km-funfun-mercantile: 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy
Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy…
9:52 pm • 5 June 2013 • 3 notes
I hope this is as low as it gets. But I know it’s not.
A few weeks ago, I started looking for in-house copywriter jobs. I had it in my head that even though I was a freelance writer, making money, and liking it, I should at least try to see if I could get a full-time job. (The almost-30 year old woman in me continues to put terrifying scenarios in my head in which health insurance is always the one thing that could have saved me.)
I’m not a huge fan of their store - but I applied for a copywriter position at the Uncommon Goods e-commerce store. I had a few exchanges with a woman who I think is the current copywriter on staff, who sent me a lengthy copy test in which I wrote 250 word product descriptions for four separate products. The whole thing took me about 3 hours. After I submitted it, she said it might take a month for them to get back to me. I waited. A month later, she said they were still making their decisions and I should wait a little longer. I did. Then, it dawned on me to check the website. I was curious if they’d launched the products I had written about in my application.
Just as I suspected. Right there on the website were my product descriptions, two of them word for word, the other two had kept some of the wording. They even used my meta descriptions and subheadings. A week later, I got an email that said “thank you for submitting your application, but your qualifications are not what we’re looking for at this time.”
Every week a new ad for a copywriter at Uncommon Goods pops up on LinkedIn. Is this how stores produce copy now? Scummy.
1:40 pm • 12 April 2013 • 7 notes
On Not Knowing What You’re Doing
There’s a general feeling that knowing what you’re doing is important to doing what you want.
Before I come off sounding like a hypocrite, I am one of the guilty ones. I have always thought “knowing what you’re doing” before you do it is equally as important as doing what you want. But that’s probably why doing things I actually want to do has always taken me so long, if I ever get around to them.
Last night, I had dinner with someone I met through Tumblr who has become a good friend and, whether he likes it or not, something of an advisor. I don’t know many people, especially young entrepreneurs, who actually come right out and say “Yeah, I really don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Pretty much winging it, if you want to know the truth.” But that’s the reality. And that’s something I never realized. We’re all just doing the things we figure will help us create our desired outcomes. Everyone – even the CEO of Fab. Even, I dunno, Anders Holm.
And then there are also people like me, who shoot themselves in the foot every day, because they think they don’t know what they’re doing and therefore they’re not ready; not ready to start, not ready for success.
This friend I had dinner with is just a few years older than me. He knows a lot of things that I don’t, or things I have chosen to ignore in my own neuroses. He knows that the more time you spend trying to know what you’re doing, the less you know. In the process of becoming a much more critical self-editor over the years, for example, I’ve actually become a worse writer. I’ve spent all my time thinking about what other people will think, and letting that be a reason why I don’t write at all.
When it comes to writing, I do have legitimate concerns. Like, I’m always worried I don’t have anything to say, or that someone will read my writing and think I’m naïve. I haven’t lived that long, and I recognize that what I write could very possibly result in cliché without my intending it to. I openly admit to caring about that, worrying about it even. But that’s why, in the past month, I’ve written nothing. Feeling strongly that I don’t know what I’m doing, or don’t have anything to say, has stood directly in the path of my knowing what to say.
Here are 3 take-aways from our dinner conversation that helped me snap out of it:
Lesson 1: “Strategy?” If you have an idea, do what you think you should do. If it doesn’t work, delete it and try something else.
Lesson 2: Be careful how you’re gauging success. Look at something through your own eyes before anyone else’s. Are you proud of what you did? Was it well-done? If you think so, other people will think so too.
Lesson 3: When you say things like “Do X to get Y results,” even if you say “I did X and got Y, so you can too,” it doesn’t make it proof. You have to try a bunch of stuff and work to the place where YOU recognize what you did as success. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow other people’s models. It just means, get to success on your own. There is no recipe that works for every person.
Just a side note on Lesson 2. I feel that the ubiquity of “likes” has influenced what I create. I have definitely come to gauge my own work on its “like reception.” That’s probably not an unfair assessment generally speaking, but then again, is it? It’s such a vague indicator of anything (what did you “like” about what I did? One never knows).
The important thing to remember when sifting through what you’re trying to do is that nobody else knows what they’re doing, either. Nobody. Nobody has the answers. And while there’s something to be said for patience, there’s nothing beneficial to “waiting around” until you feel like you know what you’re doing. That day will never come.
I promised my friend that when I wrote this post, I’d publish it and wouldn’t take it down.
It’s a start.
10:32 am • 9 April 2013 • 5 notes
Stop Working (So Hard)
I flipping love this blog post by Kyle Bragger who so excellently articulated something I’ve been trying to talk about for months but not at all ironically haven’t had the time to explain!
It’s this: Stop working (so hard)
“There’s a pervasive and toxic way of thinking ‘round these parts that you’ve gotta out-hustle your competitors; that you have to pull all-nighters and throw away weekends to ship that new feature; that, by working double- or triple-time, you’ll execute better and pull ahead of the pack.
What did The Hustle™ accomplish? I gained weight. I wasn’t spending enough time with my (now) wife. I felt like shit. I began to resent my work, and the work I was producing clearly wasn’t my best. I started cutting corners. I went from a mindset of shipping with quality and integrity to “when is this going to be over?”
Nowadays, I’m working 4-day weeks, and doing no more than an hour or two of intense work at a time. I take a lot of walks. I’ve lost weight. I’m happier. My wife is happier. I’m more present. And most importantly:
I’m doing the best work of my life.
The idea that, without “hustle,” without throwing away nights and weekends, without putting your life on hold for your work, you’ll somehow be more successful, more productive, is ridiculous to me, yet continues to be pushed by participants in our industry left and right. This is, quite simply, insane.
So, dear reader, I implore you: If this post at all rings true, sounds a little too familiar, do yourself a favor — take a vacation. Get away from your work for a bit. Reset. And when you come back, pick some number under 35 and try working that many hours per week, and no more.
I’ll be surprised if you don’t start doing the best work of your life too.
Postscript: If your colleagues, clients, or bosses don’t get why working less is a better idea, leave. There are far better places to be than at a company that values quantity over quality. (You too, freelancers: Set office hours, take breaks.)
8:03 pm • 4 April 2013 • 3 notes
Another one from stream of consciousness master flex. A lot of drugs are ingested, a lot of comfort food is eaten, a lot of antics are performed in North Brooklyn.
12:51 pm • 3 April 2013 • 1 note
"You might not get a lot of respect as a writer, but the crippling self-doubt and soul-crushing poverty make it all worth it. "
Via Mark Straub at the Pessimist:
Writers, as a rule, aren’t usually held up as examples of anything good. We’re more… cautionary tales. You can live for a thousand years, and I guarantee you will never hear a disappointed mother tell her surgeon son, “Why can’t you be more like your brother, the writer?”…
…You might not get a lot of respect as a writer, but the crippling self-doubt and soul-crushing poverty make it all worth it. And though it might be too late for you to change careers, you can still learn some valuable lessons from those of us in the industry.
Here are the seven quick tips Mark gives the aspiring writer.
- Ignore deadlines.
- Take criticism badly.
- Burn bridges.
- Hate yourself.
- Trust no one (especially not yourself).
- Sabotage all of your personal relationships.
- Drink heavily.
Read through for Mark’s explanations of each.
H/T: Roger Johnson.
9:03 pm • 21 March 2013 • 209 notes