Posts tagged freelance
Posts tagged freelance
It has been awhile since I wrote in this blog, wrote out a long, drawn out personal entry. And to tell you the truth, I do know why that is. I’ve been facing some great changes in my public and private worlds, all of which I have been in complete control of and have brought on myself. None of which I have wanted to write down or discuss either, outside of a very small handful of people who know me best. Even then, it’s been a struggle.
As of late I have not wanted to hear my own voice. I just haven’t. It’s not because I don’t like it either or I’m getting down on myself. There have been so many times where I feel like so many separate versions of me are in this world and I’m only ever putting forth a few choice sides. The few sides that I know people do want to see, that they will like, that they will envy me for, and to that end I do what I can to make it all look so easy. So simple. But it’s not, not by a long shot. Very few people can even grasp what that means until they’ve lived it. There is good and there is bad with every position in life we take, with the luck that we have and the chances we take and no way of ever knowing exactly what the true outcome of any of it may be.
My personal outcomes as they are I am through with leaving in the hands of others to decide. My boss at my full-time job recently told me that my personality being what it is would absolutely despise working for a corporation. She’s right. I have never liked the idea of someone or some… thing having control over me and I will work my entire life to be sure I will never, ever allow that to happen. Freedom can come. You can manage things and still be free. When I was in the 6th grade, my mom told me after a parent-teacher conference that my teacher had told her I would be at my happiest forever sitting underneath a tree and reading a book. It still holds remarkably true over a decade later.
In the past month, I have:
1) Quit one of my freelance jobs.
2) Attended the Pillsbury Bake-Off.
3) Was one of three panelists on a webinar with over 500 listeners present.
4) Received several new blogging opportunities.
5) Joined a Bikram yoga class.
I don’t plan on going on for too long on any of these but in brief, here are my summaries for all:
1) There is an adage that we’re all familiar with: quitters never win and winners never quit. And that when one door closes, another door opens. But I don’t happen to believe in either one. I believe that sometimes you do have to quit something. It doesn’t mean you’re a loser either. Maybe it just doesn’t work out for you or it’s too overwhelming. And I also quite firmly believe that at times, you have to close a door that was once open on your own because not every open door has an opportunity stays golden forever. By doing so, you’re brave. It’s an act of knowing who you are and of your bravery to do so. Making the decision to quit one of my freelance positions wasn’t one I liked doing, but I had to. Do you know what really made me do it? Beyond rude emails, beyond my sleep schedule getting jacked up, beyond having to go all over the place in Hollywood la la la land of the stars (I don’t like Hollywood at all and if you were in my position, I doubt you’d like it much after either), beyond the endless press releases from pr firms I couldn’t stand- it was the sheer moment where I had a thought at the beginning of March in which I considered staying. Then I realized my original contract end date would be at the end of June. 4. More. Months. And I had been there since last August.
“Yeah, I’m not doing this,” was my epiphany. (There’s so much more on this one I could elaborate on but for the time being I’m not going to. Also, why does sitting here writing this feel so weirdly deja vu’d to me? Like I did it in a dream before. Or maybe because I sat here for so many days trying to get these words out and they never actually got free. Well here they are- freedom in writing!)
2) Oh, the Bake-Off. So near and dear to my heart and also something I’m currently working onto putting together a Giggles post on. I had a wonderful time attending in Orlando, Florida and staying for several days in the elegant and spacious Peabody Hotel. I got to fulfill a childhood dream of mine of meeting the Pillsbury Doughboy which was above and beyond encountering any celebrity, EVER. I ate a lot of food and had dinner with Martha Stewart, one of the guest judges there. We had wine with every entree, I stayed up late every night and woke up early each morning, I got to talk with so many people within the General Mills family tree (a company structure I have known too much for my own good about since childhood), and the weather was in the 80’s and just… perfect. That was my spring break in a nutshell and I loved every minute of it. And in an interesting turn of events, I did get asked out at the airport terminal too… as well as pulled aside for a random security screening but we don’t need to relive the latter of the two again.
