As part of my journey as a writer, I wanted to Ken-Saunders.com as a journal to capture some of the challenges as a relatively new professional writer that I experience. As some of you may know I got a contract at the beginning of December to write a number of articles, 243 to be exact on a variety of travel destinations. Each piece is between 400-600 words and like any good article has SEO keywords to make the internet search engines happy, which in turn makes the wheels of commerce happy, which is how everyone gets paid. So I have been plugging along on these articles, most are small to even smaller places you’d likely never think, Oh gee honey lets visit XYZ. Somehow I have to make these places seem exciting and desirable, which at first I kept thinking to myself, “yeah right,” but as I research the majority of them turn out to be cozy, fun and sometimes even delightfully wacky places. I’ve caught myself more than a few times thinking I really would visit some of them. Surprisingly, or maybe not Florida has some of the most interesting little towns, islands. When I first started writing things were moving at what felt like a glacial pace. I’ve created a system for myself now and am finding new “writers routines” to help me get into a writing groove more quickly. After a lot of reading on some of the writer’s boards as well as the almost always fantastic articles up on Medium.com, I’ve come to learn that every writer has there rituals. For me, I need to straighten the house before I can start writing. Its a little odd, but it works for me. Take Mr. Fancypants out for a walk also gets me into that space quickly. It also fuels creative ideas for possible future articles. If you work in a Creative space, as a writer, Freelancer, Artist, Poet ( I don’t think I have any friends that make a living from poetry, it would be cool though), what is it you do to get into the headspace you need to be in to create?
So I started writing the articles, slowly at first and then things began to pick up. I started to get a little stressed about deadlines as I’m not as far long as I’d like to be, but I tell you what helped was creating a writing template for each of the articles, almost like the old fill in the blanks game, Mad Libs. It’s proven itself to be very useful. My template has all of the necessary requirements my editor for this project is looking for. It makes it easier and somehow has freed me up to be creative to go outside of the lines of the template. The other thing is that for some of these very small locations, I’m no longer stressing about meeting the minimum number of words per article as I already have them with the template, so anything additional is all gravy or icing (as you prefer).
There were a couple of other things slowing down the pace at which I was producing each of the travel pieces. the Holidays being the big one. It’s always a chaotic time of year, with parties, socializing, shopping and errands its a wonder anything gets done. My birthday almost always puts me in far too introspective a headspace, which is not good for my creative self. This year there were all of the changes that I made to how I generate an income for myself. While I’m proud of all that I’ve accomplished in such a short space of time, I’m still figuring out a lot and learning a lot for some of my newer projects. I’d say besides the writing the most interesting thing I’m now doing to earn a living, is I work part-time remotely scouring news articles that have value for those people in the Municipal Bond world. I help tag them properly for a variety of newsletter that goes out daily. Trust me this is a new language and it has been a full emersion experience. I’m loving it and been told I’m pretty good at it. It is I imagine like someone speaking a new language, at first there is a bit of uncertainty not knowing if you’re sounding like a native speaker or someone using google translate.
So now that the holidays are over, my birthday is passed (AARP baby!), and I’m over a touch of the holiday cold that made its way to everyone, even those of us that work from home. Things have picked up and I’m generating each piece at the nice clip of about twenty minutes from start to finish. By my calculations, it will only take another twenty-eight plus more hours to be done completely with this project. Not bad not bad at all.