Posts Tagged ‘writing’

According to my calculations, (yes, I know how to do calculations thanks to my iPhone’s calculator function) September 2009 will be the month that I make more money than I ever did during any month working for The Man(s). For the first time since my untimely departure from a Richmond meat factory media conglomerate in April, I’ll be pulling in grown-up wages with grown-up decimal points and grown-up commas. Okay, just one comma. But still – there’s a comma in there and I likey.

I’ve packaged my skills into a nice little writing/blogging/communication machine and I couldn’t be happier with the work I’ve been doing or the connections I’ve made. Next stop: business license. At some point, I’ll need to make it legit. Who wants some of this? Come get it.

I had a chat last week with someone who is quickly turning into my business mentor (whether she accepts that role or not) about turning unemployment into a business. Selling yourself. Being the business. Doing what you love and putting yourself to work, despite not having a ‘traditional’ job. Following your heart and being happy. It’s real, folks. People do it all the time – sometime’s they’re forced into it because of unemployment (like me). Some people need a push. Some people will never be able to truly pursue happiness because they can’t grow a pair and put forth the effort. I’m happy things turned out the way they did for me. It’s still very much a work in progress, but I think I’m on the right track. The rough thing about freelance writing is that the work can always stop coming in. The good thing, however, is that there is always more work to be found.

I spent all of last week working diligently on articles, videos and blogs. I researched, edited, rendered, and created. I did it all from the comfort of my office, sporting gym shorts and scruffy facial hair. I hung out with some of my favorite Richmond bloggers, including 1/2 of this team and this crazy lady on Thursday. The Wife took me out for a delayed birthday dinner at a fancy-schmancy restaurant on Saturday. I worked malljob for a few hours here and there. I went grocery shopping at bought real honest-to-goodness food that doesn’t come prepackaged or in a box with a smiling glove on the front. I hung out with friends and watched football all day yesterday and reveled in a Buffalo Bills victory. I’m keeping extremely busy. If by ‘busy’, you include the time I spend wrapping tin-foil around the cat’s paws then throwing pieces of ham at him while he’s temporarily immobilized.

Tell you what – that cat doesn’t like to be wrapped in aluminum foil. The dog thought it was hilarious, though. Until I covered him in bedsheets and hit him with couch pillows. Now both him and the cat are holding secret meetings in the basement. I think they’re trying to booby-trap the staircase with trip wire and flying paint cans, Home Alone-style. You know how kids get really frustrated with something that they can’t do and start shaking and crying and punching the air? Hey guys, let me know when you grow some opposable thumbs and learn to tie an overhand knot.

I spend a nice portion of my day playing Rambo with those two. God help me when I have children. It’s gonna be like the Saw movies up in here.


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Morning productivity

If there is one thing about being unemployed (or “freelancing”, as I call it) that I actually enjoy, it’s the waking up whenever my body darn well feels like it. I like opening my eyes and staring at the wall, trying to guess what time it is.

“8? 8:30?” [grabs phone] “Holy crap! 9:37! Sweet!”

I’m not a big sleeper-inner, so I’m usually up around 9:30. It doesn’t matter, though, because I have a few things that I force myself to do before noon – no matter what time I drag my groggy butt outta bed.

Coffee followed by some articles followed by some social media internetting followed by an intense application blitz followed by some fleeting thoughts about exercising followed by either the malljob or a sandwich with extra Doritos (on the sandwich, mind you). There also might be a nap in there somewhere. And maybe some more articles.

My sandwich shop

I make awesome sandwiches. I had one yesterday that I like to call The Cousin Larry™. If you’ve been reading my posts since the beginning, you know that I like to name my sandwich creations. One day I’m going to open a sandwich shop that will feature delicious sandwiches named after TV/movie characters. Most of them will be pretty obscure. It’s gonna be awesome. Just you wait. Anyway, The Cousin Larry™ doesn’t have pickles (most of my awesome creations do). It does, however, have Doritos intermingling between the salami and the lettuce. Fantabulous, if I do say so myself.

You know who eats salami? My dad. He eats bologna and salami with American cheese on wheat bread with KETCHUP. Every. Single. Day. In my shop, that sammich will be named The Carl Harrington™. Okay, so he’s not a TV character, but I’m pretty sure no one will buy it anyway. Except him. How awesome would that be to have your favorite sandwich named after you?

“Hi, I’d like a ME please. Extra ketchup.”

What I’ve got coming up

I’m speaking on a panel this Wednesday. About what? What else? Being unemployed! I’ll give a little presentation on how I’m using social media to network and create professional relationships with people who can put me on their payroll. Basically, I’ll be giving advice to unemployed people about how to use social media to their advantage. It should be interesting, since I haven’t done any public speaking in a very long time. Not to mention that I have no clue what I’m going to say. I should probably write some stuff down, huh? Apparently, I’m winning at unemployment if people want to hear me speak about my joblessness. Hey, I got a free lunch out of it. SO CHALK ANOTHER ONE UP IN THE WIN COLUMN, FELLAS!

I make unemployment look easy.

This is Day 124, folks. Just some Monday evening ramblings while the wifey is babysitting and making that real dolla-dolla. Still malljobbin’, still writing, still looking for more. Last night I had a dream we moved to Charlotte. Hoping that becomes a reality soon.

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I’ve had the past few days off from MallJob, which has enabled me to get some freelance writing done. I have managed to wake up early every morning, getting a majority of my work done by 11am. The rest of my day is spent barraging businesses with résumés and doing the dishes that Wifey leaves in the sink as a test to see if I will actually get something done because, hey, I’m home all day and the least I could do is put a load of laundry in the damn washer because she’s at work and what do I do all day, anyway? Play on the computer? Talk to my stupid tweeter-friends? How ’bout vacuum? Can I handle that? No? Because one of us is working from sunup to midnight, and it sure-as-hell ain’t me.

