Tag Archives: writing

Filling the Gap


For a lot of people struggling in this economy, there are gaps. Gaps between the monthly paycheck and the monthly rent. Gaps between what we’d like to spend and what we are able to spend. Gaps created by too few hours and too low salaries. Gaps between the lives we want and the lives we have.

Now some of these gaps can be lessened by the adjustment of expectations. Goodness knows I’ve done my fair share of wants vs. needs charts; downsizing in favor of a more reasonable lifestyle, but at a certain point I
can’t cut back on the needs column any more (i.e. bills, food, good books…).

In my continued searches through a frustrating job market, I have noted the presence of some interesting opportunities to ‘fill the gap.’ Ways to make that extra bit of money finish out the month; or if you’re like me,
ways to make some money instead of none.

The most obvious of these fillers has been employed (pun intended) by workers of all types for years—the part-time job.

Whether it’s bartending nights or selling shoes on Saturdays, a part-time job is a good way to fill the gap. Scheduling is flexible, And it can also be a nice way to do something different a few days a week, in case your real job (or non-job) drives you bananas. As previously mentioned, I have been searching for a few part-time gigs to fill out my weeks and amp up my bank account. A few days ago I applied to a bakery in my neighborhood, so fingers crossed on that one.

Another ‘filler’ that suits me in particular are sites like gather.com or skyword.com, where writers can contribute articles with limited time pressure and be paid based on how the contribution draws in readers—more readers, more cash. This is especially helpful because it lends even more freedom from scheduling constraints, so if my free time is at 3am then that’s the time I use to get paid for writing. There’s also a relatively uncapped earning potential depending on the number and popularity of articles written. If I have lots of time to write a bunch of really engaging articles, I can earn quite a bit.

For those who are slightly less journalistically inclined I have also recently discovered a site called taskrabbit.com, a nifty idea that allows people with extra time to run errands for those without it. Need your groceries picked up, or you house cleaned, hire a task rabbit; a whole range of tasks for people with varied skills and extra time looking to turn those assets into cash. I don’t know about anyone else but I love this
idea. I signed up to be a task rabbit yesterday and am waiting to be approved sI can choose my first assignment. Perhaps someone out there needs me to make hem tea and read them a book…

My final source for odd jobs is the ever trusty craigslist. They have a section labeled ‘gigs’ that ijust bursting with small, one-time/ temporary jobs waiting for people with the time, talent, and inclination to get them done. If I remember correctly, that is how I found out about and started writing for this blog. It’s at least
worth a look.

These are the opportunities I’ve happened upon so far in my search but I’m sure this isn’t the end of the list. Someone before me discovered that sometimes people end up with more free time than they know what to do with and is out there trying to help us make use of these idle hands. To help fill the gaps, as it were. At the moment all I have is gap so hopefully using these strategies will help me keep my head above water as the real search continues.

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I Dreamed a Dream


By Katherine Shaye

It is hard for me to distinguish at what point in my life I went from the dreams of childhood to the career pursuits of an adult. If I’d stuck to my guns when I was eight, I’d now be a retired Olympic gymnast reliving my glory days on a talk show. Instead, I am now (among other things) an aspiring novelist, a dream that I’ve picked up only recently. So what’s the difference between my dream now and my dream then? Aside from an increased ability and drive to pursue an actual career, I would say not much.

It makes me ask myself – what really makes my dream worth chasing, and at what point do I put it on the back burner in favor of something more practical?

The reason for this sudden introspective rant is this:

Are Books Dead, and Can Authors Survive?

An article pointed out to me in a writing forum by an editing friend who thought the topic deserved some discussion. After reading it, I have to wonder, do I have skin thick enough to enter into a rapidly changing, somewhat shrinking industry, where only the truly great and quickly adapting survive? What will it really mean to be an author over the next 10 years as I try to build a career and get published? Am I gritty enough to stick it out?

I look back at where I started. Back in my early college days when writing was just a way to blow off steam and get silly daydreams out of my head. I wrote a lot, but rarely finished anything— ideas flitting too quickly through my head for me to sit with just one.  Writing was just a hobby; I was allowed to be flighty. I’d gotten a few comments from friends along the lines of “It’s pretty good,” and “I really liked it. Is there more?” Nothing I really took seriously. There was even one English paper that came back with the comment, “Very well written. Wish it were more on topic.” All praises, but nothing that said “This is it, you’ve got it. Go be a writer.”

My lackadaisical writing career continued like this until senior year when real life started looming and I decided to get adventurous. What if I really did become a writer? It was time to do some learning.

