Marisa Mohi
Writer | Coach | Tarot Reader — I help creatives make space for what they loved before the world got in the way.
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Photo by Cassie Boca on Unsplash

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One of the things that seems to concern a lot of well-meaning assholes is how I make money as a writer and creative.

They’ve told me, on multiple occasions, that writing doesn’t earn cash, and that you have to be a boring jerk in middle management to actually make something of your life.

(This is patently false, by the way, but you know how people can be.)

So, it’s with that in mind that I’ve decided to list all the ways I make money as a writer and creative person. It’s not just for the jerks, though, because I’m pretty sure they won’t be reading this. …

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Photo by HIVAN ARVIZU @soyhivan on Unsplash

If I don’t keep my phone on Do Not Disturb, I will lose my damn mind.

Even though I’ve changed the notification settings and done my best to ensure that my phone screen doesn’t illuminate out of the blue and take me out of my work-induced fugue state, I still struggle with that temptation.

I need to know if I’m missing out. I need to check the group texts to see if anything important is going on.

It’s never important, and I learned that long ago.

But that’s the thing about your phone and social media. …

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Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

Growing up, it seemed like talent was the Holy Grail.

If you were talented enough at whatever you did, you had it made. This was a myth that was perpetuated not only by other kids, but by the adults around us.

I remember playing varsity softball and leaving the field one night. I overheard a conversation between two parents talking about our pitcher.

“That’s just a lot of God-given talent right there,” one said. The other agreed.

I didn’t think much of it at the time. But it’s stuck with me these past 20 years.

Back then, it seemed right. Our pitcher was good. She had to have been blessed. Hell, she even got a college scholarship. …

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Photo by Dan Counsell on Unsplash

It took a global pandemic for me to see what I really needed in order to be a writer.

Don’t get me wrong. I have the education. I have the network. I had the correct day jobs to be the writer I wanted to be.

I did the speaking gigs. I did the social media. I grew my author platform.

But at the end of the day, it wasn’t right.

In December of 2019, I quit my day job teaching Business Communications at the biggest research institution in my state. I wanted to go out on my own and do some freelancing. I wanted to finally build up my business. …

Did you know that there’s less than a month left in 2020? Let’s talk about how to set creative goals for the new year.

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products.

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Yes, I know that when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, the pandemic won’t be over. But did you know that you can still set goals even if the year kind of just sucks?

Obviously, your goals for 2021 probably won’t center on travel and large gatherings. …

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Breakin’ curses all damn day, y’all.

You know how in fairy tales, there’s always someone who is cursed? And like, the curse itself is kind of weird?

Like how Sleeping Beauty was going to die from pricking her finger on a spinning wheel? Or like how Pinocchio’s nose grows when he lies?

Admittedly, I’m not dealing with any of this.

But I have been cursed by busy-ness, an odd thing since I wrote about how busy is a choice years ago.

But sometimes, when life shifts and you level up, what used to be a necessary task falls into the busy realm. Couple that with my need to constantly appear like I have it all together (this is a pathological thing, and I’m working on it because I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER), and well, you’ve got a girl who has been doing tons of busy work.

Also, if I’m being real, I set goals every year for the stuff I want to do. And when you write it on paper, it always feels smaller than it is. I don’t imagine myself, bleary-eyed and anxious, sitting at the computer for an extra couple of hours every week to make it happen, though I should.

Here’s what I’m getting at:

I love my blog, but it’s busy work.
I love #FlashFictionFriday, but it’s busy work.
I love sharing info on my YouTube channel, but it’s busy work.
I love writing Medium essays, but those are also busy work.

None of these things are novel writing. None of these things are paying off in the way that they should for the amount of energy I put into them. None of these things make me feel particularly accomplished.

Sure, I get to mark these off the to do list each week, and at the end of the year, there’s a whole pile of things I did. …

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This is the customer service face I honed while waiting tables. I use it often. It has served me well when I find myself as the recipient of unsolicited advice.

To Whom It May Concern:

I would like to extend my acknowledgement of receipt for the unsolicited advice you offered me the other day. Though I didn’t ask for it, and I would argue it wasn’t necessary, you took the time to send it my way, which I suppose counts for something.

I don’t often seek advice, perhaps to the chagrin of others. But when I do, I’m very particular about those who I consult. Industry experts, very close friends, folks who have been there before — those are usually the people I speak with when I’m in need of information. But you saw an opportunity to say something, and you did so, though you weren’t asked to do so. And I suppose it is that type of attitude and bravado that epitomizes the go-getter spirit. …

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One of the actual dumbest things I hear grown adults say is, “Well, I was always taught…”

Then, they say something that’s either patently incorrect, inhumane, or justifies something wrong they’re actively doing.

“I was always taught to respect my elders.”

“I was always taught to listen to the pastor no matter what.”

“I was always taught that [insert political party] was corrupt.”

“I was always taught that thunder is the sound of God bowling and he just got a strike.”

Okay. That last one is dumb. But it’s something that a lot of people I know ACTUALLY heard growing up. At best, it’s a cute way to calm down a kid in the middle of a thunder storm. At worst, it’s a gateway into the fake science that a lot of public schools and universities teach about Jesus co-existing with dinosaurs, or my fav — Satan putting the dinosaur bones in the ground to tempt you into believing thoughts against God. …

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When I was in high school, nearly all my teachers were white. And now that I think about it, I can’t think of any nonwhite teachers at my school. They were mostly middle class women, though there were a few men as well.

I grew up in a city that was created by white flight, and still had sundown laws on the books.

But I wasn’t white.

I’ve written about my ethnic background before, and I’m always trying to unpack my identity. It’s one that’s fraught with questions. My dad is from Iran. My mom is Mexican and Citizen Potawatomi Nation — her father came from Mexico to the U.S., …

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Absolutely in love with this deck.

I always knew I was going to be a writer. When I was 8, I declared it. With all the gusto and certainty that an 8-year-old could muster.

I read voraciously and bought all the notebooks my mother would allow me to get at the dollar store. I always had pens and pencils, and I specifically remember stealing a really nice Pilot pen from the drawer in the kitchen where my parents kept the good writing utensils — just under the phone with spiral cord.

But it wasn’t until high school and college that I felt like I really came into my own. I felt like I could write at the drop of a hat. It was as easy as cracking the spine on the Moleskine I kept in my back pocket, and just writing. …

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