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How to become a blogger, according to Rachel Esco

You can’t just snap your fingers and become an established blogger overnight — well, not unless you’re Trump or a Jenner. For us mere commoners, getting paid to do what you love is no easy venture. In turn, most bloggers will simply write for free, satisfied with the sheer notoriety of getting credit for their published work. But, the burning question on everyone’s minds is how to start raking in some green for your words? How do you start?

Many women dream of being like Miranda Priestly, dominating a business empire while wearing the hottest designer pumps. Realistically, however, being a professional blogger is not all that glamorous. Let’s put the fantasies to rest. Here’s how to become a successful entrepreneur online.  

Be annoyingly persistent

You may have heard it all before, but never underestimate the power of persistence. Before I began getting hired to blog for brands, I probably went six months looking for work with no avail. So, what did I do? I began voluntarily writing for online magazines to build my experience and portfolio. Eventually, I had collected enough impressive work to showcase for potential clients. But, you must be willing to invest this extra time and energy if you’re serious about blogging as a career.

Join popular blogging platforms

What’s better than making your own website? Joining popular blogging platforms!  With established websites like She Knows or Elite Daily, you can submit your work to gain exposure for your blogs. In the early stages, this approach gives you more credibility and authority as a blogger. These platforms also let you link to your personal blog and social media accounts, helping you drive more traffic to your awesome material.

You can even use these sites as your online portfolio if you don’t already have your own website. But if you do decide to create your own, make sure it looks modern and professional. Since it’s essentially a representation of you and your talent, you must make it count! First impressions are everything. And don’t forget to promote your portfolio on social media to further increase its visibility.

Pitch your services

Another promising route to becoming a blogger is learning how to pitch your services. Now, I’ll be honest. This process is very tricky and rarely successful. But at the very least, if you know how to sell your services well, there’s always a chance you’ll get some interested replies.

Next, when you pitch your services, you have to have a niche. Any random schmo with a laptop can pitch themselves as a “blogger”, but if you’ve got a specific area of expertise, you’ll be more desirable to clients. For example, maybe you’re an organic food blogger; you can cater your services to organic grocery stores and related businesses. You’ll get much farther when your present yourself as a specific type of blogger.

Don’t reach out to the biggest businesses right away. Remember that at the beginning, you’re just a tiny entrepreneurial fish in a sea of blogging barracudas — sorry. So instead, reach out to mid-range businesses who are not as heavily swamped with thousands of pitch emails. You’ll have a better chance at getting noticed and hired for your services.

Use LinkedIn like crazy

Pledge your loyalty to LinkedIn and never look back. While most people go gaga for Instagram and Snapchat, focus your energy on LinkedIn as if it’s your main source of social media. Recruiters are constantly scoping LinkedIn to find fresh talent. Plus, there’s always people with startup companies looking to collaborate with bloggers they find on LinkedIn. My first big client actually found me through LinkedIn, so I genuinely can confirm it works!

 

Ready to begin to become Canada’s next top blogger? Best of luck everyone!

Morning pages are a creative writing process every journalist needs

Writing is not only a honourable vocation, but it is also an immersive and enlightening way to help sort out your thoughts on a day-to-day basis.

Setting aside a few minutes every morning to write as soon as you wake up helps to begin the day with a clear mind and create a monumental sense of clarity. The concept of the ‘morning pages’ was originally introduced by Julia Cameron in ‘The Artist’s Way’ , a book written in 1995, as a method of encouraging creativity. The theory is that prior to going to bed, you will set out three blank lined pages and a pen by your bedside. Upon waking up, you start writing the morning pages. Beginning your day by writing will introduce interesting thoughts and can often lead to beautiful moments of intelligibility.

The idea is deeply related to understanding how the subconscious and dreams correlate with daily emotions and it tries to make a creative bridge between the two worlds. People often dream about things that don’t seem to make sense or aren’t realistic, such as flying through the air or falling without dying. Writing three pages each morning helps record last night’s dreams and possible reasons why a bad or good dream may have occurred related to deep-seated feelings from daily life.

It is also a mindful exercise that allows people to begin their day by being still and aware of themselves rather than jumping out of bed to tackle the day head-on. As someone who isn’t a morning person, easing into the day in a gentle way is essential, and writing with the materials ready on the bedside is the perfect solution. But, you don’t have to write about your dreams — you can write about anything you want. There are no deadlines or expectations (besides filling the three pages), and any type of writing is acceptable. Switch between stream of consciousness writing about life to a short poem or even a short story if your heart desires. As a writer, this kind of control over my creative intellect is emotionally healing and empowering.

