"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Sunday, October 21, 2012

8 Lessons I Learned From Becoming a Lessons Writer for the Ever-popular "LifeHack" Site

Like many professional writers, I periodically scour online job boards in an effort to expand my portfolio and my bottom line.
(Not to mention, a girl has got to have her "chocolate" money, right?)

Well, what I've found is that some of the "best" jobs actually never make it to the listings, but are ultimately shared through the "grapevine".

Which is why I was surprised and totally thrilled, back in September, to discover that LifeHack.org was looking for Lessons Writers. I immediately threw my hat in the ring for consideration; never giving it much of a second thought. 

For those of you who might be unfamiliar with Lifehack.org, it is one of the top-tier online productivity and lifestyle sites. It boasts about 3,000,000 page views per month, and over 90,000 RSS subscribers.
Technorati lists it as a Top 100 Business Site, and it is also listed as a Top-10 designation on many online rankings. Think of it like the "Prada" of productivity brands.

Anyway, back to what I was saying...
Some time after answering the Ad, I got a message that made my day.
It was something along the lines of... "Thank you for your application to Lifehacker. We are pleased to announce that you are one of the few that made it to the final stage."
Can I tell you I was totally geeked?

The last time I was this excited, I could fit into my "skinny jeans"!
As I read on, my enthusiasm however, was replaced with a degree of fear.
There would be a test. I repeat...there would be a test.

Though I've always done well in school, I sometimes suffer from test anxiety.
(But, we'll save that post for another time, folks). :-)

When I went over the multiple pages of instructions, I was initially stumped.
Call it writer's block, performance anxiety, or panic. But, I just couldn't seem to pen anything that seemed coherent and worthy of publication. I tried writing things "long hand", I tried studying other lessons on the site, I tried tea therapy, but for some reason I couldn't seem to "wrap" my brain around this assignment.
This writer couldn't seem to "hack" it. :-)

Frustrated, I actually considered apologizing and withdrawing my application.
But then, I reasoned, I would not only be a quitter but a coward.
So, I put on my "big girl pants" and gave it the ole college try.
And, I'm happy to say folks, it worked. I pulled it off.
And I am pleased and proud as a peacock to join them. :-).

In the process, I learned a few "lessons" along the way that I'd like to share today, that I hope will help you to conquer your fears and broaden your horizons.
I'd love to hear your thoughts accordingly.
  1. Don't let performance anxiety keep you from sharing your talents and passions. Did you know that even major celebrities like Barbara Streisand and Michael Jackson have suffered from performance anxiety? To quote a popular axiom, "Feel the fear and do it anyway!"    
  2. There is honor in effort. Even in situations where I've not won the prize or been an editor's "pick", I always hold my head high when I've given the best of my efforts. And you should too.
  3. Lighten up. Failure is not permanent. And no job, no matter how important, is worth losing your sense of fun, or self-worth. :-)
  4. Always do a good job. Your reputation follows you...and the Blogosphere can sometimes be smaller than you might think.
  5. Develop a thick skin. Even when you do your best, believe me, you'll still have critics, naysayers, and "haters". "Take the high road". There's less traffic. :-)
  6. No experience is wasted. If you look for the lesson and heed it. 
  7. No matter how long you write, or how well, you will always have to prove yourself. Don't rest on your laurels.
  8. Reward yourself for periodic successes. This can be anything from small gifts, to extra "down-time" or even positive affirmations. Contrary to popular opinion, writing is hard. But, it's so worth it!
Well, that's it for today's post, lovely readers.
I'm wishing you a positive, productive writing week ahead. Carpe`diem!
Oh  yeah, I almost forgot... for a better quality of life, visit the site at www.lifehack.org 

Your turn. Thoughts?


  1. Number 3 speaks to new writers. I've known so many who think because they were rejected, they don;t have what it takes. Good advice again over her at your blog.

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 22, 2012 at 3:57 AM


      How true. Sometimes it happens with writers who are not so new too. :-) Thanks for your feedback and for starting the "chat" off. :-)

  2. Jennifer,

    Thanks for sharing. I really needed these reminders today. I loved "Take the high road. There is less traffic".

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 22, 2012 at 3:49 PM

      Hi Yasmin,

      Glad to hear this. Much thanks for stopping by.

  3. Yes, I do believe that you never ever really have to fail at anything, because you alway's get some - Results - Even when it's not exactly what you expect, you can alway's learn from the results you get, or can use them to teach others.

    For what jobs making it to the joblistings is concerned, years ago I actually (partly) got (was asked for) my Music Business Job, (see About Page on my Blog) through - inside info - by reading about it in a Company Relationship Magazine.

    That's also why for example on my Writer's Kit page (and the Great Links page) you can also discover Trade Magazine Subscriptions, Interesting Forums, and - Blogs etc. etc.

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 22, 2012 at 3:51 PM


    As always, I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I'll have to make my way over to your site. :-)

    1. You are alway's welcome on my site, and talking about teaching & learning, I do believe that because of reading many blogs, and the many tips in your blogposts, I have been able to make many improvements to my site.

      With for example a better more clear and explaining About page, also recently (yesterday) I made a few new improvements to instantly make it more clear what kind of information you can expect to find on my Writing Blog.

    2. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 24, 2012 at 6:10 AM


      I am happy to hear this. Thanks too for your support through comments and links. I really appreciate
      you. :-)

  5. "Take the high road - there's less traffic." I really like that.

    And congratulations to you on landing this assignment, Jennifer.

    Happy Tuesday!

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 23, 2012 at 7:03 AM

      Hi Rhonda,

      How lovely to hear from you today! Glad you liked my quote. Thanks so much for taking time to make a difference. :-)

  6. I agree with Rhonda - love the quote. Thanks Jen, as always, for your insight and encouragement. :)

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 23, 2012 at 7:05 AM


      My pleasure. :-) And of course it's always a pleasure to have you give your input. Much appreciation!

  7. I also like the "take the high road, there's less traffic." thought. I got down on myself some time ago and chose not to submit stories. I am now trying to pull myself up and get out there again. I know, shame on me.

  8. Jennifer Brown BanksOctober 23, 2012 at 9:25 AM


    Hi there! You really have been "quiet" for awhile. How have you been? :-) Yep, you have to just pick yourself up and get back into the "scheme" of things! It was a pleasant surprise to hear from you today. Keep pushing. Thanks!

  9. Writing Lessons is an interesting topic, since some time ago while talking about my Sales experience a friend of mine asked if I could possibly teach his Sales Team to improve their performance.

    Than I discovered that knowing how to do Sales isn't the same as actually Teaching Sales. It did however made me think about how I could possibly approach creating Teaching Material, and how I could write lessons for something like that or possibly an intersting report about it, Or how if I could for example deliver Work Shops and things about things like for example Sales or Photography.

    That is why on my Home Business Blog at the Links and Resources page I included - Slideshare - an interesting site that can help to get some inspiration for delivering presentations.