Something alarming I’ve noticed about myself and my fellow writers is this: many of us are competent writers but most of us are terrible at finding work.
We don’t want to search for new opportunities or put ourselves out there. We only want to write, preferably in the candlelit tower of a Victorian manor while a storm wails outside (or is that just me?).
Unfortunately, if we want to write, we have to find paid work. And then once we’ve completed that work, we need to find it again.
Every task I’ve listed below is possible to complete in 30-minutes or less, but these tiny actions will put you in the way of new writing opportunities—I’d say, that makes them worth the pain. …
Growing up, I thought my big sister was the overachiever.
I still remember the awe I felt when she opened her star-studded GCSE results, followed by a scholarship to a prestigious International boarding college and, later, a string of high-profile jobs.
And yet, looking back I can see I was obsessed with success too. I may not have actually achieved as much as my beloved sister, but I didn’t half try.
As naturally athletic as a pug, this didn’t stop me hurling myself around the netball pitch desperate to make the school team I was never destined for. It didn’t stop me revising and worrying over my SATs even though I was unlikely to get more than average results. …
Our subconscious minds form when we’re little.
This is when we learn, largely from our primary caregivers, what relationships look like and how to process emotions and create boundaries. As psychologist Nicole La Perla, known online as The Holistic Psychologist, explains:
Ideally, our parents are two self-actualized people who allow their children to be seen and heard as the unique individual they are. The reality is that we live in a culture that does not teach conscious awareness, so most of us are born to unconscious parents. Unconscious parents are repeating the same habits and patterns they’ve learned. …
I was a sweet, idealistic undergrad in my early 20s. Bubbling with nervous energy, I was often half-drunk and invariably head-over-heels. I wheeled enthusiastically but erratically through life like a wasp around a bin.
The object of my affections in this particular instance was a boy (I couldn’t fairly call him a man, he had a bong shaped like a naked lady in his room) called Jimmy.
I had admired Jimmy obsessively from afar for weeks. I can’t remember what exactly made me so enamoured, but for argument’s sake, let’s go with raging hormones. Despite the fact he’d done nothing to show interest, my gut told me that Jimmy definitely liked me too (spoiler alert: he didn’t). …
The new year is supposed to be a time of inspiration, but with the clutter of Christmas cleared away, it’s like I’ve forgotten how to lace sentences together at all.
In previous years, I thought there was something wrong with me; now, I know better. We’re all at our most rusty after a break, particularly one spanning nearly 2 weeks and consisting entirely of lying horizontally in front of Netflix.
It’s achingly human to procrastinate, particularly in the new year.
But what if we accept the slow start, and instead of beating ourselves up, use January to remind ourselves that struggling to get going is human? …
My first full-time job was as an editorial assistant over a decade ago. Instantly, I was entranced with taking something structurally sound but clunky and helping it run smoothly; I guess I’ve always enjoyed the art of refining.
The mood at my new workplace seemed off, though, and 3 weeks in, I found out why.
My manager, the only other person in our team of two, didn’t turn up one morning. “Oh didn’t she tell you?” smirked a publisher, a hostile man in his 50s, “she’s gone to Florida for 5 weeks.”
I drew in my breath, and he surveyed me with beady little eyes. …
I’ve been an editor for over a decade and had worked on everything from websites to history books crime fiction. It’s been so long, in fact, it’s easy to forget I consistently see new writers make the exact same mistakes.
There really is no variation.
Not coincidentally, these are precisely the mistakes I made starting out. I’m still learning now, after 3 years of writing more than I do almost anything else. No one is immune or at least, not to begin with.
Okay, let’s get into it.
Sometimes (okay, once) inspiration strikes and I write a beautiful first draft; more often, it’s a hot mess. …
“I’m 36 and have achieved ABSOLUTELY NOTHING of note academically or professionally, but I’ve stuck around when I didn’t want to and maintained meaningful connections with people I love and though we may not live in a world that values this, I’ll be damned if it isn’t special.”
Every so often, a handful of perfectly-arranged words stop me in my tracks.
It’s been a year of disappointments in my career and personal life, and I’d found myself slipping into the traps of my old nemesis anxiety—lying awake worrying I’ve not achieved enough, and am therefore not enough. …
“Years into my practice [as a clinical psychologist] I began to realise that all of us, myself included, were suffering from some version of a universal stuckness. I’ve had many amazingly insightful moments with myself and with clients where we come to realisations. We know what doesn’t work and we know what may work, yet we can’t actualise change.”—Psychologist Nicole LaPerla
I’m supposed to exercise every day.
I don’t do anything fancy, so if you’re imagining me squatting, thrusting, and doing one-armed press-ups, then bless you but no. …
“He’s my soulmate and every single thing I want in a partner. We’re completely inseparable because we’re basically the same person, and we don’t even fight! I’ve never had a second of doubt.” or so gushed a fairly well-known health and wellness influencer on her Instagram stories the other day.
A few years ago, those words would’ve sent me into a tailspin.
My relationship isn’t like that, I would’ve panicked. We’re not inseparable or the same. He isn’t every single little thing I’ve ever wanted. We do argue sometimes. I have had moments of doubt. …