I have no particular topic of interest to discuss today. I just felt like I needed to write something to keep the creative juices flowing. In a sense, I kind of feel like a rapper. In between their major studio albums, rappers will often flood the market with mixtapes to keep their fans satisfied. That’s exactly what I feel like I’m doing today.
I hope everyone is having an enjoyable Tuesday. Mine has been going pretty well. Thankfully the temperature in the office is much warmer than it was on yesterday. At times it’s freezing!
As far as future posts go, I’m trying to focus more heavily on music and anime-related topics. There will still be ample wrestling content, but I’m attempting to switch things up a tad.
On last Friday, I was very happy to see a story about rapper J. Cole on the front page of the Fayetteville Observer. It wasn’t so much that I’m his biggest fan (though he is good), but more so because one of my college classmates wrote the piece. The writer, Mike McCray, and I actually worked together on the student newspaper staff. He was way more committed to the pursuit of journalism than I was. He’s made quite the name for himself in the world of print and online media since graduation.
I thought it was cool how Mike, a Fayetteville native, was able to write about Cole, himself a Fayetteville native, and his efforts in giving back to the youth of the city. I was so inspired by the story that I printed a copy for a coworker of mine, also from Fayetteville. She loved it. I’m sure a good friend of mine, also from Fayetteville, would love the story as well.
Is the point of all this to show my affection for the lovely city of Fayetteville? Not quite.
It’s always a good feeling to see the people I know accomplish big things in their careers. Another of my former newspaper colleagues currently works for the Wall Street Journal. Do I wish I was at that level of success? Yes, but then again, I never really had much of a passion for news . That is likely the biggest reason why I never seriously pursued a career in the newspaper industry. Do I dream of being world renowned for my writing? Of course I do. In the meantime, I’m very happy to see my peers succeeding at their wildest dreams.
It gives me more hope that I’ll still wind up as the next Ernest Hemmingway, minus the suicidal ending!
Dreams. For most of our lives, especially during childhood, we are endlessly told to pursue our dreams or do something that will take you in the direction of where you wish to wind up one day.
Of course, various factors in life (having children, work, unforeseen circumstances) often interfere and can ruin even the best of plans. When I entered college, I just assumed I would graduate in four years and then have some type of high paying job doing…something sort of unique. As I matriculated through college I began to discover I could write pretty well. Working on the student newspaper and getting great reviews from internships led me to believe that I was on the path to becoming the next great news reporter. The only problem was that I never really had the passion to write about news. It kind of reminds me of a current storyline from the latest season of Degrassi (I had to use one of my teen show references!). There is this hotshot hockey player named Campbell Saunders. He’s the rookie and the one with the more potential than any of his teammates. Most people assume that he loves hockey since it comes so naturally to him. Yet he suffers from constant low self esteem, panic attacks and winds up injuring himself just to get out of practice and have a normal life.
That’s kind of how I felt about news writing, particularly in my final year of college. I was on staff with the paper and just realized that I didn’t have the passion for it anymore. People would constantly commend me on my stories and in my mind I was thinking that I absolutely hated writing them. I still loved writing, and always will, but from that day forward I knew deep in my heart that covering news wasn’t for me. Of course, I never told my parents that. But the neat thing was that working on the newspaper for so many years did teach me valuable tips about utilizing storytelling techniques to write across many platforms. Those techniques would come in handy years later.
There is a bit of regret (not much) in me about not being committed to the newspaper lifestyle. So many of the former students I worked with on staff have gone on to do great things in the world of journalism. Heck, one of them even works for NBC Nightly News while another is an award winning reporter based in Charlotte, NC. I’m very happy for the level of success they’ve achieved.
Hold up! I know it seems like I skewed quite a bit from talking about dreams, but I’m about to bring it all together.
