The Writer’s Life – I’d Rather Be Writing

Hey Readers! It’s been a while since I’ve posted (again). Yeah, I’m basically online all the time, but it’s been a busy time of year for me.

As I sit here on my bed-top ‘office’ (Yeah, I work from my bed – don’t look at me like that), with my laptop comfortably perched across my thighs, I realize that I’ve been writing basically non-stop since 8am this morning… chugging Rockstar energy drinks (even though I’m still using my Thrive supplement – I just really love the taste of ‘crack in a can’ as I fondly call it in the stores– I’m only a little addicted I swear…). Anyway, it’s past lunch already and I’m rockin’ it out.

So far, there’s been about 800 words for an adult dating site, 1,000 words for a green business highlighting the upcoming Earth Day (grab your seedlings now or get involved any way you can – April 22nd gets here fast and every tree and helping hand contributes!), and I still have another 800 for an international article that needs to be completed today. Hopefully, before I run out of Rockstar because there are always errands that need to be run in the afternoon and I’ll fall asleep on my computer if I try to push the work to a late night thing. For me, blank screens are only [somewhat] inspiring through the early hours of the day – at night (particularly after supper) they become inspiration for me to grab my pillow…. (See, learn your body’s schedule and work with it).

Of course, this can also change as the day continues. As a freelancer using online platforms (that are available worldwide 24/7), I tend to get writing gigs on a sort of random basis which can change my schedule up without advance notice (thankfully I’m good at adapting – see this post for more on that). Occasionally I can find a Gig that lasts a couple weeks, and then I’ve filled whatever quota for goodness knows how long and I’m left wondering when the heck I’m gonna see another payment. Sometimes it’s also the reverse and I end up with more work than expected – which is pretty awesome because then I can rest easier knowing bills are paid – even if I might be a bit frazzled to complete it all and keep everything straight. (Nothing like sending the wrong file link to a client – especially when I am balancing ‘adult sex toy’ content and ‘work at home mom’ content… imagine that crazy situation… I shudder thinking about it personally)

The freelance writer’s income is one that isn’t for the faint of heart – I can tell you that now. Some months you can make 300 in 3 weeks or even in one day, other months you might be lucky to pull an hour’s worth of income – especially with all the demand for cheaper writers…( Strangely enough, I actually see requests for articles of over 3,000 words with a budget of only $5… it’s a real thing guys – and that needs to STOP if you want the cold hard truth).

For budding writers – you can go ahead and start out with those really low priced gigs because it helps you build your resume of work – but remember to adjust your prices as you improve your skills! Don’t let your clients walk all over you! Build up, and move up as you go along.

Well, that’s all for now guys! Catch ya later!

Love and Peace
Aza

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Finding Direction is Difficult

Hey Readers!

Things are starting to slow down again finally and settle back into a pace that I can manage (at least without losing my mind). I’m glad to be back to writing and only dealing with filling vending machines instead of hordes of people every day. Thanks to this sudden change in direction, it brought to mind just how difficult it is for us – anyone really (felony label or not)- to find a direction in life.

You know, we all start out as kids thinking that we’ll be a fireman,… a teacher,… an equestrian trainer, … a doctor…so on and so forth. As things progress, we begin to find that we might have multiple interests, or maybe very few interests (that might happen to barred now). Now, as I recall, the great American Dream dictated that we settled on something out of high school, right? Went straight to college. Rolled the dice on the perfect partner and perfect lifestyle – voila. Something like that anyway.

Eh.

Looking back, that whole thing is nonsense. Now, while felons, in particular, have huge disruptions in finding employment overall, people, in general, don’t really seem to fit into one category, one set of simple rules, or anything even close to that box that everyone talks about…. ever. We are diverse in everything we do, everything we like, and everything we have experienced. This makes things complicated sometimes. We aren’t going to be able to stay on a single direction for forever. Change is the stuff of life, and even though the changes that felons in particular are experiencing are rough indeed (regardless of the offending conviction),  – it doesn’t have to be an end to ‘having a direction in life’.

