Thursday, June 13, 2024

migration is


About half a dozen women wearing red head coverings while standing in a line.
Migrants arriving in the Canary Islands in April. Carlos De Saa/EPA, via Shutterstock

How migration is shaping Western politics

The recent European Parliament elections are the latest sign of immigration’s power to shape the West, David Leonhardt writes. ​Right-wing parties that had promised to reduce the flow of migration made gains, and center-right parties finished first by adopting a more restrictive stance.

The modern migration boom in the West has had major advantages, but it has also had downsides. More competition can hurt workers, governments strain to provide social services and some people can feel uncomfortable with societal changes. Historically, major immigration spikes have led to political backlashes, like Brexit.

For years, mainstream Western politicians dismissed voters’ concerns about immigration as inherently ignorant or xenophobic, and many of those disaffected voters came to support parties on the extreme right. But recently, there are signs that the political left and center have returned to a more nuanced approach that celebrates immigrants while emphasizing border security.

Traits of Broke


Five Common Traits of Broke Writers

Some mirror for you to evaluate your writing career

Ajayi Olalekan

Photo by Vita Vilcina on Unsplash

The dream of making a full-time living as a writer is one that many aspire to. But the harsh reality is that only a few writers consistently earn meaningful income from their craft.

This article reveals some consistent tendencies among struggling writers that inhibit their ability to monetize their skills. By becoming aware of these unproductive patterns, writers can shift their mindsets and behaviours to achieve significant success.

Here are five common traits that tend to keep writers broke:

1. Lacking Clear Goals and Strategy

It’s easy for writers to approach their work randomly without clearly defined goals and a strategy to achieve them. They may dabble in different types of writing or bounce between topics without direction. Or they neglect to identify income targets and how to hit them.

Without clarity around long-term objectives and a plan to get there, it’s almost impossible to build a lucrative writing career.

Unfocused efforts rarely produce monetary results.

Take time to get clear on your overall vision, income needs, target markets, and necessary systematic steps to make progress.

Strategy and intentionality separates successful writers from aimless hobbyists.

2. Not Valuing Their Worth

Struggling writers are often undercharged for their work because they don’t yet value their worth.

They may compare themselves to more established writers and feel unqualified to charge competitive rates.

Undervaluing your work breeds financial struggle. Do your homework to determine fair market value based on ability and experience. Remember that clients ultimately care about the value delivered more than how many years you’ve been writing.

Have confidence that you provide immense value through your writing. Charge rates aligned with that value, even if it feels like a stretch at first.

3. Lack of Marketing Ability

Many writers mistakenly think that having written work is enough — that if the writing is high quality, the money will come.

But no one sees your brilliant work if you don’t actively market it.

Struggling writers often have little or no marketing experience or expertise. They usually fear self-promotion, are unsure how to connect with the right audiences or feel uncomfortable with sales conversations.

Developing marketing skills is non-negotiable. Learn how to strategically promote yourself and convert writing opportunities through sales calls, emails, social media, and more.

4. Not Developing the Right Skills

Writing for pay requires a diverse set of skills beyond simply writing ability — such as interviewing, research, editing, meeting deadlines, pitching clients, and more.

Getting paid often depends on whether you are a versatile, reliable service provider — not just a strong writer. Hence, be sure to develop well-rounded skills. That way, you can confidently handle all aspects of a paid writing project.

5. Waiting for Inspiration to Strike

Broke writers tend to wait around for inspiration before they start writing. They believe they need to “feel” motivated before they put words on the page.

But successful writers don’t wait for inspiration — they show up and do the work regardless.

They treat writing like a business rather than a hobby.

Commit to regular, focused writing time to build your skills and portfolio. Stop waiting for the muse to magically strike. Show up day in and day out as you develop your writing career.

Wrapping Up

The path to lucrative writing success involves shifting gears from hobbyist to pro. Clearly define your goals, value your worth, build marketing skills, expand your capabilities, and write consistently.

Keep these principles handy as you build a writing career that brings fulfilment and financial stability.

Tired of being a broken writer? Ready to step up as a writer in 2024? My exclusive 3-month one-on-one coaching can help you go from stuck to flourishing. But firstly, I invite you to jump on a free 15-minute no-pressure clarity call with me. Let’s see if we can work together.

I hope this helps you. If it did, be sure to clap me a thousand times (joking, a few tens would do), leave me a comment (it will encourage me a lot — smiles), and share this with someone you know needs it (sharing is caring).

For more of such valuable content, click the follow button and subscribe to get email notifications when I post.

Ajayi Olalekan

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Know Nothing


Writers: ‘You Know Nothing’

Write what you know, but be sure you do.

Photo by Iñaki del Olmo on Unsplash

‘Write what you know’ sounds like a great place to start when you begin to consider the kind of story you’re inspired to write.

