I will say upfront – you don’t need any type of degree to be a freelance writer. However, there are specific skills that come with this line of work and are required in order to have a significant impact. So the degree is not necessarily required, but education is a must. Here’s why… Continue reading “Does Education Matter When it Comes to Writing?”
I recently heard a quote by actress Sandra Bullock that pertained to surrounding yourself with people who are ahead of you in life. This is for every area of life because the things that influence you can affect your career, family life, etc. Here are some reasons why this saying is true and necessary.
You save yourself a lot of pain
People who have been places before you know the deal. Yes, it’s a fact that we humans have a curious nature, and like to learn things the hard way. But when we do learn we usually realize that those advising us were right? If they are open to passing that wisdom onto you, don’t reject it. In fact, embrace it with both arms. Listen to them every now and then. Why go through unnecessary pain and disappointment due to ignorance. If you’re already aware of certain things, you’ll make better decisions thanks to words of wisdom from those that have been down that road already.
You’ll be ahead of the game
Taking heed to real words of wisdom will take you very far. For example if someone in your circle is good with money and advises you at a young age, you’ll develop great financial habits by the time you reach adulthood and won’t have to deal with being down and out with debt and bad money decisions. You’ll even be ahead than most people in your age group. That’s pretty awesome.
When (not if) adversity hits, nothing is more important to keep you afloat than strong social support. Your inner circle should consist of sensible mature people that want to see you get ahead. Not only is there less drama in your life, but you’ll also be surrounded by level-headed people who will provide healthy support during tough times.When you get out of a traumatic situation, you’re in the process of building yourself up again so the words you hear can make or break your world. Being surrounded by naysayers usually means you’re surrounded by those who are fearful, insecure and envious. Don’t set yourself up for regression; surround yourself with those who want the best for you and will be honest with you whether you like it or not.
Your confidence will build
This is especially true if you listen to the advice of older people. Think about it; friends your age tend to say the craziest things – things that either get us in trouble or get us nowhere. Well this is likely to happen if they only know as much as you do. The company you keep will help build you up, particularly in the area of confidence. They’re not around you to tear you down, they want to make sure you progress and make wise decisions.
You don’t have to worry about your friends being threatened by you
To piggy-back off the previous reason, mature people who are well established in life have nothing to lose. They don’t mind seeing you move forward – that’s exactly what they want to see! They’re not threatened by your brightness, you drive or your knowledge. In fact, they celebrate those things about you and will root you on during hard times and when you’re on a quest to achieve something in life.
On a personal note….
I’m not just writing this to meet a post quota for the week; I live by this information. I’ve learned over and over the importance of healthy social support. If you’re surrounded by people who are already established and understand your plight, you’ll go very far. They’re not around you to belittle you or your dreams. They want the best for you. This is true in many ways for me, even when I started my freelance writing business. If you have a vision or plan, healthy friendships are key!
What’s your experience with good or bad social support? Do you surround yourself with people who’ve been there and done that?
And just like that, summer’s gone and the cold months are about to set in (this entire year has flown by like nothing). In order to get ready for the winter, now is the time to reap the crops that have matured the past few months. There will be no worries in the cold months because there’s a serious stash of food – all because the past few months were used to cultivate and grow food.
Besides the fact that time flies, it’s important to cultivate properly and bring in a good harvest. Are you looking for something to happen in a specific area of your life, such as a career move or starting a special relationship with someone? What steps have you taken to make it happen? A lot of times, we do more expecting than working. The season comes and goes without any fruit to pick, and we end up frustrated. You can break that cycle immediately and get to work. As I mentioned before, there were a lot of moves I had to make to get my promotion. It wasn’t easy by any means, but I knew what I wanted and it just had to be done. It can be difficult to get out of the area of wanting and to step over into the realm of WORK. It’s difficult to tend that soil in the beginning, but in the end it all pays off.
