This month I’m in a writing workshop called 15 Days of Writing True, created by one of my favorite writers and surfer girl crushes, Camille Pilar, and the amazing Sofia Cope, who I only discovered because of this workshop. If you’ve heard of Camille and Sofia, then you’ll know how utterly breathtaking their individual works are and you’ll understand when I say that, together, they created a workshop that is all kinds of beautiful. I mean, seriously. Camille’s exquisite words and Sofia’s gorgeous art together? It’s truly sublime.
Aaaand just like that it’s November. And we know what that means – it’s NaNoWriMo once again. Yep.
NaNoWrimo or National Novel Writing Month is when people attempt to write and finish a novel for the entire month of November. Well, the goal is to write a novel of at least 50,000 words. Some folks say it’s crazy, some folks say it works for them. For me, I see it as a personal challenge to START something.
Some of you may know that I don’t have a regular job and freelance some of the time. It’s not so bad but it can be a challenge to be productive. Thank the tech gods that there are cool productivity apps I can use to do my work. Today I’m listing them down just because. Hah. :)
So, on a whim, I decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo. For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month is exactly what it sounds like – a whole month of novel writing. For the whole of November, participants (attempt to) work on a 50,000-word novel.
YEP, IMMA TRY TO WRITE A FRIGGIN’ NOVEL THIS MONTH, FOLKS.
Holy buffoonery, Batman.
These days, it’s not just enough that you have a typewriter and impeccable grammar in order to become successful in freelance writing. At some point in our career, we need to invest on things in order to grow.
And when it comes to investing, the first thing that you need to learn is that it is a continuous and ever-changing process. It is just like filling your car with gasoline. Yes, the petrol that you poured can take you to faraway places, but you need to refill your tank again after sometime. You need to learn a new writing skill in order to satiate your readers, and you might even need to upgrade some of your gadgets. In this post, you’ll learn about the essential things that freelancers should invest in to boost their craft and their business.
How do you give yourself the space necessary to create?
This is the question designer and best-selling author Paul Jarvis posed to his readers and followers. He collaborated with writing platform Medium to give people a venue to post their response and Death to the Stock Photo has also generously provided ten amazing images that people can use in their stories.
I decided to grab the opportunity to do some practice writing and join in. I honestly had to think hard about it because I couldn’t really pinpoint a specific thing that I do that helps me get into that “creative space” or “writing zone.” It took a few minutes of net-browsing and reading some of the responses for me to come up with my own response.
Click here to read what I wrote.
Click on this link if you want to join in or read other people’s responses.
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By the way, the gorgeous feature image above is care of Death to the Stock Photo. Join their mailing list and receive a free pack of photos every month.
There’s a contest about this topic over at Positive Writer. Fat chance I’ll win because the number of entries to these contests is ridiculous, but this is a good writing exercise and we must practice our writing, mustn’t we, precious? Plus the dude with the glasses in the photo above has convinced me it’s worth a try. Thank you, dude with glasses. Look at him, he’s got a light bulb on his finger.
Hello, pretties. Here’s another guest contribution by writer Cass Brookes. I know, I know, this blog has been sadly neglected these days. I realize I won’t be able to post as often as usual because I have a lot on my mind, what with the wedding preps and all. If you want to contribute or guest post, feel free to email me, although bear in mind that I won’t be accepting every post. I’ve been getting a lot of those spammy guest post requests from dubious senders who don’t seem to have a clue what my blog is about. I’m sure you know what I mean. Anyway, enjoy this post! Have a great day! :)
Despite what pundits say, the blog is far from dying out. We now live in a world where blogs have far outgrown their humble beginnings (Huffington Post). Bloggers get book deals (The Inky Fool), and blogging itself has become a career. Here’s a list of those who make the blogging world a great place to be.
