I’m Your Friend, Not Your Competition

stumbleupon Im Your Friend, Not Your Competitionlinkedin Im Your Friend, Not Your Competitiontumblr Im Your Friend, Not Your Competitionreddit Im Your Friend, Not Your Competitionbookmark Im Your Friend, Not Your Competitionbuffer Im Your Friend, Not Your Competitiondelicious Im Your Friend, Not Your Competitiondigg Im Your Friend, Not Your Competitionemail Im Your Friend, Not Your Competitionflipboard Im Your Friend, Not Your Competitioninstapaper Im Your Friend, Not Your Competitionpocket Im Your Friend, Not Your Competitionyahoo Im Your Friend, Not Your Competitionwordpress Im Your Friend, Not Your CompetitionIf you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

federico saenz recio Im Your Friend, Not Your Competition

As a writer and an artist, I compete against myself. Yes, I get jealous and yes, I’m cautious about who I make friends with these days, but generally speaking, if you’re another writer or artist, I’m your friend, not your competition.

Within the world of writers, there’s this very pervasive cutthroat nature. People “network” not because they want to help you but oftentimes because they want to use you or use a story you told them. This isn’t always malicious, but for a small-town girl, I sure was put off by it initially and it’s something I still can’t get used to.

I’ve been learning this lesson over and over again, starting from my college days when a really good friend wrote a play surrounding a character he based on me. He doesn’t speak to me now, unless he has something to promote or something he wants from me. Namely, to connect with famous people or more accomplished people I’ve become friends with over the years. I don’t believe in categorizing people by fame and riches. I like to treat everyone as equal, which is probably why people who are often used by others end up trusting me. I don’t “sell” my friends to other friends.

Recently I learned this lesson again when some ‘writer’ asked me for details on a story I’d written. It turns out she wanted to piggy back off my story, and it sounded like she wanted to do it the easy way: by ripping off my sources and insight. She probably wouldn’t credit me. I’ve learned that the hard way. But boy did she kiss my ass. Call it intuition, but I got disgusted by her flattery. The way she’d sweet talk me and say charming things and then when I told her she needed to fuck off (in a nice way, of course!) and go find another story, her sharp cat claws came after me.

I think that’s the first sign of knowing if someone is out to get you or out to compete with you: their flattery knows no bounds but stops when you call people on it. True friends don’t need to flatter each other. What we say means something. We’re genuine. And we certainly aren’t playing a game with our compliments. We either mean it or we don’t.

Today I wanted to put out into the Universe a message to other writers and artists: I’m your friend, not your competition. That certainly doesn’t mean everyone you meet is, or will be, but I am. I’ve wanted and longed for a community of fellow artists (of all different mediums) to be friends with, and while I know that’s not possible with everyone, I know it’s possible with some of you. So, if you’re an artist of any kind (and whether you do art for a living or a hobby), I want to connect. I want to chat. I want to get to know you. And my hope is, in doing so, that we can all help each other and celebrate how cool it is to be a creator.

Above art is by Fede Saenz, an American-Argentenian artist and isn’t it gorgeous?

5 Things You Should Know About Hiring An Editor

It’s no secret that I’m an editor-for-hire. I’ve been editing in various capacities for over a decade, whether on the staff of a college paper to the staff of an online magazine owned by AOL. A little over a year ago, I opened my doors to the public to edit for a living, as a freelancer, and in the meantime I’ve hired my own professional editors to help me with my own writing.

These past two weeks I spent some time looking for an editor for an article I wanted to pitch or publish on Huffington Post. I get really nervous when I want to publish something nationally and rightly so: publishing on some venues can bring you a lot of visibility and readers but only if your words are crafted together in a clear, concise and compelling way. What I needed was a great editor who was also affordable. I searched. I asked friends. I got half a dozen sample edits from people I didn’t even ask to give me samples. And finally, I settled on the top 5 I found. I hired one and loved what she did to my piece.

5 things you should know about hiring an editor 1024x1024 5 Things You Should Know About Hiring An Editor

In my experience both as an editor and as one who’s worked with various editors, here are 5 things you should know about hiring an editor.  