3) The webinar was for social media and the topic was Pinterest, as it appears virtually everyone seems to adore the site except for me (Tumblr is my true love). Originally my boss was supposed to present but a family emergency came up and she asked me to step into her shoes instead. I eagerly took the position, but worried a little bit about the copyright law side of Pinterest that is so famous for being highly discussed and brushed up on my knowledge of that before the webinar started. It was a tremendous success and though virtual, I had a wonderful time discussing the merits of the site with the other panelists- as well as getting a ton of replies for my comment that “Pinterest is not for every industry.” (IT ISN’T. I refuse to say it is either- you’re talking about a website that lives by the idea of constant, consistent beauty for popularity with an 80% female user base. Wedding retailers, check! Cake shops, check! Accounting firms, no check!)
4) I am going to opt out of saying just exactly what these opportunities are and where they’re at for the time being. But they’re quite good and I’m tremendously excited for the latter of the bunch which will be airing a TV show in conjuncture with the site.
5) Yoga has been for so long on my to-do list that it saddens me just how long I’ve left it there and did nothing with it. I may walk everywhere but that doesn’t translate into being limber in all areas of my body and today marked my first class at the local studio. Bikram yoga is hot yoga- 105 degrees hot. You sweat like crazy- like dripping everywhere and shaking it off of you like a dog. You contort your body into a million different positions. You ache and get dizzy at times because it is constant. For 90 minutes today, I checked my normally tidy appearance at the door for sweaty palms, stretching, and inner jealousy at all of the other yoginis who were waaaay past the beginner’s stages- they were toned, and muscled and flexible. Everything I want to be and hope to become by taking this class. I’ve already signed up for a month of unlimited sessions (which for new students is crazy cheap, holla at me if you want more details) and plan on going 3 days a week, minimum (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). Ideally I’d like to include one Monday-Thursdays in there somewhere but I’m not sure which day would be best without overdoing it.
And there you have it. My life, to a degree, is simpler. I’m working to make it that way. Though there are many parts of it that will not change. I’m still a Boss Lady at work. I’m still writing a whole bunch on the side. I’ll still be hitting up Coffee Bean in the morning, still be glued to my iPhone (on a Bikram note? I couldn’t take my phone into the studio with me. That. Killed. Me.), and I’ll still be laughing at all times at random things I find.
Let the good times roll,
As I get ready to embark on Heather’s 2nd Thanksgiving, pie and assorted Turkey Day foods chilling in the freezer/fridge, I’m thinking about what I am thankful for. As are many, many people right now in the blogosphere.
I’ve had a comeback of a year. It’s something I’ll probably reflect on in more detail when NYE gets closer. The clearest, most defining image of this entire year for me has not been any of the red carpet events I’ve reported at nor the cool people I’ve been lucky enough to interview or the millions of job interviews I went on or the evenings spent out with my girlfriends or even just my alone time writing in my bedroom. It was the Friday in March when I sat alone in my bedroom, in my peach colored pajamas sobbing into my hands because at that very moment in time I felt hopeless. I was trapped in a job I felt myself wasting away in each day and it was truly affecting me in the worst possible way. I felt like my life was over and it hadn’t even begun. I had NO money, was stuck in the middle of a terrible roommate moving out crisis, applying every single free moment of my life for a new job, and still writing, trying very hard to stay positive that things would turn around. I literally had no idea that in less than two weeks from that moment, I would be employed somewhere completely amazing, on the road again to becoming the career girl I had always had the utmost faith I would one day become.
My thankful list is as follows:
1. My boss Deborah and everyone at MyCorp but Deborah in particular. Oh my lord, you literally have no idea how much I love this woman. She is truly larger than life in every aspect I can think of. A powerhouse CEO of a thriving company with a law degree, an incredible mother and wife, super engaged in the community, the most empathetic boss I have ever, EVER worked for. She gets everything done and proves you can be kind and still get ahead. Deborah is always, always advocating paying it forward in every interview she has and I cannot tell you how much her paying it forward has impacted my life and the lives of those around me. When I first met her during my job interview, I was very dressed up in a pinstriped suit with patent leather heels and had my portfolio with me. She came bouncing into the room, dressed in a baseball cap and jeans. “I was at a baseball game with my sons!” She told me. I liked her on the spot. I was hired three days later and quit my fucking, shitty, horrendous job immediately to move on. Working at MyCorp has been an absolute challenge but in the most rewarding sense I can think of. And why is it rewarding if it’s so hard? Because I’m working in social media which is what I love and for the first time in my life, someone is paying me to do it. An entire company is counting on me (and my interns I’ll get to them momentarily) to spread the word about our company online. To keep us getting interviews and blogging outlets and looking great to corporations everywhere. To make us the experts in our field. And me being the type-A work freak obsessive that I am, I push myself to the brink every day. I write nonstop. I have learned so much about businesses and entrepreneurs from this position that to some small extent, I believe my parents consider it a nice make up for the business degree I do not have that they tried very hard to get me to major in. You know what really helps me though, to stay so on task and focused and to continue to strive each and every day, not giving up or slacking off? Deb’s encouragement. Her acceptance that I try new things and understanding when they don’t all work out. I’ve never had this before in my life, it’s an almost alien kind of thing. I look up to her so much and I’m so thankful for everyone at that company. Also she reads my blog and really likes it. K, I’m gonna cry now.