I think that it’s okay for life to be diverse and challenging – even if it gives me headaches (dropping back to part-time work and depending on freelancing/self-marketing hurts a bit more than I remember). I know I just have to remember that if I want everything to come from the work I do, I need to put everything into it. Then again, that is far easier to say than to do.

I can’t say much for you guys, but I know I have a ton of interests. This makes post-felony life a bit easier for me honestly because it means I adapt really well.
For instance, I love crafting and creating in just about every way possible. You’d get lost if you tried to find your way through all of the drawers and totes of my craft stuff, let alone attempted the navigation of the file drawer under my desk.
Add in my love of DIY automotive repair (comes in handy for those times where I really don’t want to interact with people – and I can whack parts that aren’t cooperating with my wrench -which I can’t do with non-cooperating people), a knack for writing, and a talent with witchy things, well – I tend to have my bases covered one way or another. I’m telling you, the whole ‘Where there is a will – there is a way‘ thing if fully felt and really, truly lived out in mind and action – has proven to be extremely useful. Thank you to my lovely Momma for that (she’s doing fine, in case you were wondering).

I suppose the lesson here is that while you might think life is supposed to be a straight line, things are going to get crooked in one way or another at some point. There is a multitude of experiences that will turn your life into a giant rollercoaster that feels vaguely akin to a personal hell. While this might be unavoidable, or might last longer than you would expect – things can get better.

Allow yourself to try new things, you never know what interests you might unveil!

One personal example of this is when I first found my love of automotive work. I found rat rod magazines in my house as a kid and fell in love with the designs and articles. I began learning the terminology and basic theory of how cars worked and how to work on them. While my dad was older and of a generation that didn’t believe much in women working on cars (he never let me help him), I still found ways to intern as a teen at small shops until I learned enough to move forward and become hire-able. About 15 years later, I thought I was tired of the auto industry (it’ll never be done – fellow techs know that pain, lol) and went into psychology and back to another childhood love of writing.

Now, I offer help online to felons that need encouragement and direction in their lives, as well as continually write (blogs, books, and random freelance things). These are the things I love, and I hope that my focus and drive will inspire other felons to find a path that leads them to their own new flavor of freedom.

So, keep flexible, stay open-minded, find something that interests you and see if you can make it work for you. If you can’t find it in you to find a direction without some additional direction (ha, I’m sometimes funny), hit me up on Fiverr and look up my Gigs for help. Maybe you want personal coaching on how to overcome your felony – I offer that as well as a few other fun things, so click that link and check it out (you’re helping out a fellow felon with every purchase!)

That’s all for today guys! Gotta run to the next job!
Love and Peace – Aza

Survey Opportunity!

Hello Readers! It’s been a while thanks to some extra insanity going on in the home life – nothing like a sudden job change immediately after replacing your vehicle. I have however been keeping busy with my networking platforms and I’ve found someone that would really love to share their survey with you!

The creator of this survey is a fellow friendly felon supporter, and has experienced part of the world of incarceration through their family members. This experience inspired them to take on the world of incarceration and the many influences that impact incarceration rates. They’re going to be graduating with their psychology degree soon (congrats!) and would love a chance to talk with you through their latest survey!

https://goo.gl/forms/aENdrSWo4kuSIodz2

Click the link and help a fellow friend!

That’s all for now – love and peace! – Aza

Misinformation is Abundant

Hey Readers! I’ve been scrolling through the Twitter feeds and Facebook groups, and I have been shocked by the amount of misinformation about felons that has been spread.

There’s a few things in particular that I’d like to clear up now.

Voting: In many states, so long as you’ve completed your sentence fully (lock up and supervision included), you can register to vote again and have your voice heard.

Firearms: In many cases, non-violent felons can regain access to firearms – again, once completely finished with your sentence.

Felon Friendly Jobs – Lists have been floating around the internet for years, ever since we figured out we could share information. The thing is – not all felons will be hired by ‘felon friendly employers’. This is very much based on the nature of your felony and the nature of the work you’re going for. For instance, with my record, all retail store employers see is a thief when they look at my background. However, I can easily work in the automotive industry, in factories, and many other career paths if I choose to.

