I finally figured out why it has taken me so long to return to writing here despite my constant longing to do so. With all the new projects and happenings buzzing around my head, I’ve needed a good brain dump for awhile. Still, I haven’t exactly known what to write about.
Not a traditional case of writer’s block, this is more an internal debate about my rules when it comes to publishing. Despite what you think, even a blog is “publishing.” It is out there. And my number one tip for publishing success: find your niche.
But how do you compartmentalize the life of a multi-tasker?
How do I transform a blog about ethnic media and the editor’s life to now encompass a new bridal site, my band management trials, my nesting tribulations and the apples of my eye, the infamous Timmy and Marky? Oh right, and my day job.
I’m not sure it is possible, but instead of stalling and waiting for some alternate universe where I only wear one hat, I’ve found a common thread.
Life is flying by fast. I’ve missed the conversation here, and I am finally ready to put the past in the past, to move forward with the opportunities that East West magazine afforded me. Rather than just lamenting the challenges and the loss, I’ve come to appreciate every moment of those seven years, the incredible connections and the lessons in “making it.”
P.S. Just an fyi, the East West website is now officially offline. We left it up for a good year after the doors closed, but it was time to let it go. I guess Glossy is all that remains, and of course your well-preserved back issues!
I’ve been fooling myself all this time. I’ve been trying so hard to distract myself with little projects and silly antics rather than venturing into a “real” new project again. Why? Out of fear. I dove into publishing the first time without fear or consequence, but now, I know more. I am definitely hesitant and questioning.
Fortunately, through this period, I’ve come to realize that finally I am ready. I have firmly set my focus on three “real” projects. One is taking care of my family. Two, managing my singer-songwriter husband’s career. These two you’ve heard before and they remain important. But, three, is completely new – a new online publishing startup.
I know you’re simply dying to know about #3. And trust me, you will. I will take you through my startup journey here. Step one, commit to it. My husband and I have finally mentally done that. He is working on logo ideas as we speak. Step two, buy the domain. Maybe that should be step 1, but I’ve just been so hesitant….more to come…
For now, the big news is related to the #2 project on my list. My husband’s music career. Yesterday, he released a new single on iTunes. The soulful “Hallelujah I’m Free” is a beautiful song and his vocals soar. I’m extremely proud. We believe so strongly in this song that we are making a huge push to possibly make it an iTunes chart climber. An extremely ambitious goal, but entrepreneurs know no other way!
I hope you’ll check it out. If you enjoy the song, download it and tell others. Help us take this project further (i.e. a new album release and a tour…)
For the last couple of months, many have mocked and many have simply stared in awe, in total amazement of my retro flip phone and my pathetic attempts to text like a grown up.
As the rest of the world moves forward, I took a step back in my cell phone technology to test a “less connected, more at peace” theory. Nearly three months later, I know one thing for sure…I want my Droid back. Thankfully, we didn’t sell it. I haven’t reactivated it yet, but I am getting closer. I’m even coveting an iPad (gift season hint), but I want the new one…so I’ll wait. Suddenly, I’m a technology/gadget snob again. Blame this on a business advisor/friend of mine. He brought his iPad to a recent meeting, and I was hooked. But, I ramble, back to the smartphone…
My theory that I would actually “talk” to people more did come true. But what’s more true is that I don’t like talking on the phone all that much. It isn’t very peace inducing to me, especially when I often don’t particularly like the person I’m talking too. Ouch.
The droid lets me hide more effectively, it fills minutes of boredom and waiting throughout my day and it keeps me flexible and mobile. Truthfully, I miss being connected, especially now as I plan my next venture.
So for all of you that mocked my smartphone-less life, go ahead and let out a rousing cheer. I am soon to return to more modern ways. But don’t even dare say, “I told you so.” What I did took guts. Real guts, I tell ya. Besides, my smartphone-less retreat into my soul reminded me of one of my key business, and now I realize life, principals. I always told staff and interns that the numero uno rule when giving out contact information is: “Anita doesn’t like the phone, DO NOT call her. Send your request or information in an email. Simply put, she doesn’t want to talk to you.” It seems that not much has changed, just the technology. Text me baby.
Considering my last post was all about a vacuum, it does seem plausible, that for the last month I’ve been lost in a cleaning frenzy. The dusty curios around my dwelling prove it isn’t so. But I have been sucked up by a new pull and a realization that the more I talk East West, the less I am able to move away from it.
I’m not done with publishing. In fact, in the last couple of weeks two new publishers have sent inquires for help and advice. Both reinforce that publishing is my home, or at least one of them. Here are some snippets:
1. “I just wanted to drop you a note to say “thank you” for being such an inspiration. A little while ago, I stumbled across your recent column in Folio:. My interest was piqued, I looked up East West magazine and found your blog as well. I’m so glad that I did!