2. My interns, James and Kelsey. I distinctly remember when my work load was getting to be too much to handle, Deborah suggested I get my own interns. Having just come off of being an intern recently, I was blown away at the thought of having people work under me in a professional environment setting. Even a little nervous at the thought of managing them. But then I remembered how I spent four years ordering around hungover coworkers at Subway and I was like I got this. The paying it forward principle went into effect with both of them. James I knew from school and had been friends with for a couple of years. He was going to spend the summer working at a store called Total Wine (it is exactly how it sounds) before heading to get his masters in Dublin, Ireland. I did not want him working at a shitty inventory counting minimum wage position and had to bring him on. Kelsey I worked with at said school when I did the assistant stage manager position with a play she starred in. I emailed her about the position that day and little did I know, that email stopped her from accepting a full time position at a terrible place she interned at. These guys are my family, I tell you, and we all joke that we’re a gang (because Kelsey always wanted to be in one but y’know not like an actual gang like the crips and bloods). What made me hire these two as opposed to other interested parties? Certainly knowing them helped and wanting to rescue them from shitty jobs is nice, but everything laid in their written portfolios. James is a history major and has a very dry sense of humor mixed in with communist tendencies in his writing. Kelsey is majoring in journalism and is very by the AP stylebook but mixes in her own voice which is lively and light in there quite well. Both of them had/have blogs that I actively read. The voices they both bring along are unique and distinctive, specific to certain projects. I love their voices and when they want to question something or want more details or need help and know I can help them. And beyond just work, we are quite fond of emailing one another ridiculous GIFs and news stories and even just talking about our weekends. There’s no bullshit, no formalities. It’s really rare in the workplace. I’m extremely aware of this and refuse to make it any other way. We’re going to be ourselves and get our work done and do it great and not be secretly scared of the other or pitting them behind their backs. That fosters a feeling and energy I do not approve of in the workplace and since it’s hard out there for everyone and I am so lucky to be in a position where I can make it easier, you know I’m gonna damn well do it.
3. I’m only on the third one and already my thankful list is getting to be really long and wordy. Somebody, an editor quick, help a blogging sista out. Because I don’t want to demote them any lower on this list, my friends and family are next up on deck. When something good happens, do you know who finds out first? It goes in this order: my parents, Earl, work, Sara, Facebook (sometimes Facebook, depends on what though). I mix it up occasionally but this is a solid list. A lot of great things have happened to me this year and generally moments after the Really Awesome Moments, I call my mom. If I can’t reach her, I call my dad’s office. Between the two, I almost always get one or the other and sometimes both and they get to share in the most excellent news with me. I love them both a lot which sometimes I know it gets hard to, but when the chips are down, I know I can depend on my family. If it’s appropriate to, I tell my interns and Facebook. If I can reach him through text, my brother Earl gets in on it. Sara, my old roommate (I am still not comfortable writing that down) always responds super fast too- the girl is more or less the sister I never had at this point. So yes, I’m thankful for my friends and family. I am grateful for their support and love and that within my circle of friends, I have someone who is always willing to attend an event with me and drive my ass around when I need to interview somebody and also will listen to my crabby/whiny/weird texts or general ranting/occasional drunkenness. Bless you all. I owe everyone a million rides.
