Maker’s March: An Ode to Marketing

I’ve been pondering about the direction of my work and it has shocked me. If you’ve known me from back in 2013, you’d know that I was very confident about being a writer. I never thought I’d consider juggling two career paths. Now, while I still hold onto my love of writing, marketing is a side hustle that has helped me hone and grow my creativity.

I am fascinated by the art of marketing. And yes, I call it an art because of how wide and how creative the field truly is. Let’s dig deeper into this fascination.

my first introduction to marketing
A Little History

Back in 2015, An 18-year-old me was looking for a part-time writing gig and stumbled upon a content marketing internship. Considering that I had enjoyed Mad Men and was confident enough that I’d learn the ropes as I progress in the field, I picked it up and learnt a great deal about marketing. Cut to a few months later, after that internship, I landed another one to manage a footwear brand’s social media accounts.

My takeaway from my second gig? I needed to take more risks. I was so scared to go off-book that I ended up being the least creative social media manager in history.

Managing social presence for events is a whole other game, as I learnt at my third position. This was more of a volunteering position and I enjoyed the freedom to get creative with marketing the events and getting it as much of a reach as possible- organically and through ads. I’m personally not fond of ads but they always get the job done.

TAKEAWAY

What I love about marketing is that it’s as much about working with marketing tools and social platforms to get the reach as much as it is about building the brand’s story and presence and a narrative that appeals to viewers. The “Our Story” section on Facebook pages is the best example. There are companies that share their story- from why they started to how they build their products to each and every anecdote that accompanies the journey to being who they are and I love this emotional connect that they build. There are a ton of such companies worldwide but my favourite national store that does this is The Postbox.

The entire process of designing a brand’s story is so refreshing, it’s a blank canvas that’s daring you to get as innovative and authentic as possible. I cannot stress how important creating a tone and narrative is to build a brand. Be it one that is more emotional or more user-centric, finding your brand’s voice is crucial to maintaining your audience/ customer base.

One of the best advice about brand image I’ve read (mostly paraphrased) is this: “Treat yourself like a media company. Communicate openly and authentic. Keep your social presence active and innovative by churn out interesting content relevant to your brand. This is essentially a way to build a personality for your company to make you more reliable and trustable.”

Seems like we went on quite a rave but you see how crucial I find marketing in the world of social media. this field has definitely helped me develop my writing style and tone if you see how this blog has progressed. And there’s a lot more to learn as we develop (mostly digitally).


If you’ve blogged for years now, you’d see how marketing has progressed within the blogging community. This is especially in the book blogging community where it went from a new concept to book bloggers being included in the marketing of a new book release.

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Maker’s March: The Too Many Choices Dilemma

Do you ever feel like pursuing 2 to 4 kinds of career paths at the same time? But you have this pressure on you to just pick one already! I totally get that. In fact, I know that from a third person perspective, it looks like I’m biting off more than I can chew. I seem to have too many things on my plate. But let me explain my philosophy for the way I work and plan my career, shall I? And maybe this will help you with your overflowing plate of choices.

Hey, why do you have x number of things to do when you can just do this one?

No such thing as too many career choices.

First off, I want to dispel the notion that you can only be a specialist. I watched a talk (find here) that detailed the concept of multipotentialite. Too long, didn’t watch? To put it simply, the speaker, Emilie Wapnick, explains that A multipotentialite is a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life. Multipotentialites have no “one true calling” the way specialists do.

If you gasped with realization, you aren’t alone. We always feel pressured to specialize in one field and just stick to that path. The concept of multipotentialite vs specialist is a lot like introvert vs extrovert. Nothing wrong with being either.

But aren’t you afraid that you’ll be a jack of all trades and a master of none?

Here’s another argument. I get it. I’m somewhere on the greyer spectrum with this. I sort of don’t believe in the concept of the jack of all trades but I have my area of specialization anyhow. But consider the actual version of the idiom: A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.

