The One Thing That Really Bothers Me about Being a Writer

I’ll give you a hint: it’s not having my name out there. It’s not even having my photo out there. It’s not even about writing about bras and body hair and tampons and menstrual blood and my misdiagnosis and whatever other personal things I write about.

Mean comments. That’s the one thing that really bothers me about being a writer.

Or, should I say insensitive comments?

Badly written comments.

I mean, comments that clearly were not thought about before they were written.

Whatever you want to call them, I just really hate it when people write negative comments. Yes, they are voicing an opinion. No, I do not think it was done in the best way.

This post is compiled from a few comments I’ve gotten over my career of being a writer that either:

a) really hurt my feelings

b) made me really mad

c) made think how stupid people can be

We have all done immature and thoughtless things. If you’re posting a comment on an article that someone took the time to write, why not make it a good one?

Disagreeing with the author’s opinion is perfectly fine. But can we do it in a way that’s at least, you know, nice?

Here are some people who responded a little less kindly to my articles as well as my responses.

The Person Who Did Not Understand the Article

Oh, this lady. This was written in response to my article about my shaved head on Elephant Journal. This woman clearly did not understand that I have chosen to cut my hair because I like it, not because I was rebelling against society’s standards for me.

My response (and some fun responses from others):

I handled that well, right? She did hurt my feelings, though. All those CAPS. Like I don’t understand NON-CAPITALIZED WORDS.

The Person Who Wants to Feel Superior to You

I don’t know what they’re teaching Gracie at Hudson Valley Community College, but I suppose she hasn’t yet learned that everyone’s experience is unique to them.

Gracie wrote this comment in response to my landlord article, which is published on this site as well as on Thought Catalog.

Was my experience the worst one on the planet? Of course not. So I responded as such:

My initial reaction to this post was anger that someone was discounting my experience. Once I got over that and actually thought about it, I was able to respond much more rationally.

Apparently, the readers of Thought Catalog really like feeling superior to the author. Another beloved reader wrote this in response to an article I have published there about bras:

I’m not sure if the word dumbassssss is the correct word to describe me or to discredit the research I cited in that article, but I couldn’t think of a polite response and so I simply thanked Lesley for her comment and tried really hard not to wish that she never gets a job after her internship ends.

The Angry Women Who Just Really Like Their Bras

It’s no secret that I’ve been pretty vocal about the fact that bras aren’t good for our breasts. My article on Wellness has gotten a lot of attention and a lot of comments. Some of them are from angry women who really disagree with me.

I don’t know what she means by “actually have breasts”, but assuming she’s referring to the size of breasts, this comment is just plain rude.

Her opinion could have been better expressed rather than simply saying all women who don’t wear bras are ugly. Oops, sorry, I meant U G L Y.

And then there’s this woman, who likes to equate breasts with pancakes.

Sigh. I really wish she had cited research… but she didn’t, so I have to assume she had no basis for saying my article (which was backed by numerous studies) was full of lies. So I couldn’t think of anything else to say, except for:

The following person clearly feels that there’s research that proves otherwise, but she neglects to cite it.

Studies, please? And I would really argue that you have some degree of control over whether or not you develop cancer. Otherwise, why would the National Cancer Institue list diet, alcohol, obesity, and tobacco among its risk factors for cancer?

So yeah. Angry women. Love their bras.

The Person Who Just Wants to Be Mean

And then there’s this mess of comments on that bra article on Wellness of a woman asking for resources and this dude who shoots her down and offends all women with large breasts. Such an ignorant comment!

I tried to be helpful and just ignored that other bastard. I hope that made you feel better dude because you clearly have no idea what it’s like to have breasts.

And finally, we have this lady from Elephant Journal commenting on my menstrual cup article there.

Wow? Wow what?

It seems that she’s saying that cotton tampons are better than silicone. Shouldn’t she have just said that?

Cotton is one of the top producers of pesticides in the world so firstly I would argue for organic tampons here, and secondly, silicone is at least reusable which helps our landfills out. Thirdly, most tampons are made from synthetic fibers and treated with carcinogenic chemicals.

But I didn’t respond to this one because I couldn’t think of anything to say to “wow”. Just ran out of energy after responding to the other comments.

