Saturday, November 1, 2008

Posting today from the lovely Greenville, South Carolina!

I'm no stranger to working from the road. In fact, I've already logged into my work account and responded to some emails, etc, but since I'm trying to establish habits and whatnot, I'm here updating the blog as well.

I checked all the freelance writer listings this morning- most boards don't update on the weekends, but I did learn something. I found a job I wanted to apply for on craigslist, but couldn't because, of course, I need to submit writing samples and my resume, neither of which I have on this laptop. Bummer. I guess that's an argument for setting up a website/online portfolio sooner rather than later.

I'm a little bit nervous about doing that though. This business seems rife with plagiarism and fraud and since so much online writing is non-credited, what's to stop someone as claiming any old website as something that they wrote?

It's also interesting how often I see in freelance writing communities people that can't really speak English applying for jobs.

I'm also noticing the controversy surrounding price setting. Many people offer payments like $5 for 500 words for simple articles. At first, I was snatching these up, thinking that it was better than nothing, but now I'm beginning to understand why you shouldn't do that. Basically, you're undervaluing yourself and the writing community, in general. I mean, how many $5 articles would I have to write to support myself? I don't know. Can't do math. I'm a writer. But a lot. Doing this kind of work did give me some experience and some writing samples, but I think I'm done with this type work. If all writers stop accepting these type payments, especially good writers, then the increased demand will drive the cost up, right? You've got to manipulate the market a little bit. Plus, my time is worth more.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


My Linkedin freelance writer's group had an interesting question today- Do you write habitually?

As of right now, I would say no to that. I write a lot- for work, in my blogs, for fun, to vent, etc, but not "habitually." To me, writing habitually would mean sitting down every day and writing, no matter what.

I personally believe that the secret to success is routine. It's the only thing that's ever worked for me when I was trying to achieve any goal. I learned this from Flylady. It seems so obvious, and to people who are naturally successful, it is obvious. They were raised with routines like brushing their teeth before going to sleep or making their bed in the morning. These things were not part of my upbringing. I fell asleep on the couch watching TV most nights as a child. Concepts like "bed time" weren't known to me and because of this, as an adult, I shortly realized that I lacked discipline, for which I've had to learn to compensate. I've done this through creating routines, but I'm planning on incorporating more items into my routines in the upcoming weeks, such as exercise and more housekeeping and yes, writing. That's part of the reason that this blog exists- for me to write to get in the habit of writing and finding words, building paragraphs, editing my own work- keeping the juices flowing.


So, I'm 30 years old and I've already had two successful careers and I'm looking at starting my third, as a writer. During all this time, my husband has had the same job, which makes me incredibly thankful for his consistency and dependability. I'm a risk-taker, but so far, it's paid off. Somehow, I managed to get a job in the #8 television news market right out of college. It was a miracle, really. I toiled away there for 6 long years where I endured repeated and critical viewing of such tragedies as the September 11 attacks, the tsunami disaster, Hurricane Katrina, Daniel Pearl's beheading, the Saddam torture videos and more. I remember once studying a pile of blood and debris, trying to figure out if there were any body parts in it after an Israeli car bombing. Can't show body parts on the local news. That's a little too real. No one wants the truth.

So, I left news and went to work in media relations at the zoo. Ah. The zoo. All my animal friends. It just so happens that while I'm at the zoo, a certain baby panda was born and with her birth, there was also opportunity. We launched a national media campaign that paid off in a big way. Won awards. Got many accolades. Established myself in the media relations field. Baptism by fire.

But, my boss left the zoo and things there started changing and I seized the notoriety of the zoo that I had helped create and moved on to work for a health care non-profit. Which I have been less than happy with. It's not the organization. It's a great organization with a good mission, but my job is not what I expected. I'm the only marketing person here and well, I'm not so into marketing. I'm a media person- a "news" person. I'm not so into direct mailings and phone calling, if you know what I'm saying.

So, I'm back on the market, trying to figure out the next step. I've applied for lots of jobs, but I've learned the hard way that you shouldn't just take whichever offer pays the most and that you should have a clear understanding of what your job will be before you sign on. This time, I'm playing smart.

And in the meantime, I'm going to take this opportunity to do some things that I've been putting off for YEARS- like losing weight and writing that novel, all while making ends meet through freelance writing, baking cakes and selling on etsy. Hopefully.

This morning, I applied for a gig writing a press release for a pet product company. They actually seem like a cool company. I kind of want to buy some of their stuff. I could spend hundreds of dollars buying stuff for my pets. I have two cats- Chi Chi and Chloe and one dog, Duke.

Right now, we are fostering another dog, Douglas for Atlanta Animal Rescue Friends. He's up for adoption. He's a good boy. He's pretty ridiculous. All "Doh-dee-doh, I'm Douglas." Guaranteed to make you laugh! And how funny of a name is Douglas for a dog? Haha. It kills me everything I say it. It totally suits him though. Like if he were a person, he'd have a stain on his shirt and be wearing Reeboks. But, he's not a person. He's a beagle. And he needs a home.

And I need some work!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Leap of Faith

Okay, I've done it. I quit my job. Seriously. Me, the workaholic. I quit it without another job in place. I quit it all willy nilly, without a real plan. Naturally, I'm looking for another job now, so if you know something, please send it my way...

But in the meantime, while I'm looking for a job that I can stand, I'm also going to be on the lookout for myself. I've been so focused on my career for so long, that I don't really know who I am without it. But, I'm sick of getting my self-worth from other people. I am more than my job. At least, I hope that I am.

Loosely, my plan is this until I find something else- I'm going to persue freelance writing, for sure. That's something that I know I can make at least SOME money at. I'm also going to continue trying to further develop my vintage store, Overhead is the problem with that though. That stuff costs money to buy and very shortly, I'm not going to have any money. Hopefully, it can be self-sustaining from this point on. I can take the proceeds of the sales of the things that are listed now, and buy new things. I just have to start selling.

And finally, I'm going to work on my novel. My memiors actually. Stories about my crazy childhood, my crazy family and about how I ended up here, risking everything to find out who I am and what I really want from my life.

Is this a mid-life crisis? If so, I want to control the last half of my life, not have life run me. I want to make choices based on what I want and not what other people think I should do, or what is safe. Playing by the rules has gotten me nowhere and even though I don't have a real clear concept of who I am, I'm placing all my chips on myself.

Jennifer 2.0 is done downloading and it's time to begin the install.