Life Goes On: Losing My Writing Job

Hello my fellow WordPress followers! It’s been a while since I posted because my life has been kind of upside down. So today I’m going to put a rare personal twist on my post, and share something that has changed the course of my life. 

On April 11th at 4:30, just 30 minutes before the end of the day, I was brought into a conference room with my boss’s assistant and the hr manager. After 4 months, they told me I was fired, wished me luck, and had me clean out my desk. Although it wasn’t a huge surprise, I was still upset. My first job in my field and I blew it. 

I left the office embarrassed and ashamed, but knew that I did my best, gave it everything I could, and that this would be a learning experience. A week later, I started back at the hardwear store where I’ve worked since I was 18. My life feels complete again. 

Even though right now I have crazy hours and no health insurance, I don’t regret leaving my permanent job at the store for the office job in my field. I knew from my college internship that offices weren’t right for me, and this job just reaffirms that–and that’s precfectly OKAY. Not everyone goes on to persue their degrees. I realized how passionate I was about my store, and although I wanted to get through this post without trash talking the company, I learned from my former supervisor what not to do if someday I move up into my new goal of becoming upper management at my store. 

Working at the office was extremely stressful. I really don’t know how people can sit at a computer all day every day for years. I was stressed from the minute I left on Fridays until I went back on Monday–not because I had to sit at a desk, but from other stresses within the company. It’s such a joy not to feel frightened and sick when I go into work anymore. 

Anyway, maybe I’ll work on another post sometime later on about my experience at the office. Although I’m tired after finishing my 15th book and taking a break from writing for now, I plan to keep updating regularly. 

Five Steps to Help Start Your First Novel

When I tell people that I’m a writer, sometimes I get the response, “Oh, I’ve always had this great idea for a book!” or “I started a book years ago that I just never finished.” 

Writing a book and then finishing it is an incredible feeling. I’m always excited and extremely proud every time I finish a book. I want everyone to experience the joy of writing a book. 

If it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, here are five steps to get started on your book writing journey. 

Step One: Plotting Your Plot

Before writing books myself, I thought writers instantly thought of their whole story when they got an idea. A lot of my stories came from just a sentence, like, “I wonder what living in a mobile home park is like?” or “This is so good, it’s like I died and went to Heaven!” As long as you have an idea, your plot will build around that. 

Step Two: Insert Main Character Here

I would say don’t just think of who is starring in your story, but what their aspirations are and how they’ll change at the end of the story. 

Sometimes writers name their characters accordingly with what they do in the story. In my book Saving Flight 926, my main character’s name means “heroine”. It’s fitting for a girl who saves the lives of her classmates. 

Step Three: This is InTENSEifying! 

A story can either be told in past or present tense. Personally I just prefer past becuase it’s easier, but I have written a story in present tense. If your story is full of “in-the-moment” action, you may lean toward present tense. 

Step Four: You, Me, or a Fly on the Wall? 

After picking your characters, decide how you want your story to be told. Point of view, or POV, can be in first, second, or third person (aka the fly on the wall perspective). I prefer first person because I feel like I can better connect with my characters that way. If you want to be more neutral, choose third person. Writing a choose-your-own-adventure story? Then second person is the way to go. 

Step Five: Sitting Down to Type

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when starting that first chapter. Sometimes writing can be so scary that you don’t want to start. Just remember that this is a first draft, and it’s okay for it to not be perfect. 

So don’t worry when writing your first novel! It may seem scary or overwhelming at first, by following these steps and writing a little at a time, you’ll be on track to finishing your first novel in no time! 


Yes, You CAN Get a Writing Job!

Hello all! For this week’s post I’ll be discussing something myself and probably many other writers have dealt with: getting a job/being told you couldn’t get a job. 

Numerous times I had other students and professors say, “A writing major? What are you going to do with that?” I had people tell me I wouldn’t get a job and that I was even living in a “pipe dream” for thinking I could get my foot in the door anywhere but the big city. 

Earlier this week I was offered a job, ten miles from my home here in Upstate New York, with a local company. Seven months after graduating college, I found a job in my field. 

Anyway, here’s a few tips on how to keep your head up in the job market: 

1. Don’t Completely Give Up

I’ll admit, I was on the brink of hopelessness after not finding anything even close to what I wanted to do a few weeks after graduating. I took breaks from job searching weeks at a time, but checked back every so often for new openings. 

2. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

Even if you don’t feel like you meet the qualifications, apply! You never know what could happen. If the job is based on writing skills, just do your best! 

3. Focus On Yourself

A lot of us follow what our friends are doing on social media and can compare ourselves, especially if friends find a job in their field before us. Just remember, that’s their life! You’ll find success soon enough. 

So, what IS fiction?

Every time I have to read a story for my extremely tedious fiction II class, I get frustrated when writing commentary at the end of the story. My professor always asks us to explain what makes the story fiction. I’m always sitting there thinking, “well it’s not true, so that makes it fiction.” Fiction=not real.

Fiction’s online definition basically says the same thing, but a lot fancier. It is defined as, “literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that described imaginary events and people.”