Creating a private writing space that is out of the public eye is essential for any artist. It will keep your personal love of writing intact and also resolve any internal writing block dilemmas that arise. Try it for a week and you will find yourself more connected and aware of your own feelings. Without a doubt, you will be surprised by the feelings and ideas that arise — it may even change your life.

Review: Lauren Graham’s ‘Talking As Fast As I Can’

As avid readers of Women’s Post are keenly aware, I’m a big fan of the hit-show Gilmore Girls. Even though I didn’t love the revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, the original show still maintains a special spot in my heart. That’s why I picked up Lauren Graham’s book “Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (And Everything In Between).”

When I started to read this book, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was an autobiography of sorts that touched on the actress’ role as the infamous Lorelai Gilmore and that it would contain a diary of the filming of the revival. But the book also gives readers a sneak-peak at the Graham pre-and-post this iconic role.

I knew nothing about the actress behind my all-time favourite television character — which meant that while reading the book all I heard was Lorelai Gilmore speaking in my head. But, strangely enough, that worked.

It takes a few chapters to get used to Graham’s writing style, which is as conversational and scattered as a Gilmore Girl. She makes the reader feel like a friend and is not afraid to abruptly end a sentence and jump into broadway song lyrics or go on a tangent about her wardrobe or a phone conversation she had with her dad. It’s through this writing style the readers are truly able to get to know the author.

Some of my favourite chapters revolved around her writing and her entrepreneurship. When she first started writing, she received a lot of flak from male journalists and men within these industries, all of whom couldn’t believe she didn’t have help completing her work. When bigger opportunities were offered to her, she questioned it, wondering whether the people she was meeting with had other people in mind to produce or be in charge of her projects. The sexism she experienced made her feel inferior, but it’s something she was able to combat, which I found incredibly inspirational.

“It’s not lost on me that two of the biggest opportunities I’ve had to break into the next level were given to me by successful women in positions of power,” she writes. “If I’m ever in that position and you ask me, “Who?” I’ll do my best to say, “You” too. But in order to get there, you may have to break down the walls of whatever it is that’s holding you back first. Ignore the doubt—it’s not your friend—and just keep going, keep going, keep going.”

And of course, there were the two chapters on Gilmore Girls themselves. In “What was it like, Part I”, Graham re-watches the original series and makes comments on the fashion, technology, and the elements she loved about each season. This chapter seems to go by fast, and I wished there was more insight into the relationships between the actors rather than a simple review — but that’s not Graham’s style. As much as that was what I wanted, I respect Graham for not dishing on her co-workers. The whole book is full of positive messages, and that was something I sorely needed at the time I read it.

In “What it was like, Part II”, there was a lot more detail. Graham kept a diary during the filming of the Gilmore Girl revival and readers get an in-depth look into the challenging process of re-creating the series nearly 10 years later. The diary is written in order of filming, not in order of episodes, which provides a unique view into what it was like to make the Netflix hit. Apparently, Carol King gave an impromptu concert that led to many tears and a few emotional breakdowns. Don’t you wish you could have been there?

What did I learn after reading this book? Lauren Graham is my spirit animal — and probably yours too!Her style is refreshing and authentic, something that is very rare in memoires, which tend to be overly edited and formal.  Some of the other topics mentioned in the book include the trials and tribulations of trying to be an actress in New York, the blunt of sexism when trying to promote her first novel, and the challenge of sitting down and writing. She speaks candidly of the jobs she auditioned for that made her cry, the jobs she took because she had to, and the struggles of being an artist.

If I had to sum up “Talking As Fast As I Can” in one essence, I would say this: Graham broke down the barrier between “celebrity” and “normal”, proving that actors and actresses are just regular, nerdy people who love the work they do, and sometimes do work they don’t love to do. Seems simple, but trust me, its a lot more complicated. You should probably read the book to truly understand.

Women in history: Indigenous poet Emily Pauline Johnson

Emily Pauline Johnson, or Pauline Johnson as she was popularly known, was a Canadian aboriginal poet and performer in the late 19th century who transcribed the oral traditions of native storytelling and paved the way for other indigenous women to record their art. Pauline was born on March 10 1861 in Brantford, Ont. and died at the age of 52 on March 7, 1913 in Vancouver B.C. Women’s Post often features women who are doing extraordinary things; however, too often we forget about the women in history who made it possible for women to get that far. In celebration of Women in History month, Women’s Post hopes to showcase the women from our past that have made a difference.

