Been Writing for Years? You Still Have A Lot to Learn

Many of you already know my writing history.

Awful poetry at the age of 5.

A part-time gig at a weekly newspaper at the age of 19.

Writing sex toy reviews by the age of 22.

And now, at the age of 31, I’ve created content for online magazines, alternative newspapers, both regional and national print magazines, and a slew of blogs.

Not too shabby.

What I’ve always wanted, however, is to write a book. A book that garners interest from traditional publishers, and that eventually ends up on the shelf at Barnes & Noble or McNally Jackson or the Trident Bookstore/Cafe.

Up until recently, however, I didn’t do a damn thing about it. [Read more…]

6 Ways To Find Your Next Mentor

[Image via]

Back in January, Betsy Lerner — brilliant author of The Forest for the Trees — wrote up a quick post in which she remembered two of her early mentors. And then, a week ago, Holly Hoffman brought up the topic again. All this mentor-talk got me thinking back on my own favorites, and how important they’ve been to my career success.

I myself have never had one single, larger-than-life figure playing the part of mentor (talk about pressure). Rather, I’ve approached mentorship in much the same way career expert Marci Alboher does: as an ever-shifting collection of people I surround myself with…people I feel I can learn from, no matter what stage they’re at in their career. I highly recommend this approach.

Why do you need a mentor? Because you shouldn’t be working in a vacuum, stumbling along your career path without outside inspiration or guidance. Why do you need multiple mentors?┬áBecause it’s silly to rely on a single person, when an entire community can provide much better support, and a greater diversity of insight and advice.

So where can you find this army of advisers?

[Read more…]

Take a Breath: How To Make the Most of a Slow Economy

relax

Just the other day, Michelle Goodman posted about how people use their periods of unemployment. I commented thusly:

“The hours and days immediately following the loss of your income are incredibly fraught…filled with panic and desperation.

This is followed by the realization that you’ve been given a gift…the gift of time. Time to take for yourself. Time to be really really picky about the next job you choose.

As this period of time lengthens (and lengthens), you return to panic. And so it goes…”

The same holds true for those slow periods in a freelancer’s life, when the products seem to dry up and clients are suddenly MIA.

Do you panic and desperately grab at any old thing during these pauses in incoming work? Here are three ideas for more healthy and productive ways to utilize your newly empty hours. Feel free to add more in the comments!

[Read more…]