Monday, January 31, 2011

Something Old, Something New and Setting Goals

Over the years this blog has had a lot of faces. At first it was about my life selling tickets for a non-profit arts presenter in Santa Barbara. One cat, one boyfriend, one apartment.

Then I got my first corporate job as a very technical Technical Writer. Instances and objects, oh my! We added a cat. I got LASIK, had a play produced. Was laid off. Moved to Seattle.

Lived on the water. Got another Tech Writer job, worked downtown. Started my photography business and worked a bunch of festivals. Got married, changed my name, changed employers, became a Product Manager, bought a house. Fold in assorted vacations, cooking, exercise, finance... aaaand blend.

You get me.

So now the blog changes tack again. I quit my corporate job in December, which means today is the last day of my first month without a net. Bening, Funicello, or otherwise... How did I do? Where am I going?

I give myself a C. I could have done better. Including what I wrote at the end of December, I completed two short stories and a short play. I submitted the play and a story and already received a rejection for the story.

What next for Writing:
Submit the two stories!!! Write more! Now be specific. Write two more short stories. Or a one-act. Submit them. Go through the Dramatists' Sourcebook and record deadlines in your Google calendar. The goal this month is to get published, get writing credits. Consider writing morning pages everyday. It's a pain in the ass but you'll clear out the mental clutter.

I give myself an A. I really pushed myself this month. I expanded my equipment, I worked an awesome event that generated billable work and I filed my 2010 business taxes. I also sold a few pictures from my site and gave permission for the speaker to post a few on his site. You did good, Christy.

What next for Photography:
Keep the momentum going! Add 50 photos from your Europe trip to your stock photography site. Post photos to your photoblog. Consider applying to another festival.

Healthier Living:
I get a B. Keeping that sticker calendar succeeded in motivating me. Except for last week, I tracked my points most of the month and worked out 3-5 times per week. I'm down a couple of pants sizes and am able to run 25-30 minutes without stopping. Sweet! (I don't get an A because of slacking last week.)

What next for Healthier Living:
Cook at least one WW recipe per week, preferably new. Continue exercising at least 4 times per week. Consider signing up for an event, like the St. Patrick's Day Dash. Track points 75% of the time.

All in all, not such a bad month. February, here I come.


GreenDragon said...

You know Christy, the more I learn about you the more envious I am of your life. I would love to just let go of work and be able to stay at home and work on writing or the various craft projects I would love to do. Even when you were working though, the stuff you did sounds so much better than the bullshit I have to put up with.

How did you get into Technical Writing? And why did you get out of it?


Christy said...

To be fair Mikey, as Bukowski once said, "Hey baby, when I write, I'm the hero of my own shit," so I usually only share the non-bullshit stuff. :)

The easiest answer to how I got into Tech Writing is networking. (I spent the entire first year in total anxiety that I'd be found out as a fraud.) Networking -- had a friend who wanted a referral bonus -- got me the interview. Examples of work I'd done in my spare time got me the job. Ask me to show you the Seattle Travel Guide I put together for fun sometime.

Okay, I also worked in desktop support for a few years so I had the technical background they were looking for and I was confident in my writing skills. Plus I was lucky.

By the way, Bellevue Community College has a great Tech Writing program. You can take classes at night if you wanted to learn more about it.

If I were trying to get into it now, I would take a general beginning class and generate a project I could share with a potential employer. I would also volunteer for every opportunity at my current job to write newsletters or marketing or quick reference sheets. Focus on building a portfolio.

I got out of it for two reasons. One, I was a little bored. (It didn't scare me anymore.) Two, I was offered a huge promotion. The only catch was I'd have no training and I've have all the responsibility for the product with none of the authority. Good times.

There's a book that talks about the concept of the other 8 hours. No matter what you do for a living, you have all these extra hours in a day you shouldn't take for granted. It means you might have to give up some TV watching or sleep, but it's so neat to have created something and be working towards a bigger goal. If you're open to it, I'd also suggest reading "Your Money or Your Life." It had a huge influence on how I approach my time.