Monday, December 12, 2011

Taking a Break

I regret to inform my readers that due to my month-long international trip, I will not be publishing any blog posts until after the New Year, 2012.  Kindly bear with me.  Thank you.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jobs & Careers: Writers Inspiring Writers

A Writing Career - What in it for Me?

'Sell.  Sell.  Sell."  This was the motto of the place I worked at - and I must say, I am guilty of emphasizing on this motto at my store too.  Way back in 2007 I signed a franchisee contract to run a retail outlet.  It was mine for about 18 months until I had to relocate due to personal reasons.  It comprised of everything related to running a store from scratch; setting it up, interviewing staff, training, organizing, delivering as expected...  everything.  Oh, and there was also a few months that I spent at the main office - the mother company, where I learned all about vouchers, invoices, payments and issuing of checks to vendors. The work was hectic.  Sometimes I used to be at the store for as long as 16 hours, while most days it averaged to 12.  I could have opted to spending lesser time at work... but the bottom line was - I was happy with my job.  It was tough and challenging... but I loved it.  In turn, I was being rewarded for my work; compliance bonus, profit sharing, my monthly commissions, etc.

After relocating to a new place, and with the drawback of also not knowing the foreign language (Arabic) coupled with the economic crisis of 2008, the job market tightened career openings.  Realizing that I was only wasting time waiting for some opportunity to strike luck that I started out with writing seriously.  Although I used to write for a couple of smaller sites since 2005, Helium was the first major publisher through which I earned for my writing.  But that was 2009.  2011 has another story to tell which is best read at Raymond Alexander Kukkee's   Incoming Bytes -  The trouble with Word Mills: Writers Beware.

How many of us can claim to be really happy at work?  Not many people can attest to this. With the work scenario and job market being tough one is expected to take whatever job comes along.  Sure, one has to adapt to the times, but are we really happy with our jobs?  What is it like for a writer, who struggles daily to get past writing blocks, writing moods, publishers that pay or dealing with publishers that steal.  What about content that is stolen from the writer online and used illegally at smaller insignificant sites to raise their standing?  What about loss of earnings due to Google and Panda and companies changing their TOS from time to time?  Such is a writer's life... when one has to write for a living.  

There are so many things that come to mind with disappointed careers; especially with writing careers... but since I already decided that Mandy's Pages will be one of 'positivity' (is there such a word?) and encouragement, I've decided to feature a writer who is amazing at her work and absolutely loves what she does.  Meet Mary Brotherton; Writer, Editor at Bluewater and Photographer. I have invited her to be my guest blogger for this week, to share with us some of her passionate 'career' moments. 

I love my job.

If time flies when you are having fun, my job must be one of the best in the world. I have the honor to work with talented writers, photographers and designers on a team with marketing and sales reps that place several award-winning publications in the hands of some of the most amazing people in our community - and our community beyond, online. The publisher is a forward-thinker who brings exciting events to the community and urges each of her employees toward greater creativity and community involvement.

Before I was brought in-house in 2008 to serve as editor for the Bluewater Creative Group, I had been a freelance writer for the organization for five years. In addition to the joy of working with professionals in my chosen field, doing what I love to do, I have had the privilege of meeting celebrities, the honor to associate with genuine heroes, going on travel junkets and firsthand experience in a variety of activities from flying in World War II trainer planes to jumping out of airplanes so I could better write the experiences.

My job allows me to write with the objectivity of a reporter and the freedom to voice my own opinions in my letters from the editor. Since the publications do not lean toward controversial topics, I keep those for my private website and blogs. In my letters to our readers, I share family traditions and glimpses into my personality.

My fulltime position with these publications allows me time after hours to pursue my own interests as a freelance editor, blogger and photographer. As with all jobs, there are aspects I like less than others, but overall, I love my job. I wish for you, the same on whatever your career path.

 Another person that comes to mind is Doreen Martel.  A person who has had a promising career, but faced with a health problem turned to writing despite proper visual health.  I have always found her to be a person who says NO to what life's thrown at her and has made something of herself as a writer. So many writers from among our group have stories to tell, stories that inspire us and bring out the writer in each of us.  Check out Doreen's blog on Freelancer resources.


The next person that came to mind when I thought of Jobs and Careers is Conny Manero.  Lets read what Conny has to say. 

"I mainly focus on the Jobs and Careers channel because I feel that is where my strength lies. Having been on both sides of the interview table, I know firsthand how important a resume and cover letter is and the pitfalls of an interview. As a professional temp, I have worked for a variety of companies and dealt with all kinds of people. The good, the bad and the mean! When not dealing with employment and unemployment, I am working on my blogs and my fourth novel."


What do the many writers have to say about their writing careers?  I have asked friends to send in their submissions and here's what they have to say.  

My life as a writer has evolved, devolved and risen like a phoenix cyclically for the last 25+ years. What I find most poignant, unlike other occupations, the amount of heart poured into the work does not equate to the success of that work. Although it may seem pessimistic, it merely is a reflection of audience taste and ability to comprehend the emotional scope of your work.

I recognize the necessity of writing to specifications when taking editorial and research assignments and have managed to flourish in just such an environment. On the other hand, there are few things as freeing as watching the words flow onto the page when you are enthralled by a subject or story whose only purpose is to satisfy the inner creative voice which drives you to write.

One mustn't overlook the third generation of writing: The blog. Bloggers marry the previous two generations or merely stand on their own expressive identity. Despite traditionalist naysayers, the cathartic nature of stream-of-consciousness blogging produces euphoria for both writer and reader. When gauging success, there is no greater mark.
Whichever path you choose, fire the inner critic; pay the inner editor; but most of all, praise, pamper and encourage the inner creativity.  

I have been a writer/ reporter/ magazine journalist and most recently a blogger for the last 25 years or thereabouts. I have experienced some very inspirational people and events (the vast majority) and some people who have done some awful things. Overall, what I have enjoyed the most is the knowledge and learning experience and most importantly, the friendships and relationships I have been able to forge. Unless you’re very lucky, you’re never going to be in the upper 1%, but these are powerful experiences no amount of money can ever purchase. It's the stuff the breaks my writer's block and provides a sense of fulfillment to the writing drive.

What I have learned is that writing is just like any other job, you have to work hard at satisfying clients and publishers. This means you may have to forego your own style and freedom (we call it voice) to please someone else. That is why writers often have blogs, to keep their sanity and to be able to write for themselves. We also have to become accustomed to constructive criticism, especially from editors. Or, to make it simple, I came up with this explanation: "Constructive criticism is the salt in the spread that butters a writer's bread"

I love writing. I always have and always will. Writing is like teaching (my other favorite career); it allows you to dig deep and express yourself, engaging others and developing thoughtful, constructive discourse. Sadly, there is far too much politics involved in educating our children and the writing industry, particularly with the advent of the Internet. However, that doesn't need to prevent anyone from using their skills and talents, without sacrificing their principles. Standing by one's principles might translate to having less work from time to time. It may even cause less scrupulous people and businesses to attack you. None of that matters as long as you maintain your reputation, be true to your integrity and adhere to a high ethical standard in life.

Writing is a tool... I can't say that I love writing for writing's sake, but I've learned and continue to learn to treat it with care. 

Image Credit:  Hands on keyboard


Amanda Dcosta - Writer,