You get what you pay for. Although this isn’t true about every editor, usually paying a premium rate will get you more thorough edits; edits you’ll actually learn from and improve from rather than a clean, light edit that will just barely make your work shine. Unfortunately, most writers are poor which leaves the editor little choice in what type of service she gives you. Most editors are clear when they quote you about what you’re getting: light, medium or heavy edits and the various rates they charge for each.

Editors might leave things unsaid. If you’re a tough client or they don’t feel they’re getting paid enough, editors might leave some things unsaid. They might not give you their all if you’re not paying them what they’re worth. You can’t blame them, really. It’s like paying for a strip steak and expecting a filet mignon.

We hate difficult clients. If you can’t take criticism or correction, don’t hire an editor. Save everyone’s time. If you’re paying for someone’s expertise, take it. Listen to why an editor is suggesting a change. Don’t take it personally. If something angers you, take a step back and calm down before responding. Always treat your editor with the respect she deserves. When a writer gets outraged over something an editor suggests, it sometimes makes the writer look inexperienced.

Not every editor provides free sample edits. I once had a potential client who demanded a free sample edit and became infuriated with me when I said no. Literally infuriated. I started to wonder if she was going to come to my house and punch me in the face for telling her no. When I first started my editing business, I provided sample edits as a complimentary service, but then I had one terrible experience with a client and that was all it took. I stopped giving free sample edits after that and that’s been a business policy that’s served me well thus far (although I do sometimes make exceptions on a case-by-case basis).

Everyone is an editor these days. I ran across an “editor” in a forum recently. Judging from her bio and her website, I didn’t have much faith in her and she didn’t have the kind of credentials I would look for in an editor. However, she had several thousand fans on one network alone and several doting followers. She pitched herself as an “editor for indie authors” which is another way of saying “I might scam you into believing I’m something I’m not.”

Learn more about the editing process here

Lisa Kerr is a writer and editor-for-hire living in California. You can find out more about her editorial services and past clients on her website. 

 

Links I Love: My Own Personal Love Story

heart windows Links I Love: My Own Personal Love Story

Today’s “Links I Love” is going to be a bit different. I love sharing other articles and blogs, but since this blog is new and we have a lot of new people here, I thought I would share with you some of my own links I love.

It’s important that people be able to read anything they want without being shamed into thinking their taste is stupid. For some reason, it’s all the rage to tell people they’re dumb for liking certain things. That’s why I wrote this post on why you should read whatever the fuck you want.

The world has changed. If you’re a creative person, it’s time for you to create your own opportunities.

It’s no secret to most of you that I fell in love about four months ago. I’ve blogged a lot about our relationship. Some of my favorite posts include this one on being with someone who will let you be yourself. This is really important and I think it’s a sign of a healthy relationship.

On that note, here’s the story of how we fell in love. And it’s no surprise to any of our Instagram/Facebook followers that we love to cook. It’s one of the ways we connected and one way we show we love each other. Here is one meal (recipe included) that C made for me that made me convinced I should marry him: tomato-cream sauce with tortellini

 

I Love You More

“If we like your farts, we love you.” – Men

I legitimately had a conversation with a male friend of mine about farting and how it signifies some special place in a relationship: where you feel so comfortable with a person that you’re able to fart in front of them.

I rarely fart in front of people. I rarely talk about farting. I think it’s kind of gross. But it’s taken on a whole new shade with the boyfriend and me lately. We’ve finally reached that stage. Past the “lovey-dovey”, everything’s perfect phase that happens for the first few months or years for people who are in love and we’ve wandered into the “man, you get on my nerves sometimes” which is also the phase where we feel comfortable enough to fart in front of each other.

And let me tell you, it’s awesome.

No longer do you have to lie in bed with an uncomfortable stomach ache and try to hold in your gas. And you don’t have to hope and pray that something doesn’t slip out in the bathroom while you’re going.

It just doesn’t matter.

