“Sun Shine Over Me No Matter What I Do”

18 10 2011

from “The Shrine/An Argument” by Fleet Foxes


I love October.

I have a few updates and announcements to make, and they’re all good ones:

So, yes, October’s been a little hectic so far. There have been some good times: trips to the pumpkin patch; decorating the house with spiderwebs, ghouls, spooky lights, and a tombstone; fishing trips; hiking; and many trips to playgrounds with the boys. There’s been some rough times: specifically the round of colds/sinus infections that went through our household over the last week and a half or so, and the lack of sleep that comes with such illnesses if you have little ones in the house. Now, we’re getting ready for some major changes. My wife is going back to working full-time for the first time in many years now that our littlest is in preschool, and I have a change on the horizon which brings me to my next update…

I now feel completely comfortable calling myself a professional writer. 

Last month, I applied for a new position as a Communications Specialist in the Corporate Communications division of the company where I work with my day job. I didn’t apply because I disliked my current job. In fact, I love my current position which allows me to coach and mentor others in a professional capacity to improve the level of customer service we provide. I feel it is rewarding work that allows me to help others grow. I sincerely love my manager and current co-workers. I didn’t apply simply because the Communications Specialist position was a promotion. I applied because it is a writing position, and of course, writing is my passion. I write whether I get paid for it or not. In my new position, I will potentially be writing press releases, speeches, scripts for events, internal presentations, and whatever else might happen to cross my desk. It will be a good mix of different styles for different needs. I’ve met my new manager and coworkers, and I am really excited to start working with them next week.

Now, normally, I don’t talk about my day job in great detail. Usually, I don’t feel it is relevant to the kinds of things we discuss here on my blog. I announce this here not to brag, but because I think it’s relevant for many of you who read my blog. This stuff — this writing stuff we do for peanuts as a hobby and a passion — can sometimes pay off in unexpected ways. In fact, my new manager asked me about some of my stories and features during our interview. Southern Fried Weirdness came up. This stuff, which I’ve always done more for my own pleasure than for any potential financial reward, was what put me on the hiring manager’s radar. When I applied for this position, I utilized the skills I’ve learned to create a quick website to use as a writing portfolio. Here’s the link: http://timothymcintyre.wordpress.com/. I mention this because, if you’re a writer and you really want to make it in any professional capacity, I strongly suggest you put something like this together and keep it updated. I made mine a private WordPress site, not publicized, but I kept the address handy and sent it to the hiring manager when applying. I would suggest keeping it personalized for your potential market or employer. In other words, if applying for a certain position, note that position somewhere in your text. Here are the steps I used to create this portfolio:

First, I decided how to organize the portfolio: I wanted a home page which served as a basic summary — this should be the first thing a potential employer/client sees.  I made pages to highlight certain skill sets — a page for fiction/poetry/creative writing, a page highlighting nonfiction work, and a page detailing past editing duties. I also created separate pages for an academic overview, a professional overview, and for my official resume. Once I had the layout ready to go, I wrote the content for each page. I did this the same way I would create any other piece. I wrote first drafts in one sitting. I came back and edited this text for clarity. I added to this text if necessary and removed anything unnecessary. I proofed it once for Grammar. I had a separate pair of eyes look over it for anything I might have missed (thank you, Christine!) and then finalized it. I personalized it further by choosing a theme that looked professional and adding a picture. So, more or less, I used the same steps one would take to create an author site for oneself, only I made it a little more stark and professional. You most likely would want to add a contact page or include your contact information. I did not include this detail on this portfolio, only because the hiring manager already had all my contact information on my official corporate application and resume.

Feel free to use my site as a template of sorts if you would like to create your own online writing portfolio. I shared this because I thought it might be helpful to someone out there. Also, I was hoping it might encourage others. There’s more than one way to become a professional writer, after all. So many sites only focus on the path to book publication. I just thought it was important to show that there are other paths worth considering when it comes to making a living doing what you love.

And, I guess that’s it. I think. Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to post something here before the end of the month, but just in case, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!! 🙂




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