the latest, Uncategorized

i found my voice…again

The only truly bad thing about getting paid to write is that something I have always enjoyed has turned into something I have to do. Budgeting time to turn everything in on time, following style rules of different publications, and being as professional as possible via email to make sure I get paid. I started tackling assignments with a mentality of “getting it over with,” a significant switch in mindset since I used to savor the time I spent working on this blog.

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My blog has always been a creative outlet. I can use as many Oxford commas and semi-colons as I want. And it’s gif galore up in here! The only opinion on this website is my own–though that sounds a lot more egotistic than I mean. For the second half of my American educational experience, my teachers consistently complimented my voice as a writer. I didn’t fully grasp what they meant at the time, but as I started peer-editing my classmates’ work and copy editing for the school paper, I started to understand. I want my writing to feel like a conversation. It is unpretentious, it should hopefully make you crack a smile. I like to think that if we met in person, my voice IRL would sound like the one that comes through here.

In churning out as much work as possible to make that $$$, I realized that I started cutting corners on authenticity, and my voice wasn’t as bright as it used to be. Thanks to some recent job changes on my part, I’ve had time to think about the kind of writer I want to be. And I sure as hell better be one with her own voice.

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Uncategorized

5 things i learned after 5 months of freelancing

Even though I have a regular 9-5 job working at a magazine I’ve always admired, my side hustle has been especially lucrative lately. I’ve been doing a lot of freelance writing, simultaneously bulking up my portfolio as a writer and making some extra spending money. There’s something wonderfully appealing about freelancing…you can work from home (or anywhere in the world with an Internet connection), have flexibility with deadlines, and get to write about things that interest you.

I know some people do this full time–I’m not sure I ever could, since the money varies month to month, but so far it’s been a great way for me to profit from something I’m passionate about–and something I’d literally be doing for free, anyway (cue: this blog). Here are five things I’ve learned since stepping up my freelance game in June.

1. It will take forever to get paid.

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Between waiting for invoices to be approved and checks to go in the mail, expect to wait a month until you see payment for your story.

2. Keep track of EVERYTHING.

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I write for multiple sites, and it quickly became difficult to keep track of who had paid me and who I still needed to send invoices to. I use Google Sheets to keep track of every story I sell, and note within this document which pieces have been invoiced and paid.

3. Follow up.

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Editors are busy–you’re probably one of many writers they deal with, so if you don’t hear back for a few days, don’t take it personally. Don’t be afraid to follow up…especially if they owe you money.

4. Use a dedicated workspace.

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Some people are good at working from home, and while I like the idea very much, I’m not one of them–though that may change once it gets colder and I don’t want to leave my apartment. If I have an overwhelming amount of work to do, I take my laptop to a local coffee shop and stay there until the battery dies.

5. Pitch as many ideas as you have.

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I send dozens of pitches a week, knowing that only a handful will get picked up. I’ve learned that I have a better chance of getting more stories picked up if I pitch more in the first place!

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the latest, Uncategorized

sound bites

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Things I found and enjoyed on the web this week.

I’m pretty loyal to Polar, but this DIY LaCroix can designer is a fun way to waste some time.

How to make my favorite pasta dish by one of my favorite New York chefs.

Apartment advice from one of my favorite Man Repeller writers.

News about vodka that could actually be good for your liver. (Also a shameless plug for my writing.)

This mesmerizing video recipe for chocolate cake that I will be making ASAP.

I got Rory on this quiz.

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rejects

things i wrote that i thought were good but nobody else did

As someone who aspires to make a living by writing, I pitch a lot of story ideas to various websites–I’ll think of maybe 10 ideas, and be thrilled if the editor likes two or three. I’ve also written quite a few personal/human interest pieces that I’ve submitted to major publications that were met with rejection…which is totally fine! I just don’t like my time to go to waste, so I’ve decided to share these literary rejections with you. Here’s the first! (Submitted to Hearst’s “The Mix” before it was shuttered earlier this summer.)

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Almost daily, I take the 9:23 commuter train to work. And almost daily, there’s a woman a few seats in front of me who spends the entire train ride doing her makeup. I am by no means a morning person, but I really don’t feel like 9:23 is painfully early. I always manage to give myself plenty of time to fix my hair and put on my makeup before leaving the house. Unfortunately, many of my travel companions seem to lack these time management skills. I’ve become familiar with some of my fellow commuters who clearly depend on the 25-minute train ride to transform from bedheads to beauty queens. Foundation, powder, eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara are, admittedly, masterfully applied with one hand while the other holds a compact mirror.