4. My freelance work with HelloGiggles. I remember how excited I was when the site launched and my first article went live. If I could bottle up a feeling and keep it on me forever, it would be that moment. Because this was when the tide really started to turn for me in the writing world, when my name started to get out there and get recognition. Out of anything I’ve written with them so far, I am the most proud of the virginity piece. I do not exaggerate at all when I say it was one of the most terrifying things I have ever sat down and written about myself because it was, and still is, a very personal, private matter to me. One that rarely gets addressed in society. And one that I went through stages in writing about- fear, depression at remembering the past, and then this awesome light feeling where the weight was off of me and now comes the overall message I have to give. The responses were tremendous and very special. Reading everyone’s own story was a thing of beauty because it was one of those things where all it takes is one person to come forward, bare their soul, and then it opens up the floodgates of responses in return. I had always known I would write about this but I knew I would not write it out unless it was on a channel with an appropriate audience, one that would embrace the story and understand and take it forward with them. I’m proud of everything I write there and won’t ever do a post that I only feel 50/50 on. Not my style.
5. Interning with BettyConfidential. It has been absolute madness- you try working full time, freelance writing, AND interning with an online women’s magazine that gets 2.5 million visitors a month. Now I’ve always been a worker bee who does not shy away from lots of work and stretching myself thin, but with Betty, it was like a return to my old college days where I would wake up and literally have a schedule of the day dancing before my eyes. It’s not easy work. Entertainment blogging and writing is not easy. To the untrained eye on Facebook and even sometimes to some of my plus ones at events, it looks pretty simple and super glamorous. Go to a party, meet a celebrity, ask them some questions, write about it. Does not happen that way. There are rules and protocol to dealing with celebrities, if you’re going to ask questions you need to ask them questions that somebody reading the piece will want to hear. You are never there because you showed up- you’re there to write about the night and its purpose. Having fun is totally fine to do but you have to be professional too! Writing there and getting my work published with constructive criticism has been quite honestly one of the most helpful real world experiences of my life. My portfolio is out of control now and I have the editors to thank for it who pushed me into becoming a stronger writer. I am still learning and they are still teaching me. There are the really good days and the totally hideous writer’s block ones but I am learning how to work and write around those in a way I never thought was possible. I’ll honest here- not looking forward to when my deadline working there is up and it’s coming soon too. I want to renew this one on for another five, six months. Imagining not having Betty in my life is not a good thought right now, tbh. But it’s also 1:10 in the morning right now and I’m still in the middle of this list so I’ll stop now and move on.
6. California. This is clearly where I was meant to be at this moment in my life. A year and a half ago, I was torn between LA and SF and prayed I made the right choice with LA. Last March when I was crying alone in my room, I believed that no, no I didn’t make the right choice. During this summer, when everything suddenly depended on my living in Los Angeles and centered around what advantages I had for it, I knew despite all the doubt I once had, it was the right place for me then and now. And now, now that come next June I have the sudden option of being able to move back to SF or if I really, really wanted to, New York or London and keep working within the company nonetheless, I feel like I’m going to get the best of all these worlds. It’s overwhelming how happy I am. I don’t think I’m conveying it right now properly, but it is. I cannot see any aspect of my life right now, be it on a good or bad day, as being anything but completely fulfilling at a point I never thought it would reach so soon.
7. My eyeball recovery. Holy smokes, that was a massively painful ordeal. Three eye doctor’s visits, two weeks of eyedrop medication, spontaneous sobbing from the pain, and a new pair of eyeglasses with a lens prescription that accumulated in my recovery from an eye infection. Supremely awful ordeal but I am beyond thankful that my eyesight is back up and running! And that I can see the whites of my eyeballs again- hello happy healthy whites not filled up with red blood vessels!
8. Arrested Development coming back for another season and the long awaited movie. Taste the happy Michael!
9. Ann Taylor LOFT for not only opening a store across the street from my job but for supplying me with a fabulous online store. I get so much clothing there it’s ridiculous.
10. My health and overall sense of happiness. I try to reflect it onto as many people as possible and I only hope it reaches others. I won’t stop reflecting it either. I will go to my grave a person who will always work to better the lives of somebody, anybody, and hopefully though my favorite way to express it- writing.
Heather Anne Taylor
I took this from my friend Mayan because I thought it would make a fun writing exercise for my brain this morning before I start diving into work blogging. These don’t have an actual order either. The best things that happened to me were all great on their own terms and it would be difficult to place one ahead of another.
