What I have been up to in October. And wrapping it up.

* Seeking employment in the Galveston/Houston area in the art and design field.
* Researching and being up to date on resumes/cover letters. Job searching in the current day.
*Utilizing tools such as Themuse.com and Linkedin, Inc. and other business publications.
*Writing a series for http://www.akingofsinglelady.wordpress.com on job searching in my early
thirties.
*Through these above efforts I have had offers from out of state. And Picked up three freelancing article series to write.
*Preparing for NaNoWriMo to begin November first, sketching out the characters being my biggest challenge. Furthering my education and research on novel writing.
*Continious building of my writers platform in various forms and avenues such as media in twitter/facebook/instagram and blog.
*Writing and submitting for my first grant submission through DiverseWorks and The Idea Fund with a November 3rd deadline.
*Writing a series of freelance online articles for insurance, real estate and hospitality.
*Began the outline for my 2016 writers business plan.
*Networking.

Not to mention several photography and small writing projects.

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The Job-Hunt Part III.

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I am opening this third part on my The Job-Hunt Series with the question of “Where do I even begin?” (and how much do Ramen noodles cost these days?)

When we first need to go job hunting we may find ourselves in a position to scramble and take the first job we get offered. Or to take the ” until I find something better” job. But here is a little on doing other than that and finding the right job for you…and you for it.

Craiglist used to be the easy step for any job hunter…or when looking for an apartment, boat, bike or ball. However these days I have found that craiglist is so filled with spam and fake post’s it is a ridiculous waste of time. You may even rent a house from a fraud that belongs to someone else! A lot of trouble. And now you are wasting time applying for jobs that don’t exist at all. And we get upset at the monitoring of facebook but it’s such monitoring that craiglist desperately needs. I miss the craiglist of a decade ago.
So…having spent some wasted time on the site I quickly moved on.

Of course there is always the stop at the local newspapers….which takes very little time and on my very little Island has…nothing for me. After a daily five seconds I have another eight hours of job hunting to fill and so…

Linkedin and I became close companions. I learned more (and am still) of the in’s and out’s and how Linkedin works…and thanks much to The Muse, how Linkedin works for me.

I have realized that in my writing alone, much less my job hunting, I can use Linkedin for many area’s of my platform and keep things updated in the future. The benefits and the connections. So my Freelance work can grow aside from my job-hunt. Plus reading some really amazing post’s and articles…in a different way than hunting down each individual website or scrolling through my Facebook feed.

So far through Linkedin I have not yet found The Job but I have picked up a few different freelance writing jobs. I have found some amazing companies and information on companies that I admire. I have basically found a new stalking method (not to be used for ex boyfriends, ladies. That’s a no-no in the get a life category).

I have begun being much more pro-active in my job hunt from some different angles. There may not be a job posting that fits me currently but I am learning of WHERE I want to work at all. What companies that I may wantto work with to begin with. The who, what, why, when, and where. Location and what they do and that they are what I am looking for…reaching out to them before I need to wait for them to post jobs reaching out for me if they are not currently hiring, or currently hiring for a position for my fit. I am smoothing my resume’s and my cover letters (posting on Linkedin basically my long all-together version, sending my detailed for the exact job or company version, allowing a company to look me up for their own stalking, thus creating a two-way relationship).

I am one who does not wish to work for a company I can’t or don’t have pride in working for. Or interest. I may work for a design company….not as a designer but as administrative or management support, but it will still be something that fills my heart to be a part of, keeps me interested and feeds my soul…as well as my bank account.
I may work for an artistic non-profit but more in the line of what I feel my interest and skills will both lie.
I may work for a publishing company that I can feel the possibility of growth or at least learning experience in. My admin and management skills and support can go in many directions for many types of companies…but I am taking control of what types rather than applying for a blind ad on craiglist with no ability to check into the company itself because it’s not named. Going fully into a blind date should you be called in for an interview.

You will interview me and judge on if you find me a fit for YOU….I wish to find that you may be a fit for me also. And there is much to do on both ends before the interview itself. You get my resume and can google a few things. I can research your company online. And then if those steps are right for both of us…the interview is the next step. So why not be a fit for each other? Again, a two way happy and fulfilled relationship. I will spend more time with you than any other love of my life so we may as well have a good first date (research) second date (interview) and then an ever-lasting relationship, or a happy and fulfilled for as long as it’s meant to be for either of us until perhaps we grow apart at some time, can ensue.

I don’t prefer a management job to just anything that pays well and might be in the right location. I want a well rounded relationship. There are some compromises I will take as in any relationship there is bending and shaping (not lacking though. Not compromise in the negative sense.) So if I find three ad’s for the same type of job up and they all state a name and I am able to research the companies, I will choose what I feel is a fit for me as much as where I am also a fit. The same as you will interview several applicant’s and choose the best fit for you. I am a believer that the job-hunter deserves as much choice in where to work as the job-offerer.
So finding the benefits of actually using Linkedin rather than thinking of it as a “throw your last few jobs up and call it a day” has been fantastic.

Now another fantastic location I have found that really does a lot of footwork for you, teaches you to grow in many ways and brings many amazing companies in a beautiful layout to the table,this one brings the A-Game to the first date, is TheMuse.com

They really have a site that I suggest to any job hunter….but do not be fooled into just being a location to learn the How-To’s of a good cover letter or resume,which they fail to fall short anywhere in that category, they also bring the perfect way to find some great companies that may or may not be hiring at the moment but which you might follow and submit to anyway. They are some that surely deserve some stalking that I’ve seen and some that I did not even know existed but are worth knowing about.

First the website lay out is simply super easy to navigate. One of my pet peeves in life is a website that I waste time finding anything to read without having even accomplished any reading. I also find the companies very easily and really I do utilize Facebook here because they consistently post amazing helpful articles. Even if they post ten a day I don’t feel it a waste to read all ten. They post good stuff. They aren’t boring and I always find something new to read, not the same over and over even though you would think that there is only so much to read about a resume, but not the case at all. So if you are a job hunter add The Muse to your facebook and read every post they put up, comment even and interact. Read the comments and learn learn learn. Go to their easy and clean but full website and look up their companies section and follow…stalk…don’t be shy…and if you see the right fit for you….ask them out on a date because reaching out to a company doesn’t hurt as much as sitting back and waiting can.

Also in this day and age watch for some work that you can do for a company from your own home despite their location. Don’t limit yourself and your abilities. If you have the skills and they have the right type of features that attract you to them…go for the dive off the cliff and see what happens…it doesn’t hurt.