This is a constant battle many of us fight. The war within, the fight against oneself to do or be better. It’s never an easy task but it has to be done. I rage in this war all the time; whether it’s staying fit, blogging (!), being productive on the job or keeping myself in a good head space. I’m always reminded of where I’m aiming to go and the plan I have to get there. So here’s the thing: what do you actually want? That’s the first thing that needs to be established. From that point, you’ll know how to pace yourself. Self-discipline is no walk in the park, but there are days when you’re simply not feeling it, and that’s fine. Everyone is allowed a down day every now and then. In fact, they’re necessary to remind you of the goal you’re working towards because eventually you’ll have to pick up working where you left off. Are you the planning type? Be sure to invest a certain amount of time towards this goal each and every day – no matter how long or short that time may be! If there was a shorter, easier way around it, I would share it but there simply isn’t. There has to be focus and dedication involved.
Reap the Harvest!
I’ve read countless stories on writers and bloggers who put in years of hard work and are now enjoying the fruits of their labor. It’s the sweetest thing to sit back and watch things work for you after so much hard work has been put in. But the journey to get there is never easy. There’s a lot of lessons to learn, and a few heartbreaks may even be involved, but at the end, it will all be worth it.
Recently I came to the realization that going above and beyond can have a serious backlash. A couple of years ago, the staffing in our office were cut short severely; mainly because of retirements. So I decided to step up to the plate and really prove myself as a worker and even a leader. Mind you I was already a productive worker and management was aware. I just wanted to take it to the next level. I went all out, attending meetings, staying late, volunteering to take projects no one else wanted to touch and so forth. Before I knew it, I became the go-to person of the office. Whatever management needed at the drop of a dime, they knew who to go to. I never failed to disappoint. As time went by this new go-to role grew. The work increased – everything increased….except for the pay. Naturally I started wondering when something would happen to compensate me for the hard work I was putting in. I eventually started asking questions and got round about answers. There was of course talk of budget constraints and hands being tied to do anything for me. After a while the lines started to get old. I had to face it – I had been hustled, bamboozled, played, you name it.
I was pissed.
But then I had to really analyze myself and the situation. Why did I work so hard? Why did I put in all those hours (no overtime pay by the way)? Why did I really volunteer for the projects? Well of course I was looking into advancing my career, so I took on more work to prove myself to management. You see, the “plan” was that they would recognize what I was doing, speak up for me and then I would get promoted. Yeah, it didn’t work out that way at all. So I was left completely exhausted, hardly motivated and extremely disappointed. Why couldn’t anyone look out for me? I wondered if all my hard work had gone in vain.
Fortunately, new opportunities have opened up for me that include advance for me and my career (Yay!). So I am moving forward on good terms with lessons learned. The next time I go above and beyond, it will be for the right reasons because I am a mission-oriented person and I have to show that before any skill or project is displayed.
Questions still remain thought. I wonder why things played out the way they did. Is it because I had selfish purposes? Or was it just not meant to be?
I would love some insight!
There’s nothing more annoying than people who just talk about doing something all the time but never get around to doing it. Either they can’t (or won’t) make up their mind or they just want to blow steam…or maybe they just like hearing themselves talk.
Do something already!
On a personal note, I’m currently going through career changes for the better. For almost two years I’ve been dissatisfied with my work situation for different reasons. Simply put, I was not happy and was exploring what options were out there for me. I would vent to friends and co-workers about it, but they would just dismiss it as me whining or complaining. Nonetheless, I took the steps I needed to take to change things. Now that those changes are taking place, I’m moving on in my career and they’re floored and frankly, I don’t understand why. I wasn’t just running my mouth when I expressed what I wanted; I was also working on it. I guess they didn’t connect the two. They got the message now!
My whole point is, if you have a vision action needs to be taken at some point. When I decided to start writing/blogging, it came after a fair amount of debating and thinking. I stalled for a little bit but I eventually jumped on my laptop and got to work. It’s actually been a relief for me now that I’ve finally started writing again.
Have you been debating or struggling to initiate something that you’ve been meaning to work on? Please don’t let the time continue to pass. The moment you start being about it, there will be relief and you will feel good about yourself.
