3 Things You Need to Do When Your Hobby Begins to Feel like a Job

It’s been a long, long, long time since I’ve actually stopped and enjoyed the process of writing. It came to a point where I would put things ahead of writing time. I had to prepare for my promotion, then I had to train once I received the promotion, then I had school, then I had tests, etc. Those things do take priority, but even during downtime, when none of those things were even happening, I still found myself saying, “It’s okay, I’ll write tomorrow.”

I became the one person I always blogged about, trying to avoid. I am the writer who talks about writing, but never actually does.

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4 ways to change your work environment for the better

Since finding my first real job out of college, I’ve started working with some of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met. It truly is a privilege. Even so, we all are very strong in our beliefs, opinions, and ideas, and that, of course, bleeds into our work. As I’m sure you can imagine, this causes a bit of tension. However, like I said, I work with some brilliant people, and they have taught me a lot about how I can alter my work environment for the better. Here are a few of those:

Respond, don’t react
When you get a seemingly passive aggressive email, post-it, letter, etc. it’s very easy to take that shocked, hurt, angry feeling and throw it right back at the person. It will probably feel good for a second, but did that really help rectify the situation? When you coworker gets your response, how do you think they will react? Don’t be the one who reacts. Stop, reread it, think through the message, think through the voice you might have used to read it initially, then craft a response. Try to assume the best so you can, hopefully, avoid the worst.

People aren’t mind readers. Over explain.
We have a bunch of processes at work to help ensure everything gets done as close to perfect as possible. Of course, people want to take shortcuts and may not do everything 100%. This will probably make your job harder. It’s very easy to get angry, complain, gossip, etc. again, though, try to assume the best to avoid the worst. If you must request new paperwork, if you must ask for more information, whatever you need to request, or request be fixed, try to explain why this information is pertinent to the process. They may not understand the importance of something and assume it isn’t important at all. Really, if they have never done your job, how would they know what is/isn’t important? Over explain, open your world to them, and maybe they will be able to see it from your side and do better.

Remember, everyone’s a middle man
This line was so eye-opening for me because it is so true. Unless you are working right under the CEO, the founder, the sponsors, etc. chances are, they are doing something because they told to do it by a higher up. They more than likely aren’t trying to make your life harder, purposefully. Try to assume that whatever odd, inconvenient request that comes your way is only coming through this person because it was forced on them. Makes the whole situation much more palatable, I feel.

It’s all about perception, so change yours
Pretty much everything I suggested prior to this point has been all about changing your own perception on things. The reason for this? Let’s face it, you can’t make people change. You can’t control the people around you, but you can control yourself. Change starts with you. If you assume and perceive everything as negative, then everything is going to be negative. If you can alter your own perception, then your work environment will begin to change. Of course, this is easier said than done. It takes a lot of behavior changes and mental exercises, but you’d be surprised how much changes based on your attitude. Change can happen. Go for it.

What do you think? Do these seem a bit too obvious? Have you done anything like this before? Are you going to try any of these tips? Let me know, and comment below! Thank you so much for your time.

Lissy

I Went to a Writing Covention and…

20160303_122012[1]I have never been so well dressed in my life. As many of you know, I am still in college, though I just recently signed up for graduation in December (yay!), and being in college I’ve had the opportunity to join the English Honor Society: Sigma Tau Delta. This offers a wide range of opportunities for all college writers, and I definitely recommend joining if one ever has the opportunity to do so. One perk that I took full advantage of was being able to submit a piece to the national convention, which means I would get a chance to travel out of state, attend a literary convention, and present my piece in front of all my peers and colleagues for my college. Needless to say, I was beyond pumped.

I submitted a short story and *spoilers* my short story was picked! It was probably one of FB_IMG_1456698771494[1]the more exciting moments of my life. I received the news at around 11 pm via email after a long shift at work, and I immediately called and woke up my boyfriend to tell him the good news, along with my mom, step-mom, and grandmother soon after. I told my colleagues at work over the course of a couple of months, had them read the story if they felt so inclined, and they made me feel more confident than I had ever been. Also, my friends got together and bought me this amazing messenger bag that they surprised me with a few days before I would be travelling. I cried. I hugged them all. Little did they know, it was a huge boost to my confidence, reminded me that I was worthy of being loved, as well as assured me in my abilities as a writer. I now refuse to carry anything else.

