Over the past few years I’ve poured my heart and soul into this blog, working on posts late at night, early in the morning, on lunch hours while I was still at my day job, blurry eyed and at times on the verge of giving up. There’s been blood, sweat and tears – but luckily not that much actual bloodshed, unless you count that time I cut my hand on a martini glass during a late night, vodka fuelled blogging session (a habit I’ve since given up) Skinny Dip has taught me about the transformative power of hard work, self-promotion and faith. It’s also taught me that I do my best work with a cup of coffee in hand.
However, today is a big day.
I’m really excited to announce that I am the new nationally syndicated Sex, Dating & Relationship columnist for the Toronto Sun! My first column runs in today’s paper and you can read it here. The column will be syndicated across 140 different papers on a bi-weekly basis, so if you don’t live in Toronto you might just see me within the pages of your local newspaper talking about sex, dating and relationships.
(A preview photo from the pin-up style photo shoot I did this Fall)
I started this blog in 2009 with a specific purpose in mind: to write, tell stories and use it as a online writing portfolio, in hopes of launching a writing career. Although having a specific focus has definitely helped me during my journey, I had some pretty naive expectations about how long it would take me to reach some of my goals. Three years ago I wrote down a list of goals, one of them being “After my first year of blogging, have my own column in a National publication.” Oh, Simone. What I wasn’t quite prepared for was how much hard work blogging and writing is – it’s fun and inspiring, but work none the less. There are no instant success stories. No one is just going to “discover you.” However, if you work hard and stay focused good things can happen.
In between then and now, my blog has taken me to all kinds of interesting places professionally. I’ve launched a freelance writing career, spoken at a conference held at my alma mater, been on a reality TV show and walked the red carpet at a movie premiere. I’ve written for The Huffington Post, Elle Canada, Canadian Living, the Kit, the Toronto Star and Slice.ca where I am a regular contributing writer. I’ve interviewed high ranking bank executives (while at home in my pyjamas), rubbed elbows with Canadian fashion designers at Fashion week & met D-List movie stars on the red carpet. I’ve also been fortunate to be part of a blogging community that full of some of the smartest, funniest most inspiring people I’ve ever met.
Now that I’ve accomplished the goal I set out three years ago, it feels less like an end point and more like the start of new, exciting things.
If you’re looking to write or take your blog to the next level, here are a few things I have learned over the past few years –
1) Have a specific goal(s) and focus – In other words, what do you want? I knew I wanted to use my blog as a portfolio and eventually turn it into a business – something that’s definitely helped me stay focused. Whether it’s writing a book, scoring that dream job or sharing with the world a super awesome digital scrapbook of your life – figure out what you want out of your blog and go for it.
2) Connect! – Don’t be a stranger. Get to know other bloggers. Reach out to people in your desired industry who are already doing what you want to be doing and find out how they got there. Send that email to that blogger to seems super cool & popular – more likely than not, they’re super friendly & sweet & will be excited to hear from you.
(PS. I love, love, LOVE receiving emails from readers!)
3) Stop comparing your self to others and keep it classy – The internet can be a catty place, so always, always take the high road. Write fearlessly, but always create work you’re proud of. Look to other bloggers not as competition, but as potential mentors. Do. Your. Own. Thing.
3) Don’t give up! It can take a while to get where you want to go, but if you put yourself out there, your hard work will eventually pay off. Hang in there. To quote one of my favourite authors, James Baldwin:
“Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck but, most of all, endurance”
I wanted to do something to celebrate my new column, so last weekend I decided to treat myself to a pretty dress that I’ll wear to the White Party at Bloggers in Sin City this May (which is happening in a month. Oh my!)
I tried it on while I was out shopping with my Dad. As soon as I slipped it on I knew it was “the one.” My Dad, who’s recently become my sounding board for my dating troubles, was hesitant at first about the dress.
“It looks great Simone, but it’s a lot of money for one dress”
“I know Dad, but you’ve heard me describe the bachelor selection in this city. This is probably the only white dress I’ll be buying for a while”
“Well, you’re probably right.”
If these three years have taught me anything, it’s that sometimes the best things in life take time to arrive.
What have you guys been up to? Tell me what’s good!