How much does your t-shirt cost?

They’re lucky to have jobs.

This is what employers said about indentured servants in the 18th century.

It’s what Robber Barons said about young children and poor people during the Industrial Revolution.

It’s also what people have been saying for years to justify sweatshops.

But the economy will crash.

This is what plantation owners said when abolitionism was first suggested.

It’s what people say now to argue for the mindless consumption of goods to support capitalism.


There is always an economic argument for abusing poor people. But every advancement in humanity and civility took place because people put their values before their bank accounts. Imagine what it would be like to work in the United States if we didn’t have the labor movement, or if slavery still existed. Our lives would be a lot like sweatshop workers in Bangladesh and Cambodia.

I recently watched a documentary that made it clear how unchecked capitalism, spiritual emptiness, corporate greed, climate change, workers rights, and globalism can all be wrapped up in the story of a t-shirt.

I urge you to watch The True Cost and tell me what you think about it. It’s available on Netflix or you can rent it through their website. I’m ready to stop being an ignorant shopper. I’m ready to quit thinking about the money I’m saving at the expense of others. I’m ready to account fo the true cost. Are you?

trash dump

One of the costs of disposable clothing: landfills of last month’s fashion.

sweatshop

One of the costs of disposable clothing: women living their lives in factories, working 70 hours a week and still unable to provide for their children.

FROM WEST VIRGINIA TO SANTA FE (PART 2)

Directly after getting back from West Virginia, I stopped at my apartment to say hi to my kitties and then boarded a flight to Santa Fe.

I arrived in Santa Fe with one mission in mind, to work with my great friend on her wonderful screenplay.

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Friends that write together stay together!

I remember when I started this blog I had trouble with the career advice: “figure out how to get paid doing what you love to do.” As I was writing on the porch of my friend’s stunning Santa Fe house, overlooking the mountains and breathing in the juniper-scented air, I thought, ok I figured it out.

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Soaking up some sun while coming up with ideas.

Jetlag was working in my favor, so I got to see the stunning sunrises almost every day. Here are some of my favorites:

But don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all work:

After this summer, I feel like I took huge leaps towards the writing career I want. Sorry to still be so secretive about the details, but I hope to be able to talk more about soon!

From West Virginia to Santa Fe (Part 1)

This Summer I had the great opportunity to taking my laptop on the road.

I love living in NYC, but Mike and I really wanted to switch it up this summer and get as far away from the city. We really needed concentrated quiet time to focus on our writing projects.

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On our way to Durbin, West Virginia!

We used AirBnB to rent this gigantic house in Durbin, West Virginia for two weeks. I couldn’t believe how nice the house was for the price we paid ($50 a day!). If you have no clue what AirBnB is, it’s a way of renting a room or a house from individuals and it’s typically much cheaper and much more unique than staying at a hotel or BnB. If you want to try it out, let me know and I’ll send you a $25 off coupon :)

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Our beautiful home for two weeks!

The house came complete with a banjo, which we played on the porch every night. The porch was also home to the feistiest hummingbirds I’ve ever seen. Throughout the two weeks, friends and family came to stay the night, and we got to see more of West Virginia, including a hike to Seneca Rocks, a ride on the historic steam train, and a rafting trip down the New River Gorge. All in all, if I had to choose one word to describe West Virginia, it would be “green.”

But most importantly, I got to write!

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My writing home for the two weeks.

Every morning I wrote for four blessed hours, and then, after lunch, I wrote for another four blessed hours! Since we were right by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, there were no cell phone towers, so I didn’t have any distractions. Well… except for this:

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The hungry stray cat we adopted for two weeks. We named him Squeaks.

I got to finish the second draft of my screenplay while I was there!

Now I’m putting my screenplay aside for three weeks so I gain some objectivity, and moving on to work with my friend on her screenplay. Which brings me to Santa Fe.

But not so fast. You’ll have to wait until my next post for the some of the most beautiful sunrise pictures.

Stop using this word

Are your thoughts bringing you down without you even knowing it?

Yesterday, for the first time ever, I was able to run for three miles without stopping on any of the major hills. As I was running, I thought “wow, I’m really surprised I could do that.”

On this run, I was also thinking about how surprised I was to make a profit from the writing conference I’m organizing and hosting (Next Saturday!!!).

That’s when I realized how much I use the word surprised. Using that word subconsciously implies that:

1. I didn’t think I was capable of that action, i.e. reveals low self-regard.

2. That it was a miraculous occurrence that had nothing to do with hard work and dedication.

Why not use the word impressed instead?

I was impressed that I was able to run up hills without stopping. I was impressed that my conference is a financial success.

Using the word impressed celebrates the hard work and success and implies respect and admiration for yourself.

It’s a small tweak, but it’s worth the effort. Words have meanings beyond their definitions. They reveal what we actually think about ourselves and the world. If said enough, they can change how we feel. Gandhi said it best:Gandhi

Today I challenge you to really dissect your self-talk and see if there are any words that are bringing you down. I’d love to hear which words you come up with, what you realize about them, and which word you are going to replace it with.

How writing conference organizers embarrass themselves

Tracy:

Here are a few words from one of my speakers at the upcoming June 27 conference. If anyone is thinking of a freelance writing career, or looking for ways to boost their career, you should definitely come and hear her talk.!

Originally posted on April Greene:

By asking me to speak!

Oh, I joke. I’m really hoping to not embarrass my friend and fellow writer Tracy Sayre at her next awesome Writers Work conference, coming up on Saturday, June 27 in Manhattan.

Her excellent conferences provide newb and experienced writers alike with opportunities to network, hear useful advice from interesting speakers, and sometimes even take a few minutes to write on the fly and share what happens.