I started my own online publication, Fashionably Cleveland (www.fashionablycleveland.com), a little over a year ago, and we’re partnering with a local publishing company to go into print this fall…Starting a print publication can be done, and even though East West is no more, your story has helped me retain my sanity over the past few months. I can’t thank you enough for helping me in my own publishing career.”
2. “I have been such a fan of East West magazine and your work and wanted to reach out to you about possibly becoming my mentor. Combining the east and west cultures has always been my passion and so has publishing so I have always been drawn to the sophistication and uniqueness of East West magazine. I recently launched my own print magazine…
I am brand new the publishing world and actually don’t know anything about it including advertising, distribution, standard ways of running a magazine. I know you have been successful with your magazine and have vast knowledge of the industry and it would be such an honor to have you as a mentor.”
Such notes are certainly encouraging and they also reminded me that when one door closes, take everything you learned and embrace all you did, — the good, the bad and the mistakes. Only then will you grow and move into the next window. Don’t just walk away without thoroughly packing up your belongings. You have built something, something that will help you in the next phase.
I will get back to both new publishers and offer advice where I can. But most of all, I wish them luck. Trust me, it takes guts.
So, no more East West talks here, period. But, I’m also not ready to spill the beans on my next door either. In the meantime, I’m going to do some experiments in living while I continue to consult for various IT clients – my other home. The first, which I’ll talk about more early next week, is related to food and my passion for eating out. I hope you’ll continue to visit and read as the building of my next glossy phase will start soon.
In the meantime, please help me de-East West my life. First, the logo at the top of this blog… should I remove the cover icons? Second, my home office walls’ still tease me with the past. In my husband’s latest Youtube video, part of his occasional acoustic cover song series, you can even see a framed East West cover behind him. Not good.
I will always treasure them, but East West covers need to be retired. Art, décor suggestions?
It is the small, sometimes odd, things that change perception the most.
A smile from across the coffee shop can alter your lifelong view of relationships or perhaps the power of a cheap vacuum can shake you out of passively accepting things as they are. Yes, a vacuum. It is true, my mental clarity now comes from cleaning.
I’ve suffered from cheap vacuum-itis for quite some time. Often, I would contemplate a new purchase but would quickly squash the urge by convincing myself that what I had worked well enough. A new vacuum wasn’t necessary for cleaning happiness, it was just another excuse. Just like a new career path or a new venture isn’t necessary for my personal fulfillment, right? I have a great life so why don’t I just be happy with the status quo? Plus, I figured I needed big bucks for a big reward: greater cleaning power. And spending on a vacuum, of all things, has little appeal.
Two nights ago, I discovered I have been oh so wrong.
Convinced by my husband to buy a new vacuum, one highly touted by a neighbor, I pushed around my new red gadget in amazement. How could one simple change make such a drastic difference? Not only are things cleaner, but it was easier, less like a chore. I felt at home. This vacuum is the right fit. A bit too dramatic for you? Watch out, the lesson deepens.
This vacuum wasn’t expensive. On sale at Target for just $39.99!
The little things really do make a difference. You just have to keep wanting better and play with caution and within budget. Drastic life changes aren’t always necessary to get where you want, the gradual path works too. I don’t have to be East West or nothing in publishing at all. I don’t have to stick with IT consulting and have no creative outlet at all. I can take gradual steps, and with each I will feel the progression. I just have to do it. And so, now I am. My shift is coming soon.
Wow, that was deep. (and a deep clean). Maybe this post should have been named When Life Sucks…ah, I make myself giggle.
**Want the vacuum? Be prepared, it might just change your life. Dirt Devil Featherlite.
By 2013, more than one billion people will own a smartphone according to a report entitled Handheld Device Convergence. But, according to the “world of Anita,” it might actually be only 999,999,999 people.
About a month ago, I wrote about purpose, and then, I went silent. But not because I discovered anything. You’d think I would have answers by now, but unfortunately it isn’t that easy. I did, however, through the dredging up of past career steps and missteps, realize that what I was missing was the journey.
First step in embracing the journey to my new identity and life? Go against the smartphone tide.
I’ve been too plugged in. Too worried about what is happening. Less screen tapping needed, more soul discovery. So my cute HTC droid was ripped of its powers, and I recently went back to my old school phone. I’m talking pre-Blackberry. I now rely on a simple, and by all comparisons, outdated Motorola Razr. I think it’s generation one of the phone. Must be since I’ve had it stored for the last four years. Received a barely decipherable text from me lately? Now you know why. Texting is nearly impossible for me on this thing, how did I handle that in the past? For now, I call people more often. A simple solution that has led to an interesting realization: Voices are nice.
Two weeks in, and, other than the texting issue, things are good. I’m less worried about email, facebook and twitter updates throughout the day and more focused on the task at hand. And imagine this, email is almost a highlight again. When I come home, I get all the day’s emails at once. I sit with a cup of tea and read, respond, forward, mark as spam, etc. It is a concentrated email zone, rather than a minute-by-minute distraction. Yes, a novelty for now, but will it last? And admittedly, if I were still running a business, I would want and need a smartphone. But I’m not. And I need to break away for a bit.
