Why I should win a free year in Freelance Writer’s Den?

Note: This contest is now over. Thanks for all of your support!

Because I’m a damn good writer who needs lots of support, that’s why. I’ve been writing for a years and have a few print and online clips under my belt. But my ultimate goal (has been for the last five years) is to break into magazines. I’ve been struggling with this goal while having achieved others along the way – grad school, becoming a licensed bilingual therapist and being a blogger in my own right. But, breaking into a nice glossy, shiny magazine is the one writing goal that hasn’t happened yet. My hope is that a year in the Freelance Writer’s Den will get me there. So what’s my problem?

My struggle isn’t having the money in my budget to join the den. It isn’t putting words together that make an impact. My struggle is simply that I need more cheerleaders and accountability partners to keep reminding me that I need to get out of my own head and get my head in the game. I can write, but I’m afraid of succeeding.

I go through this with anything new I try. I get anxious, then need support (sometimes a lot of it) then get comfortable and confident. It’s my pattern of behavior. I’m confident as a mom, therapist and blogger. I want to be just as confident as a freelance writer – seeing my name in print magazines that I can show to my dad and my son who are my two biggest cheerleaders.

So please, if you think I deserve a free year in Freelance Writer’s Den, share my post via Twitter, Facebook, Linked In (anywhere else you can think of is great, too thanks!). Then check out this contest courtesy of Carol Tice & Linda Formichelli. Thanks friends.

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Proud Mommy Moments

Just had to share that my son ROCKS! This year has been full of challenges, but also many amazing moments. As mother to a child with ADHD and a smartypants to boot, I’ve been challenged to step up and be a better mom. And while I’ve felt like the world’s worst mom sometimes, my son shows me how amazing he is and how truly blessed I am just to be his mom.

For the first time he received second honors in school with a 90 average.  He earned a ribbon also for “Most Improvement.” See how proud he is? I’m so very proud of him.

Even more awesome is his generous heart. Last Thursday, he won his class spelling bee and won two tickets to tonight’s Yankee game. And what did he do with them? He took his father to the game for a Father’s Day gift. And no, I’m not jealous that he didn’t take me. It’d be nice to go to a game with him someday, but I’m happy with knowing my son is a sweet, persevering kid who just doesn’t quit.

Mommy loves you kiddo!

Job Search Challenge

I’ve been looking for a new job since early January. The job that I began in December was not a good fit so I quit. I was able to do this and manage well. But for someone who has been employed since adolescence, not having a job hasn’t been easy.

I’m used to being very busy. The first few weeks of unemployment found me practicing good self-care – sleeping well, eating well and catching up with my support network. (I’d lost all of these things while at that other job along with a few pounds.) I believe that good self-care allows people to work at their best. So I caught up with that.

Now that I’ve been out of work for three months, I have been keeping busy in other ways. I have been on interviews, sent out countless resumes, & even revamped my resume (several times) but haven’t landed the right job. But Heiddi, why not just take any job? I choose not to take any job because I’ve worked too hard for too long to take a step back.

Taking any job just to have one isn’t my thing. I worked my way from “any job” to a job working with children and families. Going to graduate school and earning a license was supposed to open up career options and  help move me forward in my career.

What I’ve found though is that most people don’t know what my license is. (I’m a Licensed Bilingual Mental Health Counselor, btw.) It is a very new license and has only been issued since the year 2000. Here is a definition from the NY Mental Health Association, which is an “advocacy organization representing the clinical counselors of New York State. Our continuing role is to protect and enhance the rights of counselors to practice our profession.”

The challenge for me has been the lack of awareness that the LMHC is the equivalent to an LCSW or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I wanted to share this to educate others about licensed Mental Health Counselors. I’m also trying to stay positive about my job search by sharing this information. And for the record, my dream job would be to work on an in-patient psyche unit for kids and teens in NYC.

For anyone looking for work, keep moving forward and don’t lose sight of your dreams. I’ve learned to think outside of the box when it comes to job seeking. I’ve also learned that I’m very blessed to have my support network of family and friends who love and care for me. So, while I haven’t yet landed my dream job, I do know that my support network rocks! And I’m so grateful.

