pick my brain {weekly advice + useful links that inspire the extraordinary}

Thanks to all of you for sending such extraordinary questions! As you can see, I’m getting used to video blog posts, so I know it’ll take a few weeks before I find my stride, get comfortable, focused and efficient. However, I hope this weekly bit of advice is helpful for you and the links inspire you to ferret out your own greatness. Also, lots of folks emailed me with anonymous questions about career changes and issues in the office. Please know that I can keep my responses completely anonymous, just let me know when you’re writing the note. If you’ve got queries, thoughts, feedback, etc, please leave them in the comments section, and I can’t wait to answer more of your questions next week!

Question 1 {.42 mark}: A reader who works in publishing wants to transition out of the book business. Knowing that time is such a precious commodity, how does she find mentorship and career counsel, and how does she manage communicating to her career in-house mentors, without appearing as if she’s disrespected their years invested in the publishing business.

Reader, I would also posit that you probably don’t have the explicit experience for a lateral career move, and WAIT, that’s not a bad thing. What I neglected to mention in the video is that I’ve built a career that has always been a response to people who have told me I didn’t have enough experience, I wasn’t the right fit, etc. When I worked in finance, recruiters told me to forget about any moves beyond the industry. In response, I created, managed and operated a successful .dot business. I created the experience when there was none. I would offer that your career moves are about consistently being a chameleon, repositioning your skills for the next job, and focusing on your side + passion projects that can fill in the gaps. You work in book publishing? That means you understand content and its distribution, which can be useful in many industries!

Inspiring Links: Experience Slows You Down | Why you should quit your job and travel now | Changing Jobs Every Year? No Problem. Leaving Coworkers Behind? No Way | 3 ways to say no to people who want to pick your brain (sage advice here)

Question 2 {4:04 mark}: Kel asks: How much does one need in savings as an “eff it” fund, to be able to walk away from a steady income and face potential starvation? Also, my dream is to open a bakery. Everyone tells me my baked goods are delightful, but how do I KNOW that people would actually pay money for them? Of course they scoff them down when offered free at a meeting, but how do I know who is telling me the truth?

Inspiring Links: On the Tenth Anniversary of Quitting | What would you do if you weren’t afraid? | The beauty of the deliberate mistake | Work, Breadwinning + Balance (great blog post by a woman who’s embarked on her second act)

Question 3 {5:39 mark}: Cheryl wonders: So, I’ve been trying to work on my novel. My question is about having a long-term plan/strategy. I’ve really avoided thinking about the next steps (finding an agent and publisher, respectively). Do you think that’s okay? I feel like it’s pointless to even consider those tasks until I have a finished book, something that’s complete and polished.

Inspiring Links: Create something every day | Agents and Editors: Q+A With Four Literary Agents | Poets + Writers Agent Dbase (for when you’re ready) | Great list of articles from agents giving smart advice | Current writing culture + there’s a sizable shift

6 thoughts on “pick my brain {weekly advice + useful links that inspire the extraordinary}

  1. so touched to see a link to my post! Thanks for that 🙂

    I like what you said about creating the experience where there was none. Much of my new job is brand new to me, but I’m trusting that the skills I’ve learned at my previous job will bridge the learning gap while I settle in. It’s exciting to be learning and growing so much. I would tell anyone that while it is scary to move into a field where you’re not 100% comfortable, it’s pretty vital to personal growth.


    1. Erin,

      Thanks for popping in! I read this article the other day on the concept of making “deliberate mistakes.” How we move beyond our stretch and comfort space. There is definitely the chance of failure, but failure is just a means to obtain success, which may be a few simple steps down the road. In the article, the author talked about a minor-league golfer who was told that she was not experienced enough, not ready, for the big-boy tournaments, and she went anyway. She placed nearly last, but she learned that she could play in another league, now has a name and some minor endorsement deals. Imagine if she just kept eyeing the prize from the sidelines instead of stepping up and making a leap of faith, trusted her own ability, and understand that if we can see our fear all the way through, there is something magical on the other side.

      And maybe the shape of that magic isn’t what we might have intended.

      I’m seeing a lot of people, notably women, make HUGE, risky leaps this year. And I hope that we can all hold virtual hands, support one another and make out beautifully on the other side.

      Warmly, f.


  2. Hi Felicia! Thanks so much for answering my question and for all your lovely encouragement. I’m going to take your advice and go back to ignoring the whole question of the next step until I’ve got a good draft together. Getting a complete draft that pleases me is challenge enough right now!

    Also, I really enjoyed all of your video and look forward to future installments. You’re a natural — very engaging and welcoming.



  3. Felicia,

    I have to say first that it was so wonderful to see your face and hear your voice!

    I greatly appreciate your advice! I love the idea of anonymous feedback! I am going to try this soon and let you know what I hear.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!



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