A meeting with a girlfriend today resulted in this topic of conversation. Oh, also, Happy March! So, financial freedom...what does that mean to you?
To me, financial freedom means the freedom to choose how I earn my finances, who I work for or with, what I do with my finances, when I want to work or not, and why, and where. Does that mean I always have the finances to practice that freedom? Not necessarily. The last few months have been financially restricting. For one, I moved coast to coast so that involved a whole new landscape in terms of type of market, work available, clients, networking, gigs, etc. For another, the time taken to adjust, relocate, apartment hunt, get settled in means a halt in my regular scheduling and dipping into savings for the time being. So while I had the freedom to not work for a while, and choose how I used my finances, to say that I always had the finances to support that situation would be a lie. A regular paycheck would have helped. No doubt. But then it would not give me the freedom to choose to move where I want, when I want and take a break for the 'time being' so I can settle into my new place. To say that financial freedom is all about the money would be wrong. Its more about the freedoms you enjoy because of the money, how much ever that may be to support the lifestyle you maintain. To assume that the amount of money we are talking here is the same for any two individuals would be naive. To assume that the amount of money at which financial freedom is a possibility for me in my last city and now in the new one I call home is also the same would be wrong too. So I guess, to answer my girlfriend, to me, financial freedom is the freedom to support my lifestyle in a given geographic area, dependent on my financial stability at that time. And the degree to which I enjoy (or don't) that financial freedom will vary widely dependent on many related factors at that time and place in my life. What does financial freedom mean for you? Comment below, if you'd like to have that conversation...
Most of my colleagues talk about how it is difficult to get started with a story sometimes. Or even build an introduction that ties together the rest of your copy perfectly. Here are some tactics I've used that I hope are useful to you as well:
1. Throw out an element of shock that immediately gets the reader hooked.
2. Use an analogy to help readers understand the similarity and relate to the story.
3. A play on words is always great, also a sign of a true crafty wordsmith.
4. Repetition. This one should be used carefully, or it will reek redundancy.
5. Include one truly memorable word that piques interest.
6. Introduce an element of mystery to encourage reading on.
7. This one's simple - a question or a declaration leading into your piece.
8. Address something that is a universal concern like love, money, sex, food, work.
9. Another often observed trick - a pithy quote.
10. Keeping it simple and memorable. Don't unload a barrage of technical terms or hifalutin phrases all at once at the very beginning - readers will turn away!
What are your tips and tricks to grab your readers' attention?
The end of the year is a great time to get rid of the clutter. I usually use the last few days of the year to clear out any mess and clean up my home, desk, laptop, purse of unnecessary things that simply don't belong. Most of it is waste, some of it has to be organized and quite a bit of it finds a home at a donation center. I enjoy starting the new year on a somewhat clean slate. It is difficult to say there is nothing carried over as there is continuity to what I will do in 2016 from where I was in 2015, but giving myself the gift of a clean space to work in, a neat desk to arrange my thoughts and a laptop free of all sorts of downloads and lists means starting out without any obstacles in my path. Paving the way for your success is in your hands. Making sure everything around me is just what I need, and anything I do not need is put away, is my way of ensuring I reach that path to success a little faster. Having moved to Los Angeles recently, I now find myself in an apartment that doe into afford me a designated desk area - then one end of my dining table will suffice for now. But having just my laptop, phone, notepad, diary and coffee cup around me gives me a sense of openness and organization to work unencumbered by too many things. This is my little routine every new year and it always works like magic. A fresh start for a new journey. Do you have any clutter tricks you'd like to share?
Its a brand new year and I am excited to start on a high. More about that and other new announcements in the coming week. Meanwhile, I am taking this first day of the year to enjoy some rest and relaxation from a fun yet hectic holiday season. While I vegetate in my cozy apartment, I am leisurely filling in some of my goals for the year onto my 2016 American Express Appointment Book which I so love - its my NYE gift to myself every year. It is going to be a fantastic year and I can already feel it. I wish you, wherever you are and whatever you do, purpose in your direction personally and professionally, good health, prosperity, happiness and the warmth of near and dear at all times. To also keep me somewhat on track, I have embarked on this 31 Day challenge and hope you will join in too. Here's to an amazing journey ahead and may this year be the best one yet! Onward bound!