She’s right, though. I don’t disagree or argue. I feel like a lazy bum in moments such as right now, when she’s at her second job of the day and I’m pecking away at a post and trying to snatch up as much freelance work as I can possibly get my widdle hands on. Honestly, if you’ve read the last few blog posts, things are starting to pick up, at least writing-wise. So it’s not like I’m just sitting on my butt staring at the computer all day. Well, that is precisely what I’m doing, but I’m actually getting paid for it now.

Working at home, freelancing – whatever you want to call it – is great. I feel more focused and energized than I ever have compared to when I was keeping a strict, regimented schedule in a corporate setting. My professional career has always been of the creative persuasion, but I feel infinitely more creative now. This is probably due to the fact that I get to choose the moments when I express that creativity. I do my best work in the early part of the day, and honestly, in short bursts. Most writers, designers or others in the creative field will tell you that intense, focused 20-minute bursts of innovative energy can produce amazing results. Follow that with a cup of coffee, a short jam session on the bass, or pumping some great music into your head for a few minutes and you’re refueled and ready for another burst of inventiveness.

I usually slow down after lunch. This is the time when I run errands or do some housework or get on the Twitter and gossip. I send more résumés, I throw up a blog post, I jot down some ideas. Sometimes, if I have time, I knock out another article. By the time 6pm rolls around, and assuming Wifey is going to be home, dinner is at least planned out and ready to be made.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy eating dinner with my wife. It’s something that we have never really been able to do, either because of my crazy work schedule or hers. And even now, she isn’t home some evenings because of her 48 jobs. So, for me, it’s still a big deal when we can sit down and have a meal together.

After dinner is dog-walkin’ time. Well, mostly TV time, but it’s summer and it’s prime dog-walkin’ weather around 8pm. But my dog is jerk and he totally ruins the whole experience of walking through the neighborhood with his stopping to pee on every mailbox, tree and bush. By the time we get back, I’m ready to veg out and do some more gossiping and job hunting. I also use this time to catch up on some of my favorite blogs and read whatever book I’m forcing myself to get through at the moment. I’m up late, usually until Conan is over and that turd Jimmy Fallon starts. Hearing his voice is my cue to go to bed before his monologue lulls me to sleep in my recliner.

So there you have it. This routine has been working for me, at least when I’m not malljobbin’. I am actively looking for more freelance work, so hit me up if you need something written or blogged about or promoted or marketed or tested or eaten. And, of course, I’m REALLY actively looking for a regular, full-time job. So you should probably hire me. I can increase your company’s coolness factor by 135%.

This is Day 92, folks. Feeling good about my routine, but I need more work. Really. I need a lot more work. Or just a regular job. Better go clean up the kitchen before mamma gets home.

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My boy, Justin (AKA StickyFingers, from our flag football days) has a sweet gig up in DC where he catches bad guys by blowin’ up their spot on the TeeVee. He dropped me a line the other day to tell me about an opportunity at his company doing some Graphic Design work… to which I replied, “Um… Yes.” So I sent off my résumé and a short demo reel to the creative manager, escorted by the good word of my friend StickyIcky.

I haven’t been concentrating on finding a graphic artist job because I’d like to take my career in a different direction. But I’ve been advised that now isn’t the time to be trying to switch careers, especially since my last job was a graphic artist position. What’s the first thing under “Experience” on my résumé? Graphic Artist. That’s what people see. That’s what people expect. It’s tough to switch careers during a thriving economy, and we’re certainly not in a thriving economy.

A few years back, I was sitting around a bonfire with some friends talking about how hard our jobs sucked. Somebody asked me what I truly wanted to do and what would make me happy. I immediately blurted out, “I wanna write,” which surprised the hell out of me, because although I always had that notion swimming around my mind, I’d never said it out loud. This, coming from a guy who has never quite grasped proper grammar and punctuation and never really paid attention in high school English. But many of my teachers, way back then, advised me to write and study English or become a teacher. They saw something in me then that I think I was too uninterested to cultivate – at the time. I took some great English and creative writing courses in college, and I did surprisingly well, but I never thought about writing as a career. It just seemed like a time-consuming hobby that makes my brain hurt. I had one professor (and I can’t remember his name to save my life, but I can see his face plain as day) who told me that I need to be writing more and that I was one of his most talented students. I was only taking the class to fulfill the language requirement! I really can’t remember his name, and he was one of the most inspiring teachers I’ve ever had. Probably because I didn’t feel inspired until years later.

Am I a good writer now? Technically, no. I’m sure there are grammatical errors and apostrophes in the wrong place. But I’m learning. I sorta just write how I think. And when I think, I think the word “sorta”. I really don’t know what an adverb is, either. If any of my former English teachers are dead, they’re rolling over in their graves.

So where does that bring me now? Obviously, I can’t just say, “Hey, look at me! I’m a writer! Hire me and pay me!” I have to fall back on the experiences I’ve had since leaving college almost 10 years ago. Television. Broadcasting. Media. Sure, I’ve picked up some freelance writing gigs, and I have some things in the pipeline that could prove to be lucrative sometime in the future, but they’re not going to get the rent paid this month. I have to be able to balance this brain-hurting hobby of mine with a vigorous and realistic job search. So if you know of any jobs out there, let me know – because I’ll apply to them. And if I get hired, I’ll give it my all and do great work. When I get home and it’s my personal downtime, I’m going to finish writing this book.

This is Day 58, folks. Feeling inspired. Need an outlet that pays.

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