What My Daughter Wore
Fashion blogs are everywhere. There are more blogs devoted to fashion than to any other subject. So, it’s refreshing to find one that isn’t simply picture after picture of a stylized young narcissist. Instead, What My Daughter wore captures the sartorial choice of Jenny Williams’ daughter and her friends in colourful and insightful hand-drawn portraits. Expect creative headwear and lots of graphic tees.
There have been a whole host of TV shows devoted to the pains of adolescence. But not so many devoted to the troubles of 20-somethings. Yes, growing up is hard, but not nearly as hard as life in your 20s. Jessie Rosen covers the predictable problems of body image, falling in love and relocating for work with a humility and sincerity that elevates the subject matter. She truly achieves her aim: “to remind you that you’re not alone.”
Yes, you guessed correctly. Dronestagram is the Instagram for drone strikes. It’s a sobering subject that juxtaposes aerial photography of the attacked areas with details of number of deaths and degree of damage caused. Countries include Yemen and Pakistan and the posts are regularly updated with reports coming from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
No list would be complete without a food blog. Almost as ubiquitous as the fashionistas, the foodies have some fantastically useful blogs which include in-depth restaurant reviews to budget recipes. Heidi Swanson, 101 Cookbooks’ creator, has been blogging for more than a decade and in that time has penned and photographed what amounts to one giant recipe rolodex. Expect food porn and hunger pangs.
If you like to keep abreast of happenings in the sporting world, you can do worse than check out the Youwin blog. It combines the latest news with opinion pieces on sports from the UK and the rest of the world. And if you like your betting options to be in close proximity to the latest happenings then you’ve come to the right place.
The Inky Fool
Mark Forsyth, aka The Inky Fool, has carved himself more of a niche in the blogging market. A recently published author, with The Horologicon, he spends his time looking at the weird and wonderful thing that is the English language. Words that have fallen out of use, words whose meanings have been forgotten, and the origins of phrases – nothing escapes his playful eye.
News From Me
Mark Evanier’s blog bills itself as one ‘about TV, movies, theatre, comics, news, politics and other forms of fantasy’. Some of his most recent posts are however a recollection of his late father in which Evanier talks about his fledgling career as a writer and his father’s world class worrying amongst other things. The videos he posts are often inspirational and hilarious, and his writing has that subtle brand of humour that keeps you reading on.
Beer Labels in Motion
This Tumblr blog by Trevor Carmick does exactly what it says on the tin and transforms the artwork of beer bottles and cans into animated GIFs. Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch will snap and bark at you and Yeti’s Imperial Stout features Bigfoot himself wandering across the bottle. It’d all be enough to disorientate you after one too many but it’s more likely to get you involved in a conversation about just how he does it.
We’re just a little over halfway through 2013 and all I can say is, “Bucket lists suck.” Hah. Okay, I’m feeling that way mostly because I haven’t accomplished anything on my bucket list. And I mean NOTHING. Same goes for my 2013 list. Zip. Nada. NOTHING. So much for to-do lists.
WELL. Clearly, I flunked the first half of the year since I crossed off nothing from any of my grand plans. Oh well. It’s not a total loss though. I did manage to get myself engaged. Hur hur. I also managed to create blog templates for my experimental blog Color It YOU and I’m actually quite happy with that. And I got a sorta regular writing gig with a cool website, so there’s that.
I don’t want to do another list because obviously I don’t get anywhere with them. I don’t know what I’m going to do with my lists. For now I think I’m just going to concentrate on getting more writing gigs, blogging more, getting through my review pile, and experimenting with blog design. I’ll be pretty busy with wedding preps, too, anyway. Hah. Excuses. ;)
Um, I’ve nothing else to say. How was your first half of the year? :)
Eep, listen to me babble about quitting my 9-5 (um, it was more of a 8-ish to 7-ish job) and going freelance over at The Freelance Pinoy.
Stef of The Freelance Pinoy is having an interview series called Making the Jump from the 9-5: Interviews with Pinoy Freelancers Who Left the Corporate World to Go Freelance. The interview series ‘tackles the questions and concerns of many Pinoys who wish to freelance, but are tied to their full-time jobs.’
