10 posts tagged advice
Donatello is wise.
I think it was Thoreau who said, “Be true to your work, your word, and fuck all the haters.” Or whatever.
Regardless, it’s great advice. And I wish I would’ve taken it recently when a friend of mine said something this past weekend that was, well, not friendly at all. I won’t get into the play-by-play details of what happened, but I will say that he belittled my career.
[Insert sound of knuckles cracking.]
Because I’m not a mean person and not a huge fan of confrontation, I didn’t say anything to hurt him back. In the moment, I wanted to say a lot of things. Like, “You’re nothing but a jealous, Komodo dragon-looking bitch." Instead, I closed my mouth, walked away from the situation and took time to cool down.
Were I to do it all again, I still would not have said anything for the following reasons:
- It’s better to take the highroad. Stay classy, folks.
- Anyone who is cruel enough to say something that will hurt your feelings doesn’t deserve your time, energy or witty comebacks.
- Just to further my point in #2: If a person is being cruel, it’s not because they hate you, it’s because they’re horrifyingly insecure. So insecure that they feel the need to take it out on you in an effort to make you feel just as badly as they do. It’s important not to give people like that the satisfaction of seeing you upset.
That being said, sometimes action is necessary and if you want to really bring it, here’s what you do:
1. Prepare for battle.
2. Get your bitchface on.
But, like, make it really bitchy.
3. Then say something short and sweet, like…
Because, in the end, you have better things to do than waste time with people who don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.
And the truth is…
4. So, walk away and flip your beautiful weave…
5. And try to remember that…
6. This won’t be the last time you encounter a hater. But just take solace in the fact that they will die alone, while sometime in the near future you will sit on George Clooney’s lap, sipping champagne and not thinking about them at all, because they are less than nothing.
As some of you know, I’m a writer and often a freelance one.
I’ve been working for various blogs—including Funny or Die, E! Online, Ecorazzi and Wetpaint—for a little over four years now. And, in my slow and steady climb up the blogging ladder, I’ve managed to glean some tips of the trade to pass on to other aspiring writers.
Previously, in Part 1 of my Free Advice to Aspiring Freelance Writers series, I dished out a guide on how to get jobs. What I want to go over now are TIPS—for getting, keeping and growing your prospects.
Tips for Beginners
- Expect nothing.
When you’re first starting out, freelance work typically pays on the low end of the spectrum. Or, at least that was the case for me. My first two jobs I did for free—because I had little to no experience and needed the clippings. Don’t be above taking a free gig to get some credits under your belt, because chances are the people applying for the high paying jobs already have clippings.
- Ask for help.
If you know someone who’s working (like me), there’s no harm in asking about available gigs or advice. But something to keep in mind is that I get approached a lot. On a weekly basis. Which means that people with better gigs are getting approached daily. Which means you need to stand out. So, if standing out means buying that person a coffee to discuss options—do it. No writer in their writerly mind would turn down caffeine. Plus, I’ve noticed that I tend to work harder for the people who invest a bit in me. (Even if it’s just out of guilt.)
- You’re a Writer.
Someone once gave me this wonderful piece of advice: When you’re asked about what you do for a living, do not reply with, “I’m trying to be a writer.” Instead say, “I am a writer.” People won’t take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously. Even if you aren’t getting paid to write yet, it doesn’t matter—fake it till you make it. (Right, Neil Gaiman?)
Tips for When You Have the Job
- Hard work pays off. Usually.
I’ve found this to be especially true at the low paying gigs. Chances are, the editors realize that getting paid $5 for a 200 word piece isn’t going to pay your rent. But, most of the time, if they see you’re kicking ass—they’ll promote you. Or give you a bonus at Christmas. Or a pat on the back. Awesome!
- Rule of Three.
I heard this on NPR, or maybe someone said it out loud in a coffee shop and I overheard them because I’m nosy as hell, but the point is that it’s spot on.
When working in the arts, you can be 2 out of these 3 things and end up OK: Fast, Friendly, Fucking Awesome.
In other words, you can be a total misanthrope—as so many writers are—but as long as you turn in your work on time and it’s quality, you’re good to go. Or, you can be super sweet and write well but take a long ass time to submit, that’s OK too. You get the gist.
- Give Back.
In the end, you never know who’s going to help you get your next job. I happily give advice and jobs to people who ask, because one day I may need the same thing and they’ll owe me, because karma deems it so.
Additionally, much like when searching for a job, I make a point to give actual, physical gifts to my bosses. Every man loves a good bottle of scotch, and every woman will appreciate a Starbucks gift card (or, if you’re like me, a good bottle of scotch). Whatever the case, make sure you let the people above you know that you’re grateful to have a job, and they’ll make sure to keep you there—if only for the free hooch.
