Hurry up…and write

April 9, 2019

You know that old saying, “Hurry up and wait”?

That seems to be what getting started in the freelance writing world is all about – bursts of proactive outputs followed by a lot of waiting.

Photo by Quaz Amir from Pexels

Waiting for someone to get back to you about creating a custom logo. Waiting to connect with that other freelancer on LinkedIn. And of course, waiting to hear back from those pitches you sent out so you can land your first real writing gig!

Perseverance is key in this business, and a little bit of patience will go a long way as well. But what do you do while patiently persevering until you can have that next burst of activity?

The answer is easy, you write.

Spend that downtime honing your mad skills, yo!

Isn’t that why you got into this in the first place? You want to stand out from the crowd, rise above the noise and to do that your writing needs to set you apart. At the end of the day, that’s what sells you. Your words.

So it makes sense to use every spare minute you can creating, polishing and perfecting that skill. It’s money in the bank.

The next time you are stuck waiting on someone or something else before you can move forward, take a moment, shift gears, and then start pounding those keys.

  • Write a blog post
  • Write a blog post and save it for a rainy day
  • Send out another pitch, or three
  • Leave thoughtful comments on a few blogs
  • Email your aunt Gertrude and thank her for that batch of rock hard oatmeal raisin cookies.
  • Check in with an old friend and ask how they are doing

It doesn’t matter, just pick one and write. Focusing on your writing will make you a better, and more marketable, writer in the long run. If you want proof, take a moment to read some of your older work. Do you see how much you have improved? Can you see your voice shining through in your newer content? Psst. It’s from all of that writing.

What are you waiting for? Hurry up and write!

Personal Pizza

April 2, 2019
Recently I was asked to come up with a personal mantra as part of a business course I am taking.

This was supposed to be a phrase that would bring me comfort and renewed focus if, as often happens in life, all was not going according to plan. Living in a ‘woke’ society, positive affirmations are a dime a dozen these days.

A quick Google search for personal mantras will give you more positive affirmations than you can shake a mala at.

Most of the sayings I was finding didn’t carry any weight with me. As a Gen X-er, they just felt too fluffy for my taste. I grew up during the era of posters with cute kittens slipping off a branch bearing the words, “Hang in there.”

We were the kids who grew up on tough love. Personal mantra? My mother’s mantra was, “Because I said so, that’s why.”

The exercise felt goofy but I wanted to put in the work and find something that actually held meaning to me. When I’m having a lean month, I need a saying with a little more depth and personal meaning than, “I dare to be different” or “Give your stress wings and let it fly away.”

Growing more and more frustrated I looked over at my desk, and that’s when it hit me.

I already had a personal mantra.

Here’s the thing about wisdom, it often shows up in the most surprising places.

A few years ago I was visiting my friend who lives in Pittsburgh. She took me to this fabulously irreverent brewpub for dinner. The Church Brew Works is, as the name implies, located in a beautiful old church. (If you are ever in Pittsburgh I highly recommend it, but that’s a post for another day.)

While we were perusing the menu, my friend expressed concern over the size of the pizza to our waitress. She wondered if these were personal size pizzas or if they were a typical pizza to split among the table. Without skipping a beat the sage taking our order smiled and said,

“Every pizza is a personal pizza if you truly believe in yourself.”

Bam! Talk about enlightenment.

I came home that weekend and wrote those brilliant words on a notecard which has hung above my desk ever since.

Let’s face it, that little slice of wisdom is all you need to get you through the scalding hot cheese of life. What’s your personal mantra that gets you through those tough spots, dear reader?


Black hole in my pocket

March 31, 2019

I drank flat beer, and listened to him expel

his grandiose plans into the reggae laden air

I carried the empty promise

of my future in my pocket. Heavy, it pulled

me down. Bitter like hops I sipped

at the great nothing and wondered

what it felt like to be wanted like that

by a man

by an employer

Heavy, flat Sunday

How do I empty my pockets of all of this nothingness

Be a writer

March 25, 2019

I haven’t been writing much lately and I hate it. Today I had to sit down and give myself a firm reminder that talking about writing and planning writing and posting about writing isn’t writing. Things have been pretty crazy between work and school and it’s left me completely worn out when I get home in the evenings. My list of things I need to do around the house is piling up. Still…

Make the time.

Butt in the chair.

Pound the keys.

Remember your joy.

Be a writer.

Get your money’s worth

January 17, 2019

I am back in school working on a Digital Journalism and Media degree. Sometimes the material gets to be a bit dry. Sometimes my peers take this whole college thing too seriously. I consider it my business to make the most of this wild ride. As part of my degree, I have to take three semesters of a language. I’m currently starting my second semester of Italian.

For our first partner practice of the semester, we had to pick one of three stock ‘family photos’ to describe to our partner, pretending the people in them were our family. We were practicing family vocabulary, prepositions concerning location (next to my mother is my uncle, etc.) and possessive adjectives. I picked the photo with the most people, more material to work with. This was my description. Run it through Google Translate and let me know what you think.

Questa e una foto della mia famiglia. La mia famiglia e molto interessante. Nel mezzo della foto ce mia mamma e mio papa. Loro sono in pensione. Le due giovani ragazze a destra di miei genitori, sono le mie nipoti. La loro madre e mia sorella sono a destra di loro. Mia sorella lavora come allevatrice professionista di criceto. Dietro mia sorella, e la mia sorella piu piccola a suo marito. Di recente si sono iscritio al mafia, e come il loro lavori. A sinistra di loro che sono due donne che erano sulla spiaggia. Non il conosciamo, ma volevano essere nella foto.

A sinistra di mio papa ce mio zio Martin. Zio Martin vende scarpe da clown per lavoro. Sua moglie e davanti a lui. Zia Margaret produce la migliore pizza surgelata che tu abbia mai assaggiato. A sinistra di zia Margaret ce il donna portalettere. L’abbiamo rapita l’anno scorso. Lei non e ancora sfuggita! Che sono io accanto a lei con la mia seconda testa. Lo chiamo arachide.

I’m hoping for top marks.