But the flip side of the argument is a philosophy I picked up from entrepreneur, Gary Vee. To paraphrase him: It’s so important to work in various fields and try your hand at different career choices because one day, you’ll hit the jackpot on what you truly want to hustle in and get better at. Stop settling in a career that you’re okay in just because you don’t want to start over in another field. You have time so why not taste every (career) flavour before you settle on the one you truly love?

While I like to hustle in writing fiction, I know I need more experience and time to become stellar at it so meanwhile, I’ll be here focusing on content and copywriting and putting my marketing skills to work.

experiment and explore!

Do you identify as a specialist or a multipotentialite?

Maker’s March: Seize the Day

I’m so glad you’re here because I am about to change your life.

Favourite topic ever, y’all!

Do you realise that you will never get this moment back? That your current age will never come back again? Do you realise how irrelevant your time is if you don’t spend it the way you want to? Every time you say “I’ll do it later” or “Ah, next time” to any opportunity that comes your way, you LOSE. And here’s my simple advice to you:

SEIZE THE FRICKING DAY.

Tell me the last time you seized the day and did something drastically different? When did you last try new experiences and not hold onto the comfortable routine you have? *insert chirping*

you, right now

Things we don’t realize:

  1. Life is fleeting and temporary- so, doing something and it being a negative experience is way better than not doing anything at all and being filled with regrets and what ifs.
  2. You can make any life decision, from taking the first bus right now to another city to dyeing your hair to starting a video series, and it can change your life drastically. You have so much power over your life yet you stay passive in it.
  3. The possibility of you being born to the parents, DNA, environment, etc is 400 trillion to one. Which means you have life-changing ideas for a reason! And what do you do with these ideas? Do you act on them?

But it’s obvious why we don’t think this way. We’re wired for comfort and we aren’t used to throwing ourselves out of our comfort zones. It isn’t bad as long as you’re happy with it. But if you keep saying that one day, you’ll be such a kind of person with so many riches and vacations and whatever suits your fancy, then work towards it! Act on it! There is no phoenix sitting over your head waiting for 2021 so it can hatch a million bucks on your head.

And don’t give me the “my parents are ____” or “I’m not financially settled” or any other such excuse because you are way more than excuses. Because if you have enough self-confidence, you can get it done despite obstacles- navigating out of them. You don’t have the skill? Build it! Fix the patches and make it happen. And for anyone saying “It won’t work out anyway”- what are you, a fortune teller? Act on your decisions and ideas and make conclusions after you do.

you, after you start listening to yourself.

Anyone else feels this way? How do you push yourself out of your comfort zone?

If you’d like to know why I’m doing Maker’s March and documenting my work process, see this post.

Maker’s March: The Battle of the Snooze Button

Who here has slept with the intention of waking up at 7am but gosh darn it, it’s 11:50am and you’re still in bed!

me at 11:50 realising I wasted a well-planned Friday

Really, I had a fantastic plan. I planned to maximise my 16 hours, check off a load of my tasks. But of course, most plans are ruined by our sleepy heads. And here’s the thing: it keeps happening. Either I sleep for very little time or I sleep a little too much. We don’t have a system in place, do we? But not to fret, it’s all a learning process so let’s dive into this- how do I solve it?

I once tried the 5-second rule where you don’t hit the snooze button but instead, count down from 5 to 1 and then jump out of bed. This worked really well when I also added open curtains for the sunlight to blind me as well as the anticipation of the next day. But what was I anticipating today? Going to uni. Not really the best motivating thought.

Another thing to try is to change your sleep routine entirely. Technically, you don’t need the 7 to 8 hours of sleep if you sleep for 4 hours and take two 20-minute naps during the day. I planned to try it but the initial two weeks of walking around a zombie was something I couldn’t imagine having to deal with. Check out the video below if you want to.