Has this been helpful and, if not, will you please not tell me that?
For some reason—maybe mercury is retrograde, or the impending premiere of Homeland has made people feel ambitious—I have been getting this question a lot lately:
How do I become a freelance writer?
In some capacity, I have worked as a freelance writer for the past 7 years. I started writing for magazines in college and since then I’ve been fortunate enough to write for places like Ecorazzi, Funny or Die, E! Online, The Soup, Fashion Police and Mad Atoms.
Each year I’ve been getting new gigs and I keep getting that question:
How do I become a freelance writer?
The truth is that there’s no right way to do it, but, as someone who has worked freelance, I have some tips and advice that might help!
How to Get Work
- Look for work everyday.
No one is going to hand you a job—but if that job person is out there send them my way. I check the following websites daily, and I have consistently gotten jobs this way.
- Start a Blog
Clippings are the biggest hurdle for most people. To get a freelance gig you need clippings, but to get clippings you need a freelance gig. Sigh. What to do?!?
Start a blog. Allow yourself to write articles on what you’re interested in. I use Tumblr and you could too.
- Blindly Email Editors
To this day I email the editors of websites I like to read. If you look in the contact section on most websites, you’ll see a list of people available and ready to take your emails. You can feel free to blindly email those folks with a nice inquiry, something along the lines of…“Dear [insert name], I am emailing you today because I respect and am an avid reader of [insert website name]…”
More advice to come! Any questions so far?
I could watch videos of her answering kids questions in a bathtub for a good hour or so.
Here’s Ep. 2 of her web series, “Ask Amy,” and the topic is how to deal with STRESS.
From an early age I understood that romantic comedies were hyper exaggerations of what would be waiting for me once I got out into the dating world. I never bought into the idea of love at first sight, or that I’d fall for a man I thought was long lost and we’d kiss in the rain—though, that would be pretty awesome.
What I did take away was the ample tips I gleaned from watching actors go on faux first dates. These scenarios had clearly happened to the writers, and the actors, adults themselves, were most certainly pulling from their own life experiences, right? People are always afraid of first dates, but the real trick is to stay one step ahead of them and just know what to expect. Once you can get that part figured out, it’s smooth sailing.
So, I’ve done you all a solid and outlined what movies have taught me about first dates. You’re welcome.
Lesson: You’ll Get Knocked Up
Because of the massive amounts of alcohol you’ll have to drink just to get through one, you will get pregnant on a first date.
So, if you want to save yourself 30 or so pounds and a bunch of diapers, keep those parts in your pants and wait till date #2.
Lesson: Be Anti-Semitic
There’s no better time than a first date to bring up the rampant racism that your Grammy Hall harbors to the core. I mean, Annie told Alvy about it right up top and look—they had that adorable lobster scene together!
Don’t you want that?
Lesson: She Won’t Remember Your Name
It doesn’t matter how many waffle houses you build her, if you’re Adam Sandler and are reading this, at the end of the day (and the date) a chick won’t even bother to remember who the fuck you are.
Lesson: Don’t Trust a Hoe
Look, I get it: renting love for a night seems preferable to going to some cheesy restaurant, dropping a cool hundie and leaving with little more than a kiss goodbye.
But trust me when I say that you won’t be able to get rid of that hooker. When you leave for work you’ll come back and she’ll be in your bathtub, singing Prince and trying to negotiate a price for the week.
For the love of god, just don’t do it.
Lesson: You’ll Be Covered in Semen
Ladies, they may not have taught you this in sex ed, but men are constantly masturbating. They’re like The Terminator only it’s The Sperminator and their mission is to hose you down and pass it off as hair gel. I apologize in advance.
Anything I missed?!
“Advice From a Girl: How to Scare Off a Girl”
Take my advice, fellas.
MEN READING THIS: I only say these things to let you know what not to do. This is me, doing my part to better the species, or whatever. Plus? If you do this thing I’m about to describe, chances are you’re not gonna get laid. You’re welcome, that is all.
After some girl talk I had this weekend, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no bigger turnoff than when someone belittles an accomplishment you’ve made (work/personal/or otherwise) and makes you feel like you’re somehow less than they are.
A lot of my friends are going through this with guys they’re seeing, and I totally get it because I’ve been there too. You’ll be having what you think is a fun conversation and mention a highlight of the week, and the other person makes some offhand comment that leads you to believe what you’ve said is silly. It’s just shitty.
I’ll give you an example from my own experience.