Any bets on how long I will last sans droid?
I’ll still blog (did consider giving the Glossy url for a moment), tweet and facebook, but I’m being more careful to ensure these tools don’t take over and distract. Step one complete.
Step two, decide about investing in licensing for East West’s evergreen content. Make a decision and move on, continue on the journey. I must stop getting stuck. This one is harder…
Makeup brushes are washed, workout clothes are set for the morning and I just applied a peel for some skin rejuvenation (thanks, ArizonaSpaGirls. This one works great!). Basically, I’m back.
I’m coming out of my writing and living funk, ready to take to the blog once again and set down a sparkly new path. What got me up and going again? Let’s just say it was my own mini version of some real housewives drama (yes, I love those shows, and I have no shame about it!). I won’t bore you with the details here, but the point is, drama, as destructive as it can be, is often also enlightening. Another’s utter ridiculousness can sometimes lead you to reflect on how much you can and have accomplished.
I won’t lie, the gaping hole left by East West is still not filled, but I find that I am getting closer to patching it for good. And I have realized that I can only get there here. I have to write it. I don’t necessarily need you to read it, but I have to write it. Confused? I’ll fill you in, I promise.
Purpose is a weighty word. Not just a single destination but rather a multi-faceted hue that guides our actions. Yet today’s find-yourself culture throws it around a bit too causally for my liking.
Many seem to think we each have one singular purpose to achieve. This is as simplistic as saying one job, one career path will satisfy and serve our being for our entire lives. Google “purpose in life,” and you’ll see what I mean. Apparently, the answer to your purpose is just 20 minutes, and some cash, away.
I’ve obviously been pondering my purpose quite a bit lately. What I can do to serve and what will in turn serve me? Where do I belong now that East West is gone?
The allure of career is strong, but so is the draw of settling down and starting a family. Yes, kids. I’m one step in both directions, but not fully entrenched in either. Must I be? Please, oh pretty please, don’t say we can do it all. Don’t bombard me with simplistic idealistic thinking. Life is not so black and white. So, so many grey areas…
I have no answers yet. For now, I continue to make a good living consulting, but wonder daily if I will find the career oomph again. As for family, just the other day I sat my husband down and told him we need to discuss what type of wife I want to be. He just chuckled and gave me that “you’re so funny and cute” look.
And so it goes…
During this media “sabbatical” of mine, I’ve been trying to put my experiences to good use by ordering around my new husband.
Do the dishes, give the dogs a bath and do whatever I say when it comes to your music career. Truthfully, I know little about the industry, but I fancy myself his own personal Ari Gold (“Entourage”). I’ll typically have the “the best idea ever” at least twice a day, and lucky for his fans, he ignores most of my baseless and often ridiculous orders.
But after catching the American Idol finale earlier this week, we saw things eye to eye. We both sat in awe. Not in awe of greatness, but in awe of how not good some of the Top 10 are. I hate to pick on people since I can’t sing at all, but I have to say I knew Mr. J. Miller could do a better rendition of Beautiful Day than the winner did. So I told him to get on it. He listened and now there’s a YouTube video. The singing is good, and he added some surprises. I spent my morning laughing. Hope you enjoy it too. And if you do, share it!
Now I just need to work a record deal…channeling Ari.
Sure it hasn’t even been a week, but I’m ready to move forward. Married life feels good…now what? Trust me, I wish I could rest. Simply not in my nature.
Our ceremony and reception were everything I could have wished for. Friends and family came out in force, and it was great to see our upbringings collide.
We sat down to watch some of the raw video footage from the event last night, and seeing my all-American, singer songwriter husband break it down Indian style during the groom’s procession (baraat) made me absolutely giddy.
We had fun. That was our motto and we stuck to it. That day, I was an oddly calm bride according to those around. I was just happy to be there. All the details faded into the background. I was even calm when I was told that the groom had lost his pants, his traditional Indian shirvani pants that is!
I was simply happy to see friends from the various chapters of my life come together. And as much as I didn’t want the shadow of East West to be present — since this happy time was bittersweet only due to the magazine’s closing being so recent — I realized it was East West, it was that chapter in my life, which made so much of May 22nd a reality.
Friends, past colleagues, event folks, etc…the connections the magazine brought into my life made this day special.
So cheers to my husband, my family and my friends for showing me a good time. And cheers to East West for its impact not only on readers nationwide but for its impact on who I am today. I can’t deny it, I had a marvelous East West wedding.
Now, it is on to the next phase. The day after the wedding I briefly considered a wedding planning business. One word: Bridezillas. I don’t need that type of drama in my life. But I won’t rule out a wedding related endeavor in the near future…
Some wedding photos: