Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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So, you want to work from home do you?

now laterProcrastination. It’s such a dirty word. Especially to a writer or anyone who works from home.  I never thought of myself as a procrastinator but I feel like I’m turning into one. I don’t like it. I don’t like myself when I’m doing it. And I’m fully aware that I am doing it.

Working from home is a dream job to some people. Mostly, to the people who do not have the privilege and think it’s all fun and games; sleep-ins and working in your pyjamas. And it can be like that. Like now, for instance I am in my pjs. Technically, I’m not working because this blog is not part of my J-O-B but I am in my pjs. That is so  because it’s 11:50pm and I’ve been ignoring this blog for weeks now so when I had a slight, ever so slight urge to write, I thought,  DO IT NOW. Is this my mojo returning? I can only hope so.

Lately I’ve lost my desire to keep my eye on the prize. I get a rejection, even if I think it doesn’t bother me, it can change my entire day. And that day spills over to the next day, and the next, then the next week. And here I am on a Saturday night, staying up late to write and accomplish something…anything. Or silence plagues my inbox for days or weeks on end. It’s all part of the industry and I have learnt to be strong and carry on. I refuse to quit, that’s for damn sure.

I know I have to change my half-assed work habits. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not missing deadlines – I’m just not being the perfect employee and my boss can be a real bitch!!! (ummm, I’m my own boss for those who did not “get it”)

I have always had a very high work ethic so for me to be sloppy and inconsistent is uncharacteristic and damn annoying to me. Many of you will know and use these favourite ways of putting off but it might be insightful to list them…just for fun.

  • Coffee
  • Food – mostly chocolate
  • TV – I rarely watch actual TV but I do have an addiction to Sex and the City (I have all on DVD)
  • More coffee
  • FACEBOOK
  • Twitter
  • Emails
  • Laundry
  • Dishes or other housework
  • Designing new business cards (this is not a high priority for me now)
  • List making
  • Googling
  • Lorna Jane website – browsing
  • More Food

A few times in the past couple weeks, I have banned myself from Facebook. It has helped but only on the days where I was fully committed to working. And I know I must do this more often, like everyday between 9 – 3pm. I wonder if this is even possible? I do miss it when I’m on a ban. And that scares the hell outta me. I don’t want to be that person. That person who cannot go a day without being “connected”.

Sure, I need the internet to work from home but when it’s keeping me from doing the best job I can do, it has to be turned off.

It’s now 12:33am and I rarely stay up this late. I am now logging off for sleep. And tomorrow I promise to not turn on my modem (please note that I do have an iPhone that I can check emails on) before 3pm. It is Sunday after all…

What is your most  perfect procrastinating tool?

 

 

 

 

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What I know about writing

When I was asked to participate in a theme blog post called, ‘what I know about writing’ by Sarah Wayland at that space in between, I must say I didn’t understand the exercise. It wasn’t until I saw her post and the other links and how to “link up” that I really got it.

Yes, I feel like a twit for it but I do my writing without a need to be technical so I don’t “get” how to set up what Sarah has done, but nevermind, I am honoured to have been asked.

I have been writing for a long time but I never considered it as a job or career until I was in my mid-thirties. I saw being a writer or author like being a movie star or pop singer……WAY out of my reach. Plus, I was not talented.

Then when I became a stay-at-home mum, I decided to do an online writing course and I saw that writing was a possibility for me. I quickly found a spot as a regular contributor in the local newspaper. It boosted my confidence and I felt like I was onto realising my “purpose”.  But, like many writers have done at some point in their journey, I lost my esteem. I  gave up on writing when we moved states.

For 3 years I didn’t write anything more than dark poetry or short diary entries and I focused on making money the physical way. I started my own cleaning company and did well with it. That wasn’t for me but I kept at it because the money was so good and went down another path that I thought I wanted to go down. I enrolled in a course to become a professional counsellor. And, after 7 months of failing at that…I admitted to myself that I was a writer.

Thank goodness for the Sydney Writers’ Centre. It was when I did their online writing for magazines and newspapers course that I really felt I was given the skills, motivation and inspiration to pursue a career in writing. That was 2 years ago and it has not been an easy climb, and I’m nowhere near the top but I’ve made some progress.

So, based on what I know about writing, here are some tips for aspiring or even experienced writers:

  • Educate yourself. I don’t think you need a degree in journalism or a masters in English to be a decent writer. I certainly don’t have those things. But practical, hands-on courses that teach you exactly what you need to know and do are valuable.  I cannot recommend SWC enough. I’ve also done a mentoring program with Alan Close, which was fabulous. He taught me so much about being a writer.
  • Join a writers group, either in person or online. As a grad of SWC, I am part of their online Facebook group and the support, advice, tips, praise and love we give and get is invaluable. I’m sure there are other groups like this out there. None as fabulous as the SWC one though (my opinion).
  • Give it go. In order to get published, you must knock on some doors. It takes nerve and confidence to put yourself  out there but I have gotten jobs just by ringing up an editor and asking. The answer will not always be yes, but sometimes it will be. In this industry, it is true that you must have a thick skin. I’m very sensitive by nature but I’ve toughened up heaps in the past 2 years.
  • Write every day. I don’t always do this but most days I do write, even if it’s only working on new pitches.
  • Stick with it. It’s hard in the beginning (and in the middle) especially after your first rejection, but as soon as you get published once you can be on your way to a career in writing, if you choose.
  • Although I say stick with it, when it becomes all-consuming and stressful, take a day or two off. Sometimes you must take a step back before you can move forward.
  • Read. Every great writer is an avid reader. This includes all the publications you want to be in. Read, follow and study them religiously!
  • Never, ever, ever, give up! If you want it bad enough you will do it and you will succeed. Ask, believe, receive (after lots of hard work).

Thanks to Sarah Wayland for the opportunity to share my writing wisdom! Check out the other talented writers who have contributed to that space in between’s ‘What I Know About Writing’ blog post!!!