Rediscover

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Archive for the ‘Book’ Category

How to be WWW (Wonder Woman at Work)

SNOBBY? Yes, sometimes, but mostly, when I work, I really work, as evident from this screenshot from a televised Asia-Pacific Economic Conference presser in 2015.

I vowed to have a new blog post every Monday.

The past three weeks though were chaotic. And all for the good reasons. That my blogging is not on schedule.

Yours truly is working with three clients at the moment for four projects (I have two projects with one client).

The following are my current roles:

  • I am media consultant for a  universal bank’s corporate responsibility initiatives in the country
  • I am also consulting editor for a multinational professional services firm’s foreign-funded project in the Philippines
  • I am project / manager and executive editor for a book project of one of the country’s fast rising entrepreneurs
  • I am communications consultant for personal branding and social media management of that same entrepreneur

I am very thankful for the trust of these clients. My years of work as a business editor was the main reason why I have these opportunities now (for one, I applied for the consulting editor position and my editorial experience proved valuable for the role).

Networking also proves valuable. (I got the book project and the communications job through my former columnist, who happens to be a friend of this entrepreneur. And I would not know about it if I did not show up in this columnist’s event where my Italian friend’s company is one of the major sponsors. And the Italian invited me to be there. I e-introduced the columnist and the Italian early this year.)

My social media presence also helped me to stay in touch with my connections even if I have been out of the media job for four months now. I got the bank project because one of its officials reached out to me via LinkedIn, and asked me if I would be interested (and approvals needed to be secured for this to happen).

Thus as their consultant, I see to it to be on top of their needs. They have different needs that require my expertise. A balancing act on my part indeed.

Consultant vs Freelancer

First, the definitions.

When I was younger and starting to make a name as a business journalist / editor, I was freelancing (of course, with knowledge of my bosses then from my full-time jobs), mainly working on a story or press release basis, until the next similar assignment comes along. These are mostly non-competing with my companies or not similar with what I was doing as a full-time writer / editor.

But over the years, I have accumulated experience across media (from print to online); branding, corporate communications, marketing, sales support (through IBM); social media management (through Rappler.com and entrepreneur.com.ph). I, with help of course, learned what works and what not. I have learned to identify what a client needs versus his / her wants in line with his / her communication requirements.

And such, in a nutshell, makes me now qualified as a consultant because the clients look for detailed guidance on a particular area, which I may have the expertise they need. The projects are more extensive and there could be “mini-projects” within these projects. And a consultancy could be long-term  or an ongoing commitment, again, depending on the client’s need. In some cases, a consultancy could lead to a more permanent employment.

Balancing act

Now, how do I attend to all the requirements of my clients? These three are my basics:

Be honest

They know that I am looking for something temporary where I can contribute my expertise, as I am still looking forward to return to a more regular corporate, executive-level job. They know as well that they are not my only client. As a personal rule and out of decency of course, I do not take in a client that has a similar or competing interest with my current clients.

Prioritize 

At the onset of a new week, I start a weekly email thread with each of my clients (except for one which has no need for this). I detail in the thread what are the pending tasks on my end from the previous week; follow up on tasks or deliverables from their end.

I also inform them as well what is my schedule for the week (there are clients who are quick to set a meeting with me, and the likes). Thus, the remaining client/s, unfortunately or not for them, have to do with whatever schedule I am free.

If they need to get in touch with me urgently, I also advise them of my soonest available time to take their call (as on most days, I am in meetings and traveling from one client office to another).

There were occasions as well that a client would cancel at a short notice and would want to meet ASAP (they probably forgot that I already informed them of my schedule for the week). So I have to gently remind them that this is my week’s schedule so far, and if they are OK, meet instead on a weekend (but as much as possible, we confine the work on weekdays).

Eat the ugliest frog

There are clients who have very urgent and important tasks, meaning, a matter of life and death for them. So I will review it ASAP (I have become a pro in using my iPhone 6S for emails and documents), and work on it as soon as I can.

I attend to such tasks from each clients depending on which is needed soonest or which is the most difficult thing to do — a time management hack of eating the ugliest frog first (in real life, I do not like frogs though).

Still normal

Overall, there are days that are relatively normal. There are days that are crazy. But work is work and I have been known to be a professional and a task master so I deliver quality outputs by always going an extra mile.

Thank heavens not only for these opportunities, but also for heaven-sent people (family, friends) who understand the demands of my job (way back when I was an editor).

I am blessed as well that I have a very patient date, who in the past days was cool to wait for me until I am done; who understands that for my caliber, work is work; and truly understands my work and my lifestyle because he has busier work and lifestyle than I am. That when we are done with our work for the day, we treasure and spend our time together really well.