I’m super touched that Tracy asked me to hold court on the topic “How to Pay the Rent with Your Writing”—something I suppose I have been managing to do for a while! Now, I just have to think of what to say…

There are still a handful of tickets left as I type this. Git yer hands on ’em now and I’ll see you there!

AFG

Writers Work

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You are the solution

Two years ago I was browsing the internet trying to find a solution. I had hit a wall with my writing. I needed to meet other writers who knew what I was going through. I needed to meet agents and editors who could help advance my career. I needed to get inspired and motivated. A writers conference was exactly what I needed.

After researching several writer’s conferences, I realized a loan was actually what I needed. Most of them were upwards of $500. Plus, when I read the reviews people complained that the conferences were too crowded and the guests left feeling overwhelmed and even more anonymous.

That’s when it hit me.

I already had a lot of connections with the publishing world and I already knew lots of writers. What was to stop me from creating the exact conference I wanted to attend? Nothing!

So often we look for solutions outside of ourselves, ignoring our own resources and abilities. We forget that everything out there, everything that is well established and perhaps intimidating, started out as some person’s crazy idea. The only difference between a crazy idea and an established event is action and time.

Cut to the present moment. I am now gearing up for my third conference for writers. It’s small-scale (under 50 people), affordable ( $115-$160), and, most importantly, inspiring. I created exactly what I needed and I’m helping other writers in the process.

I’m not going to lie it’s been extremely difficult. I spend hours contacting potential speakers, putting together the perfect schedule, researching venues, promoting the event, preparing all the materials, and hosting. I spend countless hours on each conference and I’m still not breaking even. BUT it’s worth it when I get messages like this from former guests:

IMG_3217“This was the BEST writing workshop ever! It learned so much!”
“A fabulous, relaxing, well-organized event for inspiring, connecting and educating aspiring authors.”
“A meeting of writers and aspiring writers with meaningful speakers and opportunities to mingle and network. I felt invigorated and inspired by the day.”

Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is give what you need to others. Never underestimate the tools you already have!

***If you are a writer in the NYC area, I’d love to see you at my next conference on Saturday, June 27. Use this link for 10% off! Please share this with any writers you know. For more info, check out my website.***

Purple Hair (Part 2) the reveal

Apparently I chose a color that’s on trend and impossible to find. I wanted a look that went from black to dark violet to silvery lavender. The fist beauty supply store didn’t have the colors and told us to go to Wigs and Plus to get the lavender dye. Ashley, ever the trooper, made the trek only to find out they have been sold out of lavender for three months. While searching high and low for this dye, Ashley ended up running into the actual Ricky of Ricky’s NYC, a specialty beauty supply store that’s awesome. He told her there was no way she’d ever find lavender dye and gave her the recipe for making it (3oz of clear dye, 1 oz of pink and a drop of violet dye).

So yesterday we got started on the purple ombre!

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I washed out the dye and started styling. I love how it came out! Mermaid hair!!!

Now that it’s done I have no idea why I waited so long. A HUGE thank you to Ashley for your time, encouragement, and artistry!

Purple Hair (Part 1)

Saying goodbye to my boring hair!

Saying goodbye to my boring hair!

If it’s a not broke, don’t fix it.

This old adage plays in my head whenever I think about doing something fun with my hair. I have beautiful hair. It’s something that I always get complimented on. It seems crazy to destroy good hair with bleach and color, but that’s what I’m doing. For the last few years, I’ve been itching to do something different and now’s the time!

With the help of my wonderful friend, Ashley, I’m adding some purple, my favorite color, to my hair!

Yesterday, Ashley came to my apartment and spent nearly five hours bleaching my hair. I wanted a lavender ombre (gets lighter at the tips),  so it required a few steps. First Ashley bleached the bottom half of my hair.

I washed it out and dried it. But we're not done...

I washed it out and dried my hair. But we’re not done…

I love the way the two colors look braided together.

I love the way the two colors look braided together.

Stay tuned to see what it looks like once we add the purple!

Why did I start this blog?

recommitment-monthI have a confession to make. I haven’t been writing much lately. Actually I haven’t worked on my novel since March when I received disheartening news from the agent I thought I would be working with. After four months of correspondence, my hopes were dashed with this brief email:

I’m sorry to say that I’m going to have to step aside, despite my admiration for your work.  The past few weeks have been extraordinarily busy, and I have not been able to get back to your manuscript.  In any event, I cannot imagine you’ll have any trouble finding an agent to handle this—what I’ve read is quite wonderful.

OK, I know that this is overall positive, but that doesn’t make it any easier to face the fact that I have to start the long submission process all over again. But more over the writer inside me was broken and depressed by the rejection – writers have very sensitive egos. I couldn’t even look at my story.

But today, cooler heads prevailed, and I decided to open the document and read through parts of it. And guess what?!? It’s f’ing amazing! I needed a little break from it to realize what a great story I wrote. So now, before you all, I newly recommit to getting my novel published.

I am also making a promise to you virtual friends that I will write the second draft of my screenplay and enter it into a film contest by August 30. By the way, this is the feedbackI received after I entered my first draft into a film festival contest:

Your script made it through to some of the last rounds and saw many extra readings. The overall level of craft was remarkable, and made for some stiff competition.This screenplay’s concept is tremendous. And this script brought a dense and complex story alive. In the end, however–we had to pass. We found this to be a very promising screenplay. Thanks again for the honor of reading your work! And please keep writing.

I started this blog to hold myself accountable. I realized that once I state something publically I much more likely to do. So please send me lots of good vibes and encouragement. This summer it’s ON!