In fact, one day Charlie and I just stayed in bed snuggling and we just…well, we farted. A lot. It was incredibly funny and even while I’m writing this, I’m a tad bit embarrassed to share our farts with the world.

But really, past the fart jokes and crudeness of this post, what’s been happening between us feels very real. It feels like he’s become my family and not just my boyfriend. He understands me and loves me, but he’s also more than just a “Prince Charming” romantic ideal to me: he’s a real man who makes me love him and also irritates me on occasion.

I mention that last part simply to talk about a stage in a relationship where you have to allow yourself to live with another human being and be lived with. And that’s difficult for me. I think it’s difficult for anyone their first time living with someone and spending a lot of time together. All of a sudden, the relationship transitions from fantasy to reality. And reality is sometimes less glamorous than fantasy.

For us, I think there will always be a little bit of fantasy, and I don’t say that to brag. Absolutely not. I say that because although I’ve determined to keep some things private about our relationship, several of my readers have expressed interest in wanting to hear more details about it. Some of them want to know because they saw how unlucky in love I was for years and none of us saw this coming. I sure didn’t.

Never in a million years did I think I would fall in love with someone so deeply and so hard, but I have. And the fantasy elements I’m speaking about are just simple romance. Like the other morning when he brought me coffee in bed. It was a small token of his affection, but one I cherished in private, and then, as any good blogger does, I cherished it on the internet.

coffee in bed I Love You More

The other night we went to a friend’s wedding shower and the bride-to-be (my dear friend whom I love and have seen grow up from a teen to a woman) said to my boyfriend, “You better treat her well” to which I said, “Trust me, he does.” So she turned to me and said, “Then you better treat him well!”

That’s more like it. And I do try my hardest to treat him as well as he treats me. In fact, sometimes I think we’re in a competition for who can be the most thoughtful or romantic or who can cook the best dinner for the other.

To illustrate our “competition”, there was a time we would say goodnight and I love you and it would end in a battle.

ME: I love you, babe.

HIM: I love you, too.

ME: I love you more, babe.

HIM: No, I love YOU more.

I think it’s safe to say we’re competitive.

But this battle didn’t end there. Nope, I had to have the final say, especially since we battled it out so often.

So I thought I’d be clever and find something that showed him how I really felt and also something that would win the battle. So I found this key chain on Etsy with the words “love you more” pounded into metal.

What more could win the battle than WORDS IN METAL?

love you more key chain I Love You More

He was shocked when I gave it to him. I’d wanted to make it super romantic and hand it to him when we were having one of our battles, but I couldn’t bear the excitement so when we were sitting on the couch after work, I leaned over and gave it to him. Then I told him I won.

He sat there stunned and then he laughed. He followed it with, “No, I definitely love YOU more” and he kissed me.

I think it’s a healthy competition, but I definitely won.

Image sources: Instagram/Etsy

Wedding Gift Giving Etiquette

What’s the right wedding gift giving etiquette? I’ll explain below. 

wedding gift ideas Wedding Gift Giving Etiquette

I’m enjoying the last bits of the sunrise with my coffee while writing this. Morning seems to be my most contemplative time and the time before the world starts making so much noise that it’s hard to concentrate. I’ve been dealing with an old work injury this week. My shoulder hurts so badly sometimes I can’t do anything but lay down. I think it’s time to invest in a new office chair.

I’m supposed to go visit a friend today who’s stopping through the Los Angeles airport on her way to Washington. She’s a Facebook friend who I’ve never met and she’s from Australia. I met her through an article I worked on a few years ago and we’ve stayed in touch since. What I’m really debating is whether I should bring the dog or not. The weather is great today and there are some dog friendly restaurants we could go to, but with a dog in the summertime you really shouldn’t take any chances leaving them in the heat. So…this is the debate I’m having in my head.

I also need to run to Macy’s to get a gift for my friend’s bridal shower tomorrow. I can’t believe she’s getting married! She’s someone I’ve known for years and I met her when she was 16. She’s now totally in love and happy.