How to Comment Nicely

There are other ways to comment even if you disagree with what the author is saying in the article.

For example, the woman above could have said, “I really think that cotton tampons are better than silicone for these specific reasons.” Sounds much more put together, right?

Back up your claims with facts and research to help others see your opinion. This helps you appear more credible and gives justification to your comment. Be mindful of what you say to others. These are actual people writing these articles, not machines. We have feelings!

Above all, be kind. Recognize that someone has a different opinion than you. Be aware of your feelings. Reading these comments was really hard for a sensitive Cancer like me because I took them personally. Apparently, they took my articles personally as well.

Take yourself out of it. Respond kindly. Be nice to one another. This should not be so hard.

I also have to say I really hate that Facebook comments plugin.

I love being a writer. I love having people read my work. And yes, I love having people comment on my articles because it generates discussion, shares a wide variety of views, and gets me better search rankings in Google. What I really dislike is people being insensitive in their comments.

Share kindness, not hate!

5 Awesome Benefits of Guest Blogging

Guest posting may have gone through the wringer with Google, but it still exists and is a pretty happening party if you play your cards right.

Writers know that guest posting has its benefits as well as its drawbacks—but I’m here to talk about some really cool benefits of guest blogging that I’ve discovered throughout my writing journey.

Guest posts are almost always not paid posts, and your point of contact may or may not send you ideas. More often than not, your ideas will come from YOU, so the benefits of guest blogging can require a little elbow grease while you’re still not getting paid.

So why would any self-respecting writer want to guest post?

Enter my five awesome benefits of guest blogging.

1. Get Your Name Out There

Getting your name out there with guest posting is pretty cool.

Although not many people care about who you are, what you do, or even what you’re writing about, just being able to have your name published on a piece is cool.

Why?

Because as writers, we’re not always credited for our work. In fact, many of us work behind the scenes for people who won’t ever post our name or even tell their clients we exist.

So getting a name out there along with a picture of your face and a link back to your site is one of the benefits of guest blogging. It’s like saying ‘HEY! I wrote this! Isn’t it awesome??”

2. Have Published Samples to Send to Clients

One of the benefits of guest blogging is having real, live samples to send to clients. This is key for a writer starting out because people that you contact are going to want to see the work you’ve done.

Sure, you can send them your ghost-writing samples (as long as it’s not against your contracts), but nothing speaks to your credibility like having your name on your original work. They can see your name, your picture, your site link, and they get a view into your work and what it’s all about.

It proves that you’re an active, real person, who loves posting great content about things you’re passionate about for free. Although you won’t be working for your clients for free, having that polished, published piece with your name on it to send them is way better than a ghost writing sample. You’re CREDIBLE, dammit!

3. Take Chances

If I never started guest posting, I would have never realized how cool I truly am.

That sounded lame, so I’ll say just kidding—what I mean to say is that you can take chances with guest posting in ways that you never really could with paying clients.

One of the benefits of guest blogging is that you get to experiment with your voice, different styles, and even photographs. Send them whatever you want, and who cares if they don’t like it? It’s not like you’re getting paid or anything!

I never realized how ballsy I could be with my writing until I started writing for a couple people for free and they loved it—realizing “hey, I can actually say this and people dig it” is a powerful feeling.

4. Write About What You Love

Let’s face it, as writers—especially aspiring writers—we don’t always get to write about things we love. Sometimes we’re writing about some pretty boring crap.

I do encourage all writers to never compromise on their ethics, though. Only write about things you’d personally back/agree with.

So when you’re experiencing the benefits of guest blogging, of course, you’re not going to be writing for free for something you hate or disagree with. You’re going to find an awesome site that advocates for everything you love and then become a contributor there.

You’ll love writing about what you love, even if it’s for free—getting your message out there along with your name is a good feeling, and you need some good feelings in your career 🙂

5. Gain Experience

If you’re a newbie writer, you definitely need some experience. So just get out there and do it!

This is one of the best benefits of guest blogging. Writing for free probably isn’t your first priority, and it doesn’t have to be. But sneak some guest posts in there every now and then to build your portfolio and write about things you shine in.

