On Surfing

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It’s relaxing to watch people surf. And it’s interesting because it’s not like other sports. There’s no constant action, often no rules, and in many cases, no competition. They spend a lot of time sitting in the water, still, waiting for the next good wave to come. Life can be like that, too. You can’t control when the next good wave will come. But when it does, the ride is free.

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Follow Your Fear

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“Always do what you are afraid to do.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ah, poets. They give the best advice, don’t they? For the past few years of my life, I’ve found this to be the most important piece of wisdom I could ever follow. There’s so many things that we never do because we are afraid. But if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that years later, you look back and that thing you were so afraid of is a lot less big and scary in hindsight.

It’s like the shadows you used to be afraid of when you were alone in your room at night as a kid. In the moment, it’s terrifying. When you have some distance from it, you realize you had nothing to worry about.

Often, when I face a fear, when I do something that feels like it will make the world crumble around me, the results are, more often than not, unremarkable. In most cases, the sky doesn’t fall, my life isn’t ruined, and sometimes, nothing extremely bad or extremely good comes of it.

Nothing, except that I’m a little braver, bolder, stronger, and more myself than I was before. The thing about facing fears is that, no matter how many times you do it, there’s always something else to be afraid of. There’s always something else to face. When something scares me, it almost feels ridiculous at times. Because I can look back on my life and think, ‘I’ve been through this, I’ve overcome that, I’ve faced this other thing, and I’ve gotten through that.’

Somehow, it never gets any easier to face a fear. But every time you do it, it makes you better.

What are you afraid of? What is that thing? You know exactly the thing I’m talking about.

Go do it. You’ll be all the better for it.

I hate freelance writing, and you can, too.

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This is kind of a tongue in cheek post 🙂 I think everyone who enjoys writing has considered, at one time or another, the idea of trying to turn freelance writing into a career, or at least a side hustle. In this glorious information age, there are a lot of people out there sharing information about how, through the glorious power of freelancing, they were able to quit their 9-5 and be their own boss, working from anywhere while they sip Mojitos and sing along to the sweet sound of freedom.

There’s lots of advice for how one can get started in a freelance writing career. These tips often include: creating a website, starting a blog (wink wink), choosing a niche, cold pitching, the list goes on.

For a while I thought that enjoying writing meant that I should enjoy freelancing, too. But the truth is, it’s not the thing that fuels my soul. And the incredible amount of work you need to do to build, and maintain, a freelance writing career is just. not. worth it to me. A lot of people swear by freelance copywriting and writing for businesses, but honestly? I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I love wordsmithing as much as the next person, but hey, to each their own.

A lot of people want to work freelance, but have no idea how to get started. I also see many people in forums centered around this topic, who almost act kind of, um, superior and indignant when someone doesn’t want their services. It’s an honest living if you can get it, but I think internet gurus with popular blogs and YouTube channels make people think this job may be a bit more in demand than it really is.

The only thing I really know about this kind of work is that, if you want to succeed, there has to be a need (it rhymes, so it must be true 🙂 ) So, who needs freelance writers? Some of these clients include:

Magazines

Newspapers

Blogs and Media Websites

Advertising and other Creative Agencies

Businesses and Large Nonprofits

People tend to find these gigs by cold pitching or applying to freelance jobs on Craigslist or other job boards. The really successful people sometimes get clients coming to them through their website or blog if they’re popular enough, but it’s rare for a beginner to get work that way, based on what I’ve seen.

I written for magazines, websites, blogs, and a creative agency. I haven’t built a six figure business after developing a niche in six months (this does seem to be the magic number for most gurus), but I’ve done enough different kinds of freelance work to know it’s not what I want, at least not right now. I’m at a place in my life where working for one company full time is the ideal. That may just be my personality, anyway.

I’ve also made more money selling my poetry books than I have from writing for other people. Go figure! Some people may be content earning the big bucks writing case studies, grant proposals, and ad copy. And seriously, all power to them. But I realize that I like writing, but it doesn’t mean I have to want ANY career that involves words 😉

Maybe someone can relate to this post. Or maybe it’s just me lol. I just feel like a lot of people out there are trying to freelance full time. And I see so many people getting discouraged when the advice from the gurus doesn’t work for them. You don’t have to work freelance just because everyone else across the interwebs is doing it.

My career so far has been a lot of trial and error. I’ve tried things. Some worked, some didn’t. Some things stuck, some didn’t. It’s all a process. What works for someone else may not work for you. Someone may think your approach couldn’t possibly work, but you might prove them wrong.

Do whatever works for you. Follow your arrow. And if you’ve been thinking, researching, and wondering if you should start a freelance writing career, know that you absolutely can go for it.

You just might hate it as much as I do 🙂

Black Hair Magic

[This story is taken from a book I’m self-publishing called ‘Impossible Things.’ The genre is magical realism. Thanks for reading! Full book coming soon. ❤ ]

A short story

By: Ashley Tiara Lilly

Black Hair Magic

It was a hot summer day but the air conditioning was cool. Abigail sat on her bed, flipping through a copy of her favorite magazine while eating from a pack of peach-flavored mints. She was wearing a new pair of denim shorts with her favorite white top that was decorated with lace.

She paused when she saw a picture of her favorite popstar, Daphne Moon, and circled it with a blue pen. Daphne wore red lipstick, a golden, glittery dress, and her smile was bright. What really stood out, though, was her hair, slicked back but still showing off her beautiful curls. Abigail snapped a picture with her smart phone and sent it to her best friend, Jayla, typing,

“Ugh she’s so perfect. Why can’t my hair look like that????”

There was a knock on the door and her mother walked in, carrying a brown box. She shook the box to get her attention, its contents rattling inside. As soon as Abigail heard it, she knew exactly what it was. She hopped out of bed and took the box in her hands, holding it to her chest like a long lost treasure.

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Like this story? Read the rest of it here 🙂