Tag Archives: Career

Setting Priorities: Balancing Writing Dreams with Reality

Aspiring novelists dream about being published and financially sustaining themselves with their writing.  But how do we achieve this with the family, financial, and other demands in our lives?

I thought about this after a particularly busy week, where there was a lot of dancing, job searching, etc., but not a lot of writing.

There were also major changes in my friends’ lives, which triggered serious reflection on my part. Many are fulfilling their dreams of becoming parents, joining amazing companies, or leading their businesses. It’s incredibly inspiring – it made me stop and think about my own goals as a writer and in life generally.

My dream is to spend the rest of my life doing what I love. I love to write and dance. I want to be a novelist. I want to teach belly dance. At some point, I want to be self-sufficient and have my own business, which may or may not be related to either.

But here’s the reality: I have a lot of educational debt. I want to start a family. I want to stay in/near NYC. How do I make it happen?

I jotted down some ideas on how I can possibly make my dreams a reality. Hopefully these ideas can help you, too:

  • Write every day, no matter how busy I am. I was up at 5am the other day, and I watched the birth of a new day from my window. Writing at this time would be a great way to start the day!
  • Cut back on the extras. I don’t want to cut back too much on dancing since this is also a life goal. But rehearsing 5x a week for 2-3 hours at a time is definitely too much. After tonight’s performance, I plan to go back to my regular schedule (2 classes a week and rehearsal).
  • Limit the social networking. Yes, that means cut back on Twitter, Facebook and G-chat! And for me, that doesn’t mean simply being a passive participant. Going “invisible” isn’t enough. I just need to check my accounts once or twice a day tops and stay off the rest of the time.
  • Enter more writing competitions. I haven’t done many of these, but I think I should work on at least one short story at a time and submit it to competitions. I’ve started using the Poets & Writers reminder tool for grant and competition deadlines.
  • Find a job that doesn’t kill my soul. Despite my educational debt, I left my big law job because I didn’t love the (stressful) work or the long hours. The path didn’t lead to a life goal anyway. It has been difficult to find work in this economy, but hopefully contract legal work will give me the financial resources I need and the time to focus on my writing.

What are your goals as a writer? What do you do to make sure you achieve them? Share your tips in the comments.

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A New Phase in My Writing Experience

This year, I’m rediscovering writing.  Writing creatively, that is, and using writing to explore and understand the world around me.  Last week, I decided to stop pursuing jobs, and start pursuing a vocation.  I woke up on a Friday and instead of wanting to go to work, I wanted to write.  I wanted to sit down  at my desk at 6 am, coffee brewing, fingers on the keyboard, ready to go.  I didn’t want to go into any office or go to any meeting – I simply wanted to write.

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This Recession’s “New” Entry Level

A new person started working today at one of my jobs. A lovely, demure young woman, who was educated in NY and abroad. She has worked in various government organizations and non-profits, published in a scholarly journal and enjoys researching new developments in her practice area.

Yet, like me, she is also working for no pay. Unable to find a job after receiving her LLM, she is now interning at two organizations to gain experience that will hopefully, one day, get her a paid position.

There was an article on CNN today on how internships have become the new entry level jobs. The article mistakenly limits this new trend to those fresh out of college. Unfortunately, the internship has become the new entry level for many folks, including those with advanced degrees and career-changers. In this recession, where the employer has all the leverage, there are thousands of people willing to take non-paying jobs just to get a foot in the door, have some experience to put on their resumes, or simply have something to do besides sitting at home sulking about the lack of job opportunities. Continue reading


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