Then began planning. I lassoed my partner-in-crime, my boyfriend, into taking the 16-hour drive with me and we were off to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Along the way we went through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois (where I paid my first toll fee), and Wisconsin. After an extended 19-20 hour drive because I just couldn’t drive anymore past 2 am, we finally arrived in Minneapolis. I read my story, met millions of authors and poets, ate at every northern restaurant I could find, got lost multiple times in the Mall of America, enjoyed hours in the underground aquarium, and countless hours enjoying the cold weather with my boyfriend. I have always said I would one day live in Portland, Oregon, despite having never been there. However, now that I’ve been to Minnesota, I don’t think I could picture myself anywhere else. Only time will tell, I suppose.

Unfortunately, our time in Minnesota came to an end and we made the extended 19-20 hour drive back through Iowa, Missouri (where I also received my first speeding ticket), Arkansas, and Mississippi. It was a trip I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It was my first trip completely on the road, completely independent of any guardian, and completely paid for by me. It was a wonderful experience, and I can’t wait to take part in next year’s Sigma Tau Delta convention.

Want to read the story I presented? Did I mention I was approached by another author with an offer to publish it in anthology? No? Well, more on that once we get the details ironed out. Until then, thank you so much for reading, and I can’t wait to share more of my adventures on here.

-Lissy

The Girl Who Doesn’t Care, Cares A Lot

I’ve always thought I was comfortable in my own skin. I don’t embarrass easily. As I demonstrate in the picture below:

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I’m willing to make a fool of myself for the sake of a laugh. Here I was, at my job, wearing two tree skirts – one as a poncho, one as a skirt – and a matching camo hat just because I thought it would be hilarious. I make jokes about myself in public, a lot of the times in the most vicious way possible. I have no shame.

Most of the time.

While I like to say I don’t care what people think, there are moments in my life where I realize that it’s impossible not to care. One moment being, the last time I went to the gym.

Every semester, my boyfriend and I make the valiant effort to go to the gym regularly. We’re already on campus, it’s free for students, so why not? Usually, it’s just the two of us. Then, the day came where he invited his friends. I didn’t care about the strangers seeing my obese body boldly bouncing around the basketball court, but, boy, did I care about my boyfriend’s friends seeing me.

When he said they were coming, I cried. I couldn’t hold them back, even if I tried. In that moment, I realized that the girl who supposedly doesn’t care, cares way too much about what other people think.

I was right back to that middle school version of myself who would hide in the gym bathroom, sobbing because I knew those girls and their boyfriends would start calling me a dike or a man the moment I walked out in my gym uniform. That’s when I developed my defense mechanism – making fun of myself before other people could. If I call myself a fat dike before others can, then they can’t hurt me. I’ve let the world know about my insecurities as if I’m confident about them. In reality, I’m just trying to protect myself from someone who might try to use them against me.

I have no shame because I’m ashamed.

That’s right, I’m ashamed of myself. “Why?” my boyfriend asked when, after fifteen minutes of hiding in the rec center bathroom, crying, I emerged to let him know why I was self-conscious. I knew those guys in middle school. They weren’t the ones who made fun of me, thankfully, but it took me right back to that place when I didn’t have any way of defending myself. I was a jolly green giant target of a pre-teen, lumbering about just waiting to be picked on. I lived everyday waiting for a snide remark, which was always followed by the vicious laughter of those who were just happy they weren’t the ones being picked on.

I’m still that twelve-year-old girl who finds solace in gym bathrooms and weeps at the fear of people finding out she’s not as confident as she may seem, or that she is actually insecure about being overweight, masculine, tall, or all of the above.

And I don’t write this because I want people to feel bad for me. That’s the exact opposite of what I’m doing. I realized that just because I act confident on the surface, doesn’t mean I actually am. I have insecurities, just like everyone else. That person you may be jealous of because they are confident, funny, and everything you may think you’re not is actually just as insecure as you are.

