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I quit my job. Not all of them, but one of the major ones — my editing gig at StyleList. It’s a great site, but it’s gone in one direction, and I’m just not that flexible. Fortunately, at the same time that I quit StyleList, I was able to pick up an editing job with Holidash once again, where I’m working with one of my very favorite people in the whole world (Susan, stop blushing).

For many reasons, the last couple of months have been full of uncertainty and upheaval. Normally, my work life is very, very organized, and it’s felt a little out of control as of late (my own doing), but I’m getting it all back in order. I’m making my (voluntary) spreadsheets again, and putting things on my calendar (with proper reminders). I’m making To-Do lists and crossing items off (albeint, sometimes slowly). I’m waking up less in the middle of the night in a panic because, oh my god, did I do That Thing I was supposed to do this morning? Yes? No? Shit, maybe …

Yes, things are stressful, and life is sometimes haaard, but the problems I have are mainly problems that stem from good. I’m stressed about work because I care, and I like my job, and I want to do it well (and also because I spent a couple of days at the beach working and was bummed to be on my computer instead of on a towel in the sand). And, bottom line, I have a job. So, not gonna complain.

My house is messy, but I live in a house I love, and it’s messy because I live in it with a dog and a cat and a husband, and sometimes, we’d all rather snuggle than clean up. I can live with that.

My heart still hurts and my throat still closes up every time I think about Yuki (dammit, there we go again), but it’s only because I had a chance to know an amazing soul, and because I experienced the kind of bond some people dream about. And, as a really good friend recently told me, it’s because I have a big heart that it takes so long to heal. That’s not such a bad problem to have.

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On Saturday, I will have three months until turning 30. I’m ready to turn 30 in a lot of ways (and that’s a whole other post, which you’ll see soon), but there are things to do before then. I’m ready to get a move on it. I’m ready to actively work toward my goals. But right now, I’m ready to take a shower and go grocery shopping, because my fridge? Well, there’s not much in there that doesn’t have mold growing on it. Cleaning that out and filling it with food that’s edible seems like a good first step.

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I’ve started a new job as Assistant Editor at one of my (paying) blogs, and I’m super excited, which is obviously the reason I’m flailing my arms around so excitedly. Not because I’m just flailing. Nope.

I know what I’m doing (for the most part), and I’ve been here before — a new position is hard. It’s always hard, until you get in the swing of things. The stuff that’s taking up so much of my time right now will be easier next week, habit in three, and within a month or so, I’ll be able to do it in my sleep. I know this — I’ve done it a hundred times for a hundred different jobs/classes/teams/etc.

And I’m counting on it. But, it never, ever ceases to put my mind in the horrible “what if?” state. What if it doesn’t get easier? What if I’m a complete failure? What if I don’t do as good a job as everyone who’s done this before me?

I want to be great at this. And a big part of me thinks I will be — other people seem to think I will be, otherwise, why would they have hired me? But this whole having faith thing is, as I mentioned, hard. Anybody have any tips, other than drinking wine? Because that one, I’m familiar with.

There are times when I really love what I do. Honestly, most of the time, I’m totally thrilled, but there are times when I really can’t believe this is my career.

Anyway, since I’ve been a huge slacker at writing here, I thought I should try to prove to you that I actually have been doing things — I swear! So, over the last week or so, I’ve:

Do you see why I haven’t been around? Oh, and I cleaned my house like crazy, only to have it get all messed up again, thus reminding me why I don’t clean. Ugh.

holidash

I’ve mentioned once or twice a new site for which I’m writing and editing — Holidash.com. Well, I have exciting news — the site is now live! And I want you to come see me there!

Holidash is AOL’s holiday blog, so while it’s temporary, it’s completely AWESOME. Our posts are fresh, funny, and informative. You’ll have a good time. You’re welcome!

I know, I know, it’s been a while. Longer than I would like, and I’m sorry. But I’ve been working really, really hard. Like, the other day, I got a pair of fancy jeans in the mail that I had to try on to review.  And then today, I got some makeup, so I had to play around with that. You know, to make sure it all works.

(And holy cow, just wait until you read my review on the Lip Venom. Just. You. Wait.)

Okay, aside from all that hard work, I’ve been doing a little something else — AOL is launching a new (and temporary) holiday blog, called Holidash, and guess who is the copy and line editor! No, not Natalie Portman — ME!

Unfortunately, there’s no way for me to use a red pen (total bummer), but I still get to go through and make changes. I’ll be doing a little writing for the site, too, but not as much as I do at StyleList or That’s Fit. Anyway, I’ll be sure to tell you when it goes live (hint: sometime in November). It’s gonna be great — fun, snarky, informative, and seriously festive. We have some brilliant and really funny writers participating, and I can’t wait to share what they’ve done with you.

See who’s riding my coattails here. She’s a real bitch.

