Finding Your Writing Niche

So you want to write, but don’t know where to start. Getting started can be an intimidating venture and can discourage even the most ambitious writer. Here are a couple of things to get you started:

Write what you know. It’s easier to write about things you’re familiar with. For example, if you have knowledge and experience in writing white papers, it’s easier to write about and expand your knowledge in that area instead of writing in unfamiliar territory. Use the experience you have to start on your path. You can always expand later.

Reading. A writer’s best friend and an entrepreneur’s green flag. Reading about the field you’re about to embark in opens you to new experiences you didn’t know existed. Perhaps you never thought about writing press releases or engaging in ghostwriting until you read about it. It’s always important to educate yourself.

Remember to look around you. Potential areas exist everywhere you are. Potential areas exist everywhere you are. Before you realize it, you’ll find areas you didn’t realize you could write about. Yes, writing is an art, but it’s also a skill. The more you write, the better you become at it. This applies to all genres of writing. If you’re still unsure, start with the things you like the most…the things you’re passionate about. Before you know it, you’ll have a collection ready to share with the world.

Happy hunting!

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Who are you working for?

How much time do you spend working on someone else’s dream? We spend so much time working on someone else’s job, someone else’s dream, someone else’s goal that by the time we’re done, we’re too tired to work on ours.

Some people don’t even know what their dreams and goals are because they’ve exhausted themselves on someone else’s. Take time each day and work on you. Explore what makes you happy, write down any ideas you have, take the first step towards creating the life you want. If you’re not careful, by the time you look up, life will have passed you by.

Start now.

The Ugly Truth

Let me tell you something you don’t want to hear…

Sometimes–you have to start from the bottom to get where you want to be.

Yes, you’ll actually have to work for it.  Yes, you might have to do it over again until you get it right.  And yes, sometimes you’ll actually have to take a step back and check yourself.

“If it’s easy, then it won’t be worth it.  If it’s worth it, it won’t be easy.”

Starting from the bottom or starting over again, is not always a bad thing.  A lot of people are having entitlement issues these days and don’t understand why there’s so much distance between the things they want and what they have.  When you’re at the “bottom” or have to start over again, there’s a reason for it.  Perhaps there was a lesson you missed in life’s unending classroom.  Maybe you need to learn something different.  Maybe you need to take a different path.  I don’t know.  It’s up to you to figure out why.

But during that process, humble yourself.  Humble your words. Humble your actions. Humble your conversations. To do that, you’ll have to self-evaluate, self-educate and self-reflect often.  You’ll have to keep reminding yourself of the reasons why you started this journey.  You’ll constantly have to battle through critics and negativity.  There’s nothing you can do about that.  You’ll have late nights and early mornings and unnecessary commentary to filter through.  You can’t do anything about the unnecessary and unwanted commentary–so ignore them.  What they think about you is none of your business anyway.

Sometimes you’ll have to start in a place you’d rather not be, but that’s okay.  Learn from the lessons in life and move on.  As you learn and grow, your skills and talents will also.  It only helps you in the long run.

What’s Your Inspiration?

Inspiration comes from a variety of places. Sometimes it’s a conversation you’ve had, a story you’ve read, or just something you’ve seen.  It’s what keeps you writing regardless of time, location or deadline.  It’s what drives you to seclude yourself from the world and away to a place where nothing else matters but the completion of your thoughts.

See if you can identify something that inspires your writing.  Pay attention to the moments that forces you to sit and write.  You’ll need to be able to reference these motivators when facing a potential writer’s block. Writer’s blocks are real and being able to draw from what gets your creative juices flowing is essential in the completion of a project.

So, what inspires you to write?  Is it random conversation?  Is it observering your surroundings and feeding off the energy?  Is it being secluded and away from the noise of a busy life?  When do you write most? On breaks at work? During vacation? Or whenever the mood hits you? 

I tend to write late nights for hours on end and am usually inspired by something I’ve seen, heard or experienced.  I remember writing an entire poem on napkins, while in between classes on my college campus based on a personal experience with a friend.  I learned over time that the majority of my writings are motivated by personal experiences and sometimes random moments.  I feed off the energy around me and use it in my writing.

If you pay close enough attention, you’ll find there’s more than one inspiration. Before long, you will have compiled a list of them and will be able to go to one or more to aid in your writing.