Some of us are just better at hiding it than others.

Watch your words, and always do your best to be kind, especially to yourself.

-Lissy

I’m an introvert, and I’m happy

Introvert – not synonymous with shyness. An introvert is not characterized by being shy, though that does not mean they aren’t. An introvert is someone who finds people, and interacting with them, to be physically and mentally draining, preferring to be alone to recharge. An introvert is not constantly in a state of depression and should not be characterized as such. An introvert can have excellent social skills and have many friends whom they regularly socialize, but won’t make it a point to seek out interaction. Introverts are often introspective and prefer to be alone with their thoughts.

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The farther I go into my college and writing career, the more I realize who I am and who I may be becoming. The summer has come to a close. My internship has ended, school has begun… and I’m still learning more and more about myself.

Life has whisked me away again.

I have friends, lots of them, but I’m probably one of the most garbage friends in the world. I see texts and calls, and often times I just don’t reply. It’s not because I don’t want to – far from it – but the way my life is going right now, I don’t have much me time. At my age, that seems extremely childish to say. At my age, I think it’s okay to be selfish once in a while. I have my whole life ahead of me. I’m going to meet so many people in this short period we call life, and the one person I’m going to spend every second with is the one sitting at this computer, writing this post:

Me.

I don’t want this post to be me lamenting life and how crowded it can sometimes seem, but when 90% of my time is spent in the presence of people I have little to no interest in associating with, I live for those times I get to be by myself.

I love my friends. I love my boyfriend. I love my family. None of that has changed, or ever will change…

I love myself, too. I love sitting behind a book, a laptop, or just sitting and simply existing. I love writing because it’s one of the few things in this world that requires only one person and their thoughts, and I actually have fun doing it. I go to work, I go to school, I spend time around campus, then I go home. Not exciting, not magical or something I want to blog about every day.

But I don’t need it to be. My life is considered boring by most of the population, but I love it.

It’s okay guys. I’m happy. I hope you are, too.

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

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Don’t be shy!

Why you shouldn’t be scared of starting a blog, despite your writing level

Yes, people like quality writing. High quality writing skills are wonderful, but they come with time and practice. We’re not all born with the skills of Stephen King, and a blog is a wonderful jump off point. If you were to go back into my archives and read the oldest of the posts, I would hope you found my newest posts much more insightful and well-written. If not, then I apologize. Regardless, there are people who are scared of starting a blog because they fear ridicule from the blogging community. Fear not! I have yet to find anyone cruel enough to bash someone in the comments, but I understand your fear. I hope this post will inspire you to start your own blog (or book! This can apply to both cases),  and that you can better your writing one post at a time. Now, onward to the list!

  • EVERYONE HAS TO START SOMEWHERE
    Like I’ve said before, we’re not all born with the skills of _instertyourfavoriteauthorhere_, but even they had to start somewhere (or at least, I like to think they started with the skills of a five-year-old). And let’s all go ahead and admit it: THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOMEONE BETTER THAN YOU. That is just a fact of life, and that person probably feels the same way about someone else. You’re never the best, but you’re probably never the worst either. Just try to get comfortable with the idea that you’re starting where you are supposed to start, and that is okay.
  • A BLOG IS PRACTICE
    Writing takes practice. It’s just like drawing. You can only get better the more you do it, and you may want to go through and check out your favorite blogger’s post. Reading helps to subconsciously better your writing. Ya gotta love your brain, for that. But anyway, there is a reason there are so many well-written blogs out there. They post, and they post often. The more posts you write, the more you will progress with bettering your writing. I’m not gonna promise A+ writing will come to you overnight, but it won’t get any better if you don’t try.
  • IT’S YOUR BLOG. IT’S UP TO YOU WHAT GOES UP AND WHAT COMES DOWN
    I’ve deleted posts that I’ve later decided were below my own standards. I’m not ashamed of that. I’m always learning something new, and if I decide a post isn’t up to par, then I can delete it without any problem. Plus, you can always edit a post any time you feel like it. Need to fix a glaring typo? No problem! Want to repost something that you’ve edited or changed? Go for it! Want to make some things private/public? Go for it! It’s under your control and your jurisdiction (and you’re under the jurisdiction of the platform, FYI).
  • A BLOG IS FUN
    Blogging can be a fun place to relieve stress and to post your thoughts. What is there not to like? If you want to start a blog, then start one! Don’t let fear stand in your way of expressing yourself. That’s what a blog is for, to express yourself.

