Take a Break Before Having a Breakdown and Thinking You’re Incapable of Doing Anything Else

mean

If I sound like I’m being a little dramatic, I’m not. I’m speaking from experience. As in this happened to me twenty minutes ago.

All day I have been editing an application for a summer internship, which is really a 250 word paragraph giving a bit of background information and why I think the position would be a good fit for me. Doesn’t sound like a stressful application does it? You’re thinking 250 words is a breeze but in reality writing 250 words is grueling. This small paragraph is going to make or break your chances of getting the job, internship, interview, whatever. You have to show that you’re intelligent, witty, accomplished, a leader, team player, and a hard worker all at the same time. Each word you pick to use says something about who you are, which is why it takes me 20 minutes to write a successful first line. The rest of the lines take a little less time say 15 minutes. Basically, I overthink every word and line I write because the 250-word paragraph is that intimidating—like a mean girl in 7th grade who glares at you as you pass each other in the hall.

You sit and try to just write without a care, let you stream of conscious take over but your fingertip has no hesitations with the delete button. Once you finally have a solid paragraph you decide to read it over and then you decide it needs to be re-written because you definitely sound like a leader but not enough like a team player and you describe all of your skills extremely well but the part about why you’re a good fit is static. Okay now you’ve really nailed it after that last edit. You send it to a friend to make sure you didn’t overlook any grammatical errors. When she sends it back to you you’re 250 word paragraph is now highlighted with mistakes and large, bold question marks are after every other period because she cant seem to understand what you’re talking about.

You slam your laptop shut. Ignore your friend’s texts asking if you received her comments and feel your cheeks getting hotter and hotter. You need a break before you have a complete mental breakdown. But the thing is, you probably should have taken a break earlier to avoid this situation.

5 Things to Do While Taking a Break:

  1. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and gossip with a friend. You usually hate surrounding yourself with drama but you’d be surprised how cathartic whispering “nuh uh” and “oh my gd” is.
  2. Hit the gym and rep it out. Sweating will never have felt this good.
  3. Take a hot shower or bath while listening to happy music. Don’t forget the music part or you’ll find yourself thinking again.
  4. Do your dishes. You’ll be too angry about not being able to scrub off the leftover marinara sauce to think about anything else.
  5. Go for a walk and get some fresh air, preferably with a dog that’ll make you all smiles.

5 Signs That You Should Have Taken a Break Earlier:

  1. When you find yourself rubbing your temples with your eyes closed.
  2. When you can’t stop scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  3. When you feel your eyes getting tired.
  4. When you find yourself staring off into space for longer than 5 minutes.
  5. When you begin to type aggressively. When this happens you’re typing will get noticeably louder and slower because you’re actively looking at the keyboard while you type, tapping the keys as hard as you can.

On Juvenility

Review of: Love of a Past Self

It was another in a series of death defying ice eves on the streets of Baltimore as I headed to the Terrault Contemporary for a series of readings titled For Love of a Past Self. The show featured early composition of four writers, Christophe Casamassima, Chris Mason, and curators Jonah Beram and Matt Williams along with an introductory slideshow on juvenile writing by Alicia Puglionesi and a musical production by Francesca D’Uva and her band that that she wrote also when young.

I had pictured the night to consists of sitting in a soft-lit room lined with bookshelves among individuals bundles in layers for warmth intently listening to lugubriously read pieces from writer’s earlier years. This was not the case. Instead the event took place in a room filled with brightly colored paintings mirroring Andy Warhol subjects, modern Picasso designs, and Jackson Pollock techniques. There was a stage, a foot high, which had a cluttered work desk on it. Williams and Puglionesi sat on the edge of stage making fried eggs with a portable camping stove.

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Puglionesi left Williams to the burner to begin the production with a slideshow on the historical background of tonight’s theme: juvenility. She started with: “how to be the right ‘you’ at the right historical moment” then moved on to a writer’s reflection piece, “now I pretend to have reached a clarity of the young writer I was.” The audience tittered. She moved to her next topics, “in modern poetry, the you that’s closer to death is always the more credible you.” The audience responded with much laughter. I was confused. I took it as an insightful statement, not mockery.

Puglionesi specifically set a humorous tone for the night by satirizing juvenility with various sardonic quotes and visuals. The slideshow made clear that the readings to follow were to be relished, poked fun at, and taken lightheartedly.

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Matt Williams

Williams was next to take the stage. “Rumor has it I played ice hockey for 13 years,” he said, in a spooky, hallowed way as if he were telling a ghost story. The crowd followed him, interested. They were in on the satire with everyone responding from his beginning description of being “decked out” in hockey gear to the story’s closing line “save yourself before your child falls in love with a sport.” I was enthused by the cliché portrayal of his hockey career, but the nature of the event was problematic.

