Checking In

Hello! It has been a while since I posted anything, and while I realize I don’t have a ton of people visit this blog, I would still like to keep up with the people that do. I owe a huge apology for not posting lately and unfortunately it probably won’t improve in the next two weeks.

I am in the midst of event planning misery. My biggest event of the year is approaching almost like a train whose breaks went out and I am merely just trying to hang on for dear life. Okay, so that is a little melodramatic, but I do feel like this event has taken on a life of its own and I am merely working around the clock to keep up with it. Between that and keeping my major freelance writing client happy, I barely have time to eat, sleep or blog.

The good news is that this is the last event I will plan as a full time event planner. Yep, that’s right, I am planning to put in my notice once this event is over. At least I have a light at the end of the tunnel. And while I rush through my days my list of everything I want to do once I leave my job just grows and grows. I can hardly contain my excitement, it’s so close and I can’t wait!

Well, my fellow freelancers, I’ll catch up as soon as I can – hopefully sooner than later.

Just in Case or Just in Time?

I actually had time to catch up on some of my reading this weekend (gasp!) – we had a lengthy car ride, so I literally couldn’t work. Hidden in my O, the Oprah Magazine, I came across an article that really got me thinking. It was written by Martha Beck, an author and a life coach.

This article asked the question, are you a just in case (JIC) type of person or a just in time (JIT) type of person? A JIC person is someone who lives their life thinking everything is in scarce supply – meaning food, material goods, love, friendship and money. Their mentality is to stock up on everything just in case. On the flip side, JIT people have the mindset that things will work out. No matter what happens, they aren’t going to starve to death, the world will not run out of toilet paper, shoes (in my case), clothes or people to love. As I read her article, I knew without a doubt that I am a JIC type of person and that I absolutely, 100% want to become a JIT type of person.

The article illustrates that JIC people tend to be overweight because they literally horde food and stuff themselves every chance they get. Where a JIT person eats until they are full and don’t feel the need to stock up on food because, well because let’s face it, most people are not going to run out of food. They just don’t worry about not being able to find something to eat. JIT people overall lead less stressful lives, just by trusting that things are going to be okay.

In thinking about the way I live my life, I realized that I stock up on things whenever I get the chance. Our house is constantly cluttered. No matter how many times I clean out my closets, I continue to hold onto things just in case. Our dining room table is covered with paperwork, coupons and catalogs that we hold onto just in case (and then most of the time, we forget to actually use them). I also realized, that a lot of times I try really hard to make people like me, even if they would probably like me anyway if I were just myself and didn’t go over the top trying to get their approval. The same applies to our finances and work. At work I stress myself out taking on way more than I can handle just in case there comes a point when there is absolutely no paying job available in the whole world to me. My husband and I have saved money, horded our money for years just in case, but in the meantime I can’t even tell you the last time we actually took a vacation. Yep, I am definitely a JIC person.

But I want to change. I want to be able to trust myself and my resources and have the confidence that things will happen as they are suppose to and everything will happen just in time. I think that mind set could be extremely freeing. After all, as a freelance writer don’t we all have to take that leap of faith? Don’t we have to remind ourselves all the time that things will work out and happen just in time? That very faith is what makes it possible for me to even think about leaving my full time job – I’m not talking about luck, I’m talking about hard work and the confidence that it will work out, and if it doesn’t, it’s not going to kill me, it will just make me explore other ways to make it work.

To change my mind set, I am going to stop running out to stock up on shoes, clothes, purses, makeup and hair products. I am going to stop saving every single coupon that comes in the mail that I insist on saving whether or not I actually use the product. I am going to clean out my closets and really get rid of clothes that I have had since high school. I mean, really, what is the point in saving them? I’m always going to be able to put clothes on my back. I’m going to stop trying so hard to make people like me, and trust that they will anyway because of who I am. And ultimately, I am going to leave my full time job that is slowly draining me. I’m going to have faith and confidence that I am talented, hard working and things will happen for me just in time. You know what? I might even take a vacation this year and pack lightly because wherever I go – I’m sure they will have shampoo and Advil just in case I run out, and even if they don’t it won’t kill me to go without.

I’m going to follow Martha Beck’s advice and think about times that I ran out of something but I survived. I’m going to think about things that I have too much of. And lastly, I’m going to start a list of the great things that have entered my life at just the right time.

Thoughts of a Website

In my opinion a website is an essential tool for any freelance writer and I want one. A website would be a great way to showcase my work and provide additional information that potential clients may need, to know more about me when considering me for a job.

The problem is creating a website scares me a little. Funny – in my full time job I have created websites and maintained them with no problems. Actually web design is something that I find easy to pick up, so I have no idea why I am hesitant to create my own, to profit my own business. Maybe it is a fear of failure, or a fear of the unknown, I’m not sure. Perhaps this has to do with software – what I use in my full time job is not available to me for this (I can’t afford it!), so I am on the lookout for something I can afford. It also makes me a little nervous to get a domain and all that jazz. I have always had my employers take care of that, so I don’t know much about it.

I know that a lot of people have created websites very easily, and there is really nothing to be scared of, I am perfectly capable of this, I know that! But I keep putting it off. I suspect that this may also have something to do with the time commitment. Websites take time to get exactly right and I have very little time to devote to this right now. So here is my plan:

I am going to research domains and software. I am also going to look at other people’s websites to see what I like and what I don’t like. That way, when I have the time, I will be well prepared to create my own website and I won’t be so leery of my ability or the programs I need. I am going to schedule my first week after leaving my job as the time to get my website up and running. In the meantime, do you have any suggestions for me to make this easier?

Also, if you haven’t yet, be sure to check out my guest blog post on Want To Freelance called “The Importance of Marketing in a Freelance Writing Career”.

Do Writers Need a Niche?

Here is one thing I keep questioning. I keep going over it in my mind and it just keeps drifting into my thoughts. Do writers need a niche to be successful?

The thing is, I don’t have a niche. I don’t even know where I would start. I like to write on many different topics – actually, a lot of times I choose to write about things that I know nothing about, just to gain more knowledge and broaden my horizons.

Of course, there are topics that I choose to write about more often than others, but that’s mostly because I have the most experience in those areas and therefore the articles are easy for me to research and write. The closest thing I can think of as being my niche would be event planning or marketing writing. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t write on other topics. When I look for clients or jobs, I look at each option separately, I think about what they are asking for and if I think I would be able to meet their needs. If I think I am a good fit for a client or a job, I apply.

I’ve read lots of articles and blog posts lately on choosing a niche. They all recommend that you select what you like to write about, research the topic and then select a way to make yourself unique in that niche. First of all, I like to write about almost anything, so that leaves me pretty open. Every topic I think might be a good fit seems to be overly crowded and it seems very difficult to make one self stand out. Not that I’m not up for the challenge, but is it worth it? Or would I be better off getting experience in lots of areas, while working on developing a brand for myself as a good, reliable and easy to work with writer?

Sure, there are writers out there that have created a great niche for themselves, but a lot of times it seems like they didn’t necessarily go out looking for a niche, it just kind of evolved. So maybe, I’m just over thinking this. Maybe if I’m meant to have a niche, it will evolve over time and when I realize what it is, then I can work on developing it. Until then, I think I’ll keep my options open, I don’t think it hurts my chances of making it as a writer to have experience in many topics.

What is your niche? How did you find it and develop it?