The internet is a scary place with the mass amount of “trolls” and “grammar Nazis,” out there. I myself have fallen victim to them in many other public forums. There’s no harm in trying to learn and better yourself, but first, you must admit that you want to better yourself. People like to read quality content, and if you get comments from people who try to help you, then take those into consideration. Don’t be offended or hurt because someone pointed out a flaw in a post. It’s ok. Like I said before, you can always go back and edit. In the meantime, get your blog going and start bettering yourself. Now, time for the questions.

What do you think of this post? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Do you think anyone should start a blog, even if they are poor writers? Do you think a blog can be solely for the betterment of the writer? Anything you’d like to add? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Have a request for a blog post topic? Just wanna ask a question? Go to my Home page, fill out the contact sheet, and shoot me an email! I look forward to hearing from you.

Want to help me out? Check out my Poll page when you get a chance. All of the answers help me out.

How to Consistently Generate New Blog Content and Posts

I’ve made plenty of posts regarding blogging, but I beat around the bush a good bit. I focused mainly on why you should set up a blog, rather than on what should go on your blog. Now, I wanna focus on the main reason anyone should have a blog. The cherry on the sundae, the icing on the cake, the ink on the page: Your. Content. Now, coincidentally, the content of this post, is about making content for your posts. So, have a drink, and take a gander. See whatcha like.

  • STILL IN NEW BLOG HEAVEN? USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. WRITE.
    There’s nothing more alluring than a blank slate. Once you’ve made your first, new, shiny blog, euphoria hits. This is the best time to write some posts. Take advantage of the creative flow and write as much as you can. This will be the freshest your blog-mind will ever be, and you might as well use it to push out as many blog posts as possible. Write until your brain is sponge. Don’t post them all though. Save them and add them whenever you have your schedule set up. That way, you have more time to come up with even more content.
  • HAVE A LENGTHY POST? SEPARATE IT INTO PARTS
    This is a simple trick to keeping your blog posts coming out regularly and keeping with a theme. If you write on a topic, and it gets fairly lengthy, chop it up. You can get two posts from one, and be able to have even more content. For example, my two posts about blogs, which I mentioned above, started off as one post. I noticed I had a lot of why, and a lot of what. I had two topics inside a single topic. I halved them, and made a point to expand on all of my points, which led to two nice-lengthed posts.
  • CHECK OUT DISCUSSION BOARDS ON YOUR THEME
    Mine is mainly on writing, so I check out writing boards. If I notice a discussion where there are more questions than answers, there is some gold to be had. You already know there are possible readers because people are looking for answers. See if you can answer some of their questions in your blog. This is a great way to inspire content.
  • CHECK WHAT TERMS PEOPLE ARE USING TO GET TO YOUR BLOG
    Someone searched, “how to use hashtags,” and somehow stumbled on my posts. So, I took that and created an entire post dedicated to the use and utilization of hashtags. I’m not sure if all blogs have the ability for you to see what people search to find your blog, but if you have a WordPress blog, this is definitely the tip to utilize.
  • DEVELOPED A READERSHIP? START ADDING MORE THEMES!
    Once you’ve developed a decent following, you can start adding extra content. I’ve added fanfics and book reviews, which I think ties in nicely to my overarching theme of writing in general. Blog about makeup products? Maybe add some tutorials! Blog about travelling? Add posts about foreign recipes! Expand and conquer.
  • RECYCLE EARLIER POSTS
    After you’ve been blogging for a while, some of your content may become outdated, and your writing might have changed, as well. Take some of your earliest blog posts, give them a bath, a makeover, and repost with new and fresh eyes. Your new readers will like it, and readers who might have seen it before will appreciate a new view or added content. It’s a great way to maintain your blog and keep it fresh.

