A Writer in a Tech Startup World
Life is crazy, glamorous, and chaotic. It's been almost 5 months since I gave anyone an update or talked about anything on Kennetic Expression. But I guess that's what happens when you're trying to build a tech startup and writing for everyone except yourself.
(Takeaway: always make time for yourself)
Entering the world of tech-startupium has been a crazy journey. If you haven't experienced anything of the like, you should read this, because it sums up the experience pretty well.
I started with Text Request at the beginning of the year, and, as is the case with many startups, my roles have changed time and time again. I started out as an inside sales guy - putting all that time at Northwestern and Vector to good use. Then I migrated to the social media side of business, where I saw a need within our group. Then to writing copy and content, which has taken up the majority of my time over the last 10 months.
I've been writing everything from educational B2B content, to humor, to psychology, and many things in between. I've been marketing, I've been writing, I've been helping grow a company from the ground up. If it wasn't for all the stress and job insecurity, I'd call it a blast!
About the same time I started with Text Request, I started contributing to Elite Daily. If you're under 25 and looking for somewhere to get your writing start, I highly recommend contributing to Elite Daily.
A lot of their content doesn't pertain to me (mostly because I'm not single and don't go out every weekend), but they'll take a wide variety of topics, from pure garbage entertainment all the way through extensive journalism, and they have an 8-digit audience size. You can't ask for much more than that.
Sometime during the summer I started contributing to Lifehack.org, and that's probably been my favorite stuff to do on the side. I'm a big fan of Lifehack, mostly because they give you a fresh list of, like, 50 topics every Monday. So if you're accepted to be a Lifehack Expert, not only do you get a really cool title, they also make it much easier for you to contribute regularly.
From a customer/user experience perspective, this is grand. Also, their content is generally a bit meatier. Their website is slower than molasses on a cold morning, but they still have millions of people who visit every month.
I also just recently started contributing to the blog formerly known as Tech Cocktail (now known as Tech.co). Being in the tech startup world, you can see how this appeals to me. But Tech.co is great for any young (or old) business person who wants to start writing, because you don't have to apply to be a contributor.
And unlike most places where you don't have to apply to contribute, you don't have to pitch a topic or piece to firstname.lastname@example.org, and then wait three weeks before you're told whether they'll accept your pitch (if they even tell you). You just sign up, login, and start writing. If you don't follow their guidelines, or if you're content is really weak, they just won't publish it. Pretty simple.
In the rest of my spare time (aside from doting on my wife), I've been working on a personal year-long project of reading over 50 books in a year - 52 books in 52 weeks, to be exact. It's been going relatively well. I have a little less than three weeks left, and I've only read 47 books so far, which means I have a bit of catching up to do.
That's why C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters and Kelly Williams Brown's Adulting are both sitting on the table beside me (along with my stereotypical writer's addiction - Counter Culture coffee).
This year-long project has done many things for me, which I'll detail more in a full write-up after I finish. In short, it's helped me to be a better reader, a better verbal communicator, and a much better writer.
I still have a very long way to go to be decent by professional standards (I've only accumulated ~1,000 hours of experience, whereas it takes about 10,000 hours to become someone who stands out in their field), but I have gotten better. Really, I swear!
My next year-long project will hopefully be one for profit, however minimal that might be. I've started a blog, ProductiveandSuccessful.com (can you believe that domain name wasn't taken already?).
The goal is for it to emulate, say, a LinkedIn Pulse or Lifehack writing style with a Quora-esque community backing it. It'll be a lot of listical content, but content that I believe will actually help people become better people, whether that means better at their careers or better members of society.
There's a few other things I've been involved with as well. And like all amateur writers, I have, of course, started a book. One day I'll finish you, my sweet!
To you reading this: please know that in all of this that's been listed, I haven't been working by candlelight every night or neglecting my family. I've been averaging, I'd say, just under 8 hours of sleep every night. I always make time for my wife. And I always make time to relax.
There might only be one person, but I know someone reading this is thinking "That's kind of cool what he's been doing. Could I do something like that?" The answer is "yes!" The key is keeping your priorities in check, which you can listen all about on your commute to and from work right here.