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Photo Credit: Maroon Oak

As a writer and a mother, my writing career has taken numerous twists and turns from writing children’s stories to creating content for small business owners, but I am fortunate that every day I get to do what I love.

 

If you aspire for a Career with words, there are limitless paths that a writer can take. The list below explores some of them, but is by no means exhaustive.

To read the full article, please visit  Maroon Oak where this article was originally published.

 

 

 

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I’ve been asked more than once when my book was getting published.

“I am not writing a book,” I said.

Yet, I am a writer.

There are many stereotypes attached to writers and the craft of writing. Not all writers are novelists and not all writers have an epiphany from heaven to create memorable pieces. Well, if they do, I haven’t heard of any. While writing, they also do not revel in silks and stroke a furry feline and neither are they constantly mired in their own thoughts and removed from the society. But we will let these ideas coexist with the fact that writing is one of the most versatile of professions.

If you are considering writing as a comeback career option, make a candid evaluation of your writing and storytelling skills first.

Do you have what it takes?

Are you a natural at this? Do friends praise you for your witty or insightful updates? Are you the default communicator for the PTO ? Do you always have a story running in your head while doing chores?

Facts for the aspiring writer:

The good news first – you do not need a formal education in communication or journalism to get a job as a writer, though it helps. A flair for writing, good grammar skills and the default ingredient called passion are good enough.

Content that counts – Start with writing about what you know best to build your writing repository, whether it’s food, politics, health or parenting tips.

Options, options – Understand  your style of writing and then determine which industry it fits best. If you have a science background and the ability to write a clean copy, you might consider the field of medical writing. An aptitude for descriptive renditions could open doors to real estate writing. There are numerous options in PR, Digital as well as Marketing, like ad copy and printed materials.

Showing it off – Should you have a portfolio? Yes, but you don’t have to be intimidated by the thought of putting one together. Web links to your published work, or samples of unpublished pieces as attachments to your resume would do very well. Build writing credits one piece at a time.

Check out some of the best web-based portfolio sites for writers here.

How can you hone your craft?

Write! There is no other way to learn this other than to JUST write.

Drop everything and make notes when you get your ‘aha’ moment, and believe me, you will! At places and times you might never imagine the muse will visit you. Grocery receipts have come in handy many times for me. Phrases, memories, visuals, jingles, anything could lead to a full- fledged story.  Just remember to jot them down the old fashioned way, using a pen and paper (believe me, this works), or send a recorded message to yourself in their absence.The Notes App on most Smartphones is also a great tool. Do remember to file away all your divine or otherwise revelations later.

Read! You can’t be a good writer without being an avid reader.

Set deadlines and stick to them. Oftentimes the longer you fuss over a writing piece, the worse it gets.

Identify a mentor, partner to inspire you or co-write with and use Apps like Google Docs for shared work. For a free tutorial click here.

Refine! Keep the piece aside and revisit after a day or so with a fresh set of eyes.

Kill  your darlings! Don’t fall in ‘forever love’ with a phrase, paragraph or a character. Every word in a short piece should serve a purpose. If not, delete it.

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone….”—Stephen King, WD

The true mark of a good writer is a commitment to the craft, perseverance, and the ability to read, revise and polish until it reads just right.

Ernest Hemingway said it best, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

So go ahead, tell that story. And remember – the worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn’t!

Watch out for Part-2  on the How-to’s and Job Prospects for the aspiring writer.

You can also read this and other insightful articles pertaining to your ‘return to work place’ at Maroon Oak

 

Anaphora

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       The first crack in the wood sends shivers of excitement down the spine of the wood cutter. The periodic and consistent chopping thereafter yields a cadence that fills the inner ear with inexplicable pleasure.   Humans have been notorious for not only desiring patterns in music and language but also for getting agitated when it is lacking.

Literary devices like assonance, consonance, alliteration, and anaphora work on the fact that we like repetition.   Anaphora is one  figure of speech that uses a specific clause at the beginning of each sentence or point to make a statement.