My two top suggestions are to be super active with Linkedin.com and Themuse.com but I would also pad your reading on companies, the industry in which you are interested, and world news. You may not be a Mac user but a company you go to work for may be so utilize your down time to brush up on skills, learn new ones, expand on the ones you have and be pro-active in the job hunt. Adding to your resume on linkedin as you go. I really like keeping abreast of Inc. Magazine and Entrepreneur and Fast Co to name a few. If a company you like has a blog keep up with that too and if they post articles on Linkedin, read them. Fill those job-hunting 9-5 hours just like a job itself. It will pay off in the end.

Or you know…you could shoot a fast reply to those craiglist postings and sit on the couch eating chips and watching day-time tv until someone contacts you back among hundreds of emails they received.

The Job Hunt. #2. The Hunt Continues.

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Following up on my first The Job Hunt post I am using a fun article I found at The Muse. I love The Muse. I read it daily and try and learn something new each day from it. I think it’s a great resource that should be used in highschools and college’s before we send the baby ducks out into real life. This particular Question’s article is done by a writer who I have found is real fun to follow on twitter, constantly posting some really good to read information.

During job interviews we go through the process and it’s not always about our resume. There are questions for a stranger to get to know us. Watch how we react and have time spent with us, facial features and mannerism’s all play a part of these interviews. This is why first date’s are compared to job interviews. But rather than “What’s your favorite color? and “Do you want children?” we are asked to tell examples of past job experience. This will show the interviewer how we think on our feet, handle situations and communicate among more. So I went ahead and added my A to her Q from The Muse below for this post. Though you aren’t getting my mannerisms (extremely nervous on the inside, cool as a cucumber on the out but I rarely look you in the eye and my voice is a pitch higher than usual, crossing and re-crossing my leg’s…everything wrong and bad in an interview) you can get an idea of my journey of The Job Hunt.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/30-behavioral-interview-questions-you-should-be-ready-to-answer?utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=5617847804d3014a57000001&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=facebook
Most Common Behavioral Interview Questions – The Muse
30 Behavioral Interview Questions You Should Be Ready to Answer

Questions from The Muse by By Lily Zhang
Answer’s by Peggy J. Davenport

Teamwork

For questions like these, you want a story that illustrates your ability to work with others under challenging circumstances. Think team conflict, difficult project constraints, or clashing personalities.

Q. Talk about a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours.
A. There are moments when Working in the restaurant industry has taught a person a lot and you to to work with a lot of personalities different from your own. Not even all that you like or get along with! But the job also takes a LOT of team work. you have to pull your end, even when mad that someone else isn’t. Sometimes even more than your end. At times I was also a Team Leader/Closer for the day and this had me suddenly having to delegate and be sure tasks were accomplished. Not everyone always liked suddenly going from teammate to being told what to do, nor were they always in a mood to do any of the work they had to and would often try and get away without doing it so the learning to get along and also get the job done with clashing personalities happened often. Really the best way I worked around this was to learn what each was good at and assign them to that task…not worry so much in a non-manager role to build them into something they were not. There were several people and this wasn’t hard to find a task for each tat worked for them. At time’s though it didn’t always work that way and I myself would take the hardest task, giving my team mate a break with an easier one so they knew that if they worked for me, I worked for them. There were time’s when I would be harder on them too. I once told a man during a different tact of being fed up with a lack of team work among the employee’s, ” I am not assigning a specific task. We are grown up’s. See it needs doing and do it.” That night all who pulled their weight through the day went home and those who played lazy stayed and picked up the closing work. The next time everyone pitched in more during to get the job done faster and go home sooner.

Q. Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
A. There was a time when, as spoken of above, that I was a closer, but working alongside my team members to get the job finished as well and quickly as possible after many of us had been there for a sixteen hour day. One of the freshest team members simply refused to do the job, not only refused but started yelling and being quite obscene. I simply and calmly went to my overhead manager, explained the situation and told her “you can sign him out but I am not going to.” I do believe that there is a time of “passing the bill” when you are not a manager to begin with and can’t make a person do something they won’t as well as the point of being yelled at. It wasn’t my place to hire, fire and manage but I did have to work with this guy daily and at times it’s ok to let the manager manage. He apologized the next day and picked up his end again. I replied with “I am sure you were just having a bad day and we all do but let’s try and work together to make each day a little better as best we can. I will do my part. And lord knows I have my cranky day’s” and we moved on to work together just fine afterward. I didn’t try and get him fired. I didn’t complain but basically I removed myself from the conflict rather than entering into it.

Q. Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important. How did you eventually overcome that?
A. I had moved from CA and was told that I was over qualified for every job I applied to and had been paid more than what they could offer. I expected less since TX vs CA and explained but the fear of me wanting more often had me left with no job offer. I kept hitting a lot of dead end’s and became quite frustrated. I walked into a shop for pet food to check it out for my own weimaraner puppy. I loved the place so much that I asked to work there. The owner was who I was able to speak to and they told me I would have to start on the floor as a non-manager position and just above minimum wage pay. That as fine with me. I told them quality over quantity was important to me. They gave me a chance even though the job was nothing like my resume and completely left field for me (starting) and two months later I was store manager and two more months I was regional manager. The struggle wasn’t the worst to be honest because the owners were amazing and the job was so much fun. Otherwise I haven’t had too much trouble building relationships…working on personal boyfriend ones perhaps but that would be it. And that in itself is a job.

Q.We all make mistakes we wish we could take back. Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
A. I got super frustrated with how the restaurant I worked was being run and that many of the other employee’s got away with pure laziness, I went to discuss a particular problem with my manager one day and due to his lack of interest and the employee’s lack of working we ended up not ready to open and I did everything myself. The manager then came out and yelled at me for not being ready and I lost my temper and gave my two weeks notice then and there. Professionally, but I did let the problem get to me rather than trying to be the solution. We later talked it out and I did not leave.

Q.Tell me about a time you needed to get information from someone who wasn’t very responsive. What did you do?
A. Oh haha. In the job searching or after finishing a job, trying to get a written letter of recommendation is difficult. It’s just hard to get people to take the time to do so even if in contract. I of course always start with the simple asking and the reminder but now I find that offering to take them to lunch, my treat, and that then is when they can also have the letter to give me usually works pretty well and also is a sure way to end any past employment relationships on continued good terms.

Client-Facing Skill’s

If the role you’re interviewing for works with clients, definitely be ready for one of these. Find an example of a time where you successfully represented your company or team and delivered exceptional customer service.

