Category Archives: Big fish

So…About These New Ideas…


I’ve been hinting at these new plans and ideas I had about my career, so I figured I’d let you all in on the secret.

Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook might remember that I said I was thinking about starting a vlog about my dating experiences. The idea was met with high praise.

Well…

I’m gonna do it. I’m going to start a channel on YouTube called Unapologetically Mocha. In case that sounds familiar, that’s also the name of my Instagram page. It will also soon be an active Twitter account and a Facebook page.

Yeah, I’m going big with this one.

Provided I work up the nerve to post a video.

Those of you who know me realize that I hate Hate HATE how I look in photos. Well that goes double when it comes to video. I just think I look goofy.

But…

I truly have a lot I want to say and I really think video is the perfect format for it, so I’m taking the advice from a book that I recently read How to Be a Bawse: I’m going to step out of my comfort zone. It’s the only way I’m going to accomplish what I want to achieve.

Sidenote: Read this book. It’s awesome. Lilly is awesome. I’ve watched her videos a ridiculous number of times.

Back to my plan.

I’m writing the script for my first video now. I’m picking out my outfit. I’m deciding what to do with my hair. I might even get a manicure.

Yeah, it’s THAT serious. 🙂

But once I get past the first two or three videos, I’m gonna need help from you guys. I need ideas. What do you want to see? Anything in particular you want me to talk about? Keep in mind, this won’t be just about dating…

Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation via email, text, or Facebook and while you’re typing out a lengthy reply you realize, “This would be so much easier if I just picked up the phone?” Well, consider my vlog that phone call. I’m going to talk about my dating adventures plenty. But I’ll also rant about other things….think of my vlog as an extension of my Facebook page. Same content, just in video format.

Anyway, I just wanted to *finally* let you in on what I was planning. Like I said, I’m writing the script now, so watch this space and my Facebook page for the launch date.

I hope you come with my on this new adventure. I haven’t been this excited about a new venture in a long time. And seriously, if you have ideas about what something you want to see, let me know, either as a comment here or on my Facebook page.

Chat soon! 🙂

 

 

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New Directions


For the last few days, I’ve been contemplating my career and where I want it to go. As a writer, there are many avenues available to you — provided you are willing to do the work and learn that particular part of the craft. In my almost 20 years in this biz, I’ve tried my hand at fiction, journalism, article writing, column writing, copywriting, general writing (business plans, marketing plans, grants, white papers, etc.), content mills and web writing.  In other words, I’ve pretty much been there, done that.

Except for plays, movies and television scripts. But it’s on my list.

I’ve published a book, I’ve written an award-winning column and I’ve written things that brought me praise and criticism galore. I’ve written some things that make me cringe, and I’ve written things of which I am extremely proud. I have enjoyed almost every minute of my writing career.

But now I feel as if I’m at a crossroads. I love writing for a living, I really do…

But I don’t want to do it anymore. At least not how I’ve been doing it recently.

A friend gave me The Renegade Writer as a gift this past Christmas. I’m not a huge fan of how-to or self-help books — I’m a firm believer that the only way to learn to do something is by doing it. No book can replace the knowledge you gain from the “Nike” approach. The book has been sitting on the corner of my desk since the day I unwrapped it — but for some reason I picked it up and starting thumbing through it yesterday.

In each chapter, there are sections called “Break this rule.” I started reading those because, well, I am a rule-breaker.

It turns out that a lot of what they advise I’ve been doing instinctively for years.

Now, you’d think this would make me feel better. Make me feel like I’ve been on the right path.

Nope. It really made me sick to my stomach.

Cuz, the last few years, I’ve been ignoring my instincts in exchange for making a decent living. And now I wonder — if I had stuck to my path all those years ago, where would I be now? Would my byline be in Forbes, or Women’s Day or Inc.? It’s not even about the bragging rights — it just made me realize that as a writer, I could be so much further along than I am, and it’s hurts like hell that I’m the reason I’m not where I could be.

But that all changes tomorrow. I’ve still got a couple of steady clients that keep food on the table and a roof over my head, but I’m done chasing after more of their ilk. If I’m going to do this, I either need to go big or get the hell out of the game.  The publication studying and query writing starts tomorrow. My goal is to make it into a National magazine before the end of the year, if not sooner.

I’m going for the big time, folks. Wish me luck.

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A Writer’s Worth


Getting paid to write had been a dream of mine for YEARS.

Well, lemme rephrase that — getting paid to write WHAT I WANTED was a dream of mine for years. I’ve been a professional writer since 199(mumble mumble), but most of my writing career was writing stuff I had NO INTEREST in what-so-ever. It was truly writing for the paycheck.

So when I jumped back into the freelance arena in 2008, I decided that this time around, I was only going to write what I wanted to write, and I was not going to have a boss, past the editor or client who offered me the gig.

