One beauty of technology is that you don’t have to wait to be hired, or for a large sum of money, to publish your work. If you want to be a director, start making shorts and distributing online via YouTube or Vimeo. If you’re a musician, your mixtape can be readily available for online download using Soundcloud or LiveMixtapes. And, well, if you’re a writer, you can start a blog. Given the economic shift, it’s clear that we are having to become increasingly entrepreneurial. Thankfully, emerging platforms support this shift.
Today’s daily inspiration comes from lifestyle writer, Amber Wilson. Like many of us, she started out her career by attaining an internship. That internship segued into an actual job. And, once she honed her voice, she started her own blog, Wilson’s “Where To” Guide. Since the Spring of 2010, Wilson’s combined her love of writing with her love of good food, entertainment, and people. Wilson’s guide serves as a “Where To” for the entire Los Angeles Area. From Los Feliz to Hermosa Beach. So, for those of you who dare venture out of your neighborhood, whether that be downtown or the west side, check out her blog for suggestions. Wilson’s “Where To’s” are worth using a gallon or two of gas.
Thankfully, I got the chance to ask Amber about her struggles as a writer with a day-job, the rewards she’s reaped from taking a chance on her passion, and how best to use a sleep-free 24 hours in L.A.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
In some sense, I’ve always been a writer, since I was a child writing poetry, song lyrics, short stories and even composing “grammar books” for my stuffed animals (yes, I really did that!). I’d say I’ve had a calling for writing since I was young, but I just didn’t look at it as anything more than something that I did.
In high school and college I toyed with the idea of writing professionally, but it wasn’t until after graduating college that I realized I wanted to seriously pursue writing. So, I secured an unpaid part-time internship with Saturday Night Magazine for several months. I ended up getting full-time work somewhere else, but I continued to work as the magazine’s Nightlife Editor. I did this for two years before launching Wilson’s “Where To” Guide ;in Spring 2010.
Recently, I’ve also dabbled in screenwriting, copy-editing and writing for clients. In the span of my career, I hope to have ventured out in as many different types of writing as possible. It takes time and it won’t all happen overnight, but it would be amazing to say that I’ve had a successful blog, a successful book, a successful screenplay, etc.
What have been the most difficult and rewarding parts of following your passion?
The most difficult part of following my passion has been finding ample time to pursue it. In addition to writing, I still have a pretty demanding full-time work schedule and other obligations. Sometimes, after a long, intense day, it’s like, “Man, I’m tired!” and I end up crashing and falling asleep. I’m just that physically exhausted, and finding the mental energy to still write can be extremely difficult. But, I know I’m not alone; so many of us struggle to pack everything into 24 hours.
Right now, the most rewarding part would be when I complete a writing project (a blog post, a script, a magazine article, etc.). It can take a lot of work and time to get from one small concept that originates in my mind to the actual finished product that makes sense, that can be easily understood, and that can be actually enjoyable to read.
How do you decide which venues to visit?
I get inspired from many different sources. My friends have extremely good taste, so they’re always full of ideas. I read a lot of restaurant and nightlife-related blogs, like, ;The Minty, Stomach Life and Treasure LA. I subscribe to weekly e-mails from online publications such as, ;944, Thrillist, and ;Daily Candy. I work with several PR agencies, including Wagstaff, Lawrence Moore & Associates and The Barry Group. I follow different restaurants, bloggers and magazines on Twitter.
And, since I’m a pretty friendly person, I tend to strike up conversations with strangers all the time and I’ll ask them where they hang out. Often times, they’ll give responses I’m not familiar with and consequently, I’ll have a new place to check out.
Top “Where-To-Be Merry”?
There are way too many to pick just one! It all depends on what I’m looking for. For a view of the city, right now it’s Perch Los Angeles. For one of the best veggie burgers ever, it’s O! Burger. I could go on and on and on…
If you only had 24 hours to enjoy life in Los Angeles, what would your itinerary look like?
Quite a challenging question, since Los Angeles has so many diverse neighborhoods that offer such distinct, yet amazing experiences! I couldn’t do nearly half of all that I’d want to do in 24 hours. But hey, I’d give it a shot on a gorgeous, cloud-free, sunny, spring Sunday with a good friend:
In the early morning, we’d take a hike at one of the mountain trails like Runyon Canyon, Griffith Park or the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook to watch the sunrise. Then we’d grab breakfast at a cute café in the Mid-City, Beverly Hills or West Hollywood areas.
After breakfast, it’s off to one of LA’s museums or local art galleries – perhaps The Getty Center, MOCA or LACMA. We’d spend an hour or so there before heading to Hollywood to hop on a tour bus and check out the city from a tourist’s perspective.
For lunch, we’re heading to one of the many restaurants in downtown Los Angeles. While we’re downtown, we’ll have to hit up the Fashion District for some bargain steals.
Then it’s time to head west towards the beach. Play volleyball, bike or just walk on the sand before stopping briefly at the Venice Drum Circle for a unique LA experience, and before eventually heading down to Dockweiler Beach to set up a bonfire and watch the sun dip down into the ocean for the night.
We’ll be famished by then, so we’d stop in a restaurant around Manhattan Beach Blvd. before grabbing drinks at one of the local bars nearby. We’d then head down to Hermosa Beach for some nightlife action.
We’d finish up the night in Hollywood, heading to a few of the clubs before then going to a late night spot, such as a hookah lounge or after-hours club. We’d then grab another bite to eat at a 24-hour diner.
This would all be followed by a very, very long nap the next day!
Honestly, I’m thankful for so many things. But if I had to sum it all up, I’d say that I’m thankful for each and every new day that I’m blessed to experience. There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and feeling the excitement and potential of what that new day can bring – perhaps a new writing opportunity or something as simple as a breathtaking sunset. Every single moment to enjoy this journey called life – through all of its ups and downs, rewards and challenges – is a true blessing I’m so grateful for!
Thank you, Amber! As always, it’s an inspiration to see someone who’s actively pursuing their passion.
Be sure to check out her blog.
Wilson’s “Where To” Guide: ;http://www.wilsonswheretoguide.com/
Wilson’s “Where To” on Twitter: @WilsonsGuide
And, for those of you waiting for the opportunity to write, invent, sing, etc., wait no longer. The time to create is now!