Preparedness is key…

•June 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Organization is one of those things I excel at — so long as it’s with someone else’s life, or business, or show, or whatever. If it’s my project, or show, or portfolio… well, let’s just say it’s a miracle I can craft a schedule for myself, let alone ever actually finish things. (Though if I do make it to the scheduling, I do fare much better with the actual finishing.) Life, however, is currently slapping me in the face with a few of my weaknesses as a reminder that being ready for changes in life, career, projects, etc. requires a certain amount of organization and having things at the ready. Otherwise you end up scrambling to put together resumes, portfolios, samples, schedules, progress trackers, and the like, all while working on innumerable projects in progress, searching for opportunities, and having people throw other potential gigs at you.

You may be better organized with your own life than I am, but if you’re more like me, take a minute or ten next time you’re bored, waiting for a YouTube video to load, or waiting for your hair dye to set, or whatever you do puttering around on the internet in your down time — and just take a glance at your resume and portfolio and writing samples. See that you have all the most recent information presented in a concise, clear manner. Check that you have examples of writing from varied projects. Go copy and paste that most recent article you wrote, and the link, into your own documents. Most of all, ensure that you have samples from as many sources as possible because you never know where the next opportunity will come from and what they’ll want to see.

Oh yeah, and make sure you have copies of everything stored in multiple places.

Just… be prepared.

 

The Blog Has Risen

•June 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

We’re still here, still working on bits and pieces of things with the scraps of time available — and that’s been a massive issue, really. To be frank, focusing on projects without deadlines is like trying to wrangle a playroom full of kittens and toddlers to sit, segregated, in one specific area for three hours. If you actually accomplish it, without resorting to bribes (including food and/or drink, and toys) it will be certified a true miracle. Yet scheduling deadlines and tasks is… not particularly easy for many creative people.

Personally, I can schedule someone else’s life, projects, and priorities like a pro. Literally. I’ve done it professionally and am damn good at it. Try turning that around on my own life, however, and…

However, without a timeline to accomplish projects, you tend to get a build up of many things being ‘in progress’ and nothing ever really finished. This is the predicament which arose a few months ago. In between a hellacious job (which I still have), fighting depression (which I’m just now taming a bit), and constantly looking for a new job (the never-ending string of rejections and no responses feeding said depression), I was also attempting to work on multiple projects, consistently. That kind of stamina, both physically and emotionally, just doesn’t work over time — particularly when there’s no deadlines set for anything. Burnout occurred, and I found myself going from trying to do a snippet of work here and there to pouring energy into redoing my living space, spending a month on my couch drinking, watching telly, and trying to remember what it was to have goals.

Finally, right around my birthday, the fog started to clear and it’s been an uphill, constant, but steadily productive, struggle to regain a semblance of balance — with work, projects, and life in general.

This past weekend, I sat myself down, gave myself a stern but polite talking to, and drafted a schedule for all most of the projects I currently have ‘in progress.’ If I stick to this schedule, by mid-January I will have four projects drafted through at least once, and one project queried to at least fifty agents. Not only that, I’ll have a maintained a consistent blog schedule, and fully converted my home office in my room. Now if only persistence in job hunting felt this progressive…

Monday Ramblings

•March 31, 2014 • Leave a Comment

It’s been awhile. Mostly due to previously mentioned dedication to obtaining a new form of employment that does not destroy my soul on a daily basis.

That search is still, unfortunately, in progress. Job hunting feels rather Odyssey-en in nature these days, though I don’t expect to come home to my family battling a slew of suitors waiting to take my place… actually, that sounds like the interview process.

Regardless, I wanted to share a few things which are helping to maintain my sanity during this hectic, epic job hunt:

Headphones/earbuds. Blessed be the inventor of these magical creations which allow one to plug into their computer or phone, play some music, and disappear into a world free of ringing phones, angry/depressed co-workers, and anything else that serves as a reminder of your captivity.

Reading. Exhausted by job hunt websites and submitting applications, my social media interaction has dwindled significantly. What remains of my time has primarily been spent reading and writing projects that I am passionate about — while the need and desire to connect with people out there in internet land exists, it sometimes clouds the focus necessary to be active in pursuing hiring managers and assistants with your latest cover letter creation. If only cover letters were limited to 140 characters…

Sleeping. Mental exertion is exhausting, and few things are more mentally and emotionally draining on a writer than submitting applications. Compound all this with CFIDS, and you have a recipe for extreme burnout. So rather than force myself to stay awake for that one more hour push to write a few more pages (of what undoubtedly will be crap), or find three more jobs to apply for, when I’m tired and it’s dark, I go to bed. I try to recharge, because I’ll never be much use to myself, much less potential employers, if I can’t string coherent thoughts together in a submission. Even if I can’t sleep, or don’t sleep well (as is often the case), or dream of my horrible job while sleeping (which is also, horrifically, sometimes the case), it’s still me alone in a dark room, comfortable, and at least attempting to rest.

Going for a walk. Which is a thing I do not do nearly enough. However, almost every time I do, I feel a bit refreshed. And even if I don’t, at least I got up, went outside, and got away from a computer screen for a bit.

What type of tricks do you use to get yourself through long, rough journeys that you must take to get to a better place?

Viable Life Option?