So it isn’t real and also requires the use of the imagination. Dictionary.com defines fiction as a “made-up story.” But then again, parts of nonfiction can also be made up. My professors called this “heavy embellishing.” So if parts of nonfiction can be made up, then therefore, the whole entire fiction story must be made up.

So we’re now at “a story where everything is made up and you have to use your imagination” as our definition.

But how can you relate this definition of fiction back to every single story you read in class? Well if a story has a dragon in it, the answer would be “dragons don’t exist, so that makes it fiction.” But what if the story is actually very realistic? Let’s say it’s a couple going to the coffee shop and they break up while they’re there. This has happened to millions of people. What makes that specific story fiction? In order to answer this question, just like fiction, you will have to make something up.

Things to Remember Around the Competition

I started worrying last night. Today is the first day of my very long anticipated Fiction II class. The intro class really kicked my butt so I’m pretty nervous about how tough the higher level will be.

Of course, when you’re in a writing class, everyone is always whispering about who the “best writers” of the class are. Everyone is going to be looking over your work. One bad paragraph could ruin your reputation, so it’s easy to start stressing about everyone else. Here’s a few tips on how to stay cool when you’re around another group of writers.

1. Remember that no one else is perfect: 

It’s true though! Every writer has their flaws, and everyone will mess up at some point. Let’s be real, we go through TONS of ideas before we finally have a winner.

2. Don’t let titles or fancy awards get to you: 

I’ve had classes with award winning writers, people that are top editors for the school paper, and people with tons of publications. It can feel really intimidating at some points, or even all time. (Mostly all the time for me). Just remember that you’re all in the class to learn and improve your skills.

3. Everyone has different strengths: 

I get worried in fiction classes because I’m stronger in nonfiction. Everyone has areas of writing that they’re better at than others, and that’s totally okay!

4. Be yourself! 

While it may be intimidating to be around a bunch of competition, just remember to relax and be friendly. Having a good relationship with the class will make being there that much easier.

Four tips, because I just can’t think of a fifth one for some reason. Enjoy the rest of your week everyone.

What Every Writer Wants in the New Year

Authors always set goals for themselves. But with the New Year fast aproaching, everyone is thinking of those nasty little resolutions that we never follow through on. Or maybe we don’t have any yet. Whether you can relate or just don’t have anything planned, these 5 resolutions will resignate with any writer. 

1. To Finish The Unfinished  

Maybe you never wrote the ending to your novel or decided to take an extended break in the middle. Maybe you gave up due to numerous plot holes. We all have that unfinished thing in the back of our minds, yearning to one day be complete. 

2. Fame and Fortune

Maybe this will be the year when that publishing deal finally goes through. 

3. To Create Something New

Write down that poem you’ve always thought of! Start that new novel that you’ve been dreaming about! Just do it! 

4. To Feel Connected

Try out that new social media outlet. Join that local writing group or book club, or even start your own! Having other writers like yourself is a great motivator! 

5. Feeling Like You’re Going Somewhere

We all have different dreams and desires. We all want to feel like we’re getting closer to those dreams. So go ahead, take that next step. Write a query letter or put your book on Amazon. 

Tips for Landing the Perfect Writing Internship

Hey everyone. Due to the holiday and writers block I’ve been absent for a bit, but as usual I’ll try to stay current. Today’s topic: landing that writing internship that all of us college students want. 

Recently, I was accepted as an intern by a local branch of a major TV station. Just six months ago, I had to quit my shady online internship after four months. As writing majors, there aren’t as many options as other majors. It was tough for me to land this amazing internship. Hopefully with these tips, you’ll have an easier time than I do. 

1. Be Wary of Online-Only Internships 

Call me bias, but after what happened with my scam of an internship with University Primetime, I would suggest being wary of online companies. However, some people have a different experience. One of my classmates really enjoys his online internship. 

If you really want to go with an online internship, make sure that you’ve read through their website thoroughly and that they’re a company you want to work with. If you have any doubts, look elsewhere. 

2. Don’t Back Away Just Becuase It’s Unpaid

Sometimes the best reward isn’t cash, it’s experience! If you see a company that looks awesome but doesn’t pay, don’t worry. There’s always a possibility that your unpaid position could lead to a job in the future. 

3. Go to an Internship Fair

I never went to my school’s internship fair because I thought the companies there were only looking for business or finance majors. I took a leap of faith this year, but on my business professional wear, and went to every single table in the room asking if they needed a writer, editor, journalist, or blogger. To my surprise, the very first table I went to said, “Yes! We do!” When I looked down, it was the TV station. 

4. Don’t Underestimate Your Skills

One of my favorite sayings is “Everyone needs a writing major.” And it’s true! We can write, edit, are great at deadlines, and we’re masters of social media. I thought the TV station would be looking for communications, film, or even AD/PR majors. I was wrong. So don’t be afraid to go up to the table of the company that you think doesn’t want you. Chances are that they may actually do. 

5. Totally Nail Your Interview

This one is easier said than done. I’ll elaborate on this more in my next post, but a few simple tips are familiarizing yourself with the company, dressing for success, and having questions ready for the end of the interview.