This kind of work —more experimental and process oriented than the usual personal and confessional work is meant to challenge academia but at the same time has become a part of it. W.B. Yeats, the writing of Fluxes artists, Ron Padgett, Postmodernists like Donald Barthelme, and Dada artists such as Kurt Schwitters all make up a long history for such work. In some cases sound will be the driving force or the composition of phrases instead of the actual meaning of the words.

Thus, as a student studying creative writing I have a hard time coming to terms with forms such as these because I am used to reading and writing pieces that are meant to evoke emotion in certain ways. I’m used to “show don’t tell,” an infamous rule many creative writing students are familiar with from workshop classes, that is completely ignored in many of tonight’s pieces. “Show don’t tell” is meant to serve as a guideline for creating well-written works. Rather than explicitly saying what you mean, the writer should paint a picture of it instead so the message can be deciphered and left to the reader to decide. I’m used to pinpointing certain words to use in certain lines due to their definition.

When Christophe Casamassima turned off all the lights in the studio and knelt on the ground with his back turned from us, holding a flashlight to read his journal entries, I thought we would finally get to see a writer reflecting on his juvenility with emotion that held insecurity, confusion, disdain. “MDMA here we go again,” he read with exasperating sound. But as he continued to read four pages of incomplete sentences like “past equals consciousness,” “lazy concrete chooses to move under me,” “8 plus 9 equals hamburger” everyone was holding their stomachs from laughing so hard and I realized that the struggling tone of voice is exaggerated to provoke the audience.

It was confusing as to why no one appeared to be serious. Whenever I resurface poems I wrote in high school, I read them alone in my room, because I’m aware of the ridiculous content but I also still have a hard time coming to terms with the emotions I expressed. I wanted these writers to feel the same way, to show it in performance. The adolescent and teenage years are trying and the years to come are more challenging. Maybe I have yet to part from my own younger self, from my own juvenility, which is why I could not let myself fully indulge in this form of satiric writing.

However, I did empathize with Chris Mason’s readings from Poems of A Doggy and a book of experimental sound poetry, which he had not read from in 30 years. When I asked him at the end of the show how it felt being on stage reading poems he had chosen not to unearth for a while he responded with “it started out sensitive then got less and less so.” Jonah Beram, afterthoughts of the show were less than inspiring. When I asked what he wanted to the audience to take away the night he answered, “I’m just glad no one got up there and broke a leg.”

Maybe I need to be more open, maybe I am a poet who takes things too seriously, but on the basis of this performance I am not yet convinced.

Be Interactive

One of the biggest benefits of being apart of the blogging sphere is being able to interact with tens of thousands of people…whenever you want. Bloggers have created spaces amongst many different niches for communities with similar interests and needs to develop, grow, and communicate with one another. I think it’s incredibly important for blogs to be interactive because there is so much we can learn from each other—which is why I have an “Interviews” page. This page will feature question and answer sessions with different freelance writers, along with a short description of their background. These interviews are meant to serve as encouragement to all you other freelance writers out there trying to find your own unique voice, style, and purpose. To check out my first interview click here !

Hi World!

Greetings from my Baltimore Apartment overlooking JHU!

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I’d like to use this first post to tell you all how I got started in the freelance industry, what I hope to communicate through this blog, and the kind of content you can expect to find.

My Mom is a freelance writer herself, a fantastic one, spends most of her time writing for a bridal outlet these days. I’d have to say I get my writing capabilities and creative knack from her. My dad, though fantastic at what he does, still writes sentences like the ones you find in Clifford the Big Red Dog or Berenstain Bears. 

One afternoon, last semester, my mom texted me saying a wonderful woman she had met on a press trip posted a FaceBook status saying she was  looking looking for an assistant (thank you FaceBook) and now I work for her, in helping to promote her stories through different social media outlets. She then connected me to one of her editors, who I now write  New York hotel reviews for.

With this blog, I’m going to gain a deeper understanding of the industry, connect with fellow freelance enthusiasts, and develop better writing skills. You’ll find posts about all different subjects that relate to these overarching themes such as tips/advice, my own experiences, terms and processes, and interviews with published freelance writers.

But yet, I could never abandon my passion for poetry nor my other creative outlets, so you can also expect to find poems, quotes, and photography that I find inspiration and motivation in– it’s what keeps pushing me to do better.

I’ll leave you all with one of the first haikus I ever wrote, which I like to go back to from time to time.

A soil-kind-queen

Reigning over the meadow

Reaping fallen stems