Q. Describe a time when it was especially important to make a good impression on a client. How did you go about doing so?
A. I have had to work hard to learn quick and short first impressions since I started modeling at age 15 (and did so for nine years). To be honest as much flak as modeling gets, you have to go on go-see’s which are about 3 minute interviews about 20 times a day meeting with photographers, stylists and designers. Contrary to popular belief it is FAR from just about looks. But involves how the model carries herself, confidence, how she moves and holds herself, sits, what she does with her hands, is she natural or stiff and a big part is personality and simply catching their attention and leaving a memory. You are only one of about a hundred they will see that day so you must make a great and memorable first impression that has them calling your agent and booking you for the job. I took that early lesson with me through all aspects of life ever since.

Q. Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectation. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
A. Once when working with BGI the owner seemed disappointed with the amount of clientel walking in. I explained that his expectation’s where from cities with a huge millions amount of people to cause a naturally larger amount of easy walk in. And he had chosen to open his business (before my opinion came onto the scene) in Galveston, population under 50,000. However we were close to Houston, Webster and Clear lake areas and also received a lot of summer and weekend traffic and must utilize that fact by really reaching out specifically for those locations that people interested in board games might learn of us and using online avenues to become part of that community so that when they could there was a physical visit. We ended up having a summer full of people from other states coming for our event’s through this.

Q. Tell me about a time when you made sure a customer was pleased with your service.
A. Working with the pet nutrition business we had return customers, they were the name of our game even. But when a pet had digestive problems or allergy and skin problems and you went through a six week cycle of food change you kept up with the changes, sometimes getting worse before they got better as they do with us humans, keeping a customer on track with the program and also working with their vet even as needed was an important part of the job and making needed adjustments along the way. However after all was said and done and the results were in seeing the happy customer and a healthy pet was always exactly what made you do this job. We had a good regular clientel, about 5,000 per location and we grew to six locations during my time with the company. I spoke face to face with each and every regular customer.

Q. Describe a time when you had to interact with a difficult client. What was the situation, and how did you handle it?
A. A good example would be working at the shipping location. Once a customer came in with some clay items and clay doesn’t ship well. I simply refuse it because the best packing with certain clays doesn’t guarantee that it doesn’t get smashed under another several heavy boxes and kicked around on freight and delivery by the carriers. We always pack with that in mind but with clay vases they are just bound to break regardless. I can send fine china safely to England intact but Clay vases across state is bound to break. One day this woman insisted after my explanation and refusal. I told her we could not insure the items. I told her how they would be packed and that still I would place money on them breaking. She insisted to the point of yelling and outrage. So I packed the items in front of her, taking digital photos at each step as was an insurance procedure I took and went ahead with her signing a document that I refused insurance and had recommended not sending them and no refunds, etc. Of course they broke. What was funny is it turned out the husband smashed them and not the carrier though. But not yet knowing that, she called in an outrage insisting I pay her back the shipping, packing and the cost of the items. I wrote my report and sent them to the carrier she called to report me to as well. They sided with me stating that I had actually far more followed every precaution than what was required and that they had good standing with me in the past because of my standards. She wrote a bad online review, leaving out the fine print of course, and the carrier actually wrote their side to back our company up, something they do not take the time to do nor need to. I always do my best to give my best and I felt terrible for the woman and I even felt responsible but I knew I had done the right thing. A refund also just wasn’t something the company was willing to do since we had gone through explanation and refusal in the first place. In time she emailed an apology to me and the company.

Q. When you’re working with a large number of customers, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. How do you go about prioritizing your customers’ needs?
A. The restaurant in a summer time weekend day on a tourist island really helps on this one. I had never worked in a restaurant when I was younger so doing some sumemr work on the island it turned out to be a job that brought really great learning experiance. Typically we hold three tables at a time and you also have your station to keep filled, stocked and cleaned and for us in a super large two story restaurant we had to go down stairs to carry up our food…to our station for non-alcohol drinks and to the bar for alcohol drinks. Many far steps. The biggest key was timing our tables. We treated them like one…spin and check spin and check spin and check sort of deal. But also communication was key, fill an iced tea and see that you need another pitcher for someone elses water but food is ready so an easy “Sir, I am going to go get your food and then bring the water pitcher to refill you as well” was a simple way of letting him know that you would be away for just a minute but had not forgotten him either (at this time water would not be completely empty yet but close as well) . Working for your tip your customer service and your time meant money.

Ability to Adapt

Times of turmoil are finally good for something! Think of a recent work crisis you successfully navigated. Even if your navigation didn’t feel successful at the time, find a lesson or silver lining you took from the situation.

Q. Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. What was going on, and how did you get through it?
A. Oh well…a good time would be planning a wedding completely by yourself and working 6:am to 11:pm manager job without a day off in ten months time. Not one. This was a time when tempers could rise but…I didn’t want to fight with my fiancee and take it out on him of course but naturally it’s what humans can do. I didn’t want to lose my temper at work and get snappy with my bosses when they “asked one more thing” so I really just turned to my habit of lists and learned the big lesson of delegation. I delegated to my assistant managers to delegate tasks to the staff. I also used the moment to let each manager have a chance to shine in moving up to the next step. I had a meeting, told them this was my plan as we soon had a job position opening up and wanted to hire within. I delegated to each tasks and I of course watched how each handled in time. On the private life side in wedding planning I finally asked for help (another life lesson) of friends, family and my fiancee and was surprised at how much people wanted to help when I asked (one of my weaknesses that I from then on worked on overcoming). I was able to get the job done and not lose my cool or drop the ball on either end but also utilize the time to “let go” and let others be able to step up. Later this provided me with more time that the owners needed and wanted of me for more travel in my work.

Q. Describe a time when your team or company was undergoing some change. How did that impact you, and how did you adapt?
A. There was a company I worked for, Total Call International. We were located in a high rise building and had rented out an entire new floor to hold our growth. We had it build and finished in the way we wanted it and so forth. Up until move day on the old floor we had to run the business without a hitch at all….as well as pack and ready for the move. On move day we also could not stop and yet had to move. Even with moving men much was done ourselves…especially our small office area items. I held my most couldn’t drop the ball job on the old floor on phone lines as the phone lines on the new floor got hooked up but on the same lines of phones. As soon as I had the go ahead I ran to the other floor (well I elevatored) and picked the phones right back up not missing a beat (more than what a restroom break would have been). I then had to over see the office being put into place and the employee’s as well and being sure everyone got back to task immediately and as smoothly as possible. I had to trouble shoot and be sure everyone had what they needed or report to our IT department of any issues that arose. It was fast paced, high pressured and a fun experience .

