“You’re not good enough” That’s what I heard the minute I started reading an email from one of my editors. The email was a response to my latest article.
The truth of the matter is this: the email never once strung together the phrase that I heard, but I’ve become so accustomed to letting these words ring through my head, that my discombobulated translator read an email of edits and changes to an article and spat out the other side this simple phrase that can be oh so damaging to any creator.
Yes, I want to get better. Yes, I love having someone to help me refine my writing. Double yes, feedback is essential to improving. So, why is it that I can’t seem to find a healthy response to critique of my writing.
Not once in that email did my editor call into question my ability to write well. Not once did they tell me, “Well, that’s it, we’re done.” Not once did they criticize my character. But, I took the words deep. My heart sunk. Anger started to churn in the pit of my stomach. I was ready to fire back an email carefully crafted to hit them hard with criticism and make them feel small just like I did.
But, did my feelings of smallness really have anything to do with them? Or was that just a result of the aforementioned discombobulated translator in my head?
Here’s what I think really happened (cue the rewind sound in the movie of my mind). I wrote an article assigned to me and had some great moments, but as is often the case, the first draft wasn’t the best I could do. I sent this first draft to my editor. My editor looked at the article and hacked and pushed and moved and flourished (as is their job), and sent all their feedback to me. Instead of receiving this feedback and criticism as helpful and beneficial to my work, I chose to take it personally.
All of these things are part of the writing process. EXCEPT one little thing. My decision to take the feedback personally is not a necessary (or beneficial) step to writing well.
Knowing how to receive feedback and criticism is key to growth. In writing (and every facet of life) this is true. Knowing how to receive feedback is a skill. It’s a skill that I’m still learning.
I must learn how to reject the stubborn heart and jerk reactions inside of me. I need to learn how to hear criticism of my writing and not take it as an attack on my character. I must learn to accept that my first draft usually isn’t a refined masterpiece.
How do I learn this? To be honest, I’m not sure of a five-step plan, but I know that today, I will go back to my editor’s email, look at their comments with an open mind, and carefully create a second draft that is cleaner and better and more refined than the first one.
For today, that’s a big step, and it’s enough. Maybe tomorrow I’ll work on that five-step plan...
I try to go for a walk everyday. Sometimes it’s just around the block. Sometimes I go a few miles. Usually I go by myself, but some days my husband will come or a friend will join. Walking has this magical power to get me thinking. It’s the best kind of thinking, too. It’s the kind of thinking where the thoughts come freely and the ideas seem clearer and the magic inside my head (sometimes also called imagination) runs free.
I seem to forget more and more each day how to use my imagination and engage freely with ideas. The critic inside of me shoots down my whimsical big ideas and dreams almost instantly with what if’s, and’s, and but’s.
When I was a bit younger, I swore I wouldn’t let that happen. I promised myself that I wouldn’t let the darkness of the world overcome the light and the dreams and the magic in my head. I committed to myself that I wouldn’t become jaded like all of the adults I saw who seemed to forget that there was still fun and goodness and hope in the world, despite the darkness it also contains.
Somehow though, I’m slowly, unintentionally breaking that promise I made. One day I’m letting the stress of a broken down car or an overspent budget overcome me. The next day, I’m noticing that I can’t remember the last time I really dreamed.
Do I even know how to dream anymore? Is my imagination still buried inside of me? Because, I can’t remember the last time I used it. I wonder if it’s sitting on a shelf somewhere, covered in a thick layer of dust, underneath some old thoughts and dreams, in the back room of my mind where I inadvertently locked my inner child.
The truth is, I’m not exactly sure how I got here. How I became the young woman who forgot how to dream or how to belly laugh on the regular or let my ideas be ideas without dissecting them or tearing apart their likelihood of easily coming true.
I’ve always been a champion of inner joy. I’ve always called myself a wanderer and a dreamer and an adventurer, but in these early days of adulthood and responsibility, I am already losing those things. How do I go back? How do I find the girl who wrote her college application essay on the importance of everyday magic? How do I find that back room in my head where my inner child is locked and open the door for her before she suffocates?
