Face up to concrete cold facts

Woke up this morning with an ache in my head
I splashed on my clothes as I spilled out of bed
I opened the window to listen to the news
But all I heard was … Rodriguez

No matter who you are, what you do, there comes a day of reckoning. After a year escaping the every day mundane, it’s time to face up to my own concrete cold fact: the vacation is over.

So what next? Work out the next steps.

Flying back from LA to Sydney watching the documentary “Searching for Sugar Man” the list for working out the next step(s) loomed large and at times overwhelmed.

That promise to strive to create something new flew by too quickly. It came and went and the reality check left in its wake poses ever more questions: return to the tried and true or continue to try more things new?

Looking back on the previous path taken only strengthens my resolve it hasn’t been for nought. What made “Tom the curious” now turned “James the weak” produced some of the best work, freed my mind from limitations I’d allowed myself to be hemmed in by and given hope that what comes next will build on skills gained over the past year.

Not everyone gets a shot at doing something different. Having the financial freedom to explore your strengths was a gift. And I was grateful for the opportunity to jump out of an old comfort zone.

When you do something for yourself, it makes you appreciate your own worth in the workforce. The PumpkinFACE™ venture didn’t pull financial strings but as a social media experiment and educational venture it hit its mark, every day. AND next year there are plans to build on what has already begun and better still publish what’s already been written!

Yet those doubts are there about those next steps. Mashing lyrics from songs on the Rodriguez Cold Fact album best sums up some concerns:

Now you sit there thinking feeling insecure / ‘Cos you got no one to listen, you got no one to call / Drifting, drowning in a purple sea of doubt / I wonder how many dreams have gone bad / I wonder how much going have you got / I wonder and worry my friend / I wonder don’t you?

After every day being a holiday it makes you reflect on what’s transpired and wonder how best to tackle what to do next. Making good decisions now could be “the recipe for my happiness” and financial success.

Getting away from the everyday mundane was about finding happiness absent from my previous job … but can that sense of freedom and accomplishment be replicated back home, or will doubts resurface and limit future decisions?

I guess only time will tell, and like “Sugar Man” perhaps success from what’s previously transpired will surface some time down the track. Better later than not at all!

Judy Wilkinson is a blogger and journalist who spent nine months in the United States visiting New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California as well as travelling to Panama, Costa Rica, Peru, Chile and Argentina. Next post catches up on life in South America.

Just keep working it!

A game of cat and koala!

A game of cat and koala!

There are three rules for writing a novel.
Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
W. Somerset Maugham

Look and you will find. Makes you think of the word seek, so those smart people from Seek Australia www.seek.com.au got the host name right. Yet there are so many online sites to search jobs, you just need to seek out the right ones. Elance www.elance.com is a great one for people looking to utilise their skills around the world.

It’s a brave new world online. As Elance spruiks: work differently. You have to put in a bid to be considered for the job. Which is difficult at first. I mean how much is your expertise worth when there’s others in developing countries equally as talented and prepared to go as low as it takes.

The answer is to just keep bidding for multiple jobs. Like getting your foot in the door, once you’ve snagged one the rest follow. Since leaving a full-time job I’ve spent much time perusing work-related websites. I’m a member of so many worldwide organisations in need of writers for hire that my inbox at times goes into information overload.

The real skill is sorting the wheat from the chaff. Are these real offers, or just people seeing how low they can outsource a job. One online position cancelled their ad after deciding to do the work in-house. The writing was really on the chalkboard because the employer’s bidding price guide was expressed as “unsure”!

Dream a dream for someone else!

Dream a dream for someone else!

And yet I’m fascinated with the type of jobs on offer via Elance. One woman’s ad was about sending ideas for her mummy blog. If she likes YOUR idea you can send her questions and if she likes YOUR questions you will be invited to interview her over skype and if that all goes well YOU can ghostwrite her blog. She then reads it and if she likes it YOU get to post it up on her site! Of course, she too was unsure of what price guide to provide. And given her surname was theatrical I was intrigued whether she even existed, so I looked up her blog and I guess for young, inspiring nouveau riche mums living in exotic locations it has some value for certain readers.
If only the content was original.

Another “unsure on price” employer needed someone to turn his ebook dream into a reality. He’d written the plot outline, he just wanted someone “with excellent English” to expand it by 60,000-65,000 words. Mmmmmm. I’m not sure I’d want to put the hard yards in unless the ebook ran with both our names.

All this just makes one think about the unreal expectations some people have in life. Take the easy road. I guess if you can, why not. For me there’s nothing more rewarding than putting in the time, whatever it takes, to reap the rewards of coming up with an original idea, expressing your own thought and producing your own content. Yes, I’m old school but at least I’m trying to navigate the new school way of working online!

Judy Wilkinson is a former print journalist turned online freelance writer and ESL volunteer teacher while creating original content for a web and app soon to be launched in 2013.