Thinking All States Have the Same Laws – Seriously, just throw that idea out the window now. My research has shown me just how insane the differences are, and guess what – you’ll need to find out what applies to you and your state if you want to succeed with your background. (I can’t stress this word enough – RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH)

Alright, that covers the main pains I’ve seen recently. Here’s a list of previous posts that are also full of resources:

Misinformation about Felons

Timelines and Tips

Felons and Certifications

Guide to Life After a Felony (ebook)

Friendly Felon’s Guide to Life  (print book)

That’s all for now guys, til next time – Stay Strong, Rise Above, and NEVER let anyone tell you who you are and who you CAN BE. We are MORE THAN OUR PASTS and we will overcome all our obstacles!

Love and Peace – Aza

Interesting Reads – List of the Week

Hey Readers! I’ve been browsing the catalog again!

There’s a lot of nifty books in this list, check them out below:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/503385?ref=AzaEnigma (Strong Brains, Sharp Minds)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/23934?ref=AzaEnigma (Digital Media Skills)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/398936?ref=AzaEnigma (Job Guide for Nurses)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/578517?ref=AzaEnigma (Doctor Who Stuff)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/252936?ref=AzaEnigma (Learning on the Go)

And that’s my collection of interesting reads this week!

If you dig this list, why not check out my previous posts for more links (here and here)

That’s all for now folks

Love and Peace – Aza

Ban the Box … What Does it DO?

Hey Readers!

I’ve seen a lot of community posts about how many states have adopted a ‘ban the box’ policy for job applications.

This effort is to help felons and all the convicts, in general, find a job just a bit more easily.

What it really does, is delay the background question.

Instead of that immediate scoff by human resources personnel and the quick placement of your app into the famous ‘File 13’, your application will now be considered as a normal application up until the interview.

It doesn’t give you a ‘get a job scot-free’ card. You won’t just put in your new application and be accepted immediately – even if you have an awesome work record.

Most of the states still have the ability to talk about your record once they have you in the interview. So, you will still need to come clean about it at some point in the hiring process…, but at least the employer has already been tempted to hire you due to your work ethic as displayed on your resume AND application.

Oh yeah, I also advise making a resume, most places allow you to upload your resume on their online application, and EVERY bit of proof that you’re a good worker will help you in this process. If you need help working out a resume, begin searching for resume templates online and play around with them until you find one that suits your style and your desired career – there are tons of free resources for you to use – take advantage of them and get a leg up in your work search! There’s no excuse to not do this – especially since you’re reading this online – make a new tab now and start searching for what you need.

Also, try to include letters of recommendation from previous employers, co-workers, probation officers, officers in general – just about anyone who will write out a reference letter for you – keep them together and bring them with you as well. If you don’t have these, start asking for them – every single one will help you move forward.

Every bit of proof that you can get your hands on, grab it. Take these adjustments to the laws and make the best of them. There might not be much wiggle room, but we CAN keep moving forward.

So, get your resumes ready, grease up those elbows, and get to work!

We got this guys!

Love and Peace – Aza

Smashwords Profile

Hey Readers!

I’ve updated my profile page at Smashwords – one of my online publishing sources. Just click the link there, and you can check it out. Maybe take a look around the site and see what all the awesome indie authors out there have to offer.
There’s a lot of interesting things always being uploaded every day!

I never think ‘I can’t’ …

Hey Readers! Hope all is well for you, and if not, that it gets better soon!

I was meditating on the various topics to post about on here, and one thing I realized I hadn’t talked about yet – is how I’ve changed my perspective in relation to my background and to life in general.

There are a couple experiences I’ve had over the years that really made me realize just how much I’ve begun to apply my determination to succeed in all aspects of my life.  Strangely enough, they are the experiences where I was denied. Let’s delve in, so I can explain how it hit me last night.