Don’t Personalize Failure

Everything will not always turn out like you expect it to, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it personally. Things happen. Things will always happen.  That’s life.  But instead of blaming yourself, look at the situation as an opportunity for growth. Failure is not a reflection of yourself, it’s just life’s way of forcing movement.  Just because what you did today didn’t work, doesn’t mean it won’t work tomorrow.  Learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward with a better understanding today than yesterday.

Note to Self: Ignore Your Inner Critic

Your inner critic can be harsh.  It can push away a good idea, convince you that you’re not good enough, not worthy enough and don’t have the ability to do it.  Don’t deny yourself the vision you’re aiming to achieve by letting past experiences, bad moments or low self-esteem interfere with the vision you have of yourself.

Setting Schedules: Another One??

If you’re like me…then you hate setting schedules.  It’s like you already have enough to do during the day and the last thing you want to do is set a schedule for another area of your life.  For me, I’ve always found time for writing…whether it was on paper napkins at restaurants or on the back of some piece of paper at work.  I satisfied my desire to write by writing in between the moments.  That’s just me though.

But for others, setting a writing schedule is a necessary part of their lives.  When you’re writing a novel or working on a project setting a schedule with deadlines is ideal.  Setting a specific time aside will force your brain into a writing mindset and can help you to focus more.

But I’m not talking about the writing you do when working on a novel or project.  I’m talking about the writing you do to find meaning to your chaos…the writing you do when you need to find clarity in your life…and even the writing you do to find clarity to your emotional.  It’s in these times that writing should be done when the feeling comes and when you have something to express.  Life doesn’t have schedules and I believe neither should your writing.

But in whatever you do, the most important thing is to write.

Note to Self: Remember Your Reasons

If you feel as though you’ve fallen behind, remember why you started this journey.  Keep those reasons close, you’ll need them when the road feels lonely.  Use them to overcome feelings of depression and self-doubt.  Use them to fuel your purpose and strengthen your character.  Use them to smother your fears and replenish your faith.  Use them to manifest your dreams.  Use them to stay focused and build your courage.  Use them to reprogram your mind and develop a better vision of yourself.  Be persistent and stay focused.  Your reasons will take you there.

Do you have moments like this?

A few days ago, I had a what the hell are you doing with your life moment, which most people might find strange because I seldom share this part of me.  Most would say I’m ambitious, head-strong (can’t argue with this one), direct (definitely not this one either) and focused.  But uncertain is not a word people would use to describe me.

While I wasn’t unhappy, I realized I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my life.  I woke up thinking, there has to be more than this.  There has to be more than my daily work-life routine.

But when I woke the following morning, I was in a different frame of mind.  I realized I was being impatient.  I had to remember that my journey is just beginning and it’s going to take a lot more to get where I want to be.  In order for me to do more, I must be better than I am…and that’s not always easy.  Change isn’t easy, but it’s better than being stagnant.  Although I know I’m not in this alone, it’s hard to see through my own self-imposed cloudiness sometimes.

And even though the feeling of uncertainty was brief, the moment was needed to remind me to keep pushing through the doubt.  Life does not reward procrastinators nor does it reward those who aren’t willing to go the distance.  I needed to remember that this was part of my journey and from time to time, these feelings will surface, but I cannot allow these feelings to linger nor should I dwell on them.

No one ever said this was going to be easy.  But will it be worth it? Yes.

I write these posts as much for you as for me.  If you can relate to this at all, I encourage you to stay strong and keep pushing through my friend.  We have too much work left to do.

Everyone wants to be successful, but do you expect to be?

“Want shows up in conversation, EXPECTATION shows up in behavior.” ~Les Brown

Everyone wants to be successful.  But if you ask them if they expect to be, most people can’t answer.  Talk is talk, but your behavior ultimately determines the type of person you are.  You can dream all day about starting a business, but what are you going to do about it?  Are you going to sit and pine about something you could have, should have done?  Or are you going to take those steps necessary to secure your success?  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be one of those people in my later years dreaming about something I could have done something about now.  Take the first step and stop making excuses.  Nothing happens until you make a commitment and a decision to act.