Pretty sure Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s use of anaphora won her the love of Robert Browning. See how she woos her lover in this famous sonnet:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

Sonnet 43 from the Sonnets From the Portuguese

Anaphora, possibly the oldest literary device, has its roots in religious songs and discourses used to emphasize certain words or phrases. Gradually, writers brought this device into practice.

From poets to writers to politicians, the use of anaphora is as widespread today as it was in the earlier times.

photo Barack Obama uses anaphora effectively in this  2008 speech after winning the Democratic presidential primary in South Carolina. “I did not travel around this state over the last year and see a white South Carolina or a black South Carolina. I saw South Carolina.”

The more it is used, the more emotions it invokes in the audience.

Who can forget the moving speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, “I have a dream….”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Speech

 

The rhetorical quality of anaphora helps in fostering a connection, increases the impetus, drills the point across faster and helps in etching it in the listeners’ minds.  

Winston Churchill “We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be….”

Other examples of the usage of anaphora are:

  • No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important.
  • We bet on American workers. We bet on American ingenuity.
  •  “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England, This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings [. . .]

The 21st century social media uses anaphora as a tool to drill its message in its users’ psyche. Repeat, repeat and repeat. Sometimes the rhetoric do not have a musical quality and falls in the category of nonsense but it sure works.

trump

“Good night and good luck”

Raising a child is filled with challenges – sleepless nights, tantrums, tending to a sick child, the endless scheduling and deadlines, remembering to fill out numerous forms for doctor visits, schools, games etc.Women are built to take on these motherhood challenges and overcome them. The go-getter executives, the office secretaries, the nurses and the scientists, the […]

via Motherhood – And its Skill Amassing Side Effects — prachi jain

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Raising a child is filled with challenges – sleepless nights, tantrums, tending to a sick child, the endless scheduling and deadlines, remembering to fill out numerous forms for doctor visits, schools, games etc.Women are built to take on these motherhood challenges and overcome them. The go-getter executives, the office secretaries, the nurses and the scientists, the pilots or the stay-at-home moms, all face them in varying degrees. No exceptions there.

For every challenge that a mom overcomes, she learns a new skill!

Work under pressure – The sleepless nights and long days spent in taking care of a child teaches a mom to handle difficult and stressful situations with integrity. You’ve mastered the art of functioning in chaotic and unpredictable situations.  This means that at work, you can get a lot done  without getting frazzled easily.

 

Keen sense of perception – Raising a child makes a woman fastidious, protective, intuitive, and perpetually vigilant. Your increased sense of perception and observation skills help in a whole host of jobs.

 

Power of negotiation – Ever watched the Optimum ad where the epic big sister-younger brother deal is reached?  Mediating sibling rivalries through diplomacy is nothing short of a feat. You’ve learnt this on the job and executed it frequently. These interceding abilities make it easy for you hammer out small and big issues at workplace.

 

Champion Networker – The inherent mommy desire to know the best bouncy place, the better summer camp or a competent tutor sharpens a mom’s hobnobbing skills no end. When at the workplace, you can easily strike a good rapport with colleagues or work effectively as a human resources manager or a social media coordinator.

 

Passion – No candidate is as good as the one who is enthusiastic. A mom spends years being a boo-boo healer, a nurse, an errand girl etc. Despite the joys of motherhood, the repetitiveness of it all makes her anticipate the return to workplace with a strong sense of eagerness. When you get back to work, you have a real hungry need to prove your mettle. This makes you an ideal employee – hard working, dedicated and passionate about making a difference at workplace just as much as you did being at home with the kids.

 

Multitasking– If you’ve ever found yourself struggling to teach one kid, while checking another’s quiz and turning the chicken in the oven at the same time, then you are multitasking and rocking it. When crisis mode strikes in the office, it is this ability that makes you roll up your sleeves and take on additional responsibilities with ease.

Efficiency- Whipping up multiple breakfasts, while simultaneously packing school lunches, tying shoe laces, braiding hair etc. to make it to the bus stop on time, everyday, require a certain degree of planning and efficiency that should not go unrecognized. A 9-5 job for a woman means just that – diligent organization & productivity to complete tasks on time.

A mom getting back to work is tenacious, compassionate, competent, and a great team player! Companies and recruiters who understand this will surely benefit from hiring the right candidates.