You would think with as many weddings as I’ve been to, I would know gift-giving etiquette but I wasn’t entirely sure if I was doing it right. I told C what I usually do is buy a gift for the shower and for the wedding, but I wasn’t sure if you actually needed to do both. I did a little digging and it turns out The Knot and Emily Post’s granddaughter disagree. Most people suggest you should buy a gift for both, although you don’t have to, according to The Knot. It seems like tradition is loosening up these days for most people, but Emily Post’s granddaughter says you are obligated to send a wedding gift even if you can’t attend.

She explains:

…[T]here’s an expectation to send a [wedding] gift whether or not you attend. There’s also no connection between shower gifts and wedding gifts: If you gave a shower gift, you still give a wedding gift, regardless of whether you attend the wedding. Keep in mind that anyone invited to a shower should also be invited to the wedding, with the exception of office showers.

So much surrounding weddings is a bit confusing these days because everything is so muddled between tradition and modern practices. Do we treat things traditionally if it’s a non-traditional wedding we’re attending? Does one have to buy gifts? Isn’t that a bit presumptuous? 

My mom and I were recently talking about etiquette after we threw a bridal shower. She’d been getting several invitations to weddings and we were discussing gift-giving. She felt it was a bit presumptuous for couples to expect a gift; after all, it is a gift so it should be the attendees choice. I agreed (and so does The Knot), and I think most couples hope for gifts but don’t expect them.

I suppose it depends a lot on the couple and the attendee. If you’re close with the couple, you’re happy to bring as many gifts as you can afford or you feel comfortable enough not to get them anything and they’ll know you still love them. I know I’ve been invited to many weddings I didn’t even feel comfortable attending because I didn’t know the bride or groom at all, or I knew the couple in the past but hadn’t spoken to them in years.

How do you feel about wedding and bridal shower gift-giving? Do you feel it’s obligatory? Do you attend weddings of people you haven’t spoken to in years?

I need to log off and get started with the shopping and/or driving to L.A. but I’m wishing you all a good day!

Image source.

The Girls Who Read August Wrap-Up And Twitter Party

phonto The Girls Who Read August Wrap Up And Twitter Party

Today’s book chat is all about wrapping up LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS. By now you should have finished the book so we can discuss it without worrying about spoilers. I would love to know whether you liked the books or not because I’m hoping to continue the series for at least 2 more books, but we can always switch it up. Let me know in the comments or via email if you have any book suggestions.

 


Part of the reason I love these books is the simplicity of them, but another reason is how Charlaine Harris seems to take me away from my busy life and sets me somewhere else for a moment; somewhere with dwarves and maenads and vampires. This week I was reading LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS while soaking away in a bubble bath and really, it was the most perfect afternoon a girl could ask for.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (AND SPOILERS)

By now you’ve read through LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS. The following are a few questions for discussion. Feel free to answer these OR use your own commentary for discussion. (Answers can be posted here on the blog or saved for the Twitter Party.)

  1. What do you think about the new characters Harris introduces in this book? Particularly the supernatural ones? I like that she introduced more than just vampires in this book. To me it makes the setting a little more magical and strange. I love it.
  2. What did you think about Lafayette’s death? I loved Lafayette and was sad to see him go. What about you?
  3. Given the chance, would you date a vampire? I’m down for anything, but I don’t know if I could handle the near-anemic aspect of dating a blood sucker. Ha!
  4. Comment on anything else you loved (or hated).

JOIN US FOR A LIVE TWITTER PARTY (AND ON THE BLOG)!

Using the hashtag #TheGirlsWhoRead, find us on Twitter on August 21st for our second official Twitter Party to talk about the book. We’ll also be chatting here on the blog.
When: August 21st, 6 PM (PST) until 7:00 PM (but I will check in all day)
Host: @thereallisakerr on Twitter
What: Discuss LIVING DEAD IN DALLAS and anything Sookie Stackhouse related.
Hashtag: #TheGirlsWhoRead
Additional Info: Find all our book club members on Twitter using this list and Tweet to me if you’d like to be added to the book club list on Twitter.