It’s funny (and horrifying) when you hear yourself on a recorded interview. I think it’s only the second time I’ve done a live audio interview since I became a freelancer. The first time was when I talked to my awesome author-boss-lady. Most of my work is done through email or text chat.
Anyway, I hope I was able to impart something useful to Stef’s readers. Head on over there now and let’s laugh at my funny voice! ;)
Thinking about Going Freelance?
Read about my journey here. ;)
When people ask me where I work, my usual answer is “at home.” Then I say the word “freelance” because that’s the next thing that comes to my mind. Then they ask what kind of freelance work I do. “Writing,” I tell them. This is usually followed by, “Oh, you’re a writer! What kind of writing do you do?” This is where I start babbling about writing for websites and writing articles. Sometimes I mumble about my work with authors.
Telling people about my work can be awkward for me sometimes because I don’t know how to explain to them that it’s both what they think and not what they think. Am I making sense? Yes, I am a writer, but sometimes I feel like a fraud because I haven’t written anything great. I haven’t written anything that isn’t related to work. I haven’t written any short story worth sharing. I have all these writing plans and challenges, but I haven’t actually done anything. Oh man.
So these days I feel like a fraud. I’m hoping I’ll snap out of this, whatever this is, soon enough.
This started out as a post about how I feel like a fraud sometimes because I’m a writer who doesn’t do enough writing, if that makes sense. I started writing this post a few days ago and couldn’t get past three sentences. Then today I found out about Positive Writer’s First Writing Contest via @DanaSitar. It was just what I needed. I needed to remember that moment when I knew I wanted to be a writer. In this post I talk about how I started with writing. I’ll talk about how I feel like a fraud in another post. ;)
I discovered writing in sixth grade. One day my English teacher made us write an essay about a topic I can’t remember right now and she said she was going to pick columnists for the school paper based on the essay. The school paper was run by the high school kids and only a few grade school kids were picked as contributors. I don’t remember feeling anything special about writing before that. For me it was just another English essay we had to do, so it was a nice surprise when I got picked. Later that year, I won second place in an essay contest during civics and culture week. That was another surprise. It made me realize that maybe I had something.
I started writing a lot after that. Mostly on secret notebooks. I wrote poems, free verse, short prose. Nothing I ever showed to anyone. I am your typical introvert and writing gave me a way of expressing myself. I scribbled on secret notebooks and scraps of paper until the end of college where I got a degree in Psychology. When I started working I discovered blogging and I sort of abandoned the notebooks. I worked in a corporate office and blogged on the side.
More than seven years later I decided I wasn’t happy with human resource consulting anymore so I resigned. I dawdled for a few months, sent my resume to companies here and there, and experimented with small writing projects on oDesk. Later on I realized that I couldn’t imagine myself going back to corporate and that I was so comfortable with freelance writing even if it wasn’t paying me much at all. That’s when I made it official and announced to my family and my then-boyfriend-now-fiance that I was going to do the freelance thing full time.
Writing makes me feel like myself
When I made that decision, I felt a freedom that I never felt before. I felt relieved. I realized that writing was what I really wanted to do and I was just afraid of the uncertainty of it all. I was also concerned about my family worrying about me since I didn’t have a “real job” anymore. However, when I decided to go for what I want, those worries went away. Of course, I still worry about stuff, but, you know, these days I worry about deadlines and writing. Writing is my real job now.
I don’t know if the moment I made that decision was the moment when I knew I was a writer but it was the moment when I realized there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do. The freelance writer’s life isn’t easy, but there’s nothing else I would rather be.
Are you a writer? When did you know that you were one?
Share your story in a post and post your link on Positive Writer to enter the writing contest. Let me know in the comments if you joined so that I can check out your post, too! ;)
|The contest ends August 30th. Enter the writing contest here.|