I have used all of these tips, and I’ve found them to work the best when it comes to generating new content. Now, time for my regularly scheduled questions. Do you use any of these? Have you used them before? Which ones will you be using or using more often? Did I miss a tip? Have something to add? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Have a request for a blog post topic? Just wanna ask a question? Go to my About and Contact page, fill out the contact sheet, and shoot me an email! I look forward to hearing from you.

Want to help me out? Check out my Poll page when you get a chance. All of the answers help me out.

How To Keep Up and Set Up A Blog

My last blog post was on why an author should have a blog, and now that we have a blog, it’s time to talk about how to keep up with it. I’m no expert, but I do know that when you have a blog it becomes your home base. It’s a constant representation of who you are both as a person and as a writer. Some would argue a blog’s importance, but in the end, if you have one, you might as well make it as representative of you as possible.

As always, I have a list ready. Onward we go!

  • PICK A THEME
    Most blogs already have pre-made themes, other times, you can do a quick google search and find some themes, but. If you have the money or the ability, go ahead and get a custom theme. There will never be a chance of someone else having the same theme as you, and you can customize it to the point where it is all you, all the time, but if you can’t, then just pick your favorite thing. Roll with it.
  • PICK A SET TOPIC
    My passion has always been writing. I’m always learning something new, just by doing, and I always have something to share. Thus, my blog topic came about. I’ve also started delving into reviewing, but for the most part, I stick around the realm of writing in one way or another. You should have a set topic. While you can jump around a bit, it’s hard to establish a following when they only want to hear about certain topics. If you just can’t bring yourself to write about one topic, then keep a running theme. Do tips. Do reviews. Do something, but keep them tied together.  Just like your book/stories should flow, so should your blog.
  • PICK AN UPDATE SCHEDULE
    My blog posts come out every Tuesday and Friday, excluding any special announcements or my monthly book reviews. I always post on those days, so people know when to expect my posts. It keeps people coming back, and also prevents me from overloading their inboxes with chunks of random posts. It’s to keep a consistent following, a consistent amount of posts per week/month, and to discipline yourself. Pick a schedule, and stick to it.
  • WRITE AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
    Always have more posts than are necessary for your schedule. It gives you time to come up with more posts, and it will help you stay on schedule. I always have five posts ahead of schedule. I don’t post them until the next scheduled day, but I have them ready. It is helpful for your own sanity and for your blog’s schedule. This will also give you multiple chances to go back and edit something in. Inspiration for a post strikes me at random, and I will usually subconsciously work on it days afterward, which makes for even more content to add. Schedule ahead so you can put in all the content you want.
  • KEEP THE FORMAT SIMPLISTIC
    Have pages for your posts, for your products (books or what-have-you), other helpful information, for your other profiles, and YOU MUST HAVE AN ABOUT PAGE. A contact form is optional, but you must make an about page. It’s up to you what you want to put on there, but you should always have one. It’s your chance to tell people what they should know about you.  As for your posts, they should be simplistic in format. For example, my posts. I have an opening paragraph, which segues into my bullet-pointed lists, then I have closing paragraphs, which ask questions because I love discussion. It’s up to you what content you want to put in, but this is a format that works.
  • ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, HAVE THE FOLLOW BUTTON NEARBY
    If you don’t put anything else on your blog, put a follow button nearby. Not everyone has a blog they can follow you from, so having a “Follow by Email,” button is beyond important. Just do it.

Once again, I’m not an expert. I’m not a marketing expert, I’m not a web designer, but I am a blogger, and I am a writer. I’ve done things that work, others that didn’t, and in the end, these are what I’ve found to work. Have something to add? What do you post on your blog? What design do you use? Anything you utilize that you don’t see on this list? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Have a request for a blog post topic? Just wanna ask a question? Go to my About and Contact page, fill out the contact sheet, and shoot me an email! I look forward to hearing from you.