The typical day of a typical artist looks much like anybody else’s. They wake up early and have some coffee, then trudge their way to a desk — likely one situated neatly in a cubicle, pre-covid — and work on their “day job” for 8 hours.
They talk to coworkers, send and respond to emails, try to keep up with texts and incoming projects, and they make all sorts of important and not-so-important decisions until, at last, it’s time to clock out.
Most likely they’ve stored away some vague idea that they’ll devote their “free time” to their art, whatever…
All in all, chaos gets a pretty bad rep.
It’s messy, it’s “not productive,” and it certainly doesn’t follow anyone’s well-thought-out rules or carefully researched strategy templates. Thank goodness for that, am I right?
For all the warnings about the importance of scheduling, planning, and processing your way to victory, I think it’s time to take another look at our old frenemy, Chaos.
In my case, Chaos has been one of my greatest allies on the path toward happiness — not to mention a pretty awesome career. You just have to give her a chance.
Here’s what I mean.
Human beings are complex and, based on our media portrayals, writers are even more complex than most.
Oh, yes, you know how it goes. We brood, we wax poetic, we turn our complexes into novels and our yearnings into…business copy? Well, it is the modern age, after all.
For all our complexity, I find it strange that we’re so often told to simplify. To narrow down, to niche — to take all of our glorious, deafening, out-of-tune notes and streamline them into something cohesive. A brand, perhaps, or a style.
To that, I say: NONSENSE.
If you’ve followed me at…
“Wait…to be a writer, I have to learn to sell things?”
I clearly remember the moment I learned this sad fact, as well as the existential crisis that quickly followed. The sweet naivete of my writerly youth faded away, revealing an age-old truth to my suddenly withered eyes: to be a professional writer, I had to make money from my writing.
The cries of my breaking heart were soon replaced by a steely determination rooted deep down inside my soul. Okay, fine, I thought, then I will become the best at selling things. I’ll be so good at it, guys…
Guilt is the ambient noise of American culture.
Humming away in the background of our lives like really low-quality elevator music, it ferments inside of our unconscious at all hours — as a result, most of us have begun to feel more than a little…on edge.
Maybe this emerges as anxiety, or perhaps it bursts free as embarrassing levels of defensiveness. It can show up as a pervasive sense of uncertainty, swinging between these two extremes as your mind attempts to protect itself from painful, guilty feelings. This is natural.
But that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. It’s not.
Mindfulness is a term that’s been used half to death in the self-help world.
You may even feel exhausted by it, having read or listened to so many people wax poetic about how mindfulness changed this or that area of their lives. Trust me, I get it — and as a naturally fast-paced person who happens to like being that way, I was never particularly convinced by these stories of mindful transformation.
When I began to bring regular mindfulness into my work as a professional, full-time writer, it was mostly by accident. I know what it feels like to hit…
The digital landscape is full of so-called solopreneurs, all seeking ways to “self-start” and hustle their way to success.
Honestly? The concept of self-starting anything is a myth.
A pervasive one, to be sure, but a myth nonetheless. Even the most individualistic entrepreneurs on Earth have had to rely on factors beyond themselves in order to succeed.
I’m happy to say that I’m one of those entrepreneurs, and I’m even happier to finally, publicly cast off the label of solopreneur once and for all. And I’m inviting you to join me.
Here in America, we have many gods…
I’m going to go ahead and say what I imagine many of you have been thinking lately: what the hell is with all the poor quality self-development-p*rn on our feeds lately?
How do people write so much of it without ever improving the quality of their work or advice? It’s a mystery, folks. Except it’s not. We, as a collective, have become addicted to platitudes.
I’m addicted. You’re addicted. Aunt Suzy-Mae is addicted. We know the articles we’re reading (or skimming) are beginning to sound identical, but we can’t seem to stop clicking on them. …
As a writer, you will never, ever be immune to rejections. Not now, and not twenty years down the line when you’re a veteran of the industry.
It’s human nature to feel hurt when we get rejected. Knowing it’s not personal doesn’t mean we feel like it isn’t, and rejection is one thing that doesn’t seem to fade away with experience. This may sound harsh, but it’s better to accept your humanity than spend your whole career fighting it, right?
As an experienced professional writer, I don’t say any of this lightly, nor do I say it to be patronizing…
We’ve all heard the cries and lamentations echoing through the online world. There’s too much content! Content mills are killing the writing profession! It’s impossible to find decent articles, blogs, etc anymore!
Sometimes these dire pronouncements seem accurate, or at least prophetic. There is a lot of content out there, and most of it is arguably low-quality.
Whether you’re tired of reading the same contrived, regurgitated blog posts via promising Pinterest links or you’ve simply grown weary of headlines promising one thing and delivering another, looking for something worth consuming can feel like a true needle-in-the-haystack proposition these days.