My New Creative Project, Street Art Canada

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I lived in Montreal for three years, and during my time there I was always impressed with the amazing street art found everywhere in the downtown area. I would often Instagram the coolest pieces that I found, and those posts always got the most likes and shares out of all the stuff I posted. For me, 20+ likes on a post is phenomenal. It seemed that I’d struck a chord for once. In all of my social media endeavors I’ve never done anything that garnered much attention until now.

For a long time I had the idea  that I could turn this into a creative project. Now that I have a proper camera, not just a smartphone, I can take high quality photos, so why not start a new website dedicated to all the awesome street art that I find? I love photography because it requires you to get out of the house and explore the world, and I love street art, so it seems like the perfect marriage of interests.

Last week I created a new WordPress blog called Street Art Canada, and it features all the best urban art from across the country. So far I only have stuff from Toronto, but later this week I’ll be making a trip to Montreal to collect more photos with my Canon PowerShot. It’s an ongoing project, but eventually I want to have all the major cities in Canada from Vancouver to St. John’s covered.

For now, check it out and keep an eye on it because I make a new posts every day.  I’m really excited to to finally be doing this!

Check out Street Art Canada!

Published in Sulphur, Laurentian University’s Literary Journal

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At long last, it has finally arrived! My copy of Sulphur is here and one of my Mexico poems, Slow Bikes, is on page 21. This is the third time I’ve been published, but this is the best one yet becuase it’s a university lit journal, so it will be read by a lot of people in academia, people who actually read poetry! You never know who’s out there. Seeing this and holding it in my own two hands breathed new life into my writing career and reminded me of why I do this.

Now I plan to start doing submissions again, maybe enter a few contests, and see if I can get more pieces from Wild Dogs of Mexico published. The literary world will know my name!

When In Doubt, Double Down: Taking Things To The Next Echelon

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Last weekend I went for a walk around the Humber College Lakeshore campus because I was in the area, and although I took journalism at Humber North I had never seen the Lakeshore campus. As I wandered around the paths weaving my way towards the lake, I came upon a farmers market. It just so happened that I had my camera on me, a Canon PowerShot SX40, so I decided to start snapping a few photos. I bought the camera in June because I had to do photos for one of my clients and I took a few photography classes in J-school, so I’ve been able to take some pretty impressive pics with it. I’ve taken my camera all over the place: downtown, on trips, to weddings, and around the forested paths near my parents’ place. No matter where I go I always manage to find great photos.

At the farmers market I took photos of a lot of different booths, and at the last one, a little tea company called Misty Mountain Tea, the owners were very kind and asked if I could send them the photos via email. I was more than happy to, and I asked them to pose for a photo with both of them standing in the booth as though they’re ready to receive customers. I took the shot, along with many more of the little jars of loose tea on display, and showed them on the little preview screen. They were impressed and I already knew they were going to look great when I blew the pics up to full size on my computer screen at home. I sent the photos in a zip file to their business email yesterday, but haven’t gotten a response yet. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until I hear something. Read the rest of this entry »

Keep Calm and Soldier On: How I’m Rebuilding My Client List

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2015 was my best year yet. I had my highest year end total thanks to many months where I made over $3,000. To top it all off, I spent a total of about two months time on vacation; three weeks in the Maritimes, a month in Mexico, and a few small trips in Ontario. I enjoyed living in a huge apartment in Montreal for a very affordable price, and people were finally starting to find me online to offer work. Rather than market and pitch everyday I had people coming to me! The work was steady, and I had more than enough to go ’round. It seemed like things were really working out and I was starting to make a name for myself.

2016 on the other hand has been an entirely different story. Things have not been going well. In fact, things got so bad over the summer that I had all but given up on my freelance writing career entirely. It seemed as though things had not worked out as well as I’d hoped. This year I lost nearly all of my biggest clients, either because the work dried up, or I fired them because I had become burned out from writing the same content for two years.  I should have started marketing immediately to replace the clients I lost, but no, I didn’t bother, and now here I am with barely any work and wondering how I’m going to get out of this hole.  Read the rest of this entry »

I Won’t Be Going to China Afterall

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I’ve been back in Toronto for a month now and it’s good to be back where all my family and friends are. Montreal is a great city, but I never felt like I belonged there. If I’m being honest, I wanted to teach ESL overseas because it seemed like the best way for me to get out of the freelancing business and out of Montreal. I was getting desperate. The isolation, the loneliness, and the frustration of freelancing had gotten to me and I needed to make a move. Toronto was just supposed to be a temporary stay while I found my first ESL contract.

But getting a teaching contract is not as easy as I was made to believe. I thought that a bachelor’s degree was just something that the language schools prefer to see in applicants as a way of screening them, but that’s not the case. A degree is actually part of the work visa requirements, so I’ll never be able to qualify for one. I could go to the country on a business visa, but if I did that I would actually be in the country illegally. Under a business visa you’re not allowed to earn income while you’re in the country. If my visa papers ever got checked I would end up in jail for 30 days, fined, deported, and possibly also banned from the country for up to five years. That’s a huge risk and I would be insane to take it! Read the rest of this entry »