My friend Kyle (who also writes at StyleList and Tonic with me, along with several other places) recently wrote a post on how she started blogging for a living, and asked me to join in the discussion. And, to be honest, she was pretty much right on the money — there’s a lot of luck involved in getting started.

My story is pretty simple. My trainer, Fitz, wrote for AOL’s health and fitness blog, That’s Fit, and knowing I was a writer, kept bugging me to submit samples. I held off because, while I’m athletic and try to stay fit, I don’t have a degree in health or fitness, and at that point I didn’t have anything published, and I just didn’t see how they would want to hire me — what did I have to offer, you know?

Then, last fall, Fitz got an email about a new wedding blog at AOL, and it needed writers. She threatened to really beat me up at our next session if I didn’t submit samples, and since I have LOADS of experience with weddings (more on that another day), I was more than happy to oblige. I sent them in and was hired immediately. Like I said, luck.

From there, it was just a matter of letting those above me know that, should other writing opportunities come up, I was open to them, which is how I landed jobs at That’s Fit and StyleDash (which is now StyleList). My site lead at AisleDash, Susan, was involved in the startup of Chatterbox, so I got in there through her, and she also recruited me for BeautyHacks. And, my friend Cat, from StyleList, recommended me for Tonic.

I landed these jobs through contacts who are willing to help me out because they know I write well and consistantly meet deadlines. And, I’m always happy to step up when the occasion rises, often on a moment’s notice. Such is the glamorous life of a blogger.

Speaking of the glamor, let me break down a bit of what I do. I get up in the morning and start writing. Sometimes I start with ideas I formed in my own brain, but usually, I scour the Internet for hot ideas or products. Some days I work five or six hours, and sometimes it’s closer to 10. Some days I just can’t come up with much, so I walk away — I don’t want to burn myself out. But, that means the next day I have to kick it into gear, or else give up a day off.

The great thing is that I have immense flexibility in my schedule — I can have lunch with a friend or go on vacation when I want, no problem. However, I don’t get paid if I don’t work, and there’s no guarantee that the blogs I write for will be around forever (as I learned with Aisledash).

Some people expressed concern that I’d be alone, but I’m surprised at how not alone I feel. I’ve made some fantastic friends through work, and while they don’t live close enough to visit in person, we email and chat most days of the week. And, the beauty of that is, when I’m feeling antisocial, I can just wait to respond instead of closing my office door and starting a bunch of gossip. I like being alone a lot of the time (although I do find myself carrying on conversations with the dogs on occasion).

I love what I do. I don’t make a ton of money, but it’s better than what I’ve made at other jobs that caused me more stress and had far less flexibility (plus, they required the wearing of pants, to which I am somewhat morally opposed). I mean, I am a writer. Like, that’s my job, you know? It still blows my mind a little that I can say that. But I love my job because I love to write — if I didn’t, it would be incredibly difficult to get up and stare at my laptop every morning.

My best advice, if you want to start blogging for a living (or just as a side job) is to leave witty and well-written comments at the blogs you like. Find blogs you enjoy reading — they’ll be easier to write for — and submit samples with a short, smart cover letter to the editors, asking if they’re looking for contributers. Be friendly, remember names, and don’t be afraid to put something out there. Kyle has some other great suggestions in her post, but if you have any specific questions, leave a comment. I’ll do my best to help you out!

Okay, I’ve been back since Friday, and I know I’ve been avoiding you. And I’m sorry. I just have SO MUCH to say, and I don’t even know how to start. So I won’t.

In fact, I’m just going to shoot you on over to Polka Dot Bride, a blog I frequented daily while writing for AisleDash, and for which I have done a guest post on tuxedos. You might have already read it at AD, but Ms. Polka’s got a fabulous site, and I highly recommend you check her out.

I PROMISE I’ll be back with pictures and stories (ohmygod, cab drivers and subway crazies!!!). Soon!

I’m currently in New York, hopefully doing something unimaginably fabulous, but more likely drinking wine in the middle of the day and staring at dinosaur bones. Which, actually sounds kind of fabulous to me, and if you disagree, well, that’s really too bad.

Anyway, before I left, I got a chance to SHOP for WORK, and then WRITE about it! God my life is hard.

My post goes live at BeautyHacks today (Monday), and four other women will have done the same thing, with posts popping up throughout the week. Check it out. You get to see me in some really unflattering jeans, if that’s any incentive …

Also, I’ve started doing a twice-weekly feature at the StyleList blog (along with my girls Cat and Kyle) on really bad celebrity fashion. It’s called StyleFoul, and I think I’m having more fun than I should get to have doing something for which I’m being paid, and … well, I hope you like it, too. I’m up every Monday and Tuesday, and you won’t believe today’s. Good god.

Some exciting news comes by way of the style blog for which I write — we have a fabulous new and improved site! Instead of StyleDash, it will now be referred to as the StyleList blog. StyleList is the AOL’s style channel, so it’s a really big deal for us to become united. It has a whole new look, and I’d love for you to check it out. Leave me some love in the form of a comment, if you have the time!