Maybe the key lies in those daily walks. Maybe, just maybe, moving my feet and looking outside of myself helps that little dreamer find some freedom. Maybe the sun and the rain and the flowers and the trees remind me that there are forces out there bigger than me. Maybe all these things teach me that it’s okay to let go and free my mind to imagination because I will never be in control of everything.
The spring flowers teach me that beauty comes when I least expect it. The summer sun gives me hope and renews my joy. The fall colors tell me that change doesn’t have to be scary. The winter darkness reminds me to seek out goodness in short days. My mind finds a special inspiration through a simple little walk.
So I will keep walking to remember how to dream.
Copywriter, content writer, wordsmith, messaging expert. There are a lot of terms floating around used to describe a person who writes words for businesses. A lot of people aren’t quite sure what a copywriter really does. So today, I’m going to talk a bit about what I do.
A copywriter is not a person who helps get copyrights. That requires a completely different skillset. (Boy am I glad I don’t have to navigate that minefield.) A copywriter is not necessarily the same thing as a freelance writer. Copywriters are not journalists or news reporters.
So, what exactly does a copywriter do? A copywriter crafts words for advertising or publicity. Copywriters are experts at understanding how to use words to communicate the unique message of your business and draw in your customer.
Copywriters can craft words for all kinds of different mediums. Think of anything with words that you use for your business. There are a lot of places we need writing in our businesses. Websites. Social Media. Emails. Blogs. Flyers. Video scripts. White papers. You name it. If it has words and you use it for your business, a copywriter can help with that.
A lot of people might read that description and think to themselves, “hey, I’m a pretty OK writer and I don’t really think I need a copywriter.” You may be right and there are a lot of copywriting tips and tricks you can learn online. But, I want to share a few reasons your small business could use a professional copywriter.
A copywriter knows how to write to draw people in
Writing copy for your business is different than writing an essay on To Kill a Mockingbird. There are certain tactics and writing styles that will communicate with your audience well and attract new audience members. Often, this type of writing doesn’t line up with the grammar rules you learned in grade school.
A copywriter will know how to communicate your message using modern tactics and is trained in understanding how your audience consumes the written form.
Sure, you could figure that out on your own, but why not get it done quicker with someone who has the experience to complete the task efficiently the first time?
You don’t have time
Speaking of efficiency, every small business knows that time is not a never-ending resource. There are so many things we can try to figure out on our own and do ourselves, but the copy on your website or social media or your Facebook page or business flyer is the first impression a potential customer has of you. You need that content to be the best it can be so that you can build your customer base efficiently.
You may be able to write copy for these things, but a copywriter will know how to do it in the best way and they will be able to get it done in time that is not your own. I think we could all use a little extra expertise on something that is one of the first touch points with your company.
You want a more universal brand voice
Do you feel like your Facebook page sounds different than your “about me” page on your website and they both sound different than your monthly blog posting? Your business needs consistent brand messaging. It communicates reliability to your audience.
A copywriter can help you develop and establish your brand messaging guidelines. These guidelines will ensure that your brand messaging has a consistent tone and voice across all platforms. That’s good business.
So, if you run a small business, you probably don’t need a copywriter for every little piece of copy you encounter. However, hiring a copywriter could be a useful investment for making sure your messaging and larger pieces of copy come across the way you want them to.
Are you interested in working with a copywriter to help your small business grow? Let’s chat.
When I ask my husband a question and he’s in the middle of something else, it (obviously) takes him a minute to answer. It often takes everything in me to not tear his attention away from the thing he’s already doing so that I can get the answer I want. RIGHT NOW.
Moral of the story: I am not a patient person. I like to have everything in order and know every answer and get the thing I want. right. this. moment.
I know. It’s an issue and I’m working on it. But, hey, I think we can all relate to being impatient every once and awhile.
Being a freelancer takes a lot of patience. (So, as a naturally impatient person who is also a freelance writer, you can see why I would need to work on my patience a bit.) Knowing how to be patient is an essential skill for every freelancer.