The first experience where I didn’t let a denial stop me, was when I had to have dental work done. My addiction to energy drinks had taken its toll on my teeth, and it was time to pay the piper with partial dentures so I could keep smiling. I was assured I’d be covered for what I wanted done, and well, only after the extraction did my dentist realize my insurance wouldn’t cover the partials I’d need to smile fully again.
Total bummer right? Not exactly. Instead of hiding out in my house and never leaving or working with people again, I began to research how to make my own.
And guess what… I have had fully functional, perfectly fitting partial dentures ever since then, that I make in my own home.  For anyone that is interested – I get my kits from Monster Makers – adapting a novelty dental kit to my needs. No, I don’t get commission from them, they’re just the most efficient place for me to buy the kit from because everything I need is included. You’ll screw up a few times if you try it out, but as with all things, you get better with practice. I also like to make special Halloween teeth just to freak people out around the holidays – It’s pretty awesome in it’s own way – which is yet another silver lining to that whole experience.

Another time where it really sank home that I’d changed my perspective is when I finally applied for college courses in 2012. I was getting fed up with working over time and still not being able to pay all my bills because I couldn’t get a decent paying job. I reached out to a few colleges, and got accepted by the ones I wanted. Did I ever stop to think that my background would stop me? Not really. I did make a point to bring it up in every interview, just to give the advisors a heads up, but because it had been over 5 years, none of the advisors I spoke with gave a damn about my theft record.  I didn’t let the idea of it overwhelm me, like it would have in the past – when I was still freshly released and in a different mindset.

Did I ever think that I wouldn’t find a way to provide for my needs in these examples? Nope. Not once I realized that where there is a will – there is a way.

I remember years before this, I would have never even tried to do anything because I would have figured right away that I’d be denied anything and everything because I was a worthless exconvict. (Totally not true by the way – for any of us – don’t let that mindset take you!)

I have to give my second father credit for helping this sort of mindset be possible though. He was an aviator (if I haven’t told you before), and he was a curious fellow. He gained a bit of notoriety in our community because he didn’t let inconveniences stop him. Here’s the story on that:

Dad began building a section of a wing for an airplane that he was building (and it wasn’t the first or last one…..). The fun part—-He began it in an upper bedroom of his house and forgot to move it as the wing became bigger and bigger. ….So.. as the wing grew in size, it couldn’t join the rest of the project downstairs in one of the large sheds he used for hangars.
Instead of stopping, giving up, or taking the thing apart to move it…. he decided to keep on, and just use a chainsaw to open the exterior wall of the room when it was done – so that he and his family could bring it out.

Yes.. there are photos somewhere… and I’ll try to update this eventually to share them once I find them and get permission from the family to do so. It’s quite epic to imagine – let alone see the proof.

That’s all for today guys! Love and Peace

Aza

The Importance of Research

Welcome Readers!
Our topic today is the importance of research and continuing personal curiosity and learning. Now, I know I’ve touched on this before, and I thought it might be helpful to share some more of the personal experiences that have came up for me over the last decade to help cement the idea of how productive it really can be.

The first time I realized that my curiosity about my situation could be actually helpful to building a life back up was when I stumbled upon a list of updated laws for my state, sometime around 2014. Mostly, it was a lot of stuff that was irrelevant to the lifestyle I lived, but it included a note about an updated law directed toward the sealing of records and their various requirements. Now, when I talk about requirements for these things, I mean things like length of time since conviction and release of sentence, type of arrest/charge/conviction, and having various forms of supporting evidence of character change – these are the most common characteristics that you’ll see on these updates in my experience.

This one mentioned expanding to various types of theft, and it immediately caught my interest. I went through the process over that spring at tax time just to take a shot at it – not even believing I’d really get anywhere – I was just desperate at a shot toward something positive. I finally reached the day where I took my place in front of the judge and plead my case to get a chance at life again. He took a moment to peek at the petition in front of him in that pale, stark folder…flipped through his handy-dandy lawbook… and looked quite puzzled for a moment… before he finally explained his total befuddlement to me.
The judge hadn’t even been updated on the new law yet!