Nothing makes an excellent sample piece than content you’re passionate about to share with your future clients. You’ll also gain experience working with a point of contact with the site and generating ideas—two very valuable skills in this business.

Get out there and make mistakes with guest posting. Like I said, it’s not like they’re paying you.

Take advantage of some of the opportunities guest posting has to offer! It can be difficult to find sites at first—but keep looking, never stop asking, and don’t give up!

What Is It Like Being a Freelance Writer? 5 Things No One Told Me

Writer?

Freelancing sounds so dreamy, right?

You work from home, you take two-hour breaks in which you do nothing but drink tea and read graphic novels, and you can work at midnight if it suits you then sleep in until 10 a.m. the next morning (like I do that, pfff).

While I love my life as a freelancer, there are things to consider when thinking what is like being a freelance writer! Here are five things nobody warned me about when I started this business.

 

1. You get to have great relationships with your clients

For some reason, I had the impression that I would just send my work to people and that would be that.

But alas, no.

I’m part of conference calls and Skype sessions, even “interview” calls for people thinking of “hiring” me. I’m expected to be part of a team of people who make amazing content happen, including editors, other writers, website developers, and marketing people.

You have to actually build relationships with your clients, and this includes much more than just sending them good writing. What is it like being a freelance writer? Building great relationships with clients and being involved in their company, even though you’re just a freelancer.

 

2. The networking is awesome

I’m someone who generally doesn’t network, even if it would help me, simply because I’m not a people person and don’t really like putting myself out there like that.

But, when considering what is it like being a freelance writer, you have to reach out to people to get business as a writer. So I threw myself out there. I’m meeting all kinds of people who need all sorts of different things. I even meet people who need full-time copywriters.

I think about that for a second and I’m like, wow, I would have never heard about that job if I wasn’t doing this.

 

3. You’ll find out more about yourself

When I started freelancing, I wanted to be everything to everyone, and I wasn’t sure how to find my niche or even what my niche should be.

But as you grow and realize what is it like being a freelance writer, you understand more about the great experiences as a writer that help you refine your skills even more than they already are. It’s an exploration journey!

 

4. Working from home/anywhere you want is harder than you think

It’s great working from home, don’t get me wrong! It’s ever better when you can travel, but it’s harder than you think, people.

What is it like being a freelance writer? You have to be a self-starter. I’m a really disciplined person and great at managing tasks and making my own schedule, but this is hard. You need to be on the ball if you’re going to make this work!

When you’re at the office, there’s not much else to do besides officey-type things. When you’re at home or in a fun new city, there’s lots to do besides writing a blog. I can work from anywhere in the world, but it’s a distracting world out there, and I’m learning that my motivation and schedule need to be on track or I’m not getting any work done.

 

5. It’s more work

There were times when I was at my job in DC when I was bored or felt unchallenged. It was almost always easy for me to get all my work done while I was there. This is not the case with freelance writing. No one told me quite how much work this would be.

Making great writing isn’t easy, even for someone like me who’s been writing for a long time and majored in English at Penn State. What is it like being a freelancer writer? Working at this because every client (and every project) is different.

You’ve got to deliver based on their needs, and it’s YOUR job to find out what their needs are. When you’re not done everything you need to do by quitting time, no one else is going to do it on the next shift. It’s just you and you have to work, dammit!

While freelancing has been both easier and harder than I thought it would be, and for all different reasons, I love being able to do what I love. Being a freelancer writer is amazing. I’m always working on being a great writer for my clients and a master of scheduling at home. Never give up on what you truly want to do!

What Have I Accomplished in My Year After Graduating College?

The year after graduating college can be a daunting one. But I’m here to tell you why mine has been the most liberating ever!

accomplishment

Today has been a year since I graduated from Penn State. It seems nuts to me that it’s been a year, but at the same time, so much has happened.

So what have I accomplished in my year after graduating college?

Focused More on My Personal Growth Than My Professional

When I graduated, I felt like I had a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

I started my B.A when I was 18, and graduated when I was 23. I had spent years trying to get my degree, and now it was over.

What should I do?

I used the year after graduating college to focus much more on my personal self than on my professional one. After all, I’d finished my degree—now it was time to focus on me and my inner goddess.