As a freelancer, you have to put yourself out there again and again and again. And then you have to do it again. You go to networking events, send out emails, apply to positions online, and then follow-up on leads. A lot of your leads don’t lead anywhere. You are constantly pitching yourself and your talents, and it can grate on your patience easily if you let it.
However, as a freelance worker, patience is necessary in order to do the work well. Patience is also a great trait for a freelancer if you don’t want to drive yourself crazy.
Now, as I explained, I am not naturally patient. So, I have had to learn how to be patient as a freelancer. It takes work, diligence, and focus. But, in order to enjoy the benefits of a freelance life, you have to put in the work.
Learning to be patient is essential work for any freelancer, but patience can easily sound like some wishy-washy, far-off mambo jambo when you are in the midst of a real day with concrete moments.
So, I wanted to share a few concrete, tangible methods I have found useful to help me learn to be a more patient freelancer:
Celebrate every victory.
Working as a freelancer can be discouraging. Especially if you work from home and don’t have frequent social interaction throughout your day. Celebrating even the small victories in your work helps you to remember that there are things to be excited about, even when we have lulls in our work.
Do a happy dance when you book a meeting with a potential client.
Get coffee with a friend to tell them about the new skill you learned.
I keep confetti poppers on hand for each new client I land.
Keep celebrating. The work we do as freelancers is fun. It can be hard, but it is exciting. Remember why you started your freelance work and keep celebrating that.
Keep track of all the things you do in a week. When we don’t have a concrete victory or completed project at the end of the week, it can feel like nothing got done.
If you keep track of all the things that you did in a day, a week, or a month, you can look back and see that your time wasn’t wasted. Things are getting done. Strategies are being formed. Conversations with clients are happening.
Keeping inventory of your week is especially helpful if you have the temptation to get distracted or get off track with non-essential tasks when you don’t have a lot of tangible projects to complete right now. If you are keeping track of your daily tasks and you have to write down “Spent 45 minutes aimlessly on Instagram” or “Organized my candle collection alphabetically,” you might feel a bit more drive to complete tasks that you will be proud to write down.
Always be ready.
If you are anything like me, being patient can wear out your can-do attitude. When you have waited weeks to hear back from a client, it can be easy to give up.
But, as freelancers, we must always be ready. You never know when an old contact will reach out again or a potential client will finally get back to you about your proposal.
Don’t give up, and always be ready to do the work, even when the wait seems long.
Know when your work is valuable.
In the midst of being patient is when we have to keep at the tasks that don’t always seem valuable. Keep your website updated. Manage your social media. Continue your learning of new methods and tactics for your work. Maintain and grow your network.
We tend to only value these things when they lead to results. That’s the wrong attitude. In each of these things, there is value, even if we don’t see immediate results.
Remember to always value the work you put in and the lessons you can learn from it.
I will be the first to tell you that being patient is not my favorite part of freelancing. But, friend, I am learning to be patient, and that is a valuable skill both professionally and personally.
I hope these tactics are helpful tools that lead you to be a more patient freelancer.
Do you have any other tips and tricks for fostering patience as a freelancer? Leave me a comment.
If you are anything like me, you probably go through phases of reading. There are times when you are on. a. roll. Ready to conquer the world with your reading skills and crossing titles off your reading list every other day. Then, there are times when you barely read a page in a month.
It’s in these lulls that I often find myself questioning my true “reader-ness.” Can I really call myself a reader? Do I truly like to read or am I just a fake? It can be easy to feel defeated when you have lost your reading mojo, but I am here to tell you that it’s okay to have lulls. And, when you are ready to climb out of your non-reading hole there are many ways to find a new title that will help you fall in love with words all over again. After all, the true secret to loving reading is reading books you love.