If you missed out last month, it’s not too late to get involved. If you want to join, here are the details:

How to Get Involved

  • Read the monthly book.
  • Leave a comment on the blog post which starts a discussion about the book and a comment on the final discussion on Thursday, August 21.
  • Once a month we will host a  Book Club Twitter Chat, be sure to follow #TheGirlsWhoRead, and @thereallisakerr on Twitter.
  • Share this with your friends.

Full details and instructions of the book club can be found here. Follow “The Girls Who Read” board on Pinterest.

NEXT READING ASSIGNMENT

Our next book will be Club Dead, book 3 ‘in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries! Make sure you finish reading the book within one month and check back on the blog on September 18th. We’ll just be meeting once a month and we’ll also be hosting a Twitter Party. Details below.

If you missed any of the book club posts, read them here.

Settling In To My New Home Office

office Settling In To My New Home Office

I set up my new home office today. It’s not finished and of course I have loads of filing to do (Which begs the question: Do I really want to be self-employed? The answer is yes, but good lord, the filing you have to do!) but you get the idea. I’ll have a corner where my paintings go and hopefully I’ll migrate my art supplies into this room at some point.

Believe it or not, my favorite blogging spot is on the couch or on my bed, but those are both terrible for your posture considering that I’m now working 8-10 hours a day. I’ve never actually had a dedicated spot to work and it’s time for one. I need calendars for blog events, post ideas to hash out and organize, and jobs I’m doing for my blog. I also need a filing system, a place to make and keep notes, and just generally a place where I can keep just blog-related things.

While I obviously work well on my computer, sometimes it’s easier to have some things on-hand: notepads, calendars, and colorful inspiration. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of endless Internet tabs and lose track of the day and time and what event I’m supposed to check-in on.

Not to mention, this week I officially decided to take weekends off (or at least start weaning myself off of the internet/work on weekends). In order to do that, I need a really well-organized and functional work space. Having and office that I can close the door to (and keeping the computer in there) will make a huge difference for me, I hope, when I’m spending time with my friends and family. We all know there’s nothing worse than being around that person who can’t put their work or phone away. I’ve become one of those people, and am determined not to be that person.

What about you? Do you have a home office? What do you use it for? Do you work from home? If you do, do you find work constantly crossing over into family or relationship time? What have you done to prevent this?

 

 

Love Is The Sweetest Thing

love is the sweetest thing Love Is The Sweetest Thing

I couldn’t more grateful for having Charlie in my life. I don’t know how I got so lucky but I did. Today I woke up with a slight headache and more than slight cramps. I usually only have one bad day per month on my period, since I was diagnosed and treated for PCOS a few years ago. Before that I did have some horrible cramps, among other symptoms.

I got in the tub and soaked and read. Then I got up to work. As I was working, I realized I was feeling more sick than I did before I woke up, so I wrapped things up and asked Charlie if he’d lay down with me for a little while. I really needed him to wrap his arms around me and pull my head towards his chest as I rested and tried to feel better. And he did. He remembered from our first few weeks of dating how I like to get in bed and wrap myself up in a blanket burrito, so he made me lay down and started tucking me in, burrito-style. I got out my heating pad and he tucked it under my lower back and then he climbed into bed with me and laid down with me until I got comfortable enough to rest.

Before long, we were sandwiched in between Olive and Molly, who were obviously ready to nap.

I wasn’t able to sleep but I do feel much better now.

Like U2 says, love is “the sweetest thing.”

Image source.

Links I Love: The Greatest Modern Female Superhero Story

There’s nothing Charlie and I love more than to watch Food Network. Our all-time favorite (as is my brother’s) Food Network personality is Alton Brown. There isn’t a single thing I don’t like about him. He’s witty. He’s silly. He’s incredibly smart. And he looks handsome in a suit. Mostly, the guy can host the hell out of anything he does. I found this interview with him about his Southern roots. Did you know he was from Georgia? Neither did I, until Charlie and I were discussing our love for him and I did a little research. This interview is great. It really captures the Southern mentality surrounding food: food (GOOD food) and cooking are part of life and embedded deep within their culture. I lived in the South for a few years and can honestly say I’ve eaten some of the country’s best food in the South.

