The ever-changing Moon dances into lighthearted Gemini at 8:15 am EDT like a kite flying in the spring breeze, signaling a loosening of personal and professional restraints. But the flighty Gemini New Moon at 3:44 pm carries a heavier burden with unrelenting Pluto and sobering Saturn in the picture. An uneasy Venus-Pluto square indicates expressing emotions can stir hurt feelings while an anxious Mercury-Saturn alignment delays satisfaction.
You can't wait to share your travel plans with others. Although it's fun to fantasize about your next adventure, you must get serious if you truly intend to turn your visions into reality. Rather than spinning wild stories based on your conjectures, start a productive dialogue. The curious Gemini New Moon sets up shop in your 9th House of Distant Horizons, inspiring you to reevaluate your long-term goals. Create a bucket list if you don't already have one. Life is short; do whatever is necessary to make your dreams come true.
Today started off at about 7:00 am and went along slowly. Peter had an appointment at about 10:00 am with a doctor at the Montfort Hospital. We prepared ourselves and left in plenty of time for the bus. Everything went along smoothly as usual until we made our way to the elevator to the second floor of the transit line. With no elevator, there was no way to get to the bus we needed. Any detour would make us too late to keep the appointment.
Peter came up with an alternative plan to get to the Montfort Hospital. Peter was always good at arranging things and for years hadn’t been late or missed and appointment. This time was merely an inconvenience. So we returned back to the apartment for my set of keys. From there we had an hour of time to wait until we were to leave again for the second time to get to the Montfort Hospital.
We departed our apartment in good time to keep the appointment at the Montfort Hospital. The van was in sound mechanical condition and we had a half full tank of gas. The drive there was as usual without any traffic difficulties. Peter made it to the Montfort Hospital in plenty of time to keep his Thrombosis appointment.
Peter was occupied at his appointment for an hour and a half. I waited in a lot of a small strip mall about two blocks away from the hospital. I sketched away without worrying about time because Peter was going to phone me when it was time to pick him up. It actually worked out well because I started moving the van about ten minutes before Peter’s cellphone call.
I picked up Peter who had walked out the front entrance as I pulled up and parked at the main entrance of the hospital. Peter had no trouble loading up his electric wheelchair into the van. Once that was done and Peter had buckled himself into the front seat, we slowly drove away. We went a few blocks when Peter had the bright idea of going for a poutine at the chip wagon located on Russell Road. I seconded the idea and off we went in that general direction.
The chip wagon was up on blocks in the same location as it had been for years. It had been in business selling the same menu of excellent foods as other local locations. The owner and operator of the chip wagon is a good friend of mine. I made an HO scale model of her chip wagon for which she gave us free orders of poutine. I was happy she was pleased by the scale model and didn’t need a free order of poutine to mark her happiness that I could plainly see. That was the reward I was looking for.
There were eight men standing around in a line to place their orders at the open window to the chip wagon. I thought it would take a long time to place and make those orders. Simple fact was that the line kept moving along until all eight orders were placed and made in less than fifteen minutes. It was a fast rate by any standard. As far as standards go, the orders were crafted with a consistent, competent, and complete professionalism. That was what kept the customers returning time after time for their orders of sustaining food.
We waited for the men to be served while we ate our own orders of deliciously filling poutine. Then, I moved the van from across the parkinglot to stop beside the chip wagon. I got out and slowly walked to the window as if to place and order, A young girl was standing there, bent down to hear my oral growl with a sore throat asking where the owner of the chip wagon was. She just happened to be out back. I walked around the chip wagon to see the owner duck back inside the chip wagon. So, I walked over to the back door where a little black curly dog was circling. The owner appeared beside the little dog, mouthing cooing sounds and repeating commands to sit and stay.
The owner and I began talking excitedly to each other. She was happy to see me and I wasn’t going to leave without talking to her personally. She asked me how I was doing. In as brief a summary as possible, I began telling what I had been doing for the past two years. I told her that I had been fighting pneumonia for the past year and a half. I still sketched, wrote, and built things with balsa wood. I also had cataract surgery on my eyes and a hernia on my belly button. She frowned as all she could do to express her concern as she voiced an encouraging salutation.
We talked a bit more before I started to sway as I stood still. I said that I had to go and that I would be back. She laughed and agreed with me. I turned and walked back to the van. I waved as I drove away, filled with the owner’s smile, her waving, and the superb poutine. I will be back, eh?
We drove home by about 3:30 pm. It was a nice drive to the underground parking space we have had for the past four years. It is hard to believe that we have been in the same place for the past four years. Still, it is a nice thing to think about as memories keep being added to my storybook.
SONIA SIMONE | June 29, 2016 |
The 7 Things Writers Need to Make a Living
classic traits of well-paid writers
If you’re a writer, you might have heard this most of your life:
People don’t make a living writing. You should find something practical to do with your life.
Smart, capable writers grimly pass around war stories on Facebook. Penny-a-word assignments, clients who don’t pay, disdain for our craft, and disrespect for our profession.
And yet, look around at this digital world so many of us spend our lives in — it’s made of words. The technology to produce digital content exists because we create words worth sharing.
Text, video, audio — it all needs great writing if it’s going to be worth spending our time on.
If writing is your profession and your passion, you can accept crap assignments for crap money and crap treatment.
Or, you can choose something better. Because there is something better.