While I didn’t end up fully qualifying for the sealing procedure that day (thank you journalists who use the thesaurus without a second thought – we still cool tho – I understand the struggle), the judge was impressed by the gumption that I had shown in trying to do something about my life, and he took the time to express exactly that.

It was a really surreal moment. I hadn’t loved the idea of facing the court system again, especially because they had left such a huge and negative impression on my life. I had been terrified and pretty nauseous the entire time I had to be back in the court house at all. But that small moment, those three seconds where my work was positively acknowledged by a person from that system…. WOW.

It sparked my first interest in really digging into the resources available at our fingertips and seeing what I could do with it.

The next experience that really cemented the importance of research to improving life overall, was when I found out about the Certificate of Good Conduct in my state, found the requirement list and discovered that I was REALLY qualified for it. It would have impacts on both my housing and employment prospects, and do you want to know the best part?

Again, no one had any idea that this was a thing that was available for felons in my state!

They heard me out with a new interest sparkling in their eyes as I quoted the statute, the requirements, and how I had fulfilled them, and they promptly sent the assistant to do some additional research in their on-site law books while my case was pushed to the end of the court session so they could give this their full attention.

When my name was called again, the judge was amazed and extremely pleased by my ability to find the certificate, ensure the requirements were met and steel myself again for the petition to the court. (And I did it for free, because I had a low-income, I also qualified for waived court costs)

The most recent experience is detailed in my Raging Against the Ticket series, from April of 2017. Check it out for more details, as it’s a pretty long story with a gleeful ending!

Thank you so much for stopping by again, and don’t forget to amp up your research skills. You never know when they might save you.

Peace and love
Aza

Building a Local Marketing Pack

Hey Readers!

As always, I’m staying productive and busy, and I’ve been working on a few different projects recently.

While I am pursuing an online marketing plan (we’re in the very early stages of this – more on it later) , I also wanted to try to get the book out to my local felons.

So, I’ve been playing with Canva non-stop, and trying out different templates in Microsoft Word and Publisher.

These are the ones I’ve settled on for my local marketing plan. The packs will be sent to over ten local probation offices for the first run, and will be expanded to halfway homes, shelters, and other community organizations that tend to cater to those with background problems.

Check them out and let me know what you think!

Marketing Letter 2 Probation Offices 

Marketing Flyer Probation Offices 1      

Marketing Sample Content Page Pack

I’ll admit that I really hate marketing, but since I need to reach out to people that don’t know I’m here offering help, I know I have to do it, even if it feels kinda gross. All I can keep thinking about is how I react to marketing and having things basically shoved in my face – examples: hanging up on cold callers (although its more scam things these days), throwing out mail that I don’t recognize, etc, etc. I mean, who wants to be on the sending/calling side of that? However, there aren’t really any other ways to get out there locally.

I’ll also be starting to offer motivational speeches on how I overcame my own obstacles and how it is possible for you to do the same. This will begin on a local scale as well, and might expand if I have enough of a positive impact.

That’s all for now guys! Peace and Love

-Aza

Still Seeking Interviews

Hello Readers!

I had been hoping to have some interviews to share here by now, but it would seem that everyone is just as crazy busy as I am.
Rest assured, these will come in over the next month or so as everyone finds the time to share the details of their stories.

While we wait patiently, I want to share with you something that has finally come to fruition for me recently.

Now, I know that I’ve already shared my personal version of the book, ‘Finding Freedom’ on Smashwords and Amazon (although I’m getting really irked with Amazon, so the book will be pulled from their shelves soon).
What I present now, is the fully professionally edited and easier to read version of the book, (made available through Microcosm Publishing) — (drumroll please…)

The Friendly Felon’s Guide to Life After a Felony – by Aza Enigma.

Click here to see it in all of its glory (and maybe order a few, to reward this awesome publisher for making the book even better!)

Alright, with that out of the way, I want some input on what to research next. Post a comment on the topic YOU want more information about, and I’ll do my best to find answers and share them here with everyone. Isn’t it about time you found the answers you need?

Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with! See you next time!

Love and Peace,

Aza

Time for a poll with the Friendly Felon!