If you are a mother reading this, the next time you wonder about your skills, make sure you keep this in mind – because you are way more than the sum of all parts.

This article was first published on Maroon Oak. http://maroonoak.com/motherhood-skill-amassing-side-effects/

 

Not too long ago, when the internet and telecom boom enveloped us all, consultants, marketing folks and bankers began to travel more than ever. The Monday through Friday work at client sites away from home increased, and a new species, ‘Friday fathers’ was born.images

Friday fathers are visitors who get to come to a familiar bed after sleeping in different hotels, only to leave again on Monday mornings. While the families enjoy the fruits that the labor and career of Friday fathers bring, all the luxury comes with a pretty high price tag.  The financial cost of all the “stuff” can seem dislocated from the true cost, which is, time away from home.

images (1)When these modern day hunters and gatherers come back home on Fridays, the only outward signs of distress they show are the results of jet lag. Never mind the two hour delay in boarding at the airport or the wailing infant in the six hour flight back. They generally do not crib if they are asked to buy liquor at an airport duty free shop, en-route home, for a house full of friends and family.  Friday fathers are expected to keep a cheerful appearance when the limo drops them at home and the wives and kids are waiting for a hug, and guests are already digging into the hors d’oeuvres. When someone asks them how their trip went, these tired but selfless souls are supposed to come up with a witty answer whether the inquirer is listening or has already sauntered away for another glass of wine.

Sometimes upon arrival, there are no guests in the house, and the families are waiting anxiously only to whisk away the Friday fathers to attend some social gathering.  Some Friday fathers do arrive home to quality family time, warm hugs, and homemade food and to cute expectant faces. But these Friday fathers make the mistake of pleasing the family too hard and make their arrival home a kind of Christmas celebration, getting gifts for the kids on the way back from their trips.  The grand entrance home is always a big event. What kid does not like Santa Claus coming every Friday evening?

At other times Friday fathers are given that “special” treatment that makes them feel like guests in their own homes.  They long for the kids to ask them a solution to a problem or hear demands from their wives which make them feel important but since the family has learned to fare all right by themselves for five days, the wives and kids leave the Friday fathers alone, making them feel unneeded. They are also given greeting-card-style sugar coated niceties that visitors get.  It feels like the family has conspired secretly to give the raised part of the soufflé or the more tender part of the meat to the weekend visitors, only to make them feel extra special where they just want to feel normal.

On Friday nights it is also a struggle to coax the little kids out of their acquired beds as they have become so used to snuggling with moms on week nights.  Saturdays fly away in birthday parties or soccer games, because some stay-at-home bosses think family bonding is better than sitting around on the weekend.  Sometimes Friday Fathers seek out the golf course as a way to relieve the work week stress but by the time they come home, the wives are ready to go for yoga classes or there could be another weekend outing already planned. There is hardly a time for them to chill at home with the entire family. They do however; get the privilege of taking the kids to birthday parties where they end up enjoying cheese pizzas in between yawning and beaming at their kids.

With those happy memories, of a very hectic weekend, Friday Fathers are too-soon back at the grindstone, preparing for their next client meeting and yet another trip to the airport where the employees now greet them by their names. Back on Monday evenings, it is usually a Skype good-night from the family along with a summary of the day.

            The lives of Fridays Fathers provide their families with both opportunity for success, and grand amenities.  It is a sacrifice that demands time away from home.  Even with a chaotic and busy weekend at home, they do enjoy the warm hearth and a kitchen with familiar smells; kids running around, and the house in a cozy mess. All this is unlike the chemical smells of hotel rooms and commonplace formalities of board meetings which rejuvenates them.  The pressures of the work week melt away with the soothing complaints of their wives and innocent demands of children. The taste of cookies cut unevenly and the chicken served without any garnish gives a satisfaction that the perfection of restaurants can never compare 

When I crossed the oceans to be in the United States, I did not just bring back memories, I brought my own East with me. My perception of the cultural and social mores and the belief system that defined me—all came with me.

Read more at

http://www.browngirlmagazine.com/2016/01/shedding-and-retaining-the-east-in-you/