My current solution? For now, since I can’t choose better things to look forward to in the mornings, I should definitely just suck it up and wake up (I shall explain my bittersweet feelings for uni in a later post). I’m also eyeing that alarm app that makes you do math so you’re wide awake anyway and don’t end up back in bed. It seems a tad bit annoying for 7am but anything is better than a groggy afternoon filled with regret and a pile of work. Am I right?

as fun as this looks, I’d like to actively enjoy my mornings

How do you manage to stick to your sleep schedule? Tell me your secrets! Find me on twitter if you want to see if my plan to wake up on time actually panned out.

Maker’s March: Documenting and Ideating

You probably saw this link in your email or your Twitter and sighed. Well, I did too. I’m not happy with how this blog is becoming a place for me to update what I’m up to with a side note that I’ll be writing reviews and creating posts real soon. But finally, no more of that!

Me, when I lit up with this series idea

I have been having trouble working lately. Let me explain.
I take up a lot of work but it’s so frustrating because I’m constantly looking for the firecracker-like results. But it’s only expected that it’ll take time. A lot of time. But it’s basic human nature that we have a burning need to arrive at the loud and pompous outcome before we even start working on something. We are built to want instant satisfaction.

But I’d really like to enjoy my process more.

Whether it be designing a website or planning a marketing strategy, I want to enjoy the journey, without that unconscious pressure to sprint to the end and see if my work turns into a masterpiece (Let’s be honest- no creative work that has been done in a sprint has ever turned into a masterpiece).

So what do I do?
Document it.

If I can record my experience, just to figure out my work style as well as reflect on my process from time to time, I think I’d be more productive and get more done. Moreover, I’d definitely have more fun with it.

Another reason I’m documenting this journey of creating is inspired by a podcast I heard which states how your hustle game is proved by your process and your passion rather than that kaboom of your success. Look, some of the biggest achievers in the world were known for their passion to upgrade and learn and get better at what they do. So why can’t we pick up that habit if we want to be like them?

So here I go again. A month of documenting my work and the thoughts that come with it. If you want to join me, come along! I’d love to see how you create/work.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a much more detailed post. Right now, it’s time to jump into my university dissertation and get it done with.

Plot Twist: Adulthood

You thought that my absence on the blog was astonishing? Wait till you hear about how I haven’t read a book in two months.

I can just imagine your virtual faces.

Let me explain. I adore reading and can’t go a day without writing and the fact that I have two blogs- albeit ones that I only dream of updating routinely- is proof of this. But having only a few months left before I graduate, and with the outside world being so competitive, I put aside my hobbies (cue tears) and put all my energy into working, polishing my skills and brightening up my resume. I was juggling multiple tasks and taking up more responsibility than I should. All the while, scraping through college. Now that my semester exams are near and my workload has relaxed, I can come back to my first love.

7 YEARS AND COUNTING

Holy. Do you see the year? It’s 2017! I recently realised that I’ve been around this community for seven years- on and off- and I’m still shocked. How fast does time travel? I look back and I see how much I’ve grown, my confidence, and how well I can cope with my mind shadows, to put it eloquently, and it’s all thanks to this community’s unwavering love and support. So thank you! *showers you with confetti*

WHAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT

Here’s a miscellaneous list of things I’m looking forward to in the next two and a half months.

  1. The upcoming Ready Player One movie. WHAAA. I can’t even fathom the brilliance of this movie, especially with Steven Speilberg as the director. Still a tad bit sceptical but mostly with high hopes.
  2. Back into podcasts. My obsession with podcasts faltered mid-2017 but I’m back to listening to them obsessively. Some of my favourites are On Brand and Welcome to Night Vale (as always).
  3. New freelance projects. I love brainstorming and creating the most innovative projects and when it involves building campaigns and brands, it’s all the more interesting. Some interesting projects coming up in the upcoming months and I can’t wait to work on them.
  4. Content for Tales in Transit. As soon as my semester exams are over, I’m launching into churning out content for my travel and culture blog, a task that has been pending for a few months.
  5. A secret writer-centric project. I just started and it’ll be up and ready in three weeks. It’s something I took up because A) I believe this will make things easier for writers and B) It’ll put me in the zone to start my novel.