Yet, I sometimes find myself at a loss for finding a new book I care to dedicate time to. What’s a girl to do when her heart wants to read, but she simply can’t find a compelling book? How do we find good books to get us back to reading more? Here’s a few secrets to finding your new best book friend:
I know it can feel impossible to step out of a reading slump when you are in the thick of it, but I know you can do it. Don’t be afraid to try new books and explore new genres. You may just discover your new favorite read. And while you’re at it, go easy on yourself. If you only read a chapter in a week, you read more than nothing. Don’t be afraid to set aside a book that isn’t jiving with you.
Take a deep breath. Smell those crisp pages. You got this.
Raise your hand if you work from home or work remotely. I know there are a lot of you out there. And, I bet you know that working from home is great. But, working from home can prove to be just as much a curse as it is a blessing. I imagine a lot of you reading this are nodding your heads right along with me.
Why can working from home be so difficult? The ugly truth is that it can be hard to motivate yourself. As a fellow work-from-homer, I know this struggle all too well. You try to get up early and go get ‘em, but with freedom and many distractions, sometimes your motivation gets pummeled to the ground like a fallen bull rider.
But, there’s one thing that really pushes me to get ‘er done: routine. As an independent worker, building a strong routine is essential to being productive and crushing your to-do list. Here’s some of the routine components that have really pushed me to work well at home:
These are just a few practices I have found helpful in my work-from-home journey. What are your routine non-negotiables? Let me know in the comments.
Happy Friday!! I’m so glad you’re here!
Today, I am starting something new. One of my favorite things to do is tell my friends all about the lovely things I’m consuming right now. My favorite book. The podcast episode I can’t stop thinking about. My favorite new pair of shoes. The resource that changed the way I work. Whatever it may be, I get so excited about sharing the things I’ve discovered.
So, every Friday, join me as I gather my five favorite things this week. I’m calling it Friday Five. Sometimes it will be a completely random list and sometimes I will work with a theme (think favorite podcasts, best hikes in the PNW, best small business resources, etc.)
Here’s my Friday Five for this week:
I hope you have a great weekend of rest, wonder and exploration! See you next week for Friday Five!
Well, hey there!
Come on in, pull up a chair and grab your coziest blanket.
In this first post, I just want to tell you a bit about my dream for this blog and what I will be writing about.
Welcome to my blog, a place to explore whimsy, adventure, and creativity.
I want you to step inside and feel like you are walking into the cozy home of your good friend.
You are welcome here.
I hope that this blog can be an eclectic community crafted for dreamers, doers, and explorers. I have long dreamed of starting a blog and cultivating a community where we can all reach across the internet and just say “Hello Friend!”
This isn’t my first blogging rodeo. Deep in the depths of internet-land somewhere you can probably find my very first blog called “Unclothing.” I started this blog to document my yearlong journey of not buying clothes and seeking to build a sustainable wardrobe. At the time, I thought my blog title was so clever and scandalous. Now, I’m not so sure. :) (Isn’t it funny how our perspectives change?)
I’ve also ghostwritten and guest-written for many blogs. I am a freelance copywriter by trade. So, I’m not exactly new to the writing world, but I want this blog to be something different. I desire a writing outlet I can call my own.
I want to create something beautiful and whimsical and genuine and curious and eclectic. I feel the need for a place to breathe and think and dream. Right now, the best place for that feels like this blog.
I know what you’re thinking, “Ok, cool, cool, Emma, that all sounds so nice and dreamy and all, but what are you gonna write about? Like, actually?”
Great question. My completely honest answer is I’m not exactly sure. My ambiguous answer is that I’ll be writing about all the things that inspire me, the things I’m experiencing and the stories I think matter. I will be documenting my creative journey and sharing some of my favorite things with you.
If that sounds good to you, then I invite you to come along and be my friend. Let’s go on an adventure together and see what we discover.
I will be posting weekly and I hope you will take a seat and join me because, golly gee, I am so excited to have you!
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Want to know more about me? Check out my bio. :)
Hi, I'm Emma!
A Maryland girl who moved to Washington state seeking adventure, I adore writing and delight in sharing my favorite things. I celebrate whimsy and you can find me doing a happy dance when something really strikes my fancy.