The first two years were a struggle. I kept true to one half of my promise — I didn’t have a boss per se. But I was still writing things I didn’t particularly want to write about. Not that the topics were distasteful, just kinda boring for me, mainly because I couldn’t put enough of my own spin on the topics. And the pay was two steps above abysmal. But I kept working — I kept writing the boring titles and tried to find others that were more interesting to try and break up the monotony. I found it pretty ironic that the more interesting titles paid less than the more boring ones, but I’m pretty sure that was because of the differences in the topics.

By 2010, I was making not great, but decent money writing full-time. But I had grown tired of writing for peanuts (which was an improvement over the “writing for pennies” I had been doing in ’08 and 09).  I knew it was time for me to branch out and go for the bigger clients. So, that’s what I did. I started applying and querying larger clients in August 2010.

By November, things started to take off. In December, things picked up even more.

Now, in 2011, I have No COMPLAINTS about my writing career. OK — so I do complain, but it’s more “Oh good God, where am I going to find the time to do all this?!?”

So, no — no complaints.

So, what’s the point of this blog post?

I have friends who are writers, some of whom started their careers WAY before I started (or actually restarted) mine.  Some make me look like a amateur. But others — well…

They’re afraid to go for the bigger clients. I’m not sure why, but they are. Which in and of itself, I could understand.

However…

These same writers are the ones who constantly whine and complain that they don’t make enough money to pay their bills, or they have to write a ridiculous amount of words just to make a decent income.

Uh, Hello!

It doesn’t take a PhD in Rocket Science or Mathematics to realize that if you want to make more money writing less, then you have to make more money per assignment. But apparently this concept is lost on many, so lemme break it down for ya:

You write for four different clients. Each client pays you $25 per 500 word article. You want to make $1000 a month writing.

$1000/$25 per article = 40 articles.

40 articles/4 different clients = 10 articles per client.

Not impossible. But imagine if you wanted to make $1500 a month, or $2000 a month?

You can see how it could get pretty hectic and a writer could burn out.

However, if the writer above took on bigger/better paying clients…

You write for four different clients. Each client pays you $100 per 500 word article. You want to make $1000 a month writing.

$1000/$100 per article = 10 articles.

10 articles/ 4 different clients = 2.5 articles per client.

(Ok…so no one is actually going to write half an article for a client and submit it for payment, so let’s say you write 3 articles per client, which is 12 articles total)

3 articles @ $100 per article = $300 per client.

$300 per client X 4 clients = $1200.

Hum…so to summarize: 40 articles for $1000 or 12 articles for $1200?

I don’t know about you, but personally, I think going after the bigger clients is worth the risk. And maybe now that I did the math, some of my writer friends will feel the same way too.

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Catfish, Trout or Tuna?


I love a good piece of fried catfish, though fresh tuna in a salad is rather yummy as well. Not a fan of trout.

But that’s not really what this post is about. Go ahead, breathe a sigh of relief.

Now, the reason for the title was to segue to this question: Which would you rather be: a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond?

Ponder that for a moment. I’ll wait.

insert Jeopardy Theme here

Know your answer? Good.

Anyone who has been in the writing field for more than five minutes knows three things: it’s pretty cutthroat, you need a thick skin and for as large as the industry is, is a pretty small community. To get anywhere, you have to be determined, lucky and resilient.  Skill and talent helps, but as we’ve all witnessed at least once, this is not really a requirement.

For years I wanted to be the BIG FISH IN THE BIG POND. Anything less than that would have meant failure.

Well after years of working and sacrificing my family and social life, the best I managed was medium-sized fish in a medium-sized pond.

But that was enough to tell me one thing — although I might like to be the Big Fish in the Big Pond, I was NOT willing to do the things I would need to do to get there.

My grandfather had two sayings that I still embrace:

Pap-pap saying #1: Locks are for honest people.

Pap-pap saying #2: No man has ever become rich without stepping on the backs of others.

Both of these sayings have molded how I have treated my career. I am more than capable of being a big fish, and in many ways, I am. What I am NOT willing to do, however, is kiss up, step on and screw over other fish to be the big fish in the big pond. I’d first become the diner special of the day or sacrifice myself for sushi.

So all that to say, I’d rather be the big fish in the small pond. I prefer helping the smaller fishies, and if they use me as a springboard to the big pond, more power to them.  I’m happy in my small pond, doing what I love, snacking on kelp and happily swimming in my self-made paradise.

But a warning to all you small fishies out there that are looking to usurp me and the medium and big fish that couldn’t hack the big pond — don’t think I won’t bite you. This is MY pond. I might prefer kelp, but don’t think I won’t eat a goldfish, trout, catfish or tuna that tries to cross me.

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