Even in this current phase of my life where I’m largely waiting to make my next serious career move, I’ve discovered that working in the professional wrestling industry would truly make me happy in life. And no I’m not talking about being a wrestler. Just like any other leagues, there are plenty of opportunities to be involved in the sport that don’t require the physical toll of wrestling. There are production people, writers that create the weekly storylines we see played out and a wide range of professionals in nearly every discipline imaginable. I searched the profiles of several WWE employees on LinkedIn and was amazed to find out how diverse their staff is. They come from all walks of life. There are employees that graduated from a four year institution and some that have their associate’s degree from a community college. There are also people who have worked extensively in the entertainment business. There is even one person who worked as a waiter at a steakhouse before becoming employed by WWE. Who would’ve thought?
I’m not sure how I will begin networking or who I would even attempt to contact first, but I have to work in the pro wrestling business before I die. And if I can’t make it into WWE, then there is always TNA Wrestling. TNA is based in Nashville so it would be a lot better to move there than have to relocate to New York or Connecticut (where WWE is based). Then again, there are numerous local independent wrestling promotions all across the country, with a ton of them being in North Carolina, that I could offer my services to in some capacity. Whether it’s the biggest company in existence or the smallest indy, I will be working with a wrestling promotion sooner than later.
In the meantime, I also plan on becoming a famous writer. Running this very blog is helping me turn that dream into a reality. This year I’ve had the chance to write a feature article for a regional literary magazine, have my work appear as a featured article on said publication’s blog and have even begun to write for publication on a somewhat regular basis at my job.
From 2010-2011, I worked as a staff writer at North Carolina A&T State University. That may have been the most important job in my life up to this point in time for the simple reason it gave me a tremendously huge platform to showcase my work. My primary responsibility was to write features for the alumni magazine. Keep in mind that magazine is distributed twice a year to over 40,000 alumni, students and friends of the university. That means over 40,000 people read my articles. That is mind blowing to me.
Even though I’m working as an office assistant, I’m currently in the process of working on four stories for the university’s development newsletter.
I’ve also weighed the possibility of writing about wrestling on a professional basis. Unfortunately, wrestling doesn’t offer the wide array of publications of other sports. You can go to any newsstand and see a plethora of NBA, NFL, NHL and MMA publications. There is only a handful about wrestling and the majority doesn’t really provide genuine coverage of the sport, rather they write about in an almost fictional manner. I write about wrestling enough on this blog and for various websites that I can at least say I’m getting some good training for that line of work.
Even though I have large expectations for the things I want to achieve in my life, the fact of the matter is that I’m accomplishing quite a few of them. I may not have the recognition and paycheck commensurate with the greats, but I’m living quite an amazing life and am at least getting the opportunity to accomplish my dreams on a small time level.
I think most of us believe that dreams only become a reality once we reach the big stage. But every dream is a process that involves fulfilling a lot of mini dreams along the way.
I should probably learn to be thankful for this phase of my life because I have a feeling my life won’t always be as low key and relaxing as it is today. I think the same could be said for any serious dreamer reading this.
This past week has been one of the more eventful ones of the last several and not in a typical sense. I was sick for a few days with a horrible fever. Once that was over I got a new surge of energy and applied to a few more jobs. I’m close to approaching the magic 20. I got my first two jobs so quickly, that I’m not used to going through such a long period without at least hearing back from a potential employer. And today I finally went and got myself a new transmission for my car. The silver lining was that it ended up being about $35 less than what I originally thought it would be. There is nothing I hate more than spending money on non-wrestling or anime related things. But driving is pretty important!
For some reason the job situation has been weighing heavily on my mind. I think a large portion of it comes from seeing so many of the friends I went to college with working high paying jobs and realizing that maybe with a little more determination I could be like them. My first full-time job was great and the salary was awesome. My second job was not so great. I made close to the same salary, but absolutely disliked my boss. Plus it was a boring office assistant job.
Earlier this week I noticed a job opening at a local newspaper for a general assignment reporter. I called the managing editor and inquired about the position. He told me that he would e-mail me a copy of what he referred to as a “deal maker.” It was basically a description of everything I would probably like or hate about the job. That way I would know for sure whether to apply for it or not to waste my time.