I wouldn't be writing professionally today if not for parents that encouraged me writing and reading as a child. Nurture the writing talents in your kids with these fun tips courtesy BIC in Shelton, CT.
The Write Life is a website I have been following for a few years now since I began working full-time freelance. I have found many useful resources shared there but never thought of writing for them until recently. So I sent in a guest post draft and they decided to publish it today. If you read it, please share any feedback you may have. I look forward to your comments! You can read the post here.
I might sound annoyingly happy this month but only because I am counting down the days until my parents visit me for the first time, on their first trip to this country I have called home for the past few years now! Nonetheless, this first week of May holds many firsts for me:
1. Twice this week I will be volunteering as a judge at DECA - am excited to see what the youngsters have in store. On the topic of judging, I am reviewing and grading submissions for a certain journalism-related organization as well.
2. As an interim board member of the Society of Professional Journalists Georgia Pro Chapter, I am looking forward to our first event in Eatonton on Saturday May 10th...If you can join us, please do register on the link here!
3. Given that I do write about restaurants in the city, I will be joining some PR friends for a freestyle pizza party at one of the city's well-known pizza places as well as hitting up 2-3 other eateries towards my foodie column.
4. April showers do bring May flowers - well, in a very loosely knit way, trying to tie that into all the great work coming my way this month courtesy some serious pitching and querying in April, not to mention the nice pay checks coming through for work already delivered, yay!
5. Last but not least, firming up on some travel plans coming up next month to the sunny state of Florida, followed by Alabama, California and possibly an international tour as well. Stay tuned!
Depending on your client and project, it might actually make sense sometimes to not be involved in a certain assignment. Not every single offer that comes your way is necessarily the best. Almost always your gut is giving you the right signals. But listening to it is usually not what we do now, do we? I just got off a hell of a project today and boy was it a whirlwind! I am actually relieved to not be working on it any more even though it means a setback to my earnings. From the start I felt like I was bending backward with the hope that this could work into something pretty big, and the more I got swallowed into it. But the quality of copy to start with was quite horrendous, and then the quality of work expected from it was simply unacceptable. After trying very hard to keep it going, it ultimately boiled down to the quality of life I want being a freelance business owner and if this job fit that picture. Clearly not and so it was farewell. Have you had a similar situation cross your path?
Well, for me, at least. I have always had a problem coming up with decent pitches but I will write as many Letters of Interest as needed to make up for that. And again my efforts have borne fruit. Another trade publication has assigned me a story to work on, this one is targeted at independent restaurant owners - what a niche! I am excited about working on this new industry and learning more. A new avenue of work and a new area to learn about. I love it when I can learn more about a lesser known topic as part of my job, ain't that fun?
Now this is a Friday I really deserve to treat myself! Had a fabulous week looking back :
Monday I began working as the new Asst Editor for one of the websites I used to write for previously.
I have articles being spruced up for a finance website, a trade publication and a social media site. Also found my article on education was published in Newcomer Atlanta! Oh and those entertainment industry folks I wrote for previously mailed me back to do their cover story as well.
Wednesday was the last Ed2010Atlanta meet-up and Tiffini of Tastemaker was such a treat! Not only did she agree to be speaker and mix and mingle and share and encourage the attendees, she even arranged for the food and the giveaway!
And that book and travel website that I've been putting on the backburner are coming along nicely - you will know more when you should know more ;)
Oh and I will also begin writing a restaurant review section for one of the mags I currently work with so that's another fun gig to look forward to.
Treating myself to a nice dinner tonight and looking forward to next week when I will begin editing another book by my dear friend Angela.
Wishing you a fabulous weekend!