This post has a Compensation Level of 0.

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It’s “I Love to Write Day”

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post comes in the exact middle of NanoWriMo. I tried Nano last year and I couldn’t get through it. In celebrating November 15 – “I Love to Write” Day, I hope you can share why you love to write. My goal is to help you Nanoers get back on track as well as any writer’s block sufferers and beginning writers who don’t know where to begin.

Sometimes the thing we love to do most is hard because we get drained, tired and frustrated. I know I get that way. So I’ll start.

I love to write because:

1) I love expressing myself.

2) I love helping others.

3) I need to write.

4) I love making others laugh.

5) I love to encourage others.

6) I like to pay it forward because I’ve been moved by other writers.

Share why you love to write in the comments section below. Be motivated and Happy Writing!

It’s NanoWriMo Time!

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. It’s that time of year again folks. What time? Not gear up for Thanksgiving time. And it’s not Black Friday time. It’s NanoWriMo time!

If you haven’t heard of NanoWriMo – it stands for National Novel Writing Month. From November 1 – 30, you can take on the challenge of writing a novel or manuscript (50, 000 words). No editing; just writing. I myself signed up for NanoWriMo, but ended up quitting after a week and a half due to home and work obligations. Maybe next year, since I’m not up for it this year either.

Freshman Writers, this is a great way to get some fire in your bellies and write that book you have inside of you. It doesn’t matter the topic, genre or language. All that matters is that you get the project out of your brain and on to the page (or computer screen).  You can do this! I believe in you. If my pals on Twitter can do it, so can you.

Go to NanoWriMo and register. Not only will you find online support groups and a buddy system, you’ll also find NanoWriMo meet-up groups that will allow you to connect with other challenge participants in your area. Check it out and good luck! Make sure to report back at the end of the month.

Happy Writing!

Information Overload?

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post is about information overload. There is no shortage of ways we can get the information we need and even the information we don’t need. According to Brownielocks, October 20th is Information Overload Day.

I know I get very overwhelmed by all of the information out in the world especially that on cyberspace. Here are some tips to keep information from overloading you.

1. Find the one medium that works best for you. These days we can get information from television, radio and online. Figure out which of these is more convenient and practical for you. Stick with the one you use most and chuck the rest.

2. Clean out your inbox. I’m an email junkie. I admit it, I have an email problem. Recently, I went through my inboxes (I have three) and deleted emails that I simply don’t read anymore. I also unsubscribed from any groups or subscription lists that just take up space. If you don’t read it, you don’t need it.

3. Limit the number of email addresses you have. I have one for fun, one for writing and one that I’ve kept for a million years because it was my very first email address. By keeping separate accounts, I’ve found that I can better organize my information.

4. Life is busy, but multi-tasking can make it worse. I read my personal emails on my way to work. I have my emails connected to my Blackberry so I have them organized there. Since I commute to work, it saves me time to read and reply to emails. But, I’ve also learned to put my phone away one stop before I get off. I’ve missed my stop once or twice because of my inbox.

5. Check in on your lunchhour. Lunchtime is a great time to check your email or catch up on your favorite bloggers.

6. Limit your RSS Feeds. I LOVE to read and have subscribed to several blogs. But, I reached the point of hating the number of feeds that I get and don’t have time to read. So as I cleaned out my inbox, I also cleaned out my RSS Feeds. Again, if I don’t read it, I don’t need it.

Hopefully, these tips can keep you from being overloaded. And remember, information helps you write, but too much can keep you from writing. Happy Writing!

 

3 Ways to Be Kind to Editors & Writers

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post is about being kind to Editors & Writers. September marks Be Kind to Editors & Writers Month. We all know that there’s so much negativity in the world today. This month, I wanted to share my tips for spreading the love. Here are some ways to spread kindness all around and keep the positivity going. Enjoy!

1. Be polite. Remember that good manners (online and off) speak volumes about who you are.

2. Sharing is Caring. Freshman Writers, you have expertise in something. Share what you know if a writer/editor asks. And even if you don’t, pass it along to others in your circle. You never know who you can help.

