A writing path of 10,000 hours begins with the first step

blogger-writerMy writing path began with the first word that I jotted down in a shiny new Five Year Diary, the treasured Christmas present of a young girl learning English. And like the journey of a thousand miles described by Lao-tzu, this expedition begins again, and again, with each new step.

In 2008, I resolved to write, but it wasn’t until two years later that I took the first concrete step to do something with my writing besides filling journals. As 2010 rolled around, I resolved to get published and signed up for Christina Katz’ Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff class.

Malcolm Gladwell tells us that we must put in 10,000 hours to master any endeavor, but as much as you may improve as a writer through sheer perseverance, at some point focus is necessary to achieve results.

It wasn’t until I worked through Christina Katz’ Discover Your Specialty & Launch Your Platform, that I learned how to focus my creative energies into one niche – my writer’s platform. In doing so, I discovered that by concentrating on one specialty, I could achieve a level of mastery that would be recognized and rewarded.

Today, I’m thrilled to be the founding editor of a top-ranked family travel blog, a travel writer at Being Latino Online Magazine, and a published freelance journalist.

For me, it was the combination of online education and real world networking that resulted in my first taste of publishing success. Here are the online writing classes and real world conferences that have helped me get to the next step.

Online Writing Classes

Conferences and Workshops

  • Bloggy Boot CampBlogging and Social Media Conferences for Women
  • Type A ParentOnline hub for digital moms and dads.
  • BlogHerThousands of women from around the world come to discuss, inspire and connect with each other.
  • TBEXTravel Blog Exchange.
  • BlogWorld – Industry wide conference, trade show, and media event for all new media.
  • Social Media One Night StandAn Advanced Workshop for Journalists, Bloggers & Media Professionals at Columbia University’s School of Journalism.

Upcoming New Conferences

  • ASJA – American Society of Journalists and Authors, the professional association of independent nonfiction writers.
  • SATW Editor’s Council – Society of American Travel Writers.

Questions? I’m leading a discussion on how to find a niche in The SITS Girls Discussion Forum. We’ll take it step by step, as I show you how to leverage a niche platform into a freelance writing career. Join us!

A Blogging Farewell

Hey Sis,

My days as the teen columnist at Kids Fun Plaza have come to an end. It was a good run while it lasted. The magazine gave me my first publishing credit, even as it gave me a chance to experiment with article formats.

But it wasn’t a good fit for me. I found it difficult to keep up with the demands of writing weekly blog posts on top of my own blogs, but even more challenging was the focus on writing about parenting teens.

As you know, I realized earlier this year that my children’s stories have ceased to be my story. I can’t freely write about my personal experience with teens, and in any case, I would prefer to stick to writing about family travel.

So that’s it, I resigned from the Kids Fun Plaza publications, but here, in case you missed them, are my posts on the Kids Fun Plaza blog:

 

Con Cariño,

Sandra

From SAHM to WAHM: Opening a Bank Account

I took a step forward yesterday. A small, but significant, step toward advancing my freelance writing career.

Late in the afternoon, I finally did something I have been planning to do since August. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but it’s one of those important items on my bucket list that somehow always gets set aside for more urgent matters.

On my way back from yet another mommy chauffeur trip, I stopped at the credit union and opened a bank account. No big deal, you might say, but it was a big deal to me.

I haven’t had a personal bank account in at least fifteen years. Early on, possibly before we were even married, my husband and I pooled our money into a joint account. But I was in charge of the finances until a couple of years ago. Dealing jointly with our finances has been a bumpy ride, but I never regretted having a joint account. Not even when I handed over the financial responsibilities to my husband a couple of years back.

And yet, when I met with a service manager to open my new account, it was a little scary and even a little embarrassing. Here I am, a strong advocate for girl empowerment, and I didn’t even have my own bank account. Never mind what we would find when they pulled up my credit report, or worse yet, what they wouldn’t find.

I guess it was those subconscious fears that had me procrastinating what was truly an easy matter. All I needed was $1 and a driver’s license to open up a savings account at SEFCU. The whole process took about thirty minutes. Easy peasy.

Even better, I deposited my first freelance writing checks. And I don’t mind admitting that there is a HUGE satisfaction in seeing that bank balance. I earned it myself, doing something I love to do.

How awesome is that?