In December, I wrote about how I planned to be a better writer in 2015. Since it’s been a little more than a month since that post, I decided to check in with myself to see what type of progress I’ve made. I didn’t expect to hit every area on my list in two weeks, but I’d say I’ve gotten off to a pretty good start.
Here are 4 steps I took to advance my writing career:
Pitched two outlets. Last year, I was a total slacker on pitching. After I landed a couple of steady gigs, I got comfortable, which was a huge mistake. Then on top of that, I missed out on a major opportunity that I might write about once I’ve rectified that situation, but for now, I’ll keep it cute and put it on mute.
With pitching though, the entire process is a pain in the ass, but the bottom line is if I don’t pitch and land bylines, I don’t earn money. Since one of my goals is to double my freelance income this year, I must abandon my cozy my comfort zone . Hopefully, I’ll land another byline soon.
Over the years, the meaning of Christmas has changed drastically for me. I went from a wide-eyed, excited child who couldn’t sleep Christmas Eve night in feverish anticipation of the gifts that awaited me beneath the tree, to a grownup who spent way too much money on gifts, that in my own misguided way, were intended to show loved ones how much they meant to me. After a few painful lessons in money management, I realized how un-cute it is to spend the first half of a new year paying off sizable debts incurred by splurging on expensive Christmas gifts.
Don’t get me wrong–it was fun while it lasted. Among the Commercial Christmas gifts I bought (and received) were the latest and greatest electronic gadgets, expensive jewelry, computers and more. My purchases grew bigger with time, until the spending took a toll on my bank account, while battling aggressive crowds and trying to outdo last year’s gift took a toll on my spirit. Continue reading
During a recent episode of VH1′s “Hollywood Exes,” I watched the group of glamorous celebs’ ex-wives engage in a few rounds of a good ol’ drinking game called “Never Have I Ever,” in which one person names an activity they’ve never participated in, while the persons who have indulged in that particular activity are required to take a shot. Their activities of choice mostly involved experimenting with drugs and various sexual exploits, but it got me thinking about the people I’ve spoken to and some of the things I’ve heard people say they’ve never done or experienced.
The first person who came to mind was my grandma. I’m pretty sure she’s bypassed all the stuff these ladies copped to, but in addition to that, she also never learned to drive. Then, there’s my sister-in-law, a 41-year-old wife and mother who hasn’t had so much as a sip of alcohol. As someone who has gone through somewhat of a wino phase, I admire her ability to bypass the booze. I doubt she’ll break down and have a sip of the sauce anytime soon, but I try to keep my camera handy just in case she does.
One time I was discussing my travel plans with a co-worker, she told me she’d never been to the beach. I gasped because even though the nearest beach from my home is about 300 miles away, I refuse to allow distance to keep me away from my beloved ocean waves. In my co-worker’s case, the sucky part is that she’s visited California a couple times, L.A. in fact. But circumstances beyond her control prevented her from sticking her feet in the sand. Therefore, I’ve started a one-woman campaign to get her to take a trip to the beach sooner than later. Continue reading
My elementary school memories mostly consist of dense fog, but there’s nothing like a favorite teacher to penetrate the clouds and shine light on the past.
Enter Mrs. Brooks, my awesome yet fear-inducing first grade teacher. A tiny, sharply dressed woman of about 50, she frequently peered over her glasses to issue mean stare-downs and threats. Her powerhouse tendencies kept students and colleagues in line. My mom credits her for arguing my case against the stubborn principal, who initially refused to skip me up to her first grade class. Thanks to her efforts, I only spent two weeks in kindergarten.
She had an unrivaled passion for education and ran an unbelievably structured class. One day while reviewing a set of math problems for an upcoming test, her eyes narrowed as she zeroed in on her target of the moment: class troublemaker, Terrance. Oblivious to the impending doom, he feverishly chatted with his neighbor.
“Terrance if you don’t stop talking I will pulverize you!” she roared.
That got everyone’s undivided attention. Holding the gaze of a now-shivering Terrance, in one hand she wielded ”Brown Sugah” the long, masking tape-wrapped yard stick we would all come to fear. She waved it about, asking who knew the meaning of that awful sounding word. We gave her a collective blank stare, but we left class knowing the definition, the spelling and how to use it in a sentence.
I went home that day repeating both words over and over, allowing their significance to sink into my 5-year-old brain. Soon, I connected the dots: I’d better not procrastinate on my studying because if I got a bad grade, Mrs. Brooks would pulverize me. 1 +1 =2. Simple enough. Continue reading