Q. Tell me about the first job you’ve ever had. What did you do to learn the ropes?
A. Well my first adult job I found myself nineteen and had just moved to California from Texas and I had been homeschooled with a super high SAT score and IQ but…this being time before computers were even in schools and we didn’t have a computer at home, I didn’t even know how to do much more than turn one on. Much less know the basics of microsoft or spreadsheet. I needed a job and saw a sign training for real estate agents so…I went in. I overheard them needing a weekend receptionist and when the lady finished her phone call I signed up for the classes but also mentioned that I heard they needed a weekend receptionist. I told her immediately that I didn’t have computer skills but was a quick learner. She brought me around…showed me a few things and asked me to do a few tasks and then hired me. I ended up taking a class as well as learning on the job and within two months there wasn’t any task in the office that couldn’t be asked of me. I have since (fifteen years now) taken classes and utilized the internet to learn a great more about computers and it seems very odd to say that I was once that ignorant about them.

Q. Give me an example of a time when you had to think on your feet in order to delicately extricate yourself from a difficult or awkward situation.
A. During a robbing! I walked into the Down Town Los Angeles Bank of America to deposit my paycheck during my lunch break and you walk through this first huge foyer and then into the second. It wasn’t until halfway through the second, where the bank tellers were, that I realized in front of me were five masked armed gun men. They all had their backs to me and I slipped off my heels and turned and ran out all the way to the front door without a second of hesitation. As I ran out the squad car’s all drove up and surrounded as well so I was able to tell them how many gun men were in there as well as about how many citizen’s. A very scary moment but had I paniced and caught their attention instead of reacted as I did not only could I have been stuck in there but also would not have been able to help the officers in the information I was able to provide.

Q. Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with this situation?
A. Fail is a word and an action that I hate. Strongly hate. I am a go-getter and I learn what I need to and more because I like to. In my own personal life I will have to say that there have been situations in jobs where maybe an idea didn’t work out but none big enough to speak of and all easily redirected into something that did. So the best I can use is a personal situation. My divorce. I still, five years later, feel like a failure. Nobody can change my mind on that. And I do know that I did everything I could. You simply cannot control someone elses action’s and mental state. However in leaving and not allowing myself to be in such a bad marriage with such an unfixable problem I still feel that in that action alone, I did not fail. I must ad that failure didn’t make me a victim and I won’t allow myself to be. It’s funny because you have so much training in a job; outside training, school your entire childhood, college and extra classes in different subject’s and a boss or a customer to tell you when you are doing it wrong. But in a marriage, your biggest place to use all of these life skill’s that these question’s ask, not much of it at all. And books, articles of it online and marriage counceling (can’t make him go) were simply not enough.

Time Management Skills

In other words, get ready to talk about a time you juggled multiple responsibilities, organized it all (perfectly), and completed everything before the deadline.

A. Tell me about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities.
Q. At one time when working for NP I was running three stores, all under two years old, when we chose that year to open two more stores. Not only did I have to not neglect my first three but also keep them raising in sales and meeting demands (our ordering and inventory was very hard to keep up with in a tiny store but with big consumer demand and something we had to keep on top of as we quickly grew in demand, not to mention tracking inventory and damge, etc). Not only did I have to balance that with opening two more stores but also learning the actual dynamics of the new locations and ordering and inventory, employee hiring, training and moving from about fifteen employee’s to forty in the company. This took a lot of interesting strategic studying and steps as well as a few trial and errors.

Q. Describe a long-term project that you managed. How did you keep everything moving along in a timely manner?
A. Again I will use NP as I worked there for a good term and through a lot of changes that give great examples of growth and change. The owners and I set an annual weekend away meeting. I had to build my own facts and forecast, plans and give a presentation of detail, new idea’s and innovation for constant growth and new openings. This helped refresh and plan in hand. I also felt a huge part of the team rather than just being told what the owners plan was and do it sort of thing.

Q. Sometimes it’s just not possible to get everything on your to-do list done. Tell me about a time your responsibilities got a little overwhelming. What did you do?
A. Again as I said before, delegation. This was one of my own hardest things to learn and something I had bosses tell me again and again…delegate delegate delegate. It took awhile for me to get it and some trial and error as well as learning with it not to come off too bossy. Learning what to let go to someone else which grow’s them in the company and learning that doing so gave myself room to grow as well. A big lesson from a past boss.

Q. Tell me about a time you set a goal for yourself. How did you go about ensuring that you would meet your objective?
A. Again, the annual meetings of NP had me setting goals (I am a natural goal setter and list maker) but implementing achieving them would be another story. In my first annual meeting my boss asked me to learn more of doing so during the next year and to ad that information to my next meeting, meaning to ad more of the HOW in. One particular thing that I ended up implementing was a manager/owner quarterly meeting aside from our annual. Not the big presentation and weekend away event but a much smaller and focus on a more particular area each time moment. I could bring a topic to the table “this is where I am having the most difficulty right now” maybe it was motivating employee’s or scheduling more events, the more discussion-like meeting rather than presentation’s brought a different dynamic to the table. I was also more up to date on where I stood with my annual goals set by having to really face them quarterly. Another step we ended up taking was bringing in the assistant managers to two other meetings a year and doing them together among the stores as well as separately. This also built them up, showed them there was someone behind me to get the job done that I asked of them and they were able to give ideas and insight as well, what made me feel more part of the team now was passed onto including them…even places I could improve personally.

Q. Give me an example of a time you managed numerous responsibilities. How did you handle that?
A. I feel that I may get a little redundant in my answers so I want to try and use another example. At the packing store during the holiday season, as you can imagine, was very hectic. We had only two computers and I was one year able to hire two more employee’s other than myself. One of the employee’s was much too slow for the computers and thus backed up lines, the other fantastic and could get people through quickly. All of us were great at the packing end of things and I myself was great at the computers. So with a line out the door I put our two fastest on the computers, formed two lines while the third set the items aside with labels to be packed and directed the lines as well as directed the pre-labeled drop off’s to get extra bodies out of waiting and signed for deliveries, sorted and put mail away as well as logged and marked and put away other packages for other clients and packed when he had time and so forth. Then there was always a lull in the day for a short time and we all three would pack them all at once to catch up, the afternoon would be the same with an end of the day lull to pack again. At times we could pack some items as we went. Delegating who was good at what in the most efficient way got us through the season rather than trying to keep pushing a part time seasonal employee to do what he wasn’t best at. We ended up with our best year that year for the entire history of the company and all got big unexpected surprise bonuses.

Communication Skills

You probably won’t have any trouble thinking of a story for communication questions, since it’s not only part of most jobs; it’s part of everyday life. However, the thing to remember here is to also talk about your thought process or preparation.