I’ve always had a unique fear of working at a real newspaper. Though I wrote for my college newspaper and had successful internships at others, I’ve always dreaded the lifestyle of a news reporter. You’re constantly on the go covering everything and it’s as if you never seem to have much of a life outside of the job. I should know being that my best friend works at one. In fairness, I did check out what the editor had to say. Here’s what it read:
“I tend to be direct –some say blunt –and don’t like to waste your time or mine.
So here’s the deal:
Our top reporter is leaving for a bigger job. She covers city of Monroe, schools and non-profits for starters.
Despite the beat, the job is mostly general assignment. We have but three reporters covering a county with 14 municipalities and 210,000 people.
Obviously way more work than we can do. So we pick and choose as best we can.
That means I need a reporter — a person who can build relationships, collect information, stay informed — so we can make good choices about what we will write.
I need someone who can write tight and fast, and who won’t blink at our publisher’s requirement that reporters write an average of 10 stories a week. I need some who also knows how to knock out a quick and dirty story to leave enough time to go deep on a story that merits real work.
For all that, we will pay you about $21,500 with BC/BS, dental, mileage and 401K.
And, you have to be a good team player and do your share of the piddling work — typing, social news, etc.
We are few and we all have each other’s backs. I do want someone who will be a good fit.
And obviously this job would require relocation.
After reading it I decided to decline. Instead I applied to two local jobs that deal with writing and editing. That way I can at least put to use what I learned in school.
A lot of people may be curious as to why I may not be as proactive in getting a newspaper job. After all, everyone assumes that I should at least give it shot. It will give me experience and you know how the old saying goes: “You should at least do it for a little while even if you don’t like it.”
That is where I draw the line. I’ve been around enough miserable people (plus from my own experience) to know that there is no worse feeling than reporting everyday to a job you cannot stand. I’ve literally made a personal promise to myself that it will never happen again. My current part-time grocery store job is one of the few jobs I’ve had that I can honestly say I love showing up to work for. My coworkers are like family and I like the place so much that I’m actually willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to serve our customers. In a nutshell, that it what having a dream job is all about. Do I want to be there forever making slightly above minimum wage? No. But I do consider myself fortunate to actually enjoy what I’m doing for a living. Besides, I still stay with my folks so it’s not like I have to worry about rent and bills (thank God).
It seems that striving to catch up to my peers has caused me to really develop a misguided view of success. I’ve always believed that true success will come once I earn a huge salary, live in a huge house, and finally land a major book deal (all three will happen for me), but I must admit that I feel successful everyday I wake up. I’m college educated, working a job I enjoy, have a loving family, a great girlfriend, great friends, a great credit score, plenty of money saved in the bank, and I’ve never been in trouble with the law. Sounds like I’m living a darn good life after all!
The following is a quote from the Anime Movie Guide by Helen McCarthy. The excerpt is from a review of Hayao Miyazaki’s film Kiki’s Delivery Service (which is one of the best animated family films ever).
“She also has to confront the possibility that life may not work out just as she wants it to; her talents may fail her, she may not be a big success, and maybe she’ll just have to get by on hard work, good nature and kindness. Her faith in herself waivers, and it takes the help of good friends to restore it; but she comes to realize that, whatever special talents or abilities people may have, it’s their human qualities that make them special in themselves.”
This quote sounded so great that I just had to put it in here even if it kind of doesn’t relate to this story. Well, I’ll take a shot at tying it in.
The point I wish to make is that success means different things to different people. Don’t ever get so caught up in getting ahead in life and impressing others, that you forget what‘s truly important. Often, when we think to ourselves that life isn’t going the way we would like, it may be that you’re actually doing the right thing all along. Sometimes you just have to keep working hard at things and wait for them to turn around. Just because I’ve applied to a ton of jobs without hearing back from any doesn’t mean that I will give up. I’ll keep applying and in the meantime, I’ll try my best to not complain and to continue enjoying life, because when I stop and really think about it, I’m really thankful to be where I’m at in life.
