Plot Twist: I've been writing
Wow. It’s August. I have no idea where the time went, and it dawned me that it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I only feel a little bad about this, though. In the past—even up until a few months ago—I would have felt worse about not writing a post. Too many things got in the way, I would tell myself; life got in the way. Again.
This time, however, I’m proud to say that I’ve been busy the very thing I’ve been wanting to be busy with: writing. Writing, writing, writing. And let me tell you, it has been fabulous. Challenging, but fabulous.
So, here’s an update on where my commitment to writing has taken me in the past several months:
#1 - I got a new job!
For those who follow me on Instagram or Facebook, or even just know me personally, you’ll know that in June I got a new job. Yay! I’ll be honest with you…I’m kind of surprised I got it. It was totally unexpected, and it’s been a huge blessing/improvement to my life.
Here are the deets:
So, I was scrolling through Indeed.com, scanning around from some kind of remote writing work so I could earn a little extra income. I had been looking for freelance gigs and other kinds of remote work, because aside from writing for the newspaper, there’s not exactly a whole lot of writing gigs in my rural area. Unless you’re a successfully published author hiding out in the foothills, living on royalty checks while working on your next novel—I’m not to that point yet, unfortunately. But someday.
Anyway, so I was scrolling through Indeed, without any luck, and I thought, “Well, I’ll try to see if there’s anything local. What the heck.”
I typed in the town I live in and boom, there it was, shining up at me like a beacon of hope (dramatic, yes, but true): Digital Marketing Assistant.
I was familiar with the company, the Get Smart Group. I had seen their sign around town and never really understood what they did. I mean, I know what marketing is, but marketing companies always sounded like a “big city” thing. I wasn’t sure how it worked in my rural area. Now I could find out.
Intrigued, I clicked on it. After reading the description, I knew I wanted to apply.
To sum up the job description, they were basically looking for someone with great writing skills, who was familiar with social media management, and could work with graphic design.
“Me?" I said, "They're looking for someone like me?"
I hesitated for a moment, though. Even though I studied writing, I studied creative writing. I know how to write books, not market stuff to consumers. And aside from a couple of minor entrepreneurial classes I took in college (you never know, OK? There are things you need to know if you’re going to publish a book someday), I didn’t know a whole lot about marketing.
Also, I have another kind of small secret: I had applied for a job at a branch of our local library system. It had been several weeks, and I still hadn't heard back. I was starting to get worried I wasn’t going to get the call at all.
I looked back at the job description. It can’t hurt to apply, I thought. What’s the worst that could happen? They could throw my application out and I get the job at the library. Or I don’t get the job at the library, but get this one, and get better hours and pay, and maybe write for a living (though in an unexpected way).
Actually, the very worst thing that could happen is that I don’t get either job and I’m back to square one.
But I just repeated to myself, it can’t hurt to apply. So, I did.
I heard back from them within an hour and set up an interview. The next thing I knew, I was in their office a week later, attempting to appear posh and brag about myself, and they seemed super impressed with my work and said I was exactly the kind of person they were looking for. Then I was interviewed one more time, then getting a job offer and accepting, and trying to figure out how to give plenty of notice at my old job, and filling out new employee paperwork and I was excited and thrilled and then…I got another call.
Two months after I applied for the job at the library, they were calling to set up an interview.
Again, I hesitated. I just got another job. Do I dare interview for another and back out of this new one? I could have had a day job surrounded by books. I was so close. It was super part-time, and the pay was not great, but it was books. Books, Bex.
But I already said yes to the marketing job. My new employers seemed so excited to have me on board. I had the skills they needed and wanted. I could write for a living. It wasn’t books, but it was writing. And there was the opportunity for better hours, better pay, and even the flexibility to take this job with me should the Viking have to move for his future teaching job.
I wanted to say yes to the librarian interview. But in the end, I had a gut feeling that for this time in my life, the marketing job was probably the better fit.