In the time I’ve been writing professionally, I’ve noticed some necessary traits, abilities, and strengths that make the difference between life as a well-paid writer and life as someone who likes to write but can’t seem to get paid for it.
Here are seven of the most important.
This might seem squishy, but if you’re meant to be a writer, you know what I mean.
There is no substitute for the love of writing. For the passion of getting the words right: the head-scratching and the pacing around the house and the endless drafts that aren’t quite right yet.
If you don’t love language and your topic and the act of putting words together, none of the rest of this really means anything.
I could have just as easily used Compulsion, Obsession, or Bullheadedness for this section. Whichever word you choose, it’s about refusing to settle for weak writing, because the words matter.
#2: An attitude of service
Writing for self-expression can be high art, pursued for the sake of your own experience of truth and beauty.
As soon as money changes hands, though, the audience — the reader, listener, or viewer — becomes the focus.
Professional writers work from an attitude of serving their audiences. Serving them with truthful, beautiful words, yes. But also with language that meets their needs, language that clarifies rather than prettifies.
Novelists, copywriters, and content marketers all live in service to our audiences. No matter how clever or perfectly poetic we may find a phrase, if it doesn’t serve the audience, it goes.
It’s always struck me as odd that many of the most capable writers are also some of the most insecure.
But it doesn’t need to be that way. Confidence comes from putting the work in to become a genuinely authoritative expert. It comes from research, craftsmanship, and seeing the difference you make to your audience.
Serious craftspeople are humble and proud at the same time.
The pride and confidence come from hours of deliberate practice — the kind of work that expands your abilities and challenges you to grow. The humility comes from the knowledge that a true pro is always improving, expanding, and refining.
Many writers imagine that if you have a good writing voice and a strong opinion about the serial comma, you’re qualified to work as a professional copywriter.
Not so fast.
Great copywriters and content marketers are fine wordsmiths, but they’re also strategists. They understand what types of content work to attract attention, to stand out amid the sea of content clutter, to motivate buying behavior, and to help the audience make the journey from interested bystander to loyal customer.
Solid content and copywriting strategy come from training (and practice). You can get a lot of that training right here at Copyblogger, of course.
And for writers who are serious about professionalism, we have a course designed to train you about the craft of professional content creation. (The “art” is up to your talent and abilities.)
You may be a brilliant wordsmith and master strategist, but if you don’t devote yourself to the butt-in-chair time needed to produce a significant quantity of work, you won’t get where you want to go.
To a great degree, discipline is a set of habits that can be cultivated. As a writer, you can string together rituals, create the right work environment, and adopt the behaviors of productive writers.
As a working writer, you also need to throw in a set of habits that will ensure that you meet your deadlines, keep clients updated, and invoice your clients promptly.
If you care enough, you’ll do it. The habits can be difficult to put into place, but fortunately, once they’re in place, they tend to keep you on the right track. (That’s the difference between habits and will power.)
#6: The willingness to become a marketer
There is some money in writing fiction. (For the lucky few, there’s a great deal of money. Emphasis on few.)
There’s also still a little bit of money in journalism and feature writing, especially if you have excellent contacts.
But for the most part, if you want to make a living as a writer, the fastest, most enjoyable way to do that is to write content for businesses that want to find more customers.
It’s interesting, lucrative, very much in demand, and it will get you researching and investigating as many different topics as you like.
You might think that this kind of writing is boring to do. Far from it. Creating really good content (as opposed to the mass of junk that makes up 95 percent of web copy) will call on your skills as a storyteller, investigator, wordsmith, and historian.
A well-qualified content marketer needs all the skills of a great feature or fiction writer — combined with solid marketing strategy.
You also, of course, need to get comfortable marketing yourself. This can be surprisingly tough even for writers who create superb marketing for their clients.
“Create a bunch of content and hope someone wants to do business with you” won’t work for your writing business any more than it will for your clients’. You need to apply the same strategies and frameworks to your own business that you do to theirs.
If this doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t let that worry you. It doesn’t come naturally to a lot of good writers. But it’s something that’s well within your ability to learn. And we have some resources that can help.
One of the tough things about living as a professional writer is that the path you walk is one you make yourself.
There’s no one to tell you which direction to go, no one to give you sign posts along the way, and no one to outline your day for you and tell you where you need to be and when.
That’s also one of the fantastic things about living as a professional writer. But sometimes Fantastic is also Difficult.
Writing is a lonely business. And it can be just a little lonelier when you don’t have colleagues to bounce questions off of or share your gripes and triumphs with.
When you do find a community of writers, though, it’s a lovely thing. They’re some of the most funny, smart, and quirky people you’ll ever meet. And it just feels good to hang out with people who get you.
(Because your friends and family actually do think you’re sort of a weirdo.)
Where to find professional writers and content marketers
If you need a talented, passionate, skilled writer with terrific knowledge of marketing strategy, our Copyblogger Certified Content Marketers are ready to help with your projects.
You can find a complete list of them here: Certified Content Marketers.
Or, are you a writer who wants to become a professional content marketer?
For you, we’d recommend participating in our Certified Content Marketer training program. It’s usually closed, but we’ll reopen it soon for a short time to invite a new group of students inside.
We’d love to see you there. Add your email below and we’ll let you know when we’re enrolling a new group of writers.
Find out when our Certified Content Marketer training program reopens: