27 July 2012

Turning a corner....

My career is turning a big corner this month. It's something that's been (sort of) in the works since May, and now it's finally culminated into an amazing opportunity for my career.

While I have not signed my employment contract yet, I have accepted the offer of a full-time marketing writing position with a company in central Illinois. My first day is August 6 (Puck's birthday).

I didn't say too much about the position during the application and interview process. A big part of it is that I didn't want to jinx it. But now that I have the position, I feel like I can say (a little) more.

I found the position accidentally. I was looking online for some freelance work and happened upon this. I was intrigued by the job description, which seemed perfect for my education and experience, so I decided it wouldn't hurt anything to apply.

The more I heard about the position as I went through the interview process, the more excited I got about it. It wasn't at all what I originally thought, but better. I know this may sound cheesy, but this position is what I went to school to do. This is the kind of position I envisioned myself in when I imagined my perfect job. I would be happy retiring from this company in forty years.

There are a lot of benefits to working for this company. It's a full-time salary position with benefits, after my two-week training period I'll only need to be in the office twice a week (usually), and the company is located in a nice community.

I know that no job is perfect. I know there will be difficult days. But I feel so incredibly blessed to be offered this position, and to be able to build a career on my passion for writing. I can't wait for my first day in the office (speaking of which, I'll have my own office--yay!), and to get going with some of these projects that will be on my task list.

This year has been difficult for me so far, and now I finally feel like things have turned a corner. I'm ecstatic about this position. I just can't stop happy-dancing.

25 July 2012

The bookworms need to be fed

Nanny reads to Puck and Bug
My kids have been all about stories lately. Puck constantly has a book in his hand, carrying them around with him, and asking me to read this or that story a thousand times a day. Even Tink has been carrying books around and paging through them.

As a writer and reader myself, I'm ecstatic. I love that they are already entranced by the stories they have, that they want to know what happens to Amelia Bedelia when Mr. and Mrs. Rogers come home, and they have to help Duck find Little Bunny.

However, it has reminded me that my kids do not have enough books. (Can one ever have enough books?) There are a lot of stories I remember reading as a child, and I want Puck and Tink to have those stories in their memories, as well.

The kids are going to be spending some time with Monty soon, and while they're gone, I have some plans and things that are going to be done. One of those things will be to add to the kids' library. When they come home, there will be a whole bookcase in their room, ready for them to peruse and carry around the house.

19 July 2012

Why it's important to stretch yourself....

I love being a writer. Really really. And while I have spent the last four years as a full time freelance writer, I'm exploring an amazing opportunity that would shift my career in a different (and awesome) direction.

It's different from what I've been doing, but it's something I have experience with. It really is a wonderful career opportunity, and it's the kind of thing that I've been working toward for the past four years. So depending on what happens this and next week, I could very well be headed in a new, amazing career direction, and I couldn't be happier.

So all that was a prelude to the point of this post: it's important to stretch yourself.

When I started out in freelancing, I took a wide variety of work. My first client was in the health/nutrition realm, but after that I found myself writing in the education field (which I still actively do). But I've also written how-to articles on DIY, recycling, and home improvement projects. I've written articles about mixed martial arts gear. As I gained experience and confidence, I sort of honed in on areas of clients, which led me to writing about a lot of health/nutrition/fitness (especially holistic health) and education topics. I enjoy them, and am confident enough in those areas to write more quickly than in other areas. But I have still always tried to push myself to write in areas I'm slightly less comfortable to expand my knowledge base and skills. It sort of keeps me on my toes.

I really believe that because I stepped outside of my comfort zone in some of my writing projects, I set myself up perfectly for this possible career opportunity.

When you push yourself as a writer, you show clients you can and want to take on new challenges. If you have a client that likes your writing skills and style, but you have no experience in the field, showing that you continue to stretch and push could be what convinces the client that you can, in fact, do what they need you to do in order to provide the best writing possible.

It's a good thing to have a niche. You need an area in which you're comfortable writing and can showcase your expertise. But neither should you let a niche become a rut. Staying in that niche can become a comfort zone. And if you're not willing to step out of it, you could lose out on some wonderful opportunities and relationships with great clients.

Great things can happen when you step outside your comfort zone and try something new. And it could propel your writing career in a different direction, but that direction could be just what your career needs.

16 July 2012

Back in the office....

The last couple of weeks have been hectic. I had a lot going on in my work and personal lives, so I didn't blog as much as I'd have liked to. Sorry about that.

But I am getting back into my "normal" routine this week. I know that my routine could very well change soon, but I'll deal with that when/if it arises. In the meantime, I need some semblance of normalcy.

I was actually out of the state on Wednesday and Thursday last week. I had some personal business to take care of in Florida, so I flew down on Wednesday evening, took care of the business on Thursday afternoon, and flew home Thursday evening. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip, but very, very productive in terms of what I needed to accomplish. I'm really, really happy with how things turned out for a lot of reasons. (Vague, I know. Sorry.)

Anyway, because the trip was so short and because I wasn't checking any baggage for the flight, I decided not to bring any work with me. I just brought what I needed for Thursday (and my journal--come on... I'm not a savage), and left everything else to wait until Friday morning. I figured that if there was something that came up, I still had email access, so I could deal with it as much as possible remotely, and get to the rest of it when I got home. Thankfully, nothing came up.

It was very strange being fully out of the office for those couple of days, though. Since 2008 I've been a freelance writer from home. That means that even when I'm "out of the office," I can keep working, take stuff with me, and never really be on vacation. But I didn't take any work with me on this trip. So I had time to do some journaling--which I really needed--and I even listened to part of an audiobook on the flights. I watched TV in the hotel room. I people-watched. It was strangely wonderful.

If I am offered full-time opportunity I applied to in May, this will be more like my life. Yes, there will be times I'll be working outside of normal work hours, but overall, I'll have a more "normal" work schedule. I'll be able to make plans with the kids or with friends for the weekends. I won't have to think about work 24/7. (Okay, let's be honest. When it comes to writing/work, I'm going to think about it pretty much all the time. But you know what I mean.) It will be strangely wonderful.

That's one of the things I miss about working at my alma mater in Admissions marketing. I got to do what I loved, but I had the ability to end my day.

Well, I survived being fully out of the office for two days, and now I'm fully back in the office. I have about nine projects on my desk I'm working on (I'd love to get at least half of them done this week!), and there's the whole updating-my-calendar thing that desperately needs to be done, too. It's going to be a busy start to a busy week, but I sure am glad to be home!