WHY I QUIT MY JOB AT NETFLIX TO PURSUE WRITING

I quit my job at Netflix. Not because it was awful (it wasn’t), or I hated the people (I love my team), or I had another job lined up (definitely don’t). So… **adjusts reading glasses **… why did I quit, then?

For the last year and a half, I’ve had an absolutely ridiculous dream job at Netflix. My job for the longest time was to build and oversee the social channels for @NetflixFilm. I got to travel to film festivals and watch movies… FOR MY JOB. I created really fun things, like this and this. I met filmmakers who’ve won actual awards and made videos with actors I have no business being in a room with. I worked at Netflix — the thing everyone loves to watch — had coworkers who are the smartest people I’ve met in my life, and was making more money than I’ve ever made.

Which is why it’s maybe the worst feeling in the world to wake up and know you have an incredible job, but also know you’re not meant to be doing it. How to explain this feeling? It’s a tough one. Especially because it’s less of a feeling and more of an inner voice (you know, the deep down authentic version of yourself who just tells it like it is, even if you don’t want to hear it).

And the thing that became clear was this: the problem wasn’t my job — obviously, my job was killer — it was me. I was the problem. Because I wasn’t listening to myself — to that inner voice. I didn’t want to hear my own thoughts, because they were scaring me; leave your job, you should be writing, you aren’t supposed to be here. Those were the last things in the world I wanted to hear. What I wanted was to thrive at Netflix. To build a life for myself there. And I really did try — so hard — but this stupid fucking voice kept popping up to remind me, you aren’t supposed to be here, this isn’t your purpose. I can’t tell you how much I wanted those thoughts to disappear. And if I’m being honest, I’ve had this inner voice for the last few years, I just always chose to ignore it.

Because the easier thing was to continue the course, ride it out, and just push those feelings down. I was being ridiculous. I needed to get over it. Only, I couldn’t. I tried therapy, acupuncture, I bought many bath pillows, y’all… Those offered some temporary relief. But then I’d spend the week at work, and I just kept feeling more and more miserable but didn’t know how to express those feelings. After all, I had a great job, made great money, and loved my coworkers — what’s the problem here? I was constantly complaining, and feeling exhausted, and I stopped liking who I was.

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Which is when I realized that the only way things would change is if I made a choice: I could choose to listen to my inner voice, or keep complaining until I turned into a sad, whiny prune (probably, very likely). My inner voice was telling me to write. To do the thing I’ve always wanted to do — spend a year just pursuing writing and see where it would lead me. This is one of those dreams I’ve had and put on a shelf next to other nice things I’d like to happen, like winning the lottery or moving to an island inhabited solely by cats. Especially because to take a year off to focus on writing sounds irresponsible and indulgent, and like the kind of thing people might judge me for (and I do care deeply about what other people think, I’m working on that). But I started saving money, and telling people I was thinking about making this leap, and the more I saved and was vulnerable, the more of a reality it actually felt like.

So on my birthday this year, I put in my notice at Netflix. I made the choice to quit my job. I’m going to be creative and curious and see where it leads me… ahhhhhhhh.

If you couldn’t tell by that written scream, I’m terrified about what comes next. As of today, I’m officially unemployed. Here’s everything that is currently scaring the shit out of me:

  • My husband and I have a mortgage, and his jobs in TV are never a sure thing. So that’s… fun!
  • I’ve saved up enough money to take a year off… IF I can stick to the very tight, very lean budget I’ve set for myself.
  • I may not get paid at all this year. I might fail. I might not sell anything. That’s a reality.
  • I feel guilty. I don’t completely know why. It feels indulgent to pursue my passion.
  • And even though I’ve published two books (hey, help an unemployed girl out and buy them here and here), I don’t know that I fully deserve this. Have I earned the right to try and do this full-time? Maybe not!

So, I will be writing like it’s a job I’m getting paid for (though, I’m definitely not at this time), and feeling supremely uncomfortable about it. I’ll be working through ideas for books, TV scripts, features, plays… whatever sparks joy (thank you Netflix and Marie Kondo for teaching us this concept). In a year’s time, I may have very little to show for myself, and people might think this is crazy stupid of me to do. I truly can’t predict the future, and I’m not a person who does well with the unknown! What I do know is that I’m choosing to try and change my life. That’s my choice. I hope you can support it. It took me a long time to get to this place.

Maybe this is all a big mistake. Or maybe it’s not.

I do know that I’d never want to look back at my life and think about how I always wanted to take a year off to write but didn’t.

So I’m hurling myself into the great unknown.

Hoping I emerge with an inner voice that’s in a happier, more fulfilled place.

Thank you for reading this. Is there anything you’re curious about knowing, or want to hear more about? I’m happy to talk about how I made this happen through extreme saving (been doing my own nails since 2017, folks), or anything else! Let me know!

Xo

—Originally published on February 8, 2019 on erinlarosacreative.com. 

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF WRITERS BLOCK AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM

Writers block: whether you’re working on a piece of fiction or an essay, it will or has plagued you at one time or another. So how do we move on from the various feelings of word weariness? Read on to identify what type of block you’re feeling, and how to move past it.

