The analogy I would use for a week in the life of a Digital Nomad Writing Club student is that of a voyage on a sailboat. It’s perhaps a bit of a cliche, but somehow it’s perfect.
But first thing’s first: coffee.
As we begin, the butterflies start in the tummy. The assignments and deadlines come in, and mixed emotions race around the mind of the online writing student.
There’s excitement about the fresh topics that you’re about to school yourself on, anxiety about whether or not you’ll make the deadlines and the ever-present mantra ‘can I do this?’.
At this point, it helps to keep the reader in mind -- what might they gain from reading your pieces, and what might you, from writing it?
You step aboard, secure your lifejacket and start to survey the course ahead. Prepping the boat for the sail is vital, and the same goes for writing. The little computer inside your head starts to calculate what needs doing and when.
It’s time to factor in eating times, appointments, staring blankly at the wall, family commitments, socialising, attempts at being zen, dog walks, existential crises, and everything in between.
Juggling the DNWC programme with your personal or other work commitments, or indeed travel, can be tricky, so sitting down at the start of the week to get a bird’s eye view on the situation can be invaluable. Most students agree it is good to start early, to avoid stress as the deadlines approach.
Learning the ropes
Fortunately, there are tools on hand to help get you organised. For communication, we use the Slack app and for workflow, the Trello app. These apps are both extremely easy to use and will keep you on track.
Our Workflow and Account Manager Renee assigns all of our tasks and helps you get to grips with everything in the beginning. So, inevitably one of the first things you will do every week is log in to Slack and Trello.
Enjoy the ride!
Next, come the ups and downs and shifting tides. Writing each piece can feel a bit like riding a wave. It can be tense, as you sit glued to your seat (and screen), wondering if it will all turn out ok.
There’s research to be done, and the length of time this takes varies considerably depending on the article you’re writing. You also need to get to grips with the specifics of client guidelines - the style and tone they want, as well as the technical specifications.
The time will come though, when the waves settle and it’s smooth sailing all the way - you’ve done your research, you know where you are going with the article, and so you sit back and enjoy the ride. And it is extremely enjoyable.
Writing is a creative process after all, and there is so much to be learned in a week at the Digital Nomad Writing Club. You will finish here with so much newfound knowledge on topics as varied as Robochefs and Dental Implants.
You may get to a point when on the voyage when you start to feel a bit nauseous. As every writer knows, you can get stuck from time to time, for a variety of reasons. This is when you can look to the support of your fellow online writers.
There’s a wonderful community of colleagues and fellow students here to help you answer questions, talk through technical issues or calm you when you’re in a flap! So never fear, you have friends next to you for the duration of the journey.
It is vital to take breaks too. Be kind to yourself, step away from the screen at regular intervals, and reward yourself with treats at the end of a busy day’s writing - go for a sunset walk, read a book or go out and explore something new if you’re a digital nomad. It helps the writing process too to have a long pause; going back the next day to an article with fresh eyes can provide new insight and turn the whole thing around.
Pearls of wisdom
While we are on the subject of colleagues, the weekly workshops provide much needed enlightened tips during the online writing school. (Download the Syllabus pdf for more info)
The workshops generally happen on a Friday, when the bulk of your writing will have been done, and provide a chance to talk face to face with Julie-Ann (Chief Editor), Kaila (Founder/MD), and fellow students.
The topics covered will undoubtedly help you on your journey to becoming a successful content writer, and it is a valuable opportunity to ask those burning questions.
As we head towards harbour and the weeks draws to a close, a feeling of elation rushes over you.
You feel a sense of achievement at having faced intimidating, unknown topics, and despite that, you have turned in your assignments on time. You might even have gotten a byline or two this week, something which can be added to your portfolio eventually.
At the end of every week, it’s important to reflect on your work, to take the time to go back and take note of what may have been amended in the final edit.
There is some theoretical learning within the course, however much of what you do is extremely practical. Learning by doing.
So, we must learn from our mistakes and be constantly improving to reach our goal of being successful writers. It can at times, be difficult to take criticism, but it’s paramount to accept advice on what enriches each piece.
Sail on into the sunset
You’re back on dry land after another week at sea, and although you were anxious and fearful at first, you feel a bit deflated that it is ending.
The sense of attainment and those ‘woo-hoo’ moments are hard to beat. The only question left to ask is “would you do it all over again?” “Hell yeah!”. See you Monday morning.