3. You get more flies with honey than vinegar.  The world of freelance writers is small, even though cyberspace can seem huge. People communicate to one another; especially editors & writers. Stay positive on-line and share negativity offline with trusted friends. When I get upset about something, I talk to friends offline to gain perspective. In this way, I get my feelings out without hurting anyone’s feelings.

Hopefully, these tips will help you keep the positive energy flowing all around you; both online and off.

Happy Writing!

Love Note Day

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post is in celebration of National Love Note Day according to BrownieLocks.com. I’m a sucker for a great love note so I thought we could use this as a prompt. Share what you like about love notes and even one of your own! Below is my contribution. Enjoy!

Happy Writing!

 

Dear Son,

Little boy, you’re the center of my world. You’re my motivation to get up everyday to work hard. You’ve pushed me far beyond my limits and even my dreams. You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I love you. You’re my favorite kid in the whole, wide world and I live for your smile. Remember that I’ll always be there no matter what.

Love,

Mami

5 Tips on Handling Rejection

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post is about something that touches writers all of the time – rejection. Yes, to some writers who’ve dealt with it, rejection is a hard blow. Especially after putting in hard work and heart into the writing. To others, rejection is motivation to keep on going; to keep tweaking the writing; to keep the pen moving.

After hearing about The Help movie, based on the best-selling book by author, Kathryn Stockett, I was amazed to learn that her manuscript was rejected an amazing 60 times! 6-0! According to More Magazine (on Yahoo Shine),  Kathryn Stockett went through 60 rejections before her manuscript was accepted on try #61. I couldn’t believe it! She’s made of strong stuff indeed. And in sharing her story, she revealed one tip that kept her going until her writing was accepted.

1. “Give into your obsession.”  Kathryn simply zeroed in her focus on her manuscript. Over and over, she worked on it. Writing and writing until she felt it was ready to send out. Which leads me to the next tip:

2. Find a space for your writing to grow. Kathryn went so far as to rent a hotel room to work on her writing after her daughter was born. Find a nook just for you to write in. Which brings us to tip number three:

3. Have supportive friends and family.  Someone had to be there with the little one while Kathryn was writing – that was her hubby. Nothing helps a writer more than to have people who understand your compulsion to write. Even if they don’t write themselves. Having a support system can help you when (and it happens to all writers) you DO get rejection.

4. Celebrate the first rejection. Kathryn shared her first rejection letter with friends. This is a great way for writers of all levels to reframe the idea that a rejection is truly a rejection. Sometimes, writers can get caught up in feeling sorry for themselves and then stop writing. Here, Kathryn took a lemon and made lemonade by cheering and then getting right back to work.

5. Don’t quit. Kathryn didn’t stop writing. She kept going. One of the easiest things to do after a rejection is to quit; to think that you’re just not cut out for writing. Kathryn pushed through this and kept working. And you Freshman Writers can do it, too.

Freshman Writers, I hope Kathryn’s story inspired you the way it inspired me. She stuck to it and now her book is a best-seller that has been made into a successful movie. Cheers Kathryn! I salute you! Thank you for inspiring Freshman Writers, readers and movie-goers everywhere!

Happy Writing!

Travel down Memory Lane for Ideas

Hiya Freshman Writers! Hope this finds you well and writing. Today’s post was inspired by my lack of ideas last week for a parenting blog that I write for. I just could not come up with anything current to blog about.

I actually went back to the blog to read posts by other writers there. We all have children of different ages. My son though is probably one of the older kids written about on the site and sometimes I just run out of things to say.

Cruising on the site for awhile found me laughing at the adventures in potty training that some of the other moms had posted. I laughed because their posts reminded me of my own problems with diapers and potty training. So, I decided to go back in my memory to write about my own adventures. And it worked! I came up with two posts on the spot and then a couple more for future publishing.
Writing consistently for a website can be challenging when you’re idea bank has been exhausted. If you Freshman Writers are stuck on ideas, try going down memory lane to see what ideas jump out from the past. You never know where it’ll take you.

Happy Writing!