Q. Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
A. When working for NP and having multiple store location’s, we did not have in store assistant managers and I visited all the stores each day. The cost of creating position’s for an assistant store manager (we hired within) was a lot to ask for my owners but through good detailed planning, presentation and what we could accomplish in doing so got through to them on the subject and we quickly hired the new positions. One detail I remember bringing to the table as I was due for it, was forging a raise and a bonus that year to help the cost of the position’s. We ended up making more money having much more hand’s on responsaibility in each location for our ordering and delivering, less waste and inventory loss and happier customer’s. I was able to do a lot more for the company and it’s growth with the time and we more than over shot our expectations by double. The next year I recieved not only double the bonus and the raise since the plan worked, but triple because it worked that well.

Q. Describe a time when you were the resident technical expert. What did you do to make sure everyone was able to understand you?
A. Well, when teaching customer’s about pet nutrition you aren’t just giving them hype about your product, we carried the products that matched our training and beliefs which was what we were built on. But a lot of training and time went into us….however you lose your customer’s attention in two minutes and you don’t want to come off as a used car sales man so finding a way to actually bring your knowledge to the customer was a very fun and important time in my life. A good learning experience. I utilized a quick and easy verbiage without sounding too technical. I showed them an item or two for their specific pet that we carried that gave them a visual of what I was talking about and I utilized a computer on a tv screen system we had in each store called our “learning center” where we could quickly bring up easy to read material that they could go home and look further into themselves if they chose but in two or three minutes had enough information that made easy sense to convince a new customer to try a new product. We also had a physical hand out and a free sample so once they got home we were still on their mind. Not speaking technical but giving easy facts and visual was the way to get through. A couple of key-point’s I learned in this was to relax in my speaking manner, approach easily and slow down my speaking. I am a tall and can be a bit brusk in my manner so learning to work with those rather than let them work against me was a big part of learning to work directly with people.

Q. Tell me about a time when you had to rely on written communication to get your ideas across to your team.
A. At one time I began holding weekly meetings for my team, each store location at a time (each store had so much it’s own personality and customer dynamic due to it’s location that working with each indiviidually for their own set of goal’s and what else became very important). I would write out and give each a folder of the meeting. The topics and delegated tasks, goals and instruction for each that I wished to see accomplished. I would always leave a section for their own note’s. This would be turned in after being filled. It was a different way than just talking in a meeting and gave them something to keep referring to between meetings as well as note their own insight.

Q. Give me an example of a time when you had to explain something fairly complex to a frustrated client. How did you handle this delicate situation?
A. Oh…with shipping there is customs to deal with…and each country has it’s own . Also some are sadly pretty crooked. This is outside of the carrier. The carrier takes it there and picks it up from there but the customs has to evaluate it and that is like a broken link in our chain. Unfortunately things can be unpacked and not properly re-packed for inspection, and very unfortunately in some countries things got stolen. This was why insurance really helped but trying to explain this process to the customer was very difficult. Procedure and how systems worked. We took many precaution’s and time for explanation on our end, insurance and perfect packing ad clear outside instruction’s should customs have some heart or not open at all. We also were sure to be very clear on our paper work so that it often had less chance of customs opening to inspect. A lot of little things like that.

Q. Tell me about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it was a hit.
A. Well in the past with NP I gave several presentations. Afterword most if not all of my ideas were implemented and by the next meeting I was able to show about a 98% success rate.

Motivation and Values

A lot of seemingly random questions are actually attempts to learn more about what motivates you. Your response would ideally address this directly even if the question wasn’t explicit about it.

Q. Tell me about your proudest professional accomplishment.
A. Really I put this into myself and my writing. I had written and published for years as a hobby, it wasn’t until after my divorce and I went back to school that my professor explained to me in answering “I am not sure what I should do with the rest of my life with all these changes” with ” you are doing it already.” (at the time of divorce I had stopped working for a big company and began working for my own Small Footstep’s, Big Impression’s project and my then-husbands own business.)
So I began writing in earnest, around day jobs but with a career in mind. Even going back to school for it. I learned more and more about writing and publishing and what it takes. And now I am finally on the path of building a platform and really getting out there in the way that I want. Really I set my business skill’s to my writing and made writing a business rather than just a hobby. Business plan’s , research, further learning and all the How-To.

Q. Describe a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it.
A. I am a big problem solver. I have been told “Peggy, you don’t have problems, you have solutions” I carry that quote with me for sure. In work I will use the examples of ; in one job, seeing a big leak of cost as well as lack of profit from a client held from previous owners, yet in this company for ten years. The system they had set up cost them $20,000 a year, and should have made a profit over that of $20,000 a year or so as well. I found the leak of the old system and wrote out changes and submitted to my boss. He at first said “but what if we lose them as customers?” I explained they weren’t losing a client they where losing money and clients should make money not cost money, they had just kept doing what the old owners had set up and ten years had really cost money. So they allowed me to submit my changes to them, the client called and yelled and said they would find someone else. I was actually ok with that though confidant that they would not. And a week later they didn’t and came back accepting my changes. I cut the loss so the next two years we didn’t have the $20,000 loss but also in those two years we made way more profit than expected and had a $50,000 each year clean profit! Nearly catching us up with ten year’s of loss! This later got me bonuses but at the time was very much not a part of my job and I could have ignored it and just let it go not caring either.

Q. Tell me about a time when you worked under close supervision or extremely loose supervision. How did you handle that?
A. Close supervision would be Mark Deitch & Assoc. It was a real over the shoulder hovering company. I think at the time it was good for me because it was the beginning of social media and I do feel that I, at such a young age, might have gotten sucked into wasting time all day rather than doing my job. So I am grateful for that.
Real loose supervision would be pretty much every other job past that other than MorningStar Entertainment. I do likely better with a looser. It gives me a freedom to think for myself but I know when to stop and ask questions as well. I likely would say I do best with a medium. Enough check in but not a total unaccountable for. Though with my writing I have learned to hold myself very accountable. Very new experiance and I have to turn down friend’s lunch time and doing what I feel like at all time’s and set my “working hour’s” time pretty strictly. I am a natural To Do lister. A list for each of my list’s. But I also am determined to cross off those list’s and get the job done. Thankfully I have really learned a lot from my past working experiance.

Q. Give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
A. I will use my own writing as an example. As a writer I would love to sit and dream and focus on my story and close out the outside world. but I can’t. There is the day job and life itself to tend with. But I also learned a valuable lesson in being an artist. Building a platform, self promotion and constant how-to learning is a large part of writing and creating so becoming disciplined in all of those things was and is still a real awesome experience. The learning to make the moments of creativity and also to make the moments as well is difficult and exciting both. Putting in the hard work that comes from it all is very exciting. Getting there and seeing the end and doing the tedious parts are very difficult. Another example I can use is a project I produced called StoryTeller. This was a group of musician’s and a writer that had began on their own between two of them and I built up one this fantastic stage-theatre show in particular. Working with different mucian’s in different location’s and pulling it all together was a real challenge but a lot of fun. Having a sold out show made it even better.

