The process of applying for a job is grueling.
Even after devoting an entire afternoon to tweaking your resume and writing a perfect cover letter, many times you never hear back from the company or hiring manager. If you’re one of the lucky ones who do manage to cure an in-person interview well, that comes with more nervousness and preparation.
The job-searching cycle is stressful enough for a person without anxiety. For a person with anxiety, the process seems completely insurmountable.
I am a writer, but writing as a profession has brought me imposter syndrome. I am constantly comparing myself and my career to other writers in my field. I’m always comparing their milestone to my own milestones. These feelings of insecurity get magnified once my anxiety gets a hold of them, they cause me to doubt my own abilities. For a long time, I felt as though I wasn’t “good enough” to take necessary career risks.
Social media, more specifically Twitter, has been crucial to breaking out of my self-imposed shell.
I first made a Twitter account way back in 2008. At the time, I was a junior in high school and I had only signed up for an account because the members of my favorite band, My Chemical Romance, had all made profiles on Twitter. I used the platform mainly to keep track of my friends and of my favorite celebrities. I continued using it this way for years, decades even. I didn’t realize how much Twitter could help me professionally until very recently.
Last summer while lazily scrolling down my timeline I noticed a small food and lifestyle blog that tweeted out a call for freelance writers. Hmmm, I thought to myself. I like food and I love writing, I could totally do that.
I quickly typed up a cover letter, fixed up my resume, and sent them over an email.
If I’m being honest, I wasn’t expecting to hear back.
But I did. Almost immediately.
Twitter allowed me to secure my first freelance gig and I was in awe.
Approaching new people has always been difficult for me. Though I’m a “fake it ’til you make it” sort of girl when necessary, the act of mingling in a room full of strangers has never felt comfortable or natural to me.
But, the internet is a whole different story. I’m a product of the early 2000s where sites like Myspace and Tumblr reigned supreme. I am very comfortable navigating murky internet spaces but it never occurred to me that I could use this skill to help propel my writing career. After securing that first freelance position, I started following editors and writers I admired on Twitter.
It was honestly like opening a door to a previously unchartered world.
I had completed revolutionized my timeline. I managed to construct my own little creative space where I was confronted with witty and thoughtful pieces each time I opened up my Twitter app. Suddenly all of these new opportunities were quite literally at my fingertips. The process of reaching out and connecting with these new people, something that had once felt impossible, was now more attainable.
In April of this year, after seeing the application for The Tempest fellowship program being shared and retweeted on my timeline, I decided to take the plunge. I did my best to force my anxiety down and complete the form. Just like when I applied for that very first freelance gig, I never expected to get accepted into the fellowship.
But I was.
The Tempest fellowship has been one of the most enriching experiences of life thus far and I have Twitter (and of course, my own badass skills as a writer) to thank for that.
Being a writer with anxiety in such a cutthroat industry that constantly stresses the importance of “the hustle” is difficult but not impossible.
I’ve learned that sometimes you simply have to find tips and tricks that make it easier for you and your mental health to thrive. For me, Twitter becomes an unexpected but valuable tool in accelerating my writing career and I could not be more grateful.