YOU CAN’T FIND THE TIME

Sometimes, and especially when we’re writing things without specific deadlines, it can be hard to carve out the time to write as much as we would like to. In this case, consistency is key. Plan to write for a specific hour of the day in a specific location! It may be hard for the first week or so, but soon it will become habit and the space you go to will feel conducive only to writing.

YOU HAVE NO IDEAS

This type sucks. We all have those moments where were drawing up a perpetual blank about what to write. Take a walk. Clear your head. Stop trying to think. If that doesn’t work, journal for a bit in stream of consciousness style. Don’t worry if you stray off topic, this is how ideas get generated!

YOURE OVERWHELMED BY THE POSSIBILITIES

Sometimes we have too many ideas. It’s easy to just sit there and let them wash over us without really understanding anything. This is a time to jot them all down in a list, go make yourself a cup of tea, and come back to them with a fresh mindset. You could also flush them out with a vina!

YOU’VE HIT A CREATIVE WALL

You keep staring at the page and not really seeing anything. How did this happen? You were really building up momentum a second ago. This is the time to sit with it. It may be uncomfortable, but just leaving everything is sure to mean that you won’t come back anytime soon. Make sure you sit through the whole hour you told yourself you’d write for. Push through the discomfort. Let your mind relax and explore. Something will come I promise!

YOU FEEL LIKE YOU MADE THE WRONG CHOICE AND NEED TO START  OVER

This is the absolute worst feeling, but often times it is secretly the best kind of writers block. That nagging feeling that something’s not right or a phenomenal new idea that fits with absolutely nothing that you have just created can actually propel you forward. Don’t delete anything, just start fresh. You’ll often find that a lot of what you previously generated fits into your new concept, and that you’ve flushed out a lot of brianstorming that makes writing everything the second time a whole lot easier.

Experiencing writers block? Have new tactics to overcome it? Share with a vina and comment below! 

(Feature Image via Appreciating Amelia Warner)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE VINA SUMMER READING LIST

One of our favorite summer activities is reading. It’s the like being really adventurous and righteously lazy all at the same time. We love to keep a book in our purse and steal away just an hour here or there in the park, at a coffee shop, in the sun, on your couch. And like working out, even though it’s pretty solo, it is also a fave past time to share with a vina.

We’ve put together a summer reading list that will tickle the taste of just about anyone. So, go ahead and take your pick they’re all good in our book.

NON-FICTION: Brain On Fire, Susannah Cahalan

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I am not sure what is more remarkable the story of this girls survival or the fact that afterwards she completely reconstructed a part of her life she has no memory of and tells it in a heart wrenching and scientifically enthralling way. I feel like I cannot even tell you what happens without giving too much away. But, out of nowhere this perfectly healthy and successful girl looses her mind, and it’s pretty much a miracle that she can even tell the story. You have to read it.

 

 

 

CATCH ALL & GO BIG: IQ84, Haruki Murakami

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Leave it Murakami to pretty much defy all genres and turn up with something like this. I’ve been reading it forever because it’s massive and I love it and I never want it to end. It has everything from sci-fi to romance to some good ole fashion mind bending twists, and of course, language that only Murakami can pull off. If you’re up for the challenge of this 900+ page beast, then I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

 

ROMANCE: Me Before You, JoJo Moyes

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Okay, this might go under romance/cry my eyes out until they’re so red that I look high, but still, romance. This book made me fall in love with it from opening the very first page and pushed my boundaries about sacrifice and love every step of the way. The story revolves around a woman living in her small home town who takes a job caring for a handsome business man who must live in a wheelchair since a tragic accident. Plus, it’s being turned into a movie and coming out this summer, so it’s always fun to read the book first. But, be ready to cry. Even a cynic of romance will fall for this book. It’s so damn good.

 

 

TRAVEL: Voyager, Travel Writings, Russell Banks

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A captivating account of person and place that explores the undeniable intricacies of writing and travel and the relationship they create. A series of essays based around place rather than idea they each individually explore their own questions while speaking at times as a whole work of art. Now in his mid seventies, Banks has been exploring and wandering most of his life and seen a great part of this globe. In this collection, he brings together a lifetime of lessons and perspective, delivered to his readers with all the grace of a man who has seen it all.

 

 

COMING OF AGE: The Girls, Emma Cline

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Not all reading has to be mind bending and take the effort of going to grad school. Some of my favorite books of all time are simple escapes that I read on a beach or in the secret of my bedroom. Set in the cult culture of California in the 1960’s, this coming of age story that explores the dangerous desire of young women’s need to be validated. It will have you devouring every page.

 

 

 

 

A CLASSIC: Slouching Toward Bethlehem, Joan Didion

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I cannot write a reading list and not include this book. It is my favorite. And if you haven’t read it yet, then I take great pleasure in being the person who moves you toward it. It is a collection of essays that it in my opinion some of her greatest work. If you want a taste, read this now: On Keeping A Notebook.

 

 

 

 

Another idea: start a book club with your vinas… even though we all know that book club is code for wine drinking and hanging out club, we still think it’s great to bond over a great story.