What ways can you keep active, even when you don’t have a specific writing project on the go? As I dodge responsibility left and right, I ponder how to keep viable as a writer. Solution? Write a new blog post!
Writing a blog post is just one tactic though. Even if you don’t have a bigger project on the go (or are stumped with what direction to take the one you are working on at present) what else can you do?
Ways to Keep Writing
review a book
comment on a book review
update your social media pages (Think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Add updates, refresh contact info and pictures, rewrite bio, etc)
start a new social media account (Haven’t tried Google+? Give it a gander. New to Pinterest? Pin on! Unsure about Snapchat? Get snapping.)
brainstorm for ideas for blog posts
edit an existing piece of writing (yours or someone else’s)
take a writing class
send out queries for new article ideas
write in a journal
write in a different place than you normally do
tackle a writing prompt (try writing microfiction, or write something from a photo or written prompt)
The important thing is not always what you write, but that you keep practicing your art. With time, comes comfort and ease in the process. Plus, the more you write, the better your writing will become! So get writing. I just did.
Contrary to popular belief, I don’t take the summer off. I might not have the same writing output during the summer months, but I’m still around. Anytime I slip away, I schedule posts to publish while I am gone, but places that require real-time presence slip a bit.
My established clients are okay with that, but ultimately will only stay my clients if I come home at some point. Their social media pages need to stay active. If their pages aren’t active, then their presence diminishes. Which means a potential downturn in sales. Less money on hand means cutting costs, first up of which would be me. So yes, I still maintain their presence, even if the effort isn’t quite as thorough.
Now the kids are back in school though, leaving me with more time on my hands. Sure, that means that extracurriculars will be starting up, but that doesn’t fill the daytime hours. And it certainly doesn’t refill coffers spent on lazy days, road trips, and adventure. It’s time I looked at adding more writing to my days. How can I do that? More importantly, how can I do that and get paid?
Tips to Kickstart Writing
submit queries to journals, magazines, and newspapers
write poetry, short stories, creative nonfiction pieces to submit to contests
join a networking group to meet new people/potential clients
finish editing my book (or yours!) to get it ready for publication
take another writing class to finish my Creative Writing certificate program (check with your local library, community college, or city to see what writing courses might be out there for you)
contact old potential clients to see how their social media platforms are holding up
ask other writers if they have any connections they may be willing to share
via blog, Facebook page, on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc
create a website outlining services
once other social media links are updated and in place, share links to them on other platforms
Note that YOU can do any of these things as well. This is about motivating me today, but I hope to motivate any other writers out there who might need the kick in the pants that I do. Of course if you are looking for someone to write blog posts, magazine articles, schedule Facebook updates, tweet or any number of other tasks, contact me today! I’m sure we can figure something out. Until then…
Memory: an image or impression of one that is remembered – Merriam Webster
I have spent the last week remembering. Ten years; a long time, but amazing how memories live on. Fresh and crisp, like they were just last week. Time dulls so many seconds, but some minutes last forever…
I can creep into some memories and feel the searing scars imprinted in frantic panic; screams, garbled words, indecision that didn’t really matter in the long run anyway. As awful as they were, they are a part of my fabric and stay tucked in my memory as close as any other. Nicer moments are the simple, quiet gifts of last days that I brush the feelings of—a swing hung, a friend’s visit, and a last ride in the old Olds with family.
Other memories speak of what we lived for and were denied in last months—the battles with food. You gave up in last days and returned to what we knew and loved. No more protein shakes, vegan meals, and holistic pills to work magic. Those magic elixirs were a crutch to clutch onto when hope begged for hope. As the light faded, so too did the future. We returned to what brought us together in the first place and I remember our last meals; Steak & seafood dinner with the in-laws—our last nice supper. Panzarotti—Sunday comfort food when there was no comfort left in the world. Curry—my mother’s gift to us, too harried to put any thought into sustaining a normal routine and world.
Curry was Brad’s last meal. My last meal with him. His last conscious moments before time pushed him into memory. Food had become an enforced regime, but I remember those dinners from the end of August 2007; the 25th, 26th, 27th. Any nutrients in those meals slipped away in the stress of the time period, but memories of them stay with me. A funny thing memory is.
The interesting thing about memories is that you get to pull them out and look at them whenever you want. They make me sad, but I would be lost without them and fiercely protect the space I hold for them. It has been ten years since my husband died, but I can breathe him into existence for my children to look at ten years later. That is a gift. Not the same, but all I have to offer my girls. I give them stories and pictures of a time that formed them and molded their world, but ultimately left them without any memories of their own to reflect back on.