First, I would like to give a special thanks to each of my subscribers. I truly appreciate you taking the time out to read and comment on my blog. Even though blogging is a personal outlet for me, it’s great to know that there are people who actually care about what I write. Ever since I began getting serious about this a couple of weeks ago, I have come to discover that blogging on a consistent basis has helped to sharpen my writing skills in numerous ways. Here are some of the lessons that blogging has taught me thus far:
Discipline- As a writer for my college newspaper and alumni magazine, I’m used to writing on deadline. When you’re writing your own stuff and not getting paid for it then it can tend to not be too high on the list of priorities. My first two attempts at blogging ended after I produced so much content while not receiving any feedback or even feeling that anyone was reading my work. My mindset is much more disciplined this time around. As any writer of any degree of experience will attest to, it takes discipline to sit down and write anything. Sometimes the ideas come to me in an instant and putting them onto paper (or the computer screen) is as easy as ABC. Other times it can seem as if everything in the world will try to distract me once I’m ready to write.
Yesterday, I had originally written an article on a wrestling-related topic. I had worked on it for two days and just didn’t feel right about it. Instead, I trashed it and wrote something on an entirely different subject matter. In my opinion, the second piece I wrote (which ended up being yesterday‘s post) was much better and I felt it appealed to a broader audience since we all, at one time or another, have thought about what our future holds. For me to write nearly three pages about one thing and then completely switch my thought process to another shows a real sign of how far my discipline as a writer has grown.
To Analyze Events in my Life More Clearly- This is especially true for any blogger. I tend to pay much more attention to what happens during the grind of everyday life. The more clearly I see things then the more clearly they will be to put into words. My blog about the Simple Pleasures of Life came directly from things I and thousands of others have experienced. None were earth-shattering events, but each meant something and when you combined them all together it came out to create a very interesting read. A lady from my church told me she thought it was very funny.
The same thing happened with my story about Ron Clark. I was inspired by the movie and then all of these thoughts began running through my mind. I was able to produce a review/commentary piece about it, while using my own personal experiences to add more substance to it. Whenever I do something as average as going to work or watching a television show, I’m always trying to figure out which angle I can look at the situation from in order to write about it in a way that others will understand.
Writing at Times When I Don’t Feel Like It- Despite the fact I love writing, it can be tiring at times. I keep a notebook where I jot down all of my ideas and random thoughts. There are moments when the ideas come so frequently that I find myself writing multiple ideas during the course of an hour. I could be out running an errand and see something that gives me a story idea. I’ll drive back home trying to remember it until I can get to a pen and paper. My handwriting is not the best and sometimes I have trouble even reading what I wrote. Sounds fun, doesn‘t it???
Writing is something I know I can do well. I’ve written for several publications and wrote a weekly wrestling column for a well-known wrestling news website for about two years. Each week, I would get feedback from fans around the world and from people involved in the industry. Blogging is an entirely new chapter of my writing life. I’m starting from scratch and really feel as though I’m using some real grassroots methods to promote my blog.
At times, writing feels like a habit I can’t kick (not anything illegal. Lol). When I’m doing it I experience a rush like none other. At times I may have to take a break just to regain my composure and sanity. But while I’m away from it something begins to tug at my heart. It’s calling me in and like a fish attracted to a line of bait, and eventually it reels me in. Well, that’s a weird example!
What I mean is that the times in my life where I’m not consistently writing are the times when my heart tells me I should be doing it the most. Every time I finish writing something, it’s as if this calming force comes over me and I feel as if I’ve accomplished something for that day. That is the unique power that writing has over me and it’s that reason why I will always strive to produce the best content even at times when I may not feel like it. When the day is over and I lay my head to sleep I truly believe that all of this writing is part of a journey that will get me to where I want to be in life.