Angry, much?

I’m really angry about something right now.

Someone close has done some things that I feel hurt by and resentful of.

I’ll get over this eventually – in fact, sooner rather than later, me being me – but right now, I’m feeling it.

Permission to feel

I give myself permission to feel pretty much every emotion as it comes, actually.  It’s something I’ve developed through years of learning about myself (and therapy).

So I’m sitting here, with my anger, and reflecting on emotions.

Bad emotions?

We live in a society where some emotions are encouraged and celebrated, and others are seen as negative – like sadness and anger.

But you know no emotion is inherently bad, right? They all have a purpose.

They can all be part of a process of movement, progress, working through stuff, getting from A to B.

For them to fulfil that purpose, though, they need to be acknowledged.

They need to see the light of day. They need to be given space. Because emotions have something to say.

Reaching awareness

So I’m sitting here with my anger and letting it do what it needs to do.

It needs to bring me an awareness of what’s caused it.

  • Why am I feeling angry?
  • What other emotion is sitting beneath that?
  • What caused that emotion? Why?
  • What meaning am I giving the actions or words or absences that are affecting me?
  • Is that meaning based on fact?
  • Is that meaning resourceful?
  • Can I choose a different meaning?

What is this emotion telling me I need to do or not do?

So anger, my friend, come sit with me for a day.

Let’s do some work together.

I’m not going to let you run the show, but you are 100% invited to the party.

A rant about spam

I’m really intrigued by spam.

It’s a spectrum of boredom to intrigue to eye-rolling to sheer offense, wanting to track people down and do… I dunno. Something.

Today I got a spam email offering me funeral insurance PLUS A BONUS GIFT.

A bonus gift? To go with my funeral? Clearly I’m not the target market for this particular offer. Or if I am, as a woman in my 40s, they must know something I don’t.

I probably don’t really get it

Spam cracks me up.

I admit I don’t completely understand what’s in it for the spammers – how the ROI works. I mean, how many My dearest in the Lords do you have to write to get someone to actually give you money?

I get the hey big boys spam.

I get the URGENT, we need your help to get our money and we’ll pay you for it spam.

I get the I’m a lawyer and some relative you couldn’t possibly have has died and left you millions spam.

I’ve even had the We’ve been recording you through your webcam and if you don’t pay us we’re releasing the footage spam. Yuck.

Or my most favourite recent trend – the spam emails that have Hello in the subject line, like some angsty Valley Girl looking down on me and all my life choices:

Do you not want your free car, Hello?

Did you not get my last email, Hello?

Who (from a non-English speaking country, I’m guessing) has decided that adding the word HELLO to the end of an email subject line was going to be helpful?

They’re not the worst though

But my most offensive spammers?

  • The ones who pretend they know me.
  • The ones who write their email campaigns to look like a person email, and hide any branding etc, and make me think there’s a possibility this is a person I’ve actually dealt with and should reply to.

They say things like:

I’m just running out the door but I’ve been thinking about that thing we talked about. Can you give me a quick call on 021 SPAMMER?

I was thinking about you after we met and I think we should talk more. Click here and make an appointment for a call?

As a trainer I meet and connect with (as in, on a first-name basis) about 1000 people each year. There’s no way I can remember them all.

There’s always a chance someone could email me exactly like that, so it always makes me hesitate. I think that’s what pisses me off the most.

I’m sooooo about authenticity, I feel personally offended by someone trying to take advantage of that and I feel resentful for the time and energy I put into filtering them out.

And then there’s these ones

Here’s maybe my least favourite spam email:

Have you got time for a new high paying client this month? I’ve got an enquiry that might be a good fit.

These are all from one particular woman, and I’m so tempted to name and shame her. I’ve “unsubscribed” from her list enough times to know she has no integrity, because the emails keep coming. I don’t know how I got on her list in the first place.

But then I think, ahh shit. 

Lately, I’ve had some technical difficulties with my email lists and a few people have tried to unsubscribe and it didn’t work and they’ve been pretty unhappy about it.

Faaark.

This running a business thing isn’t easy, you know.

But still.  I’m not lying to people.  Cos Donna, you DON’T have a high-paying client for me.  STOP LYING.

AND…I know I shouldn’t be so offended. I know I should build a bridge. I know it’s my choice to dwell on how irritating and distasteful this marketing approach is to me. In fact, it’s time for me to get over it.

Rant over.

PS: Donna Davenport from Customer.com, STOP FUCKING EMAILING ME.

How to make a living as a writer

Think bigger

You use words. You use words to evoke emotion, tell stories, record concepts, sell ideas or services or products, engage a following. Whichever of those you do, think bigger.

People are always asking me if I specialise in a particular type of writing. When I explain that I’m a writer, they want to know what KIND of writing. Novels? Website copy?

My answer is always the same now, and it’s clear:

If you need to use words to get something done, I can help you do it!

I know SO MANY AMAZING WRITERS. They’re all working as teachers or librarians or truck drivers or caregivers. Because they have a kind of writing they want to do, and they don’t know how to monetise that.