Q. Tell me about a time you were dissatisfied in your work. What could have been done to make it better?
A. I wish that I had not been anti-learning about the platform part of being a writer a long time ago and utilized extra time to do so…I feel that I lost three years that I really should and could have done so. Finally it was just an eye opening moment that it had to be done and I have moved forward since. I even love doing it now. I do feel that I would have been further along by years of work had I done so before. But the best I can do now is move forward. I have learned and now constantly take time out each week to learn how to be a writer and do more platform work . Life of a writer is far from staying in your pajama’s and drinking coffee all day while typing out cute stories. In fact, even if I stay and work at home that day I get in my “work clothe’s” and “sit at my desk.” Take on a very Go-To-Work mentallity.

Keep watch for my third post on The Job Hunt…coming soon.

Being A Writer.

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I am not a writer. I am a child who dreamt. I am a reader who grew up dreaming. I am an explorer and I love always learning. Seeing, experiencing, tasting, hearing the new.
I see a door not meant to go through or a wall in my path…I step over and around and listen to silent sound.
I began writing because I had trouble sleeping and a troubled home-life. I began dreaming myself to sleep…once the light was out and the book put down the story continued in my own head and now onto page words flow. But my imagination isn’t enough to feed my soul. I walk for miles and open my eye’s to sight and sound. I find love in destruction crumbing to the ground. The lost life a footstep once held. I see the sun glint off a broken piece of glass and the story in my heart sounds. I see the message spray painted on the wall and think “I needed just that today” I walk until I am sweaty and red with the sun and my feet are tired but my mind is filled with story found. And often….often the story is held in the breath of silent sound.
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#nanoprep #nanowrimo

NaNo Prep; Getting Closer. Shaping of the Character’s.

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Story’s for me are far different than articles as how I come to them. To build a story for me it just…comes. And I let it. The first time I wrote a novel was Mr. Jones and I was going through these times as a young woman, really coming into womanhood on my own and realizing I had formed. So the story of a young woman emerged along the lines of this…with the voice of eat pray love in the back of my mind. Which had gotten me through my divorce practically. At the same time I had this story forming with the gentleman I did secretarial work for in mind. He was artistic, elderly, alone and a bachelor and fascinated me. It was a friend who told me why don’t I combine the two stories and parallel them.

My NaNoWriMo project novel, Behind The White Gate’s formed on my summer of walking to a daily job that I hated, but I almost lived for those walks…my utmost time to get lost in thought. I daily passed this drive way with a white gate and each day a little story or scenario formed in my mind. Then…one formed and kept building, and before I knew it, that was my story, my next novel to write….and with NaNoWriMo coming up I chose to use NaNo as a platform to actually sit and write the story.

Plans don’t always go according but I am sticking with it, though around day jobs and whatnot. So the month of November won’t be a planned-for blissful saved up for month off of work to just write daily with a crockpot of good smelling food in the back ground but will be around a new job (hopefully) and time management…tired of looking at computer screens and staring for hours at a blank page rather.

During the summer I have let the idea and story form and form. I have asked questions of it and let the answers form in their own time. On my walks. Everyday.

I will question…how did she come to this house? Was she born there? Walked up to it? How did these relationships form? What is my first line?
And I let the answers form like grains of sand into pearls. I will be walking along with the lingering question floating softly in my mind and then suddenly…the answer just floats, like a whisper.

Not always. Sometimes I have to work for the next line or idea or way or meeting of a relationship in a story but this one so far has really fallen into place such as this. And I have yet to write down a word.

I suspect November 1st I will be yelling at my laptop ” God damn it fuck why did I think I could remember?!” as my mind goes suddenly spelling bee, SAT test taking day blank.

Before NaNoWriMo begins my thoughts rest in my characters. Each personality as this is the hugest part of the story.

So though I planned to long ago sit down and sketch these out I am, of course….not quite there yet. Procrastination is such an ugly word.

Today to get me motivated and do a little NaNo update I came to writing this instead (not procrastination…just a warm up. You shush your judgement) .

My characters. These are women of far different personalities and without going into detail, how I am coming to them is this so far.I am writing about women I know. Then I will take from each and form the character’s of the story.

As we often do, writers have more mother issues than father issues don’t we?
I started with my mother.
I wrote out her personality and things I loved…and hated about her. Even things I am made up of from her as well. Good and bad. Therapy much?
Moment’s of pure rage to moment’s of absolute best advice when I was nearing thirty and told that I was set in a life and not so much as working on it but having made it. I just didn’t see it myself. The disappointment I feel.

I moved onto my grandmother next and memories of her.
Especially her super distinct gravely voice and me laying under the piano bench as she played.

An aunt.
A woman who had all the same options a lot of us do every day and made so many right decisions when so many of us don’t always.

Each of my sisters.
The strength’s in them. The weaknesses. The hurt’s of our lives and the obstacles overcome.

Then influences and mentors of my life.
Especially one of a story of when her child was little and their car broke down she put him on her back to get out of the major California HWY and told him ” this is a game, let’s play a game.” taking his focus from fear. When I heard this story I felt ” this is a mother’s love and protection.”

Then even how I feel when watching the movie or reading the book eat pray love.
How she made a decision to leave a marriage that wans’t bad…he wasn’t cheating or beating her…but it wasn’t good either and she simply wasn’t happy. I love love love the moment they dance later and she makes up with him in her own hearts forgiveness of herself and her decisions. As a woman who left my husband this…hit close to home. The guilt we hold. The chip on our shoulder.
I sit and watch a movie and break out my notebook paying attention to the female characters. Breakfast at tiffany’s; I hate. I hate because she is basically a prostitute and a weak mindless gaggling of a woman. Why do people think this movie is cute? It is not. Saving Mr.Banks ( a movie which I watched at the theater twice and cried so hard during. I connected. So connected and it made me go back and read and watch Mary Poppins with a whole new eye and wow…just…wow. Amazing. I wrote of the movie. I wrote of the author. Characters.

There are many others.
And I still add to it.

I will sit in a coffeeshop and write of those I watch. The girl over there is insecure and uncomfortable feeling (not from my watching…just with life in general…I think), and that girl over there has more feelings for her bf than he does her…and she knows it. And that woman just walked in with an air of confidence I hope to bask in a little. That girl is artful and quirky and doesn’t give a damn, I kinda like her. There is the overly nice one I wish to hit when she speaks to me like I am in a preschool class.

