‘Tis The Season

Falling SnowI find winter to be a romantic season. Perhaps the most romantic of all, with the softly falling snow that quiets the world and the cold that encourages closeness and flickering fires. I mean, is there anything more lovely than curling up in front of a fire with a book while a Christmas tree sparkles in the corner?

If you were with me last year, my adoration of the season won’t be a surprise. After all, it is host to my favorite holiday―Christmas. But I often find myself in a minority when it comes to my love of snow and all that is winter, so to make myself feel as if I am one of many, I searched out (and found) some absolutely lovely words about the colder months.

Even if you aren’t a fan of the frost you should at least be able to find some appreciation for the lovely writing that went into these:

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” ―Lewis Carroll

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” ―Edith Sitwell

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” ―John Steinbeck

“A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.” ―George R.R. Martin

“In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold.” ― Ben Aaronovitch

“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.” ―Markus Zusak

“Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.”
―Mary Oliver

“The snow began to fall again, drifting against the windows, politely begging entrance and then falling with disappointment to the ground.” ―Jamie McGuire

On that note, I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas (Yule, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Navidad, Noel…), or whatever else you celebrate during the winter. Stay cozy!

Do you have a favorite seasonal quote? Share it in the comments!

I’ll be on Facebook until next time.

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Weekend Edition – Writing is My “Real” Job

You all know I’m not much of a reblogger, but once in a while, I find something that I have to share, and this, this is one of those things.

Us writers often struggle with what to call ourselves, what to tell people that we do, how to explain that writing can actually be a job, and how to avoid probing and awkward questions about our writing.

That is enough to deal with, but it can cause us to question ourselves, and this post explains exactly why we shouldn’t.

Enjoy!

Live to Write - Write to Live

“Real” is overrated.

pin opinion and perspectiveWhen someone asks what you do, how do you answer? Does the label “writer” trip lightly off the tip of your tongue, or do you keep that identity to yourself and instead talk about your day job? It seems like a small thing, but how we “label” ourselves  – to others and in our own minds – has a big impact on what we believe about ourselves and how we behave.

I actually do make my living as a writer, but the writing that pays my bills is not, in my estimation, “real” writing. When asked what I “do,” I usually say that I’m a messaging strategist and content marketer (and, then I have to explain what the heck that means). Even after nearly a decade of stringing one word after another for cold, hard cash, I still hesitate to grant myself the honorary title of “writer.”…

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Creative Ways to Volunteer

Creative Ways to VolunteerIn my experience, volunteering is essential to building writing skills and references. While it can be a bit of a pain to work for free, it helps you to build your resume and portfolio, which you need to do in order to nab that eventual writing position.

Most people start with contacting local newspapers, magazines, or blogs to get their first gig, but many of these places have been inundated with applications and likely aren’t looking for volunteers. Not hearing back can get frustrating, and I know better than anyone that there are only so many places that you can offer services to.

That’s when you need to start getting creative about who you offer your skills to, and just how you offer them. You may have a specific type of writing that you are interested in, but when you’re first starting out, you may have to relax your grip a little in the beginning.

Think about this: basically everything on the internet is content-based. Everyone needs writers. Turn your eyes to charities, small local businesses, and museums. Read up on how to write social media posts, listicles, how-to posts, informational articles, and everything in between. The more skills that you have to give, the more someone is likely to pick you up.

It’s also a good idea to start a blog or site of your own to showcase what you can do. Look for content that needs a good polish in ads, on websites, social media pages, and so on. You are the superhero of good content; where there’s bad writing, you’re there! When you find it, write a polite proposal that talks about how what you do could benefit the business/charity/individual, and highlight that in return, you just want to build your portfolio.

If that doesn’t work, place an ad yourself. Writing today isn’t limited to online content, you can also use your skills to help people by offering to help write speeches, eulogies, obituaries, wedding vows, and more. This makes for unique content that looks good among your other samples, and it’s also a way to use your superhero writing skills for good.

Again, I know it’s not ideal to work for free, but when you’re fresh out of school, and employers are looking for candidates with experience, you have limited options in how you can make yourself stand out. It also gives you a great opportunity to learn new skills and to make excellent professional connections.

Besides, the holiday season is the best time for giving. Even if you don’t have money to donate, you have valuable skills that may even help to make someone’s Christmas all the brighter. Be creative and be open to new things and you’ll build a strong portfolio in no time.

What volunteering or portfolio tips do you have? What is the most unique writing you’ve done?

I’ll be on Facebook until next time.