•February 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Now that the Olympics have concluded, my life resumes the seemingly never-ending search for a new job and living better.
While my dream career involves being paid to create words and worlds, sometimes I just want to run off to Australia and become a professional ballroom dancer — but only with a journey a la Fran in Strictly Ballroom.
Is there a LinkedIn page for that? A career coach who can direct me down that path? A fellowship for the eternal dreamers?

Battling the Stress Beast

•February 6, 2014 • 5 Comments

Stress is a common ailment among writers, generally when nearing deadlines, starting a daunting new project, and/or beating our heads against the wall trying to overcome a block.

There’s another variety of stress which affects many writers (and creative types), however, that isn’t discussed as much. I’m referring to the stress induced not from projects, but everything else — life, family, friends, and for those of us struggling to become ‘working’ writers (as in, we get paid to write as a way of supporting our writing addiction lifestyle), being stuck as a cog in a corporate machine to avoid homelessness and maintain some form of transport.

This post is quite timely as I’ve just returned from an urgent care facility where the official diagnosis for my sudden and extreme ailment was basically: stop stress-consuming things you are sensitive to, and get a new job. I mean, clinically, I experienced a very unpleasant allergic reaction to too much dairy and red wine coupled with an allergy/stress rash, but after several assessments and conversations with some harsh but fair practitioners, their recommendation was pretty clear. Four years as a corporate drone has built up enough stress inside my body that it’s ceasing to function properly, and I need to get out.

Image

In an attempt to alleviate some stress, I am obviously going to need to curb my stress eating/drinking impulses to consuming things I’m not digestively sensitive to, and should really do more yoga and go for more walks. These are common sense remedies that should really be a way of life. Problem is, there’s a giant stress beast that cannot be sated by enacting these good measures alone. The only way to defeat the stress monster I’m now engaged in a full on war with is to engage in another type of battle: searching for new employment. More specifically, searching for new employment in a crap job market, trying to find something I actually want to be doing, working for a company that both pays a living wage and treats its employees like people, rather than machines or cattle.

Needless to say, while I knew this approached, I had hoped for a bit more time to prepare. Unfortunately, it’s battle it out or succumb at this point, and surrender is not in my nature. Therefore, posts about job hunting, discipline, and issues with the current corporate structures of this country may occur for a bit. I promise I’ll try to keep it useful and, when I can, somewhat amusing — because if you can’t laugh at your personal struggles, the alternative is spending an afternoon in an urgent care facility having medical professionals tell you truths you’ve known for a while and just haven’t admitted to yourself.

Short version…

Less this:

Image

Image

Image

More this:

Image

Image

Image

Like vs. Silence on Social Media

•February 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

clubfang:

I feel like this addresses a major gap in the social media experience versus live experiences. Silence during a live performance, or standing in awe of the magnificent, can speak volumes. Silence on social media, from a data-gathering/marketing/promotional/monetizing perspective, means you’re doing something wrong. And yet, it could be that someone took in your post, absorbed it, and for whatever reason carried on with their day without further action. It by no means indicates an unsuccessful post, but it is not ‘measurable’ through data. Unlike an in-person experience, it’s the ‘social’ that truly counts in social media, at least for the analysts…

Originally posted on bottledworder:

I have never seen the Taj Mahal awash with moonlight on a Full Moon day. Or the Great Pyramid in the desert rising in grandeur in the yellow sands in front of me. I have never heard the lion’s roar in the wild. Nor can I remember what it must have been like to have seen the ocean for the first time.

But I can imagine what some of it must feel like.

It must be sublime. It must be spellbounding. It must be a moment so full of wonder that it must be the most difficult to express anything at all at the moment.

Now imagine that the Taj is virtual with a discreet like button next to it. Also imagine that you are a virtual tourist on your way to another site of attraction.

Would you pause a while spellbound in wonder at the beauty of it all…

View original 221 more words

Say Your Name

•January 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

We typically don’t delve into the ‘if you dream it, it can happen’ aspects of writing (or creating) on here. Cynicism runs through our brains more than blood and tea. However, there is something to be said for the occasional (or maybe even programmed) self-assuring moment.

Image

Repetition makes for habit, and yes, sometimes stagnation. But in the case of say, taking your vitamins every day, or doing the same stretches to keep your muscles from tightening while spending hours a day at the computer, giving yourself a daily, or scheduled, affirmation may not be a bad tactic.

Why the sudden backing off in cynicism? Well, sometimes you need to try something new when the old standbys are no longer serving you. So, for once, we’re going to suggest a tiny bit of daily self-affirmation to try out. Maybe it’ll work for you, maybe it won’t, but it’s a simple enough affirmation, and takes literally three seconds of your time a day, so you’ve really got nothing to lose.

Every morning, or every evening, whenever you prefer, just pick a time at the start or end of your day, say this to yourself: I am a working (insert creative person’s title here).

Maybe the universe will listen on the 80th day and send you a new gig, maybe not. However the point is, if nothing else, you are affirming to yourself every day what you are — which, if you’re not in the ideal scenario for it now, is a good reminder of where you want to be going. The affirmation may work some magic, it may not. However, it’s certainly healthy to remind yourself regularly of who you are and what it is your create — because if you don’t know that, and believe it, who will?

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 299 other followers