Lucy hd wallpaper 1 1024x853 Links I Love: The Greatest Modern Female Superhero Story

We went to see Lucy on Friday. I loved it. Charlie enjoyed it, too. I had been looking forward to seeing this film so much but had read a bad review and was second-guessing myself. I personally love action films. I love films that take place outside of the U.S. And I love films that dabble in futurist themes, which it did. It also had a sci-fi feel to it and Scarlett Johansson’s role was badass and she played it well.  The whole film was like her just kicking so much ass all over the screen. Which is why iO9 writes about the film being the greatest superhero origin story ever. And then there’s this discussion about the concept art of the film.  Overall, if you like badass girls mixed with some futurist themes, you’ll like Lucy.

Since we’re talking about films, let’s talk about ‘Inside Out’ which Pixar is coming out with in 2015. The film centers around a young girl named Riley. Riley isn’t the main character; she’s the setting. The film goes into her subconscious where a control panel is being run by a crew who manage the girl’s emotions. The emotions are Joy (played by Amy Poehler), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Anger (Lewis Black), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), and Fear (Bill Hader).

It’s no surprise to anyone that I suffer from empathy. I say suffer because empathetic people tend to feel everything really, really deeply and sometimes it hurts when we can’t help everyone we feel for.

I’m also (usually) ridiculously polite, which I think is a lost art. Take for example, the time my mom and I co-hosted a bridal shower with my sister-in-law’s sister-in-law who rolled her eyes while my mom spoke at the event. In full view of my mom and me. Being polite is a lost art, and well, let’s be honest, it shouldn’t even be an art or a skill that fake people use to manipulate others. It should come from feeling a little compassion about the people you encounter every day. Paul Ford wrote this essay called “How to Be Polite” and it’s just lovely.

A few years ago I started collecting links I love to share with my readers and Facebook fans. It’s fun for me to do and it also gives you something to browse through during your Monday. Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!

Image source.

Taking Weekends Off

An update on my new schedule and why I’ll be taking weekends off. 

I’ve been reading a lot lately about what makes good content for websites and blogs. Quality over quantity is the key these days and it’s no surprise. No one wants to read something that’s just thrown together and there’s so much competition out there, you really have to be on your A-game to attract readers.

Along these same lines, I’ve been wanting to spend more time away from my computer on the weekends. For two reasons: One, my boyfriend. We usually spend the weekend together and quite often he has to put up with me being on the phone all the time checking this tweet and sending that blog comment or post. I find myself wishing the weekend had been longer, but the truth is, I’m working around the clock still and I’m even working when we’re together. Two, I am just finding my footing with this new blog and I absolutely love it, but I also want to maintain a schedule I can happily keep up with for years to come. The past two months I established my base content and readership and honestly, it was a killer schedule. Posting every day for the last few months was extremely work-intensive for me since I love putting together really great content for you to read. That’s why I’ve been on the phone all weekend. That’s why this weekend my boyfriend told me to lay down and take a nap and wouldn’t let me get up to grab my camera to capture something cute.

No one needs to be so busy they can’t relax, and I’m the first to one to admit I was keeping some bad habits going. I’m also taking on a few more clients during the next few months and I’ll need to devote some time to giving them my full attention and also working in all my blog posts. I think taking weekends off is going to be a great compromise for me while I coach new clients.

I’m going to test out taking most of the weekend off–responding to emails, tweets, posts, etc. on weekdays only and see where this goes. I’m undecided yet about whether I will post on weekends or not because I’ve grown to love my recipe posts (and I love cooking with my boyfriend and featuring what we ate), but this weekend I will not post and I’ll be giving it some more thought as to whether it’s permanent or not.

This last Saturday I didn’t have anything scheduled and I’d had such a long week that I decided to let it go. I didn’t even post that I wasn’t going to post.

The world didn’t fall apart.

My readers are still here. (I love you all, by the way.)

I had a few glorious naps as a result.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and relax, as well. What are your plans for the weekend?

nice weekend Taking Weekends Off