My recent decision to start blogging has definitely come with its challenges. But it’s a decision I’m completely comfortable with since it took me forever to think things through and do it. As I mentioned earlier, blogging is not a full-time activity for me. I have a full time job and it takes up a lot of my time. By the time I want to sit down and put in some work to my websites, I’m too drained to do it – physically and mentally. The past couple of months have been so overwhelming as I research the blogosphere, the do’s and don’ts and what I can do to improve my style. The plethora of information can be confusing if one is not careful. You’re advised to find a core audience, open accounts with every social media outlet in existence, master this app, subscribe to this mailing list, it’s so much. One day I had to buckle down and come up with a way to keep my interest in writing online while maintaining my personal activities.
Honestly, I’ve always been horrible at time management. I procrastinate a lot, so when things pile up I usually don’t perform until the pressure’s on. I know, bad habit. But there are a couple of things I’ve taken on that has helped me manage blogging and my full time job effectively. Everyone has their own system, so if you’re building your own maybe these tips will help:
- Invest in a good notebook/writing pad – take it with you everywhere you go. If you’re a daily commuter like me, you can use your time on the train or bus to jot down any thoughts that come to mind and not have to worry about forgetting them. This has helped me a lot.
- Blogging doesn’t have to be an everyday thing; set one day aside if need be – before I started blogging, I would read through my favorite blogs and be amazed at how much information writers were able to put out on a daily basis. How did they do that? Well, one of the tricks I learned was they don’t write everyday. One blogger told me she sets one day out of the week to write up all of her content, then schedule them to be published throughout the week. Who knew? I sure didn’t!
3. Don’t force anything, the inspiration will come – don’t sit at your desk beating your brain on what to write about next. Just do what you normally do during work hours (whether or not you’re actually working is between you and your cubicle J). The time you spend stressing on coming up with a hot topic for your blog will just pile up more things for you. Remember, there’s a time and place for everything. Once you get a flow the ideas will come one after the other. Keep that notepad handy!
4. Cover yourself: not exactly a time management issue, but an essential as a new blogger. Check with your ethics department at the job to make sure there will be no conflict between your writing and what your employer represents. This is something you may want to consider no more how laid back or sensitive your job may be. That way you won’t have to worry about misrepresenting your employer or yourself. Be sure to get something in writing that will cover your employer not having any problems with you being a blogger.
I’m still learning as I go along, so this list will change or improve. Where are you with your blogging experience? Are you just starting out or are you seasoned in your writing? What tips can you share to help the newcomers?
One of the most challenging things in taking on a new project (or in my case – a passion) is learning how to sacrifice certain pleasures in order to get things done. Since I made my decision to get back into writing, there are a lot of tough decisions I have to make in order to get my writing groove back. On a quick historical note, it’s been years since I’ve tapped into my writing. Growing up, all I did was read and write, but as I got older I really lost touch with it. In order to get back in the swing of things I realize I have to put a lot of bad habits aside and make certain sacrifices. For one, I have to master the art of time management. I hate being on a schedule, but right now it’s necessary in order for me to organize my thoughts and topics that I want to express. Breaking away from tv has never been so difficult – I was never a real tv person until now. It only gets in the way and it doesn’t help my creativity one bit. Perhaps I should just cancel my cable subscription?
Uh, the jury is still out on that!
One thing I can say is that my renewed passion for writing has definitely awakened my desire to read like I used to. It definitely helps feed my creativity and gives me ideas of proper expression. Arguably the most powerful form of communication, writing has gotten me through some tough times. When I was so angry and upset with someone, I couldn’t express myself verbally – it wouldn’t come out the way I wanted it because my thoughts and words were going a mile a minute which equated to a verbal mess. Instead, I would resort to writing everything down – the way I want it to be said. Did the person understand me? Yes. Did I get my point across? Definitely. As I continued to write things down, my ability to express myself verbally improved. I’m guessing it’s because I gave my brain practice to organize thoughts and feelings properly.
So reading, time management, passion and motivation are all at play here. This means new responsibilities, sacrifice (get off the phone and turn the tv off) and challenges are on my to- do list. I’m ready, especially since I’ve enrolled in the Blogging 101 course at the Commons. I’m so excited! I expect to be flowing by the time the course is over!
What motivates you to write? Do you struggle to keep a creative flow? Have you done the Blogging 101 course? I’d love to know – post in the comments, please!