And so forth.
There are moments of memory. Stories told. And there are the feeling’s of moment’s that I remember. How a reaction, action or word or song or whatever made me feel. I draw on all of these. What I think of the woman. What I felt about the woman.

Working. Building. Forming. Preparing.

Behind The White Gate’s ; in the works. NaNoWriMo 2015.

The Job Hunt Part 1.

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It is hard searching a job in today’s market….one for a writer. One for which I can love enjoy grow in and have passion for. One which will feed me mind body and soul. One which will not be a rut or a weight. This is hard.

There are the regular job issues to consider. Salary/pay. Does it make enough. Will it feed me. Will it pay my rent and bills and leave me enough left over for a occasional coffee?
Any benefits? What benefits are important to me right now?
What benefits can I live without…not just for awhile but for a good long while?
What hours and days does the job require and what hours and days and time to myself do I require?
Location?
How long can I hold out and make the ramen last before I have to take what I just simply have to take to get by, that something maybe not the greatest in any category at all other than enough to pay the rent and buy some bread at least?

There are things that I consider.
Contact’s and talking to people. Not to network on the job but to grow within my own life.
The people I will be surrounded by daily. The environment. Is it healthy mentally? Is it depressing or up beat? Are the people who have worked here for some time happy to come to work or miserable?
Is the job fulfilling in any way in the artistic realm? Well the above two questions are included on this but also there would be other writers, art’s, community, excitement, enthusiasm, inspiration and learning.
Will I learn anything new here? This is big for me…I like learning and expanding and if I am stuck not doing so then I won’t be happy. And un-happy for any employee means unproductive or not long lasting.

What am I looking for exactly?

Well, there is a list that some requirements that must be met, though not all…like the qualities required in dating someone. There are a few compromises easy to handle….i.e. he leaves the toilet seat up but is perfect in every other way. Can deal. But there are some that an not be compromised. Is he abusive in anyway or show signs that he might be? Well then…no need to apply.

The list, in no certain order, and of which some may be able to be flexible with include but are not only held to;

Location Houston or Galveston
Upbeat attitude of fellow co-workers as well as boss.
A boss who is empowering and good in leadership and not a bully or one who lacks interest.
Connection to people daily would be nice but not needed.
Being apprecciated for my work. I don’t need hear it…I just need to know when I am going in the right direction and not just the negative only. Also redirection when needed as well.
Artistic field of some sort. Because I am not only a writer but work in many forms of arts. The job does not have to have anything to do with writing. I love art as an observer as well in many shapes and forms, writing, music, paintings, sculpture, dance, theater and more that I would truly enjoy my job in any of the forms it may come in.
A company who cares about their foundation. This one is big for me…if I feel a company is about to topple under a weak foundation then I feel unsteady and begin looking elsewhere. Just like a relationship.
Which brings me to boredom. I would prefer a job that can keep me motivated and fresh. A job that brings something new and fresh to the table from time to time . At least a job that when I bring new and fresh to the table does not squash it with a ” yes we have worked on this same small project for the past five years but I don’t care about your idea’s for solutions.” An employer should encourage idea’s and take them into consideration and value an employee who can come to them with solutions, not problems, and not squash them down with a wave of their hand and a resting bitch face or deep sigh of un-interest. However I am also a naturally routine person so that part does not bother me and routine with freshness would make an excellent combination.

I will be asked, upon interview with anywhere, why do I want to work for them? And I hope to say something along the lines of “Your company seem’s one of enthusiasm and room to build…for the company as well as the staff. This will give me goals to look forward to and change from becoming stale. I see that your employee’s seem energetic and genuinely happy to be here…you yourself in fact give off this vibe. And that is important to me because I want to leave daily as renewed for work as when I went in. I don’t want to grumble about coming into a job but rather look forward to it. I feel that I can proudly introduce myself to people and tell them where I work and what I do here. This really gives a boost of job-esteem that a lot of people lack in their lives, thus making them miserable and unproductive workers as well as unproductive in their personal life due to burn out. I feel that this company can feed me in a lot more ways than just a pay-check . On the flip-side of what I feel you can do for me, I also feel that I can bring you that spoken-of enthusiasm in return and a freshness. The determination and dedication that you deserve to not only get the job done but get the job to where you want it to be. I feel that I can be a part of a strong foundation and hold my corner with my positive attitude. Team work, ability to be a self starter and a quick learner, be flexible in the changes of my job description as needed and that my skills and expertise from past experience that I bring will be strong for you. Not only do I wish to be proud of where I work, but I also wish for you to be proud of who works for you.”

Sound ok? Something along those lines is the passion I want to feel for a job. I always give any job my 100% no matter what it may be and giving my 100% in a company that can really utilize that will make us both stronger.

Interest’s that I have. Mid-Century furniture and architecture.Simply a love of the eye straight to my heart. There is an instant calmness and giddyness that I feel about it.
Writing about community and today’s economy and more. Public speaking and motivating people. Showing strong leadership and strong leadership means being a teammate. Music. Theater. Dance. Art of many kinds if not all. I am opinionated and to hear the words “everything is good art” will get an opinionated response out of me. I do not believe that art comes from just anybody with a hobby. It is education, research, dedication, drive, stamina, passion, love, a spark of talent and admitting and learning from mistakes that all above fans into a flame. This idea works in the work field as well, not everyone can come in with the smile and college degree and make due. It takes all of the above to fan the flame. Equestrian ( I grew up training and showing well through my adulthood). Reading. Everything from DWELL architectural magazine to Inc. business .magazine to memoirs and novels of all kind and more. Photography and constantly learning and shaping myself in health mind and body. Creating and admiring art, Art shows and more. You will often find me working in a coffeeshop every chance I get on my own work but I balance this with a run on the beach and conversations with friends. I love traveling and do often. I enjoy experiencing travel in different forms and to many locations, eating foods, walking through town’s and viewing architecture and seeing local art are my main points of travel. I love to cook.

I am sure the next question an interview may hold will be “What is you biggest weakness?” (Can’t tell that I have gone through this a time or two, huh?).
Well, for me, when starting out, it was computer knowledge. I went to school before computer’s became a part of our education. But I walked into a place and asked for the job, letting them know that I knew virtually nothing but was more than capable of quick learning. By the end of a month I had mastered microsoft word and spreadsheet , internet searching, data input and much more. From there I found that with the wide-world of internet self-educating constantly in the field of computer systems as well as new on-job experience over the years taught me what I needed to know and more to overcome this weakness.
Currently I am on a constant learning-path of balance and self-education. As an adult I have lost the ability of speaking other languages that I grew up with so I am currently learning French to start with, then I will learn Chinese or Japanese I believe as well as move onto Spanish. The super easy access to internet on my iphone makes this pretty easy and as a back ground noise to my writing I let language CD’s play and listen when I am walking or running. I utilize wait times with visual held in the palm of my hand in today’s technology.
I also am really open to feed back as a writer and this help’s in self-improvement by listening.