Pauline was born into a high-ranking family and was the youngest daughter of Mohawk Chief George Henry Martin Johnson and British born, Emily Susanna Howells Johnson.

Pauline was half Mohawk and half British, and her parent’s marriage was disliked by many people in her life including both sides of her family. Despite her extended family not supporting Pauline’s upbringing, Pauline’s own parents encouraged acceptance of both her Mohawk and British heritages. This influenced her work greatly later in her life. Her poems focusing primarily on aboriginal themes, yet her poetry also included a distinct European undertone in her prose structure.

Pauline grew up in a wealthy Canadian home in Ontario known as Chiefswood, a 225 acre estate at the Six Nations Reserve. They were visited by a number of famous people in Canadian history because of the high-ranking family’s status, including Inventor Alexander Graham Bell, painter Homer Watson and Lord and Lady Dufferin, the Governor General of Canada and his wife. However, because Johnson’s mother wasn’t aboriginal, Pauline was excluded from many Mohawk events, which is traditionally a matrilineal tribe. Instead, she learned many of the Mohawk traditions from her grandfather John Smoke Johnson and later attributed her talent as a poet to him.

After Johnson’s father died in 1884, she moved with her mother and sister to Brantford into a smaller home. She performed in local theatre shows to support her family and published her first famous poem in 1885 called “A Cry from an Indian Wife”:

“They all are young and beautiful and good;
Curse the war that drinks their harmless blood.
Curse to the fate that brought them from the East
To be chiefs — to make our nation least
that breathes the air of this vast continent.
Still their new rule and council is well meant.
They but forget we Indians owned the land
From Ocean unto ocean; that they stand
Upon a soil that centuries agone
Was our sole kingdom and our right alone.
They never think how they would feel today,
If some great nation came from far away,
Wresting their country from their hapless braves,
Giving what they gave us — but wars and graves.”

The poem was based on the battle of Cut Knife Creek in the Riel Rebellion, which happened the same year she wrote and published the poem. Johnson demonstrated her loyalty to her Mohawk heritage and wrote poems as a plea for native people and the British to find peace. She went on to create many other poems in an attempt to try and reconcile the two sides through her words.

In 1892, Johnson was invited to the Young Men’s Liberal Art Association for an author’s evening — she was the only woman in attendance. She was the only writer asked back for an encore. After the success of this performance, she began touring and performing native poetry in both Canada and the United States, including another one of her famous poems, “The Song My Paddle Sings”. She dressed in traditional costume for a portion of her show, and change into Victorian dress for the remaining half, thus demonstrating her split heritage in her performing art.

Her dual heritage helped her gain notoriety from the British colonials and native clans, yet she was also criticized as being unauthentic and was often called a ‘half-breed’. Her writing exemplifies the pain of being rejected by both the Mohawk people for growing up in privilege with a Caucasian mother, and also cast away by colonials because her father was a chief.

In her book of poems, The Moccasin Maker,  which was published posthumously in 1913, she recounts “I dream nightly of the horrors of the white man’s hell. Why did they teach me of it, only to fling me into it?….. They account for it by the fact that I am a Redskin. They seem to have forgotten I am a woman.” Her passionate and direct account of these experiences (though fictional in this piece of literature) as a young Mohawk-British woman in the late 1800s paints a visceral picture of the smouldering anger aboriginal women must have felt in this time. Pauline was both aboriginal and female in a time before the women’s suffrage movement took fire in Canada and Aboriginals were also recognized and respected as equals. Her courage is inspiring.

In 1911, she published Legends of Vancouver, her most well read work and is considered an important piece of written history of aboriginal culture in the city. Johnson died of breast cancer in Vancouver in 1913. Her funeral was the most highly attended ever in the city at that time and her ashes spread in Stanley Park.

Pauline Johnson had a powerful impact on aboriginal women’s art in Canada and was one of the first native women to publish to the extent she did. Johnson led the way for other aboriginal poets to come forth, and her efforts to reconcile native and British rivals was never forgotten. May we all write with the courage that Pauline Johnson displayed, using the power of words to evoke great change in a country and inspire a new definition of Canadian identity.