Day 6 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – That’s The Gig

That’s the gig has become a kind of catchphrase between me and my dad. It’s a phrase that comes from my day job and it is simple and cuts straight to the point.

Note: Warning – anecdote from my day job life. The terms I’m using are general so you can understand my meaning.

Years ago, I was in a supervisor’s office complaining about how a client yelled at me over the phone regarding required specifications. I’m not used to being yelled at by anyone in a professional setting. We might have, as the church folks call it – heated fellowship. Yelling to the point that a colleague the next business day checked in with me to make sure I was all right? No. That was a new experience for me.

As I sat there in the cramped office in my full face of makeup, work dress and tights (tights because DC got cold and those old historic buildings are drafty), telling my supervisor of my concerns, he uttered one of the greatest phrases I’ve ever heard – that’s the gig.

That, my friends, told me everything I needed to know about that job. With that phrase, my supervisor let me know that in order for me to stay in that job, part of my job duties was accepting verbal abuse on a regular basis. Things would not get better. He would not come to my defense. Professionalism was for me and not for thee.

Now. At this point, I have to note something that I am notorious for saying but I will keep repeating because it’s true. Just because that’s how that job went for me, didn’t mean that’s how it would go for someone else. That’s why I’m hesitant to make blanket statements about jobs or communities. The most you’ll get out of me is to try something and if it doesn’t work or if people do not treat you in the way that you want to be treated then get out.

Obviously, I am not at that job anymore.

When I have concerns about a job, I go to my supervisor to voice them. When I have that meeting, I’m prepared for the response – that’s the gig. From observations, I’ve found that the Powers That Be have plenty of authority to make changes if they see an employee as valuable and want to keep them. Like, the prayer – Lord, I’ve seen what you’ve done for others. No, I don’t know the other person’s situation, but I also know that most policies have a loophole if someone wants to use them. From that point, I have a choice – I can accept the working conditions, or I can move on.

There’s no use in arguing or complaining or grumbling as I sip my coffee, reviewing unread emails and my calendar that day as part of my morning review to plan the work day. That’s the gig. You either accept it, change it to the best of your ability, or move on.

So. What has this got to do with writing? For this week, I’ve gotten an understanding of the gig of writing. These days with the e-publishing revolution it’s easy to get sidetracked from the work of just sitting down and getting the words in. In order to write an average of 2,024 words a day for an entire year requires consistency. It requires planning. In turn, it will show me what it takes for me to have a creative career.

(There’s that me, again, because I realize people work differently and, again, I’m all about finding out what works for you and doing it. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you meet your goals. Methods are supposed to help, not shackle.)

I worry I could slide into what might be termed obsession – a day filled with telling stories, studying craft, and reading. Yet. Is that such a bad thing? In her memoir Barbra Streisand talks about going through 2 shifts a day of editors when editing a movie – one editor would work a shift, go home and then she’d started working with another editor. Yet, she called herself lazy. Probably because she loved every minute of it.

 Do I really enjoy the work of sitting at a computer and writing for hours a day?

What’s the gig? Do I like it? Do I need to change my definition of it? Or do I need to move on? This year, I’m going to find out.


As of Day 6 – 1/6/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written to Be on Track/Ultimate Word Goal

13,327/12,144/ 740,784

About Irette Y Patterson

Irette Y Patterson is a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and romance. She has been published in FIYAH, Strange Horizons, Translunar Travelers Lounge and on the website of The Saturday Evening Post. When not writing, you can find her digging around in her garden or catching the latest musical in the theater.
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