Hope you got a peek into what I’m up to. I know, I’m juggling a billion things. How do I manage it all, you ask?

Committed to black coffee.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR LITERARY HEAD?

I’ll definitely be posting here, with sporadic reviews and lists. Slowly but surely. Maybe I’ll also do more of such life check-in posts? What do you think?

How are you doing? I probably haven’t spoken to you in ages! Let’s catch up on twitter or down in the comments. If you wrote something interesting, link below and I’ll shower it with love.

An Ode to Rick and Morty

You may assume that Rick and Morty is just an animated show, that it’s mediocre because it’s just animated. Many people are confused and deny that the show could be that great. But then they watch it and the same people are gobsmacked by the show’s brilliance. And that brilliance is partly because of its animation, which gives the creators flexibility when portraying the world.

The show is about a 14-year old boy who goes along with the adventures of his genius but rather immoral grandfather. The duo travel through time and the galaxy, encountering various life forms and getting in the way of galactic authorities. It’s a great spin on sci-fi and for me, it’s reminiscent to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Even then, Rick and Morty is a unique concept that won’t fail to amaze you. The new episode that recently came out had a fresh and authentic storyline, one that was so impressive that I wish I was one of its writers.

What makes it so great? Let me dive into a few of the best elements of this show. I would cover all of them but this post would go on forever.

Rick Sanchez

Rick Sanchez is the grandfather/ scientist and his personality deems him to be one of the best characters to analyse. He is horrible but you can’t just label him as a bad person. Similar to many layered characters on TV, like Don Draper and Walter White, he is his own kind of unhealthy, macho male, twisted character. And I have reasons to say so.

1) He doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Not even the planet.

2) Any selfless act he ever does is, ultimately, for his own gain.

3) Despite his obvious lack of attachment, he still helps out when it comes to putting out (metaphorical) fires.

4) The longest debate is whether he truly loves Morty and the rest of the family or if he’s using them. This is tricky especially because even when his actions are supposedly good, they always have a twisted objective.

Themes

Science plays a crucial role in the plot. We see interdimensional time travel as well as a portal gun that allows you to move between parallel universe. One of the smartest episodes tackles the rupture of time and the infinite possibilities of results that a single scenario could have. Such scenes reflect the infinite possibilities for our near future and how taking a path slightly different from another can drastically change our lives.

There is a heavy theme of creator and createe. Rick plays God by creating a world that provides to his need. The show also pointed out how humans remove every logic when it comes to faith and religion. In one episode, when humans encountered an alien head, they immediately sank to their knees to worship it, no questions asked.

The show questions the meaning of life but unlike other stories with existential crises, it embraces that void of meaning with positivity. In one episode, after revealing a secret, Morty tells Summer, “Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV.” This will forever be quoted by R&M fans because of how easily the fact is laid out.

Rick and Morty, is silly, but sometimes, the silliest things shine a light on the most obvious thoughts. The show makes you thankful that you exist in a dimension where R&M is created and you feel more aware of yourself as a person and the impact you have on other people. Like many fans say, this show is better experienced than explained so if you haven’t grabbed this sometimes hilarious, mostly thoughtful, and always relatable show, you better start now. But don’t blame me if you spend a weekday binge-watching the show.

Three of a Kind: Cutesy

Three of a Kind is a series that lists books, shows, movies, podcasts and even music that pair well together. Each post highlights a particular theme and lists fictional worlds (and music) that revolve around the theme. Here’s something a little more mushy for a light sunday (said the lover of funny science fiction).

READ: Simon VS The Homosapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli

oreos + adorable protagonist + emails
Highlights: “White shouldn’t be the default any more than straight should be the default. There shouldn’t even be a default.”

Simon is the most adorable character ever. I don’t think I can emphasize this enough. The book had so much of positive energy and explored Simon coming out and dealing with the different facets of being a teenager in the best way possible.

WATCH: Inside Out

emotions as characters + sweet innocent Joy + life of a 11 year old
Highlights: Train of Thought

Adorable personified, literally. This show captures the workings of the brain in the simplest way possible- through animated characters that represent emotions. It’s so basic in thought yet exploding with creativity in implementation.