I was dating this guy who was, admittedly, a shit. I happened to mention that my comedy troupe at the time had a video that landed on the front page of the Huffington Post. This was a huge deal for us. It was the first video we’d made, and all of a sudden we had thousands of hits and a ton of exposure. Yay! I was really proud of that. True, it wasn’t like our video was on TV (the industry he worked in), but it also wasn’t on some dinky website either. People actually know the name Huffington Post, okay? Wow, look at me, getting riled up just thinking about this. Grrrr.
Anyways, after I’d mentioned this small feat, he turned away and laughed (!!!), then mumbled, “Huffington Post, yeah you guys are huge now.”
Excuse me? Excuse me? Wait, excuse me?
This seemed like a particularly cruel jab, seeing as he was much more successful than I was at the time, and he didn’t need to put me down. I’m not sure why he thought that was an okay thing to say, but the fact is that he did say it. And that comment told me everything I needed to know about who he was as a person.
If someone actively tries to make you feel insecure, it means that they’re deeply broken and need to make you feel as badly as them. When you can’t be happy for someone, especially for the small moments, then you’re either a) An extremely insecure person who assumes anyone else’s success could mean the end of your own, b) Miserable and jealous to the point that you have to disguise it as condescension, or c) A sociopath.
I think this guy was the latter, and things ended pretty quickly after that. This is one example in many, mind you, of people I’ve encountered who have completely lost my respect by making comments like these.
So, what should you do when confronted with one of these unbelievably awful sitches? Well, there’s one foolproof plan that will not only clue them into how idiotic they sound, but will make you look like the confident, successful person you are. Here it is:
So, I’m in a relationship.
I have a boyfriend, and he is wonderful, cute, and makes me laugh all the time.
We watch movies and cook dinner and hang out with each others friends because we’re in love. Also, we often playfully tease each other to keep the spark going, or whatever.
Except there are times when the teasing starts to sound like criticism, and this is a problem. Over the weekend, for example, David teased me for applying too much sunscreen. Granted, I am a walking cancer stick and the sun terrifies me so I lather up with SPF 85+ every hour or so. As a result, this was funny to me.
But then July 4th rolls around, and lo and behold he casually asks me, “Have you ever tried to count how many freckles you have?”
Here’s why it would be funny:
-I have too many freckles to count, making this a clearly impossible task
Here’s why I didn’t see it as funny:
-I am terrified of getting cancer and every freckle I see seems to be a kiss from death reminding me that my demise is imminent and will be painful.
So, the question is– how do you then handle telling said wonderful boyfriend that there’s a difference between playful and not?
I’m not sure what the answer is to that, but I decided to go ahead with the, “If you’re trying to make a joke then we should both be laughing, otherwise it’s not a joke line.” To which David rightly asked, “But how do you know if you’ll both be laughing until after the comment is made?"
To be fair, I have no idea. This is something I’m still wrestling with– part of me wants to say, "You should just KNOW” but another part of me realizes that’s a dumb thing to think, and I don’t want to be a heinous bitch.
Admittedly, I’d love for this to never happen again, but I’m a realist and know that we will continue to tease until another time comes when it crosses the line. So anyone have some sage advice on how to better handle these situations?
Now that I’ve watched the “Will & Kate” Lifetime made-for-TV-movie 3 times (yes, you read that correctly), I’d like to make some comments about love.
I have a hard time understanding people who know exactly what they want when it comes to relationships. Like Miss Middleton, for example, in “Will & Kate” who knew what she wanted right away when she passionately told her mother, “All I want is Will!”
Okay, this is a fictional movie written by someone who clearly has read a lot of romance novels, but still- I know women like this.
How do you know that’s all you want? And I don’t care for the response, “You just… know!” because I’m not going to accept that kind of bullshit. I’m not asking how do you know that you want that one person, I get that people fall madly in love and want to be together forever- I’m not a robot (yet).
But don’t you ever get scared? Aren’t there ever moments when you think, “Huh. Forever? That’s a long fucking time.”
Hell yeah it is. And you know what? Scares me right now!
I know I could be faithful, that’s not the issue. It’s the whole, “Oh, wait, you don’t go to your own place now that it’s the morning? You stay here and we have to figure out how I can watch my Lifetime movies while eating peanut butter off a spoon without you judging me? Yikes…”
I suppose I’m afraid of being judged, the way that Kate was afraid that Wills (that’s what she calls him in the movie, not me!) would judge her for being so darn pretty all the time.
Okay, that never happened. In the movie neither of them is judgey or defense or eating half a jar of peanut butter and dried pineapple slices for dinner. Which is why it all seems so… scary.
I mean, come on, Kate’s going to eventually fart or something. That’s going to scare the hell out of a balding prince, right?