For a police officer with half a lifetime protecting the streets, memories good and bad constitute a vast library of experiences to draw from as a basis for a crime drama or procedural involving gangs, drugs, and robberies both armed and stealthy. But if that officer never worked in homicides, would they know enough to craft a whodunnit or a hunt for a serial killer?

A nurse with thousands of shifts among such hospital departments as emergency, intensive care, and surgery has likely witnessed degrees and nuances of emotion unknown to most other humans, but is that enough knowledge and wisdom to write a romantic thriller?

There was a time when either writer might well have gotten away with novels set in the peripheries of their knowledge and experience, but not so much today. Modern readers ‘know’ shit, most of it stuff they don’t even know they know, details and protocols they picked up watching Criminal Minds or General Hospital, and if something in your story contradicts the gospels of CBS or NBC or the BBC, there could be trouble.

Voluntary Suspension of Disbelief (VSD)

Every fictional story requires an audience to set aside critical thought and embrace the illusion presented to them. This is known as ‘voluntary suspension of disbelief.’

The best tales — page-turners and hit films — are those that conjure the most realistic, most comprehensive alternative realities. It follows, then, that the writer is obligated, even duty-bound, to develop as wide and as deep an expertise in her subject field as possible.

It’s not enough that you wrote your master’s thesis on the spread of the Hudson’s Bay Company west across the British territories of the New World. Knowing the fur trade routes of Lower Canada, the various First Nations tribes’ territories, and rivalries, it’s all for naught if you describe them riding their horse with saddles. They rode bareback. If a European rider was killed, the first thing an indigenous warrior did was cut the saddle away. And it’s impossible to re-load a musket at the gallop. Period.

These details count, not only for you to show your investment in your story, but more importantly, to sustain your reader’s VSD.

Research Fosters Creativity

Most aspiring novelists don’t have a depth of background from either of the examples above. In fact, it could be argued that the less you know about something, the less you need to unlearn.

Outside of school, we ‘learn’ in bits and pieces. We learn that the United States has dozens of independent law enforcement and intelligence-gathering agencies. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the list goes on and on.

They are not the same. They aren’t organized in similar ways nor do they operate like their bureaucratic cousins. What you know about one of these entities likely does not apply to any other. I once read a novel where the author’s research had all the depth of a decade of primetime television and while he used most of those I listed above, they were copycats of one another. I didn’t finish the book.

That said, the mandates of these agencies often overlap, but God forbid they share intelligence. Instead, each hoards information that might improve overall effectiveness just for the chance to score political points and media victories.

Research is the best way to uncover the story in any subject, particularly if you constantly ask yourself ‘what if?’ and twist everything you learn this way and that until something unexpected jumps up and shouts, ‘Hey!’

Lying Successfully

Lying is a virtue for writers of fiction. I encourage you to lie as much as possible when you write, but there is a catch. Asking ‘What if?’ is creative magic, but every flight of fancy requires a rationale the reader will accept within their VSD, a consistent structure or framework that makes sense within your story’s context.

In other words, ‘why?’ What makes your idea not merely possible, but plausible? What if a young woman, a middle child and lacking parental interest, inherits her estranged uncle’s WWII-era PBY flying boat, currently tethered to a dock in the Bahamas?

‘Why’ might this situation arise? I’ll tell you. The uncle was a younger son of a large and influential American family. He chose to join the Air Force and flew in Vietnam. After the war, he bought the PBY and hauled cargoes legally and not into isolated points in the Caribbean. He once flew the plane home for the girl’s oldest brother’s wedding.

No one noticed the girl leave the party and investigate the plane. She discovered her uncle and the wife of a guest in a compromising encounter but then distracted the woman’s husband long enough for the uncle and wife to dress. As a reward, the uncle took the girl for a flight and let her take control.

She discovered the thing she loves most — flying — but was denied from pursuing it by her father. When she learns the PBY is her inheritance, she runs away to collect it, initiating an intense romantic adventure that spans the Caribbean and Central America. The script is my own, with the working title ‘Pilot Girl,’ and is sequenced but unfinished, with pacing to rival Romancing the Stone.

Never Assume Your Expertise

However much you know about a subject or field, it is not enough. Nor is it sufficiently contiguous, by which I mean, lacking gaps. I’m a scratch cook but would never refer to myself as a chef because there are areas of cooking in which I know little. I have never made pasta, for instance, partly because I lacked counter space but mostly because I had no interest in it when I could access a high-quality local source. But, where I to write an underdog story about a girl on the street, a homeless addict, who watches how a restaurant kitchen works from her hide-out in the ceiling and then enters and wins a culinary contest, I might try making pasta for no other reason than to better know my subject. And I realize the similarities to Ratatouille, but this is just an example.

Whatever you think you know about something, ignore it and focus on what about it attracted you in the first place. Research that, and you’ll find your story.

If you found this article helpful, you’ll find others here, and no paywall:

On Writing

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Christopher Grant
Writer for

Life long apprentice of Story and acolyte in service to the gods of composition — Grammaria, Poetris and Themeus.