This week I made the big leap in switching platforms for My Jamaican Vignettes. I am excited about this, my first official WordPress post. Over the past three months, writing these weekly narratives have become so ingrained in my mind and I have come to cherish the time to sit, reflect and craft these short pieces about my life, my work and my country. Jamaica as a whole, like myself is in transition mode. And it is simply an interesting time. While, the country settles in with new leaders, I am settling into wholly embracing doing the work I love, reading and reviewing books, writing, researching and editing. I saw the image below around two weeks ago, it caught my attention on Pinterest and I saved the image as a desktop background:
The questions really struck something in me, and I am using this brightly coloured chart as my guide to working in joy and growing.
What would you do if money wasn’t a factor?
Write and share my own stories, finish my novel (and of course publish it). Read and review books, share my reviews on The Stories of Chantel DaCosta. Cook and bake for my family.
Define what success means to you
Success means that I am writing and publishing, that I am consistently creatively working and learning and growing. It is also essential to me that I what I write connects with my readers. And in all things that by doing this work, I am compensated so that I can live comfortably.
Define your unique strengths
I am passionate about stories, and as reader and a seeker of knowledge, thorough research is like my super power.
Check the path of your passion
I believe I am on the right path, writing and researching are the two gifts that I am most naturally adept to. For 2016, am particularly interested in reading and reviewing more Caribbean books. I also want to connect with other merging Caribbean writers, simply for support, idea sharing and comradeship.
What did you love to when you were twelve years old?
Twelve year old Chantel loved reading and making up stories and hanging out with and chatting with friends. At 28, I still spend a lot time reading and I am still writing. It is the hanging out with friends and being with family that I am somehow struggling with. With social media and work, I do find that I am not physically connecting with my friends as I wish I could. I have friends and family members who I have not seen in so many months.This is something that I have to work on in the coming days and weeks.
Research and consider different options
This is something I have started, in my second MJV article, Awakening, I asked myself where will I be published and how will be I able to grow as a writer. And three months later, I have grown, I am writing and sharing my pieces consistently, through this essays series and on my Tumblr blog, The Stories of Chantel DaCosta. The matter of growing as a writer and exploring publishing options or seeking a platform to share my work has changed because my mind-set has changed. For a long while, I sat back and hoped and wished that someone would somehow magically discover me and guide me to a place of publishing greatness. No this just won’t do.
Presently, I am excited about controlling my own voice and freely working on whatever I choose to write about. This media and other storytelling groups such as wattpad, offers opportunities to share and connect with an audience and is brilliant for getting feedback. However, these platforms do not allow for any emoluments for the work done. This is where I am presently focusing my research. How do I make additional money by researching and writing?
Most recently, in the third week of February, I was invited via Upwork to write for a Caribbean Diaspora Directory called Island Links. The head of Island Links asked that I write for their blog, and I have been doing so. This writing opportunity ignited a spark, I have these two skills and I wish to be more financially stable and to flourish, and as such I will actively engage in bidding for writing and research projects on Upwork. In the past, I have often read, reviewed, researched and written for persons at no cost to them. The thing is many persons that I know do not consider a monetary value to what I do, and so these are deemed favours. I will not venture to ramble or rant about this. I am simply noting what I have observed and I will not be doing these favours any longer. For anyone who reads this, who is a writer, or anyone who interested in making extra money or building portfolio consider checking out Upwork for jobs in editing, writing, graphic design etc.
Surround yourself with passionate people
I do firmly believe that I have a good support system with my partner, my family and friends (although some persons have yet to click the follow button for the blog, you know yourselves). I have been seeking out, through Twitter in particular, connections with writers, authors and publishers and I must say I appreciate the 140 character or less chats that I have with persons who love books as much as I do.
Hone on the talents you enjoy using
This is something I have been working on consistently since 2014 when I started the Stories of Chantel DaCosta. I started the Tumblr blog shortly after I began the FutureLean course, Start Writing Fiction. To date, I have participated in around 10 free FutureLearn classes, from fiction writing, journalism, transmedia storytelling to marketing. Anyone who wishes to sharpen a skill for free or explore something new should definitely consider doing an online module.
Let naysayers brush off you
This is hard. But I know this is something that I have to do. It hurts when someone dislikes your work or criticises something that you are wholly invested in. I struggle with this and I am working on it.
Position yourself financially for the move
Another aspect of my life that is slow work in progress.
What do you love to learn about?
I love to learn about storytelling, writing and publishing. Most recently, I am keen on learning about investments and money. I am really a money dunce and I am trying to understand how to grow and accumulate wealth through investments.
Make a solid plan for transition
This here is a big one, at the start of 2016, I imagined that I would have made a very big transition by March. We are in March and this did not manifest. However, I am not disheartened, I realise the missteps and the non-steps that occurred. I really do need to create a thorough plan for transition and did cannot magically happen by ticking off a date in a weekly planner.
I enjoyed this exercise. Have a look at the chart again and see if there really is something else you might want to do in your life, and if so, slowly consider it. Take the time to dream it up, visualise the life you want and then sit and plan and actively work towards your dreams.
Best wishes of light and love