It’s been almost a month since I left my full time job. The last three weeks have been a challenge – but challenging in a different way to being in a corporate/office environment. The challenge, I find, is the high standards and expectations that I’ve set myself.
Anyway, I should probably elaborate on what I’ve been doing since I quit my job and what my plans are for the rest of the year. First of all, I didn’t quit with the intent of being a good-for-nothing unemployed slob that gets to watch Netflix 24/7 and laze around in bed until the afternoon… as much as that would’ve been nice. My intent was to rejuvenate my blog and develop my personal brand better. I wanted to be proactive in creating content that I knew could be helpful to others. I wanted to create something enlightening, inspiring or motivating each day.
During the first two weeks of ‘freedom’, I spent most of my days evaluating the goals I wanted to achieve for the rest of the year. So here they are. I’m putting this out there because that way I’ll feel more accountable.
Goal 1 – To write a story
I’ve always wanted to finish writing a story of some sort, be it a full-length novel or something short and sweet. So immediately, I wrote down “FINISH DRAFT STORY” on my goals list. Now, this goal is easier said than done. It’s been almost six years since I’ve written a story of the creative sort.
During my high school years, I spent most of my time in math class handwriting a teen love-story in my math notebook (which, let’s be honest, is probably the reason why I suck at math). I remember how all my friends would wait for me to finish a page of this story so that they could get their daily fix of my cheesy storytelling. They would pass the pages to each other, eager to know what happens to Samantha (the strong-willed protagonist) and Oliver (the brooding love interest with a mesmerising talent at guitar). It was fun. It was a great escape for me to get lost in this alternate universe that I had created with just a pen and paper, and away from the hell that was high school.
In my last year of high school, I wrote my last ever short story for my extension English project. After that, I lost all motivation and confidence in myself, mainly because I ended up hating the story that I wrote. Even to this day, I cringe every time I see the pdf document that harbors my futile attempts of being a profound writer. I titled the project “Summer’s Day, Winter’s Night”. Yeah, you can already tell it was lame. I hated it and I got a pretty unimpressive final grade and all my hopes of becoming an author just diminished as I left high school. In fact, I was so despaired by my inability to write that I changed my Communications major from Journalism to Media Studies. I never wrote a creative story after that.
So, six years later. I figured since I finally have no full-time obligations to any institution or corporation, that it’s time to dive head first into my passion of creative writing. It’s hard because I haven’t practiced in six years. I feel like my imagination is severely rusty but I’m going to go for it anyway. I don’t expect that the story I’ll write will be impressive and profound, but I know that it will challenge me to become a better writer. And that’s a step in the right direction.
Goal 2 – To develop a consistent personal brand
I’ve noticed that my blog and my social media pages have played a pivotal role in securing job opportunities in the past. Since my ‘trade’ falls under Communications, being able to show that I have creative abilities in creating content is important. I never realised how important it was until my previous employers had told me that my blog, YouTube channel and my social media pages were deciding factors that I had some sort of talent that could be used in their workplace.
To be honest, I’ve never looked at my online life as a portfolio before. To me, it is and always will be a sanctuary for me to express myself. But it makes sense – everyone has a personal brand and to get noticed in the digital age, you have to market yourself well. Even if you’re not a communications or marketing major, you are a walking, talking brand.
Again, now that I have no strict obligations to others, I want to be able to keep creating online content that truly captures who I am as a person. I want to continue practicing my craft, to keep writing and connecting to other like-minded people. This means producing more blog posts, videos, designs and anything else that can keep my creative muscles stretched.
Goal 3 – To be more strategic and analytical
Never have I approached any project with a strategic or analytical mindset. I’ve always just been doing things because I ‘felt’ like doing things. Like one day I’ll feel like writing a blog post, other days I’m just too unmotivated or lazy.
Being strategic is really about planning, executing and evaluating. A big part of the perpetual anxiety that I have in life has to do with the feeling that I’m not doing enough. So that’s why I took two weeks to really plan out a strategy to achieve my goals. I’ve packed out my calendar with tasks that’ll keep me motivated and be more productive so that at the end of the day, I know that I’ve spent my hours doing meaningful work.
Really, the goal here is to keep developing and growing… and that’s not going to happen if I only create things when I ‘feel’ like it.
So in a nutshell, that’s what I have planned for the rest of the year. I’m not too sure where it’ll take me in terms of my ‘career’, but for now I’m happy. I actually feel like I’m taking the steps I need to get to where I want to be and most of all, I’m creating things that I feel proud of. It’s a feeling I haven’t had in such a long time.
But all this said and done, I wouldn’t be anywhere without the support of my online family – that’s YOU. So thank you for always giving me such wonderful words of encouragement. Whenever I feel like I’m not good enough, there always seems to be a little message for me either in my inbox or on my social media pages telling me how much I have inspired them in some way. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to comprehend words like these, because really, I’m just an introverted girl tap-tapping on a keyboard trying to make sense of this world. But I truly appreciate your kindness nonetheless.
And honestly, I really want to tell you in a more personal way how much you guys mean to me. So I have these postcards that I’ve collected from my travels that I was going to throw away, but instead, I want to send them to you – whoever you are and wherever you are.
So if you guys will accept these postcards, I’d love to write you a personal message of thanks! Please send me your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll shower you with my lame words on a postcard.
Here’s to new chapters.