It’s one thing to touch up your lipstick, or dab a little concealer on a zit, but it’s another to contour your face on a moving train. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always thought it was worth it to wake up an extra ten minutes early so I can attempt a smoky eye at the comfort of my own vanity table.

This public application of makeup bothers me so irrationally for a couple of reasons. The first is that I value my privacy so much that I can’t imagine putting on makeup while a train car of disgruntled commuters looks on. I have a hard time just letting the salespeople at Sephora show me how to use a kabuki brush in a store full of people, let alone paint while balding businessmen peer over their newspapers at me. For me, makeup is a part of getting ready–in the same category as taking a shower and getting dressed. (All of which I like to do in the privacy of my apartment). Also, isn’t it frustrating to have to pack up a little makeup bag every single morning? What if your mascara wand falls on the germ-covered seat? Or worse–the floor?

The second is that it says something to me about your priorities and time management capabilities. Anyone who knows me will tell you that one of my biggest pet peeves is lateness. While I can appreciate that you’re applying makeup during your commute to save time and not be late to work, I’d appreciate it more if you managed your pre-train ride morning routine a little bit better. As a non-makeup professional who has made a routine of makeup in two minutes (concealer, a few strokes of bronzer, liquid liner, and some mascara), it’s puzzling to me that you would need to spend over twenty minutes putting on makeup for work. Sure, when I go out at night I’ll take a little more time on my makeup, but I keep things pretty clean and simple at the office, as do most of my co-workers.

My point is, there are other ways to manage your time efficiently that doesn’t have to include publicly applying your makeup. Put on your foundation while you wait for your coffee to percolate. Apply lipstick while you’re waiting for your mascara to dry. And please, please paint your nails the night before so I don’t have to breathe in acetone for breakfast.

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the latest, Uncategorized

sound bites

Things I found and enjoyed on the web this week.

The most relatable Vogue article I’ve ever read.

I’m not entirely sure what this website is, but it was too weird not to share.

Oh Joy!’s heartfelt post about her experience on September 11.

Stranger Pugs.

The best of every single thing (really) in NYC.

And as a bonus…a boozy news story I wrote 😉

photo from entertainment.ie

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the latest, Uncategorized

everything i’ve ever wanted to be

I’m 22, and I’m still pretty unsure about what I want to do with the rest of my life. There are lots of things I thought I’d always do–volunteer as a teacher, work abroad, write a book, start a greeting card company (and become a famous blogger) are a few that come to mind. But in terms of my actual “dream job,” that idea has changed a lot.

In kindergarten, my dream job was an archaeologist. I’m not sure why (maybe my dad’s passion for old Indiana Jones movies?), but I still think that would be a pretty cool job.

In middle school, I wanted to be an actress. I even made my parents take me to an audition at a fancy private performing arts high school, which I didn’t get in to.

When I started high school, I got the idea in my head that I didn’t want (or need) to go to college…don’t remember what my career plans were, but I’m glad that phase ended. I’m not sure if I had a dream job in mind during this time, but over the course of high school I remember wanting to be everything from a social worker to a teacher to a diplomat to a nutritionist.

When I began college, I wanted to be an art historian, with an ultimate goal of being a gallery director (read: the Charlotte York-Goldenblatt career path, ending up with a rich husband). I minored in Art History instead, and realized during my last semester that I actually hated it and am not sure why I studied it at all.

Just two years ago, I thought I wanted to be a dentist–read more about that disaster here.

And last year, I decided I wanted to work in media and follow an editorial career path. So here I am–pursuing the one thing I’ve been consistently told I’m good at (writing).

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boyfriend

texting games

I was just disappointed that the last text message I received was from a boy who I used to like, instead of my lab partner with information regarding our test tomorrow.

Silly as it sounds, the disappointment I felt quickly turned into a feeling of fiery independence, opening my eyes to the fact that I truly am more concerned with and interested in succeeding academically and making myself proud than trying to keep a guy’s interest.

Texting is a funny thing. As someone who grew up reading “Anne of Green Gables” and watching old Audrey Hepburn films, I always thought that when a guy liked you, he would call, come to your front door to take you on a date, with no thought or expectation of sex whatsoever.

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Unfortunately, I have been fortunate enough to experience this kind of formality only a handful of times, since in the modern world, everything is much more casual. I have come to know that a “hey” text at 2am translates to “I want to hook up” at least 99% of the time, that “hanging out” or “watching Netflix” when suggested by a male between the ages of 17-27 never actually involves Netflix.

My conclusion is that it is becoming increasingly impossible to be a hopeless romantic in 2014. You know what? I would love to hang out with someone I like and watch a movie on Netflix and eat popcorn, but that’s probably not gonna happen, at least while I’m in college. In the meantime, I have a lot of studying to do .

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