I'm a good story

Real Talk. Real Love (for you).

Hi readers,

I’m not sure how many of you read my blog regularly enough to notice that I put something out every Thursday, and have been for more than two and a half years. (That’s the longest thing I’ve been committed to in the last decade.) If you do read my blog with any regularity, then you’ve probably noticed I’ve been thrown off my game in the last few weeks. Here’s why.

I’m currently entering a period of my career where I am a very busy freelance writer. After taking on a part-time job in a newsroom to get me out of my isolated freelance cocoon and bring some stability back into my life (both financially and mentally), I was then flooded with other writing opportunities. This is great. As someone who’s been freelancing for the last four years, this has always been the goal. I can’t afford to say no to opportunity – both financially and professionally. So I am currently spending much of my time writing. And getting paid to write. Get the fuck out.

That’s just about all I could ask for as someone who identifies as a writer, more so than anything else (woman, daughter, friend) – sometimes to my detriment. But oh well. It’s romantic. And how I see the world.

As a freelancer, I can also attest that you never know when this kind of stability will end. Nothing is ever secure, so when the work comes, you take it. And you do your best. There’s no other option for me.

As a result, I have very little time to do things I used to have a lot of time to do, like lazing on the couch, reading my Statscounter a zillion times a day, taking naps. Writing this blog with any sort of regularity.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on it.  Despite my new work-heavy schedule, I’m still finding time to write just about every day. It’s just that I’m not terribly inspired to write short-form – as in, anything under 1000 words.

I started I’m a Good Story to prove that I could do that, weekly. I enjoyed the challenge of coming up with something – anything – to write about in short-ish spurts on a regular basis.

But I’m changing as a writer. I’ve been increasingly more interested in long-form storytelling. Which is what I’m focusing on right now, on my own time— and it does take more time. It’s an attempt at writing a book, some of which I intend to excerpt here at some point.

This all sounds very dramatic, doesn’t it? We’re almost done.

I’m currently working with a super talented graphic designer on a rebrand/reinvention, mostly of my logo but also on what I want to do with this site. For now, that’s not entirely clear.

I wanted to let you know that this shift is unsettling. I feel like I’m failing in a way. I’m pretty certain that none of you will care that much, but hopefully this will help us understand where this is going.

Basically, what I’m saying is, we’re not done. I’m a Good Story, as a phrase and as my outlet, is something I feel pretty strongly about. I wouldn’t go so far to say I’m proud of it, but I’m content that I’ve committed to something this long that came entirely from my brain. I’m also happy – and maybe just a wee bit scared – that my life is changing, along with my role as a writer. That’s how we do, right?

All this is just my way of letting you, my cherished reader, know that I probably won’t be updating this blog weekly anymore. I am going to keep it going, I just haven’t figured out how. So, in the meantime, I want to sincerely thank you for caring and reading my work. It not only validates me and fills me with joy, but it also means the world to me.

Speak to/at you soon.

Elianna Lev

AKA The first person ever to milk the phrase “I’m a Good Story.”

June 28, 2012   2 Comments

Stroke my ego, but don’t do it gently

This one is dedicated to Ms. Jill Borra and Mr. Kevin Siu of the Globe and Mail. I’ll be contacting you soon.

I was talking to my friend in New York last week about her husband whose career is on the verge of exploding. He’s the most driven, confident, and self-assured person I’ve ever met in my life. Ever. Ever. Ever.

Lately, he’s been working harder than almost anyone I know and apparently, it’s getting to him.

“It’s like he wants a gold star on his forehead,” his wife told me. “I think I should do that. I think I should go out and buy a roll of gold stars from Sandylion and stick them on his face, one by one until he looks like David Bowie.”

In short, this guy needs confirmation about everything.  Everything. Everything. Everything.

I totally get it.

Recently, a few of my girly girls and I have started playing a very healthy game where we’ll sit around on a bed and say at least one nice thing about each other before the end of our hang out session. (Reminiscent of this.)

You want to know why? Because most of the time, we’re all in our heads, telling ourselves we’re not good enough, our work isn’t good enough and everything we do isn’t good enough.

So it’s nice to have friends who can play along with this game where you not so gently stroke each other’s egos. You don’t even know how good it feels until you try it.

It’s a feeling you can get used to it.

This week I used Facebook to ask my followers to help me describe I’m a Good Story, partially for work reasons, but mostly for ego-stroking reasons. Here’s a few things people said:

“Elianna Lev doesn’t want to make you uncomfortable, but she does, usually by writing about the things that make her uncomfortable, of which there are very, very many.” – Sarah Steinberg, my editor at enRoute and my former editor at Vice

“Honest, heart-felt and at times poignant, I’m a Good Story tells of the journey to find truth, inspiration and personal insight amidst the beauty and schlock of post-postmodern life and relationships.” – Hilary Henegar, my editor at Granville magazine

“Personal, without sentiment, honest without being precious, always leaving the reader with a lesson or piece of useful insight” – Louise Burns, professional musician, formerly of the band Lillix

That felt great until my ex-boyfriend, professional improviser and certified jerkface Taz Van Rassel chimed in:

“Remember that girl in high school who told you every detail of her life regardless of whether you asked or not? That’s what I’m a Good Story is like, but less gothy.”

I’m in an interesting place in my career where I’m about to start taking more chances. I have to or else I won’t get where I want to be. It’s terrifying and thrilling and, really, all I can think about. I’m one of those driven types who won’t settle until they achieve what they want.  And what I want are big, big things.

I met with five of my mentors this week to ask for guidance as I enter this critical point in my life. Here’s the wise words I took away from each of them.

1)   You’re doing the right thing.
2)   Don’t think. Do.
3)   The world needs people who do what you do.
4)   You are good at what you do.
5)   When you write a story, write more than one side to it.

It helped a lot.

There are a lot of people like me. And many of us seem to be in the same place right now, all waiting for our big moment and working our asses off until it happens.

If I had one word to describe this weird place we’re in, I wouldn’t use the word “fulfilling.” Instead, I’d use ‘stressful.’ I’d even use all caps: ‘STRESSFUL.’

(As I’m writing this, I’m toggling between five different files and my web browser, working on two different contracts, one huge pitch and on the phone ordering some overpriced iPhone text plan for the US, as I’m taking a trip to LA with my writing partner later this week. STRESSFUL.)

We driven types work hard and often we’re rewarded. But equally as often, the reward doesn’t feel quite as good as we’d expect it to feel, considering the amount of energy (STRESSFUL energy) that was put in.

But whose fault is that?

I’ll think about that when I have a moment. But for now, I have way too much work to do.

——

My mentors, listed in order of how their advice appeared:

1. Terri Theodore, reporter and broadcaster extraordinaire for the Canadian Press

2. Marsha Lederman, Western arts correspondent for the Globe and Mail

3. Catherine Winckler, partner and creative director of Switch United

4. Steve Pratt, director of CBC Radio 3

5. My dad.

July 29, 2010   5 Comments