tough depression, stress, and anxiety. Right now, I have a lot of triggers: my career choice (thanks to my father), some OCD-type things, and a number of PTSD-related issues.

Usually, I get so wound up after getting triggered that I can’t do anything. I sit staring at a wall, not doing a thing. And that’s all I’m capable of.

To try to get past that, I’m focusing small, working on one thing at a time. The first thing I’m trying is to work on my career issues. The root of the issue is huge, but can be summed up as: my father wanted me in a technical career, which is where I am. While I enjoy what I do now, I had always planned on being a writer (novelist, journalist, etc.) and an editor.

One thing I’ve realized recently is that I’ve spent too long listening to that voice of my father saying, “Writing isn’t good enough.” And waiting for someone else to come along and tell me that it is good enough. Others have told me that writing is good, that I’m a good writer, but none of it has made a difference.

So I need to change myself. I can’t rely on others to do it for me.

Today, I spent some time getting my computers situated. Rather than going with a “simple” set up of having everything on one computer, I’ve now separated things out: I have one computer that is dedicated to my WordPress development work, and another that is devoted to writing and editing. My personal computer doesn’t have any of the data or apps I’d need for work, so it eliminates the usual temptation I have when I sit down to write to, instead, do something for work.

Now I can truly take a computer, with the tools I need, and sit down to write. I’ve dropped my social networking profiles, which has saved me a lot of time already. With this additional change, I feel good. I feel like I’ll get more writing done.

Hell, I’ve already written an almost 400-word blog post, which I normally don’t do.

Taking the Bull by the Horns Might Get You Gored

But sometimes it’s the only way to get things done.

I’ve been on the fence about writing for awhile now. Lots of backstory (read: I have issues, some of the same as any writer (Dad says writing “isn’t a career” and was generally unsupportive), some that go a bit  deeper into the psyche).

In any case, I’ve been doing a lot of personal reflection and work with a therapist over the last several years. Finally, I’m at a point where I can handle all the voices in my head well enough to tell them to take a hike.

I’m lining up some writing projects for myself:

  • A couple of articles for WordPress developers (likely applicable to generalists too). One on project management, one on an undecided topic.
  • A couple of book reviews (one on the first two books of Brent Weeks’s Lightbringer series, another on an ARC of Jon Sprunk’s new book).
  • A short story that’s been burbling in my head off and on for four years. Writing and sending it as my application to Viable Paradise.
  • General writing goal of doing some writing every day.

New Site

I’m working on a new web site and had some inspiration last night (my insomnia kicked in, then my brain filled up the time generating ideas). I’ve got quite a bit done on it; it’s WordPress-based, several custom post types, still needs a few more extras and some theme work to finish.

I’m hoping to have something together by mid to late August.

I also got to thinking about starting a hosted WordPress network for writers. A lot of these things exist in other capacities, so I’m not sure how much interest there would be in it.

A New Job

Back in April, I was offered a golden opportunity: start a trial contract with Automattic, Inc. If you don’t know, Automattic is a company founded by Matt Mullenweg, who co-founded WordPress (the software that runs this blog). Automattic support WordPress.com, as well as some of the core developers of WordPress.org, and a variety of other WordPress-related projects.

I’ve been working with WordPress professionally for two and a half years now (running the UMaine.edu home page and roughly 350 department sites at the current time) and I have used it personally since around 2006. I’ve had a lot of fun developing plugins for WordPress, tracking down bugs, and making feeble attempts at patching core bugs (I’ve never gotten to the point of submitting patches, mostly due to time).

So I was very happy when Nick Momrik got in touch and offered me the trial contract. I worked on a couple of projects (updating the Slideshare shortcode for WordPress.com as well as an enhancement to WordPress.com’s Publicize feature, soon to be launched). At the end of June, I was fortunate to speak with Matt Mullenweg, who offered me a full-time position with Automattic.

And, I’m happy to announce, I’ve accepted the offer and am now starting my three week support orientation!