Think BIGGER.

Write everything. Write anything.

Create

Call it a portfolio if you like. A body of work. I don’t care. But create some evidence.

SHOW people you know how to write stuff, BY WRITING STUFF.

Yes, a blog, whatever. But a blog with no readers isn’t very helpful. Find a blog where they post guest authors’ work. Write for them.

Approach

Approach companies, small businesses, marketing agencies, and ask if you can write 1 or 2 things for them for free.

This will achieve 2 things for you:

  • you can now show work you’ve written for ‘clients’
  • if they like what you do, they might offer you some paid work.

Publish

Publish poetry, short stories, essays. Enter competitions and submit to publications.

A body of work with variety can have a lot of weight.

What did my body of work consist of when I started charging people thousands of dollars for my writing?

Do you know how many of those things I got paid to do?  Let’s see…  About NONE.

Brand yourself, and build a website

Do you know one of the easiest and fastest ways to establish credibility as a professional anything? A brand and a website!

So that if people search for you, they find you. And what they find needs to be THE SHIT. It needs to scream I KNOW MY STUFF. I know what I’m doing. Been there, done that. It needs to be very confident and matter of fact – here’s what I do. Here’s who I’ve done it for. Here’s where you can see what I do. And here’s what I charge.

I’m not saying once you build a website the work will start pouring in. There’s more to do – SEO, advertising, developing brand recognition.

But the FIRST, FASTEST, and EASIEST thing you can do to start establishing yourself as a freelancer is to make sure that once people hear about you, when they search for you online (because they will), that what they find reinforces EVERYTHING about your ability, experience, and professionalism.

One last piece of advice

(Oh and that website? You know how you’re a writer and you love words? Don’t write too much on your website. Make it short and punchy. Because you’re not writing this thing for you. You’re writing it for potential clients. And they’re busy. Don’t write too much on the website, duh!)

If you have something to say

If you have something to say, just SAY IT!

I need you to know this.

There are no new ideas. There are no new things to say. There is nothing to say that hasn’t been said before. If you’re waiting to have something NEW to say, you’re shit outta luck.

I can’t even tell you how many people I talk to who haven’t written that book yet, or want to blog, or something, but they say they haven’t got anything new to say.

So here’s what I want you to know

NO ONE, not anyone on the planet, has your unique combination of experience, education, history, character, personality, values, filters, psychology, even chemistry.

Not anyone else.

You might be able to group yourself in with other Virgos, or ENTJs, or air monkeys, or ambiverts, or youngest children, or divorced widows, or ANYTHING, but no other individuals in those groups have the exact same makeup as you.

It’s impossible.

And?

That means:

  • no one else will look at things quite like you.
  • no one else will express your ideas quite like you.
  • no one else can say the things you want to say, in just the same way.

So if you have something to say, for the love of all that is good and interesting and worth being said,

JUST SAY IT.

We want to hear from you.

(Love you!)

PS: Oprah’s right! #noceilingsallowed

Heeey superwoman! How’s your cape?

I did the best I could.

I tried my hardest.

I couldn’t have done more.

I used to feel guilty every time I thought or said any one of those statements. I thought they were lies.

The superwoman days

You see, I have these days every now and then that I call my superwoman days.

On those days, I get up ridiculously early, stay up ridiculously late, and accomplish a super-human amount of stuff. I go and go and go and push and push and push.

I produce, I meet milestones and deadlines and demands, all in between client meetings and calls, maybe travelling between cities, and all while wearing heels and makeup. And maybe cooking dinner and hugging a child or two.

Fuck. I’m tired even thinking about it.

Beware the lies we tell ourselves

But here’s where the lying comes in: Since I do have superwoman days, I saw those as me being my best, trying my hardest, and only those days.

Every other day I counted as me being less than. Less than my best. Less than trying my hardest.

So on difficult days, on days when I was feeling low or everything turned to shit, or all the cats didn’t get herded, or clients got let down or my feet were just too fucking sore for heels, and I tried to be kind to myself and say, I did the best I could, I didn’t believe it. I thought I could do better.

I mean, I can be superwoman! I have proof! And on this day I hadn’t. So I clearly hadn’t done my best.

I lived this way for a long, long time (hello, antidepressants).

Mindset makeover required

Until I realised that my superwoman days were just that: SUPERHUMAN.

More than my best. They were anomalies. Exceptions to the norm. Really fucking impressive and exciting, but exceptions nevertheless.

I had to acknowledge that no one can be superwoman every day. That’s not my best! It’s BEYOND MY BEST.

What I do every other day, every day when I get up and am kind to people and get shit done, and get dressed or don’t, and work or don’t, and cry or don’t, that is me doing my best. That is me trying my hardest.

Because we all fucking do the best we can, every fucking day.

Put the cape away.

Really.

Put it away.

Pull it out on special occasions.

But recognise that it’s not everyday-wear.

You’re NOT actually superwoman.