Got a Full-Time Job—But Quit

So I had a full-time job before I even got my diploma in the mail.

After applying to job after job after job both right before and after I left Penn State, and going on only two interviews, I landed a job at a security firm as a tech writer close to DC. I was terrified that I wasn’t going to get a job but I did, and I was ecstatic to start.

I thought I wanted to do tech writing—turns out, it’s not really my cup of tea. I’m not embarrassed to tell you that I quit that job after only a few days because it went so badly.

I wasn’t happy, and happiness is a priority in my life, especially the year after graduating college.

Got a Part-Time Job

After I quit my first job, I felt lost and confused as to what I wanted.

I was still applying the year after graduating college but had less certainty and confidence as to what I wanted. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but if I couldn’t do tech writing, how could I find a legit writing job?

I applied to the women’s homeless shelter in DC and got the job. It was part-time, but exactly what I needed to figure out what I wanted to do while still making an income the year after graduating college.

Figured Out What I Truly Want To Do

I love my work in DC. It’s been so empowering and it has been a fabulous opportunity to grow and figure out what I want.

I learned that I want to help people and not just homeless people. I wanted to write, too. I just needed to confidence to actually figure out how to start my writing professionally.

Started My Own Business

So walaah! I started my own freelance writing business almost a year after graduating college. It’s going great and I love it, and it feels awesome to get paid doing what I love to do—writing!

Learned Where I Want to Live

Ian was interning in Asheville, North Carolina during the year after graduating college. I drove down there a couple times that summer and spent several weeks with him while I was unemployed (those weeks were some of the most healing of my life, it felt like).

I really loved Asheville and North Carolina. I hope to move there!

Stopped Being so Afraid of Life

When I graduated, I was terrified of so many things. I think more than all these things though, I was afraid of my ability to actually do something worthwhile that people would pay me for.

What would my life mean if I couldn’t do what I loved?

I was so scared of actually living my life and going for my dreams. After this past year after graduating college, I’m still a little scared, but not half as much as I was. And I gained more confidence, too.

Realized How My Misdiagnosis Has Impacted My Life

That crazy illness that I was diagnosed with almost 8 years ago is not the illness I have.

I do not have any illness; my body merely has an autoimmune response to a protein named gluten. I realized that my illness has both made me terrified and less confident.

I’m not sick, and I don’t have to be sick. I choose what’s best for my body. I live the way I want to live. Going through my illness has made me less likely to spend time on things that I don’t want to spend time on. I cherish my time now and what I do with it.

Our lives are so short, so do what makes you happy!

So my year after graduating college didn’t quite go like I thought—but it was a magical one and I’ve come so far personally and professionally!

Welcome to The Green Writing Desk!

Welcome to The Green Writing Desk!

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I hope to share with my lovely clients a bit about me through these entires and the things that are important to me. Natural health is my passion and focus at The Green Writing Desk.

I came to natural health eight years ago when I was sixteen—I was diagnosed with a “rare and incurable” autoimmune disease that put me in a wheelchair and on chemotherapy. Four years later at the age of 21, I was told by a doctor that I would be on chemo for the rest of my life. I then sought the help of a herbalist, who suggested that gluten was causing my illness. I went gluten-free and a week later all of my symptoms disappeared.

Cultivating knowledge of ourselves, our earth, and our bodies is vital to becoming well. Toxins, stress, sickness, and genetically engineered food and pharmaceutical drugs are not making us well. Through The Green Writing Desk, I hope to educate others about natural health while doing what I love—helping great businesses produce great content.

Writing has been a lifelong passion of mine and I was able to explore and refine that passion at Penn State University. I worked with some phenomenal teachers there to become the seasoned writer I am today. My writing experiences have been across all mediums including blog writing, technical writing, science/medical writing, creative writing, and more. Of course, all these categories are not mutually exclusive 🙂

Today, four years after finding out the truth about my illness, I remain drug-free and of course, still gluten-free. I feel amazing. My journey hasn’t been easy, but it’s certainly been worthwhile.

I hope you enjoy this blog as an extended part of The Green Writing Desk and what it has to offer. I look forward to working with you and your business to create amazing content.

Thanks for visiting!