So, I said no the librarian job. It was so freaking hard. I hung up and the excited buzz I felt about my new job deflated a bit. I’m not going to lie; my heart broke a little.
However, pretty much from day one, I’ve loved my new job as a Digital Marketing Assistant. I’ve been doing all kinds of writing for clients, from blogs to website content to Facebook posts. While the GSG works in a niche market—backyard industry and home improvement—they do have a variety of clients, so I learn something new everyday and I’m never bored. Since I’ve started, my spirits have perked back up and I am very happy with it. I’m good at it, too. It’s a real joy to actually use my little hodgepodge of skills—writing, graphic design, and social media management—into one focused task, rather than scattered all over the place like they once were.
Plus, I still have my TBR pile. I still have my graphic design/editorial internship with BHC Press. I still have this blog and my personal book projects. I still have books. There will come a time when my life will be nothing but books and writing, but I've accepted that that time is not quite here yet.
#2 - I’ve been doing a bit of freelance writing
Again, if you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I was finally got published for the first time ever as a freelance writer. No, it wasn’t my column I wrote for the newspaper I worked for, it wasn’t the blogs I write for a local bed and breakfast business (although I’m proud of those things, too, and will talk about them in a bit). I don't officially work for these people at all. It was an actual freelance gig that I somehow managed to snag from the depths of the deep, dark rabbit hole called the Internet.
My first blog post, “How to Write about Pets” was published on the Self-Publishing School blog, giving tips to writers out there who want to write about pets, but aren’t quite sure about how to start. I picked this topic because I thought it wasn't going to be hard.
“Pshhh, I can write 1,200 words about pets,” I told myself. “Easy.”
It. Was. Not. But I got through it, and it published.
Along with this wonderful news, I just checked their blog again today, and my second guest blog post has published! That’s right, I wrote two for them. Due to a mix up on my behalf, I ended up selecting two topics, so I subsequently submitted two pieces.
My second guest post is, “How to Write about Your Life” which contains tips on how to get started about writing personal narrative nonfiction, like a memoir or an autobiography, or even a collection of essays. And it’s up on the Self-Publishing School blog now.
I’m just tickled about it.
#3 - Other writing stuff
Aside from all of these exciting life changes and personal achievements, I still have some other side writing gigs as well.
Even though I don’t work for the newspaper anymore, I still get to keep writing my column. It’s just on a freelance basis instead. So, that’s a little extra pocket money, too.
I’ve also been writing blog posts for the afore mentioned bed and breakfast businesses nearby, the Victoria Inn and the Dunbar House Inn & Event Property. I actually have a cousin who works there (nepotism works sometimes, folks) and she has been a huge supporter of my writing journey. She approached me a few months ago about helping them out with their blog, so they could try to promote their business more, and I agreed to do it. So, I’ve been doing that for a few months, and it’s been a fun, interesting experience. Along with writing about pools and spas and DIY sheds, I’ve been writing about places to visit in my home county and what these B&Bs have to offer. They really are darling inns, so if you have the time, check them out!
The Dunbar House is my favorite, to be honest. If I could have a house just like it on twenty acres surrounded by meadows, trees, flowers, and chickens (plus a library and Internet), I’d be a pretty happy camper.
And so, I’ve been writing
There’s been some unexpected twists along way, but my book-loving, writing journey is progressing. I’m so happy to say I’ve been too busy post here because I’ve been writing. I’m getting paid to write, I have more time to focus on my personal projects and, what’s more, my new marketing job is teaching me to push through writer’s block. I have no time to wait for inspiration, which for once, is great. I love it, and I’m very, very happy.
So, for those of you out there who aspiring toward something—anything, it doesn’t even have to be writing—I know this is cliché and overdone, but I mean it: don’t give up. Don’t shy away from that unexpected plot twist or avoid that new opportunity to grow. You never know; it might have been what you were looking for all along.
Good luck to all of you on your journeys. I’ll write more soon.