I joined a writing forum (or Accentuate Writers). Nothing fancy, just a place where I could upload my work and have it critiqued by other people in the same position as me—new and unpublished talents, testing the waters to see if we were
up to snuff. Reviews poured in and I shared my thoughts with others. I was getting positive feedback and gaining much needed confidence. Things were rolling along nicely.

Then I got my first negative review. I’d like to say that the critic didn’t know what he was talking about, that he was jealous of the profundity of my piece. But that would be a lie. This critic, while very curt and clearly not a fan of my work, gave me nothing but good advice—not that I could acknowledge that right away. It was the kind of feedback that cuts a little too close to honesty, usually echoing insecurities you already had about
a piece. They were comments I definitely needed but didn’t necessarily want.

Cue the week of mourning.

I didn’t even look at my computer screen for the next seven days, most of my time spent ignoring the fact that I’d ever picked up a pen at all.

Finally, I went back. I reread the punishing critique, picked out the relevant bits and reworked my story.  A week later, I entered it into a short story contest and a month after that I found out that the piece had won first place. It was getting published. My greatest sense of failure and success all wrapped up in that one little piece.

Fast forward to now.

Is this the story of a burgeoning artist’s epic struggle towards success? Not really, but it is the beginnings of a journey, my journey, and I suppose the point is that none of the rest of it matters. Writing is something I love to do and it’s worth a shot. Even in a potentially failing industry, even if I’m not any good. It’s still worth it to try.

CHECK OUT SOME OF THESE SITES FOR ADVICE!

Because I Said So
Vicki Winslow’s Blog
Tammyholloway
Stress Management for Writers

Post Grads and Staying Active – Mentally and Physically


By sendmeonmyway101

Dishes?Check.
Laundry? Check.
Cat box? Check.
Floors? Check.

By the end of the day, I try to make sure that all of the above has been taken care of. Some days I get help from my mom and dad, other days I get distracted. Sometimes I’ll pick up a new project – cleaning out the linen closet, or helping my Dad remodel (if you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that this weekend we will be putting in a new rug, and I can’t wait to get started!). If I’m not doing housework, I look for reasons to get out of the house.

This past weekend a friend of mine and I went hiking. She is also a recent post grad, but since she only has her associate’s degree she is going back to school this fall (she will also be designing Sauce Off’s new label – something to look forward to).

Z (we’ll refer to her as Z) has always been more active than I, so she was in much better shape for the trip than I was. Still, we successful managed to get lost, wind up in someone’s backyard, and chase after a bike rider without anyone having a heart attack (well, the bike rider may have been startled when he realized we were chasing him).

Anyways, when Z and I finally left the woods and went to chill on the swings for a bit, she suggested writing an article on why we (post grads) should keep busy. So what follows is a list of reasons why I slave over housework, subject myself to exercise, and find good reasons to get out of the house now that I don’t have any reason (i.e. a job) to go anywhere.

  1. Doing housework keeps my mind from wondering, “Why haven’t I gotten a phone call from that company that I just applied to two hours ago? Should I give them a call? Is it too soon?” (The answer is yes, btw).
  2. Doing housework gives me something to shove in my brother’s faces. “What, you have to go to work? What, you’re too busy sleeping till 7pm? Hey, dudes, I just cleaned the whole house. What can you say you did around here, huh? Huh? Yea, you know, the least you can do is … (insert some simple, meaningless task. Because after going on and on about all the work I did, they’ll do almost anything just to shut me up).
  3. I chose to study English because I have been writing since I was in the second grade. Over the years that writing has bounced around from short stories, novels, articles, and even the neighborhood newsletter that I tried (and failed) to start back in eighth grade. The logical thing to do, now that I don’t have school telling me what to write, is keep going. As long as I keep my fingers writing or typing (articles, short stories, etc.) I’m keeping my mind motivated in my chosen field. Post grads, especially those that are unemployed, should find something related to their field that keeps them going.
  4. Physical Activity! How many post grads get accustomed to spending time at the free gym on campus, and then get out of school and A.) can’t afford to go to your own gym, or B.) the gym in your town is too far away/you don’t have a way to get there? So maybe you’ll have to give up bodybuilding for a while, but you don’t have to give up physical exercise. I like to take time to ride my bike, take a walk around my neighborhood, or go hiking with friends. Keeping your body going prevents laziness – one of the deadly symptoms of Post Grad Panic.

Don’t believe me? Check out some of these articles.
Swallowing pride: Reasons why post-grads should get a job immediately
Recent Grads, Keep Your Head (And Morale) Up

Let's try and avoid this

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