5. Making the choice to go to a liberal arts school in Southern California. Never in a million years will I ever regret my decision to go there because that school changed my life for the better and my future as well. I was accepted to a university in Missouri and one in New York, but did not feel drawn to attend either one. The university in MO I ruled out because they had an assigned cafeteria menu schedule (meat loaf night, gross) and the NY one was for a two year program which was cool but I wanted a more traditional longer college experience. The SoCal school just happened to be advertised in a stack of postcards in the mail and I cannot tell you how I just knew looking at the card that this was my school. It was the one. I had to delay going there for a year a half by attending community college since I didn’t have a loan co-signer but that was okay. It was what kept me motivated the entire time to do my best there before leaving. That SoCal university was where I made my best friends and worked great jobs and internships and had some wonderful professors and classes. The effect it had on my personality and behavior was radical- I became much happier and optimistic in a way I had not been since childhood. That university changed everything for me. It made me open up and express myself more. I felt free there. I’m very loyal to that school and always will be.
4. The film class I took at the aforementioned college. Okay, I wasn’t enrolled in the class and not even auditing it. The professor and I were good friends and she told me to drop by whenever I could (it met once a week) to watch the films there. And I did because I had two friends enrolled in the class and liked to hang out with them. The significance of this class is that it was there I would meet two more good friends of mine who sat 2 rows behind me. One of them would be my future first apartment roommate. In the class, we didn’t really talk but I remember looking at both of these girls and thinking, “I wanna be their friends.” That sounds creepy but I swear it wasn’t- it was just a sense of curiosity. The first one I’d wind up tutoring with later on and the second (future roommate) I would meet again several months later when I was modeling for our university’s fashion show. At the time I was going through some issues with an old roommate in the dorms, and when we both met up again, we were excited to see each other and greeted the other like old friends. We went to the senior social that night and began hanging out immediately after. It was a totally natural friendship from the get go. She just gets me and it makes me really happy. I often think of her as the sister I never had. PS, I’m still close with all 4 girls from that film class. They should make a Sisterhood of the Traveling Trench Coats movie about us (our wardrobe staple of choice).
3. The first time I went to SF. I went alone and stayed for a week during spring break in college. I had never traveled alone before and was itching to. Also I really wanted to go somewhere not only new but fun. Growing up in a big family means when you do travel, it’s on the cheap and usually to a relative’s house or some destination you really don’t want to go to. Nobody in my family believes in an itinerary either which does not jive with my anal personality so I wind up scheduling us with activities to keep everyone busy (I hate sitting around doing nothing). When I went alone, I stayed at a beautiful hotel with a gorgeous sweeping view of the city. Each day I went on explorations of the city- venturing to new places and areas each day. I would usually leave the hotel at 9am and get back at about 7ish at night. I loved being able to walk everywhere and not use transportation and go where I wanted to. I moseyed through art galleries, wandered along Haight Ashbury, drank at Cafe Zoetrope where Francis Ford Coppola wrote The Godfather, had breakfast at French cafes, etc. The experience heightened my independent streak and ensured me that when travelling, I knew I could do it alone, afford it, and still be content. Figuring out if you can travel alone is important: you need to be comfortable with the company of yourself if you want to get the most out of it.
2. My current job and freelance work. I work as a social media manager for a company not far from where I live and manage all of their blogging, Facebook, and Twitter outlets. I also freelance write at a bunch of different websites and at work, write with Forbes. Just this week, I’m also going to be adding another freelance account to my list and also contributing to a friend’s blog. Oh, and I have my two blogs, this one and my photo one.
In case you were wondering, I’m very happy.
And I also don’t sleep much either. A friend of mine once said I’ll sleep when I’m dead which sums up my life pretty well.
1. My family. There are so many moments where we fight and argue and disagree on issues and choices, but at the end of the day there’s always a joke to be made and a smile to be had. I’m going home to see everyone in August. I haven’t seen my family in two years. That seems like awhile, but I’m pretty good with not needing to visit everyone often. A couple years in between works out fine for me. See number 2 above for more reasons why I don’t go home often.
I thought I’d take a moment to briefly put up one of the pieces I wrote for HelloGiggles.
I mentioned in my first post here that I freelance at a bunch of different sites as well as holding down my full-time job (basically I don’t sleep ever) and this is one of the sites I write for. I absolutely love, love, love it- the majority of the other sites I write with are about business and the workplace. Which is totally fine and all but it’s nice to stay in touch with my other interests and write about things that are not work related. Also I am freaky when it comes to stowing away pop culture facts and knowledge. My brain has taken great lengths to get rid of blah facts in favor of what Blake Lively wore and the entire filmography of Christina Ricci.
Happy reading! Enjoy :)