Learn to Love the Journey, Not Just the Destination

Had lunch with a friend a while back.  We had just finished enjoying a movie and was on our way back to the city when I mentioned how much I loved road trips.  What he said next made me want to laugh…not the funny, ab crunching laugh out loud type of laughter, but the you’ve got to be joking kind.

He said he hated road trips.  Completely.   He hated the ride, hated the people, hated the time it took to get there.  He was only interested in the destination.  If there was a way to teleport himself to where he wanted to go and there was a company building a teleportation device, he’d be the sole stock owner.

I was shocked.  Who didn’t like road trips?  It took me a minute to understand that some people are in it for the destination, while others enjoy the journey.  There’s even a select few who enjoy both.  This applies to people in different stages in their life…be it career, family, hobby or business.  Some people are only in it for the end result, forgetting what it took to bring you there.

My point is this. The journey is just as important as the destination.  There’s lessons in the journey as well.  Much like writing, if you’re true to yourself and your craft, you eventually come to understanding yourself better and as a result…you write better, you do better, you become better.  That’s what the journey is for. Things take time.  You may not be there yet, but if you stay true to the course, before you realize it, you will reach your destination.  Sometimes it’s not the destination you wanted for yourself,  but a more fruitful and meaningful one.

So don’t get upset about how long it’s taking you to get where you vision yourself to be.  If you’re in the process of learning a new craft, take time to really learn it.  If you’re in the beginning stages of starting your business, take time to plan and learn what’s required.  Learn from the bumps in the road.  They’re not just bumps, but learning tools.

Enjoy the journey it takes to get you where you want to be.   You can’t rush the good stuff.

Note to Self: Life Does Not Reward Procrastinators

There will never be a perfect time to follow your dreams, start that business or write that book. If you don’t do it now, you never will. If you refuse to take the first step, perhaps you are unworthy of your dream. Take a chance on you for once regardless of the situation. Life does not reward procrastinators.

New Things Are Happening!!

Shout out to all of my Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and WordPress friends, followers, fans and family!! If you haven’t figured it out, I’ve decided to follow and develop my first love, writing. Those that know me are probably wondering what took me so long! But now, there are no more excuses! 2014 was a beautiful start, but I know 2015 will be even better. There are so many ideas and things I plan on doing that I can hear my mother in my head saying, “baby steps, Shakeena. It’ll all work out as it should.” I hope you’ll take this journey with me as I know this is just the beginning. So far, here’s what’s going on:

Live, Laugh & Rebel Blog: Live, Laugh & Rebel is about being better, doing better. It’s about standing as an individual and finding what’s unique about you and using it to live a better and fruitful life. It’s about personal growth, enterprise, self-education, entrepreneurship, conditioning and movement. It’s about all those things most people don’t want to hear, but need to in order to grow. You can view it at www.livelaughrebel.wordpress.com.

The Write Side of The Street Blog: This site about entrepreneurship will be consolidated with Live, Laugh & Rebel. All past and future site content will be posted there.

My Newsletter: A monthly newsletter. In every issue, you’ll find a Note to Self section, this is a short (sometimes longer) section about almost anything, it’s usually quotes or sayings I like (but you never know with me); a Main Character section, which is about developing and challenging yourself, like the main character in a story (after all, you are the main character in your story); and a Books section, which will show my latest books for sale. As things develop, you’ll see other sections which will include updates on events and showings, entrepreneurship, discounts, interviews and much, much more. If you prefer to up-to-date content, feel free to follow me on my blog, Live, Laugh & Rebel. You can subscribe to my newsletter at www.shakeenawheeler.com, on Facebook or you can send me your email and I’ll add you personally.

New Poetry E-book: Getting To You. A selection of poetry written by me for poetry lovers. You can purchase it at www.shakeenawheeler.com.

Writing Services: I offer a variety of writing services including web content, articles, blog posts, newsletters/e-newsletters, brochures, direct mail/e-mail marketing campaigns, white papers/how-to guides, ghostwriting, e-books, simple business, creative content and much more. You can find more information and my portfolio at http://www.shakeenawheeler.com. If you would like to discuss a project you have in mind, you can contact me at shakeena@shakeenawheeler.com or (484) 352-2147.

Well, that’s it so far, but there will be so much more coming up. Thanks again for everything you guys and I hope you have a peaceful and fulfilling year!