So, if I can do all these, so can you. We can all be wonder women and men if we know what matters to us, to the people we work with, and to those who are for us and with us no matter what.

Email ma.lynda.corpuz[a]gmail.com for feedback.

Rediscover WRITING (Part 2)

This is the continuation of writing lessons from Haruki Murakami I posted on August 30, 2010.

6. Talent is a must.

No matter how much enthusiasm or effort you put into writing, if you totally lack writing talent, you can forget about being a writer. Murakami says this is more of a prerequisite than a necessary quality. The problem with talent though, is that you can’t control its amount or quality.  Talent has a mind of its own and wells up when it wants to, but once it dries up, that’s it.

7. Focus. Focus. Focus.

For Murakami, focus is the ability to concentrate your limited talents on whatever’s critical at the moment. Without that, you can’t accomplish anything of value, while, if you can focus effectively, you’ll be able to compensate for an erratic talent or even a shortage of it. Murakami sits three to four hours at his desk every morning and just focus on writing – he doesn’t see anything else, he doesn’t think about anything else.

8. Concentrate.

If you concentrate on writing three to four hours a day and feel tired after a week of this, you’re not going to be able to write a long work. Focus and endurance are different from talent. Murakami writes that you’ll naturally learn both concentration and endurance when you sit down every day at your desk and train yourself to focus on one point. You might not move your body around, but there’s grueling, dynamic labor going on inside you. A writer puts on an outfit called narrative and thinks with his entire being.

9. Write as you think about things.

Murakami shares that as he writes, he arranges his thoughts. Rewriting and revising takes his thinking down even deeper paths. No matter how much he writes, he never reaches a conclusion. And no matter how much he rewrites, he never reaches the destination. He tries to present a few hypotheses or paraphrase the issue or find an analogy between the structure of the problem and something else.

10. It is crucial that your writing attains the standards you’ve set for yourself.

Failure to reach that bar is not something you can easily explain away. When it comes to other people, you can always come up with a reasonable explanation, but you can’t fool yourself. For Murakami, writing novels and running full marathons are very much alike. Basically, a writer has a quiet, inner motivation, and doesn’t seek validation in the outwardly invisible.

11. It is important to take a break – sometimes.

But during deadlines, you have to tell yourself who’s the boss. When Murakami’s training for a race, he makes it clear to his muscles what’s expected of them. He maintains a certain tension by being unsparing, but not to the point where he burns out.

How do you write?

Do you agree with Murakami’s writing lessons? Why? Why not?

And here’s something to think about:

“I think certain types of processes don’t allow for any variation. If you have to be part of that process, all you can do is transform – or perhaps distort – yourself through that persistent repetition, and make that process a part of your reality.”

Haruki Murakami

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Written by Lynda C. Corpuz

September 12, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Posted in Book

REDISCOVER Writing (Part 1)

The following are from Haruki Murakami’s memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I shared the writing lessons cited in this book during my turn for our sharing insight session.

This sharing led to my teammates interest about the well-loved author Murakami, as well as ensued a spirited debate whether who among our team are creative writers or technical writers or hybrid.The verdict, I am a hybrid, considering my background in both journalistic, creative, and now, technical/business writing.

1. To keep on going, you have to keep up the rhythm.

For long-term projects, once you set the pace, the rest will follow. The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a certain speed – and to get it to that point takes a much concentration and effort as you can manage.

2. It is not painful to be alone. Think of things to do by yourself. Solitude, is more or less, an inevitable circumstance.

Murakami spends an hour or two every day running alone, not speaking to anyone, as well as four to five hours alone at his desk. When he was young, he much preferred reading books on his own or concentrating on listening to music over being with someone else. He could always think of things to do by himself.

3. Being disliked by someone, hated or despised, somehow seems more natural.

For Murakami, as he has written novels over many years, he just can’t picture someone liking him on a personal level and he admits that he has no idea if it is ever possible for a professional writer to be liked by people.

4. Failure is not an option.

Give everything you have. Murakami’s strength is that he can work hard and take a lot physically. When he was to turn 30, he took a deep breath, gazed around him, glanced back at the steps he’d taken, contemplated the next stage, and considered he couldn’t be young anymore. Out of the blue, he thought of writing a novel.

5. It is sometimes hard to avoid losing.

We don’t want to make the same mistakes and put that lesson into practice the next time around – while we still have the ability to do that. (To continue)

Written by Lynda C. Corpuz

August 30, 2010 at 10:24 pm

Posted in Book

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