Watch: The Secret life of Walter Mitty

adorable shy guy + imaginative life + goes on an adventure
Highlights: Skating in Iceland

There’s a lot of whimsy in this movie and it will make you melt. Walter Mitty is a shy love struck guy who goes on an adventure and finds love. Its innocence and the beauty in the places he visits makes me forget how unrealistic the story is

While cutesy is so not my style, I think these cute stories are worth it. What would you add to this list?

Three of a Kind: Extraordinary Women

Three of a Kind is a series that lists books, shows, movies, podcasts and even music that pair well together. Each post highlights a particular theme and lists fictional worlds (and music) that revolve around the theme. If you know me, you’ll know that I am in awe of the movie Hidden Figures. This post is to celebrate women just like those.

READ: Warbreaker by BRandon Sanderson

two sisters + color-based fantasy + a sword as a character
Highlights: the character, Lightsong and his sass

While there were main characters besides the sisters, these sisters were the main catalysts to the plot and the real heroes at the end of the book. This epic fantasy knocks every other out of the park. I mean, did I already mention that a sword is a character?

WATCH: Hidden Figures

true story of women at NASA + first woman engineer+ woman who put man in space
Highlights: Fierce trailblazing women

Not only does it show how NASA got its first man into space, but it shows the women behind it, and the adversity they faced to be where they were. I love how the movie talks about the race issue in America and the fact that it’s a true story just adds to its appeal.

Watch: Jessica Jones

heroine with superpower strength + persevered despite PTSD + fierce AF
Highlights: Her fighting skills!

Well produced tv show with the bold Jessica Jones, I haven’t seen a show that portrays internalized thoughts so well. It also addresses abuse and PTSD so bonus points for not trying to glaze over the tough stuff.

Bonus: Scars to your beautiful

I bet there’s a lot more fiction that portray powerful women but my library of read books in this category is tiny. So, what would you recommend?

Stereotypes 101: So Much Time to Love

 Stereotypes 101 is a way for me to blow off some steam caused by the frustrating stereotypes that frequent my pages. Seriously, no amount of insecticide can get rid of these overused ideas.

How do you love? I have only met a handful of books that don’t have romance. While romance isn’t bad, an influx of it at every instance, is annoying. These stereotypes make me wonder if love is even real. (Kidding, have you seen the way I look at my copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?)
Tip: don’t try these archetypal love scenarios. They only work in fiction. But if they work for you, you are a fictional character. Congrats!

Instalove

Love at first sight is the least original way to fall in love. Good for the books that can pull it off. There are very few ways this archetype can been used successfully and it’s very tricky. I would love to see a slow burn romance, to make romance a meaningful element in the story. Show me how they bond and what makes them get along so well. None of this skin-deep love.
Books That Discard It: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

love triangles

Twilight, thanks for this. Why is it fun to watch two guys fight over a girl? I find it so cringeworthy. Imagine trying to pick between the two guys. This is the stuff for sitcoms. For the sake of originality, let this idea go missing this year.

love heals mental illness

Protagonist has a mental illness but as soon as she finds love, she’s much better. When love interest isn’t around, her mental illness plagues here again. LOVE ISN’T A FIX. Repeat after me, NEVER A FIX. Mental illness is not a switch. It creeps up on you in any and every circumstance. Misleading people- especially those who struggle with a mental illness- to think that love is a solution is very shitty.
Books That Discard It: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Love In the Time of Cancer

On the same thought lines as “love heals mental illness”, I find so many books with cancer-diagnosed protagonists that add a love interest to the mix just because it’ll progress the plot. Why?! It’s an easier way to tell a story but c’mon, there are so many ways to look at the protagonist’s story, and their life as an individual. Stop using love to ease the pain. Confront it.
Books that Discard It: My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Do any cliched scenarios of fictional romance plague your pages? Vent in the comments!