In addition to simply giving you more practice, writing for money, on deadline, to spec, also develops your ability to connect with a specific audience and slant your content in different ways. Writing for money helps you see your work as something you do not something you are, which can be an important distinction when trying to shut down that Dark Chatter that whispers we can't.
I recently hired a boss. Some people might call Catherine a Virtual Assistant or a Virtual Business Manager, but I call her my boss because she holds me accountable to my goals. I call her a badass because she creates processes to transform those goals into reality, and takes care of all the details that are important to running a consistent business.
Imagine a world where all your interactions are inspiring, encouraging, and productive. That may sound idealistic, but without a vision of your dream, how will you get there?
I'm so lucky to work with artists, executives, and entrepreneurs who have a passion for what they do, and keep pressing ahead--through struggles and setbacks--to move ever closer to their ambitious visions of What Can Be, for themselves and for others.
Do you have a board of directors? Because you absolutely need one. Even if you're just a freelancer, just solo-preneur, just a woman who loves her laundry more than most.
A quick pop over to Wikipedia tells us "a board of directors is a recognized group of people who jointly oversee the activities of an organization."
Just because writing can take a long time, does not mean that the time is wasted, or frittered, or lost.
Every time we write we get better at writing, and better at communicating in general. Every paragraph improves our skills of connection, which can then be applied to almost every area of our lives where we need to interact with other people. When we communicate better we are better employees, entrepreneurs, parents and spouses.
Writing is hard. No point in denying it. Writing is lonely, messy, and ultimately terrifying when you finally put your words out into the world for all to criticize.
Not to mention, writing can be really boring. For every clever turn of phrase and brilliant-if-I-do-say-so-myself word choice, there are dozens of hours battling with the blank page and wrangling complex ideas into line. The editing never ends, especially not after you've hit publish on a post or committed ink to paper.
Only a select few can be writers and authors. That's true, but not for the reasons you might think. Writing and publishing a book doesn't take much talent, as some reviewers of my books would agree. What it takes is commitment and effort. Writing a book takes good old fashioned work ethic, and the courage to face your insecurities. Aside from that, it's all just the wiggling of the fingers.
Do you have a message to share? Or just a dream you can't shake? Here's how to go from dreamer to author.
A couple years ago I drew the lucky boarding pass. I found my seat in the last row in one of those tiny three-across planes that shuttle weary corporate types from Bentonville to Dallas where we scatter to terminals A through D and larger planes that take us to conference rooms across the country. I looked forward to an hour with my seatback in the upright position, trying to avoid awkward eye contact with people who forgot to forego the early morning coffee.
At least I got the aisle seat.
I'm really good at setting a goal and achieving it. Especially a writing goal. Last December I decided I wanted 2016 to be all about writing, actual writing, the act of writing. I wanted a more consistent practice because even when I don't know what I'm writing exactly, I know good things come from my writing. Even when those good things seem to have nothing to do with writing.
In the romantic amber glow of the early morning, I kept my pace, watching the cows watch me. During the first mile I saw several perfect photo opps-- trees, baled hay, broken down fences. In that light, everything is prettier. Slowly pushing forward, I understood why my dad likes to sneak off with his camera before dawn. He catches scenes like this just after sunrise, when the light is like magic, casting everything in hope.
My writing career began with the humble Christmas letter. Or, not so humble, as is the tradition. For years I chronicled the noteworthy events of our family at the holidays. I'm not handy with decorative netting, I can't coordinate bulbs and baubles, and choosing gifts gives me hives. But writing the annual Christmas letter helped me feel the spirit of the season.
When I was four years old, we had chickens and I collected the eggs. One morning when I got to the coop, wet up to the knee from dew on the tall grass, I met the Most Terrifying Beast. There was no way the eggs would make it into my pretty Easter basket with that sparkly web and its horrifying inhabitant hanging around.
When I was 20 years old I traveled with my then-boyfriend to the U.S. Virgin Islands, where we planned to get jobs and settle for a while. In St. John, we found jobs within a week, and then promptly left those jobs within another week. That's how long it took to figure out island life was not for us.
I recently spent some time talking with a woman who wants to find her voice. She has stories. She has something to say. She's not quite sure what those stories are or what she really wants to say.
I know exactly what she means, and I know how creative writing can help her. I know that she will feel fed and encouraged and challenged by a group writing experience. I know she will emerge more confident, more whole, changed for good.
A few years ago I attended a large social media conference. As is my habit at these things, I crammed in as many sessions as possible on any topic that might make me better/faster/stronger. I wanted to learn everything I could about SEO, affiliate monetization, and MOST IMPORTANT: personal branding.
Because who are you, really, in this millennium, without a personal brand?