And we all have those memories that sustain us. Protect yours.
Last day of school! Who would have guessed the mixed blessing that is? I am happy and sad all together. And really should be preparing for vacation, but need to pause for a moment first.
With another school year come to an end, I can’t help but reflect. There have been field trips, assemblies, tests, projects, praise, and the occasional admonishment to classes that just can’t always control the moment. Incredible growth and learning has filled the days, not to mention a few challenges along the way. Maturity comes with a price and it isn’t always pretty. Fidget spinners, frenemies, and tween angst aside though, it is all good at the end of the year.
And as much as summer vacation is wonderful, the piece that makes me sad is saying goodbye to teachers and school admin. Some will not be returning and others will step out of my children’s lives from the role they played this year. Both my girls were blessed with some mighty fine teachers and I know that isn’t always the case people are dealt. Our school will be losing several upstanding teachers who have often gone far beyond the minimum mandate of what it is to be a teacher. Know that I see what you do, even when it feels like nobody else notices. Whichever role you get to play moving forward, I hope the people you meet on your path know and appreciate all you do.
So an ode to the teachers who take one step beyond. Those who make it to school and work hard on the bond.
You work hard each day to learn from and to teach with children so varied; compliant, to those hard to reach.
The hours are long. The effort is great, from marking to coaching, know that I appreciate.
Please keep stepping up. Always offer the extra mile, because the ones you inspire most might be the ones most in need of a smile.
Today, I heard that one of the members of my extended family passed away. I hadn’t seen him in over 20 years, but he was the first family member I met from my father’s side of the family, when I touched down in South Africa. Weppie was vibrant and jovial, and had a smile for everyone he met. I couldn’t help but be enchanted from the word go.
Thank you for touching my life Weppie. I know you will be missed by many. To honour you, I share the story of when we met. This is an excerpt from a larger story of my travels through Africa. The moment warms me even still…
RIP Weppie De Klerk
I blinked in the glare of near-forgotten sunshine, as I stared out at a new world. The moisture that escaped my strained eyes had more to do with a need for shade now, rather than sorrow. My home on the other side of the world approached the cold embrace of winter. Here in Africa, the spring rays drove sharp daggers into my tender eyes. Already there was a need for adjustment, for change.
A set of stairs was pushed up to the waiting airplane. This was a novel experience in itself. Back in Canada people exited the parked plane through a long tunnel that wound to the building proper, before rushing pell-mell to arrive first to the luggage carousels.
Not here though.
On this day, a flight attendant called my name before I had a chance to exit the plane.
“Katerina Krreeha, please report to the flight stewardess.”
Several summons went out in both English and Afrikaans before I realized it was me being paged on the intercom. It was my first awkward language lesson, as I had never heard my last name pronounced in anything other than a garbled Canadian version before. I finally raised my hand and the smiling attendant gathered me up. In a daze, I trailed behind the pretty woman who directed me off the plane. Once outside she stopped in front of a burly, goateed man. Not sure what to expect, I stopped too.
“Velcome!” the man fairly shouted as he scooped the carry-on bag from my arm. He wrapped me in a bear hug, before standing back to look at me.
Pure joy and vibrant life sparkled in his eyes. Apparently, he was happy to see me. His job at the airport allowed him to get me off the plane first, so I was pretty pleased to see him too.
“I’m Weppie,” he said. “Your cousin Marianne—your Uncle Jock’s oldest daughter—she is my wife.”
Before I knew it, he had whisked me through security with much laughter and pleasantries to all and sundry. It seemed he knew everyone we passed.
“How is your wife, Willem? Has she forgiven you for your bit of fun at the braai last weekend?” he laughed.
“Good to see you, Jakob! Don’t you give my friend a hard time today. She has come all the way from Canada,” he admonished. “Ja!”
The stories flowed fast and furious. I was the centre of it all and couldn’t help but feel bedazzled.
I desperately tried to keep up with the jovial banter and quick pace. Not easy, but Weppie’s open nature was infectious. With Customs cleared, we gathered my luggage and continued to chat as we walked. Despite my sleep-addled brain, it was impossible not to like him already. I nodded and squinted through bleary eyes, but was happy to be there regardless.
Before my exhausted brain could catch up, we stopped again. This time it was in front of another group of strangers. Their faces seemed somehow familiar though.
“May I have the pleasure to introduce you to your Uncle Jock,” Weppie declared as he introduced his father-in-law with a small bow.
Here was my father’s brother. Beside him stood his wife, Elsa, and beside her my father’s sister, Aunt Linn. They were the closest relatives I had on my father’s side and they were alive and finally in the flesh in front of me.