The Times, They Are A-Changin’

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A few weeks ago, I decided to quit my job at an ad agency. I can’t fully explain it. There is an official reason. My side hustles were becoming so overwhelming, I felt I had to sacrifice something. I took a glance at my finances and decided that my stable, bu emotionally unfulfilling day job, was going to be it. Part of me wanted to give full-time freelancing a try again, especially now that I have a way better idea of how it works. (Last time I tried to freelance, I sat and waited for assignments to arrive. In other words, I was very unsuccesful at it.) Part of me just wants a break. The past three years have kept me putting out emotional fires, one after the other, and I simply associated my day job with that period in my life. It was never meant to be a permanent stop or even a career path. Since I have a hard time dealing with slow moving change and can only do the radical kind, I quit. I have a few interviews for better suited jobs that I may or may not take. After all, I was pretty much set on making my freelance life work. We’ll see.

What does this all have to do with this blog? Basically, I need to cut my ties with it too. I loved having a space to share my thoughts, spew some BS and remind the cybersphere that I’m a damn good writer. Nevertheless, my expectations and passion for it were low. I came into blogging at a time when the world was already saturated with them and simply did not feel like playing the SEO game to gain a readership. I mostly did it because I was told by industry insiders that it could be a way to showcase my skills. Today I feel I have better ways of doing that.

What I do want to maintain though is some sort of intimacy and connection. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve decided to switch from blogging to a Tiny Letter account. Back in the day, I would send rambling emails to my friends and family abroad about my life, my travels, my current projects. I fondly remember describing in minute detail a run in I had with a cockroach in my Lower East Side apartment to my bffs from high school. As soon as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et al came into the picture, those emails stopped. In a way, I’m thankful for the social media avalanche. It’s so easy now to stay in touch but by now I’m aware that the slice I’m seeing of everyone’s life is the branded one. The happy one. The one that has been crafted for an audience. I miss the messy kind.

So, will my Tiny Letter be messy? Perhaps! At least the few opening paragraphs. But I also want it to be of use. I’m calling it The Cranky Guide to HappiInes because I decided that, even though I’m a pessimist cynic at heart, I am trying to hashtag live my best life. I turned 35, yo, which is old AF. Old enough to know I have to start making shit happen or else I’ll end up in an article titled “People on Their Death Beds Share Their Deepest Regrets.” What brings me joy in life? Three things: writing, traveling, and the side hustle which I define as anything that doesn’t make you feel like a capitalist, corporate cog.

Here’s how I plan on laying it out:

  1. An intro where I’ll more or less tell you a funny little anecdote about my daily life or give you a general run down of what’s been going on.
  2. Writing Life: I’ll share thoughts, tips and resources that I’ve found helpful for my craft.
  3. Side Hustle Life: I’m still figuring out how to get freelancing and other enterpreaneurial ventures going. Learn along with me! I’ll share my progress, what worked, what hasn’t, and possibly be very candid about finance (that most mysterious of topics when it comes to this).
  4. Traveling Life: Pics, recommendations and fun observations on wherever I happen to be at the moment. Fair warning: given my precarious financial situation, this may be very Chicago-centric until further notice. But hope springs eternal, and I’d like to think I can board a plane earlier than expected.
  5. Tiny List of Small Victories: Links to my published writing, events and readings, podcast episodes, etc.
  6. Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy: Book, movie, TV, podcast recommendations and more
  7. Charlie Pic; Cause he is the biggest bundle of joy ever.

 

Sounds interesting? If so, sign up here. I would love to have you. The first installment will be out in a couple of weeks.

In My Mind, Travel and Writing Are Inextricably Linked

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I’m in Milwaukee for the Women in Travel Summit, sequestered in a Hilton Lounge. There’s a small part of me that wishes I had planned better, gone out less, and logged out of Facebook more so I could actually enjoy my mini trip. I’m facing several looming deadlines, set backs on personal projects and an avalanche of emails that multiply with every click and refresh. You’d think I’d be stressed. Instead, I’m reveling in the fact that I’m away, am actively ignoring my surroundings and I can write in peace.

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Where I Get My Ideas So You Can Too

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Of all the parts of the writing process that may mystify non-writers, one seems to stand out above all else: ideas. Specifically, where writers get ideas. It’s the question I get asked the most and, though I should be used to it by now, it still surprises me. This is literally the easiest part of the whole ordeal. I have ideas for days, weeks, years. Notebooks full of them. Much like my reading list, I’m pretty sure they’ll outlive me as well. Could this be my artistic superpower? Perhaps. In any case, I tried to reverse engineer my thought process when brainstorming instead of being annoying and stating it’s a flash of brilliance that comes at me at unexpected times. It certainly feels that way, though my rational explanation is that my subconscious has been percolating these nuggets while I was busy watching The Bachelor or spacing out on Facebook. There are a few strategies I’ve been able to discover and can hopefully help you when you’re stuck.

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What I’m Working On in 2017

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I’ve pretty much given up on the idea of resolutions, at least in the strictest sense of the word. But I do believe in setting out a road map of what I hope to accomplish and focus on in the next year. If we’re all still here. And the Great American Experiment hasn’t been burned to a pile of ashes. Whatever the case, and however awful the Trumpocalypse may be, these are the projects I have my eyes on in 2017.

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