There is so much to learn in finding a job that in itself can be incredibly frustrating and defeating to one’s self esteem. I take it as a fun learning challenge.

I look forward to following up with this post with a fun Q&A posting from TheMuse.com .

The Spot Light .

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ETC Theatre did it again. In six years of attending every other performance or so there I have yet to be disappointed. And far from bored. This is NOT some dinky little theater owned and run by someone with a rag tag team high on dreams. This is an incredibly professional theatre that holds amazingly talented and well done stage performances. From set to actors to song and music, it always pleases me. I have seen some of the performances done by other’s and always ETC Theatreoutshines.

I had the pleasure of having tickets for my birthday to see The Glass Menagerie. With only four characters and a small square footage of stage these guy’s really did an amazing job. I applaud and applaud and applaud. I had the pleasure of taking a friend who had seen the play before and was a Tennessee Williams fan. He was left blown away impressed and is a hard nut to crack on such things. He complimented the actors for holding onto such long poses and not breaking character that was quite hard to hold for long stretches of time (so we feel would be hard to do) and their abundance of lines in long stretches (for stage).

There are only two performances left of The Glass Menagerie this Friday and Saturday before ETC rolls onto it’s next show. I suggest this is one that you don’t miss.
Two hour’s of entertainment away from a television and for the price of lunch with a tip in most cases here on the island. For a Friday and Saturday evening it will fill that space right after dinner and let you back out into the world just in time to go play and enjoy the night on the town. Thank you for the birthday ticket’s Kim Mytelka!

Only across from The Treemont Hotel in the Down Town area of Galveston Island.

Oh Hell, I am Thirty-Four.

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A recent conversation with an old friend left me with a new question. “What do you have planned for retirement?” His background is in sales, insurances and whatnot in the financial field and as friendships go…networking happens because we all have bills to pay and our work becomes much of a portion of our lives. But in all honesty after catching him up on over a decade of my life it wasn’t a bad question to ponder. I am a writer, working towards being a full time writer without a day job or with one in the field of the arts that likely doesn’t hold much promise for a retirement package . Right now I can barely think past today. I am in-between still much needed day jobs and I am struggling with not wanting to take a just pay the bills job but wanting something that will fulfill me. I am also working hard on that full time or even, just the keeping up, writers gig. Thinking about a month from now is just paying rent and getting my next project off the ground, much less thinking off thirty years from now…other than my dreams of writing and travels. That I think about plenty. But what about if I fall ill, with cancer or even too arthritic to type my stories? Or what about living far past my sixties? And the costs that I have seen come with being old…medicines not even for cancer or diabetes or blood pressures but just to wake you up everyday (One of the people I worked for was in this way…I had asked what all his pills where for and he stated “Just to live each day. It is just a part of being old. It’s what you have to look forward to.” Not any were for a disease. Even in decent health the older we are the more help along we need. Housing. Hadn’t thought of that. I dream of owning and having paid off my own home with all of my earnings from sales of novels…but…it is yet the reality and even then there are still insurances and taxes and utilities to pay. Even upkeep and maintenance and yard work. What if I need to hire help? To do my groceries and get around? What if I was ever to end up wheelchair-bound? I hope that my body never fails me in such a way after years of doing what I can to give it it’s best with no drinking or smoking, healthy diet and working out. But not too long ago I sat in a doctors waiting room and around me was the evidence of just how much a body can turn on you in older age. I know plenty decades older than me who can still dance me off the floor but it’s no guarantee how my own will handle…or…what of my mind? My great grandmother’s mind failed her in the end. My grandfather’s lent to cancer and my grandmother to osteoporosis and heart attacks.

I also plan on spending a ton of money on my travels and lord knows the cost these days of flying home with a case load of books. Money doesn’t grow on tree’s but I sure do know how to spend it on a book or a lovely meal or traveling the world. It will be done…I won’t scrape and save just to sit and wait for death one day.

So not a bad question at all to ponder as asked on my thirty-fourth birthday.

It’s like the DMV or the doctor’s appointments…we don’t want to have to deal with it but we do have to eventually. The question must be answered. Putting it off until it’s too late won’t help even in my world of procrastination.

So let the researching begin.

Step 1. “How to retire as a writer?” is going into google.
Let’s start there and we shall see where this question does end up taking me. However , for my fellow young writers out there. I will share my research path and findings in future postings.

Notebook Project 4.

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I work at home, in the library and at the coffeeshop most often. Creating and building, bent over my laptop. My fingers pounding away at my keys. Often I am told my typing sounds like rain. But at times and what people do not know is that the story really builds within my mind as I am walking…talking, living, breathing, in every step. As I pour my creamer into black coffee and watch it swirl I zone into thoughts so far away from you standing there next to me that I may be in another realm altogether. My story builds in my toes dipping into the waters edge where the water meets the sand. My soul becomes mended and the story forms like many grains of sand into that strong and beautiful pearl. My story is forming when I am walking and I don’t see you as you even wave and call hello….my thoughts are in deeper places just then. My story even builds as I wake from a dream that makes me question and wonder at the feelings I woke with. My story builds when I read a line in a book that sings to my heart. Or when I hear a song from a stranger that tells a story of my soul . And even when I see a color or image across a canvas that says simply ” hello”.

Note Book Project 3.

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The pages lined with words . I will read back over things that I wrote and think at times ” what was I…?” and others I think ” wow…that was pretty good” . Often when I get in a writing rut I fall back on memory , usually of a feeling of a memory or even a dream, and I write what I know. So I will write bits and pieces of my life. A story that stands out in memory. Often I zone out and meditate while writing these and don’t see the words until I am finished. And then I usually read them and think ” wow….I got that out of that?” As somehow and for some reason I always tend to write about a moment that I might remember as bad or just kind of insignificant or whatever but at the tail end of the piece or woven through it I always have some lesson learned from it or why I remember an insignificant memory at all and there is usually some “truth” to it in there for my life right then and there, and then I am amazed at myself and my life. I feel less…defeated by the blank walls of unsure-ness of life and of writing. I realize that I am able to put feeling deeply into my words and then I am ready to go on with writing and realize that I do belong on this path. It is there.