Today we have a very different author to interview. Abigail Widynski is the author of Making Money the Millennial Way
Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?
For several years, my writing was purely academic. I am grateful for a very honest and tough 11th and 12th grade English teacher who had a Ph.D. in English. He was very critical of my writing and set the bar extremely high. At the time, it was completely demoralizing that he didn’t recommend me a place in the AP English course I had my heart set on. But looking back, this was a sort of fuel later on in my education as I disciplined myself to communicate with precision.
While going to business school abroad, I was often the one tasked in our group assignments to do the speaking, proofing and writing due to the fact I was a native English speaker! Later, the communication niche continued to pop up in my work, both in non-profit and M&A (finance). I just kept writing, trying to communicate the best I knew how. So, while I didn’t take any courses, I feel my life’s experiences have been a never-ending course!
On a side note, I also do sales and corporate communications writing for business owners seeking to increase sales or communicate newsworthy or delicate information to clients. Their feedback has helped me refine a different type of writing and earn while learning! Now, I subcontract some of these contracts and now, in turn, teach my writers how to write for sales and marketing.
What other work have you done, and how has it impacted your writing career?
About two years ago, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek article for my friend and Techli.com’s founder, Ed Domain. Even as I type the title of it, I can’t help but laugh. The name said it all, ‘Dear Recession, Thanks! A Letter From a Millennial MBA.‘ Little did I realize my reality check of a recession would propel me into this dialogue on solutions. As my partner can attest to my saying (especially when he’s refusing to go to the doctor), I’m willing to offer sympathy when you’re willing to look for a solution! Now, before you brand me as cold-hearted, would you agree with me that merely talking about college debt doesn’t solve a graduate’s monthly repayment problem?
So, there it is, why I wrote this book. Students and graduates need a solution to their debt sooner, rather than later. And who doesn’t benefit from encouragement and motivation? That’s what I want to give to my readers who are the very generation of Millennial Money Makers.
Do you always write in the same genre?
Certainly not! I write on business and entrepreneurship, faith, as well as do marketing and sales writing. For my own business, I’ve written a great deal on finance. I believe that learning to write and communicate in your client’s voice stretches you as a writer and refines your own voice.
What advice would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?
Your writing style is a mirror of your personality. Are you goal-oriented or process-oriented? If you’re goal oriented, consider a writing timeline complete with mile markers and a completion date. If you’re process oriented, setting aside two hours a day/one day per week/etc may make the process both sustainable and enjoyable. Trying to fit yourself into the tips you read on ‘writing best practices’ may strain the process for you. Know yourself, own your style and carry on.
Personally, I’m highly goal-oriented and naturally an organizer. It was no headache for me to develop my title, full outline, etc. I also knew that my peak time is early morning and I need to stay active while writing. So, I took one month and completed my manuscript! I structured my day to be at the coffee shop by 6:15am, work until 8:30am, go to yoga or another fitness class, go to the library for another 2 hours, take a walk, and finish up writing at 4:30pm. At the end of every writing session, I determined which section I would address in the next writing session. This kept my mind flowing with thought and allowed me to get to work immediately when I sat down at my laptop. It worked so well for me because my writing style is a mirror of my personality!
Please complete this sentence….. My first ever published piece of writing was a travel tip that was published in the magazine Budget Travel. I was thrilled and received a years’ subscription. 😉
What is your advice to college students when it comes to college debt and how to handle it?
I think it’s critical to remember that entrepreneurship is a tool, a tool that can be wielded against debt. And as that tool sharpens and debt is eliminated, well then who knows what’s next for that student or graduate!
How did you conduct your research? With whom did you speak? Did you go to college campuses?
In researching this book, I wanted to get input from students making ends meet right now. I wanted to hear exactly what students are doing right now to earn money while studying. I needed to listen not just for the facts, but the struggle and resilience behind their pursuits. Also, I wanted to here their own ideas for creative money-making and things their friends had tried out! As a writer and researcher, I made the decision to compensate my survey participants and go to the place where many are trying to make money: online. Advertising for participants, I received dozens of bids and inquiries for two separate sets of surveys: experience in trying to make money (qualitative) and ideas for making money (qualitative). Sifting through a few hundred business ideas, I conducted further research against this criteria: Is it a low-capital venture? Is it quick-start? It was critical to me that I offer practical solutions; the book includes twenty-five low-capital, quick start business ideas broken into the following sections: the idea, getting started, and the nitty-gritty of pricing and overhead.
In addition to the research, I included personal stories from my education experience at Charles University in Prague and Imperial College London as well as a story or two of inspiration from my post education career working with entrepreneurs. Also included are oftentimes humorous testimonials from my college student survey participants.
Thank you, Abigail, for being on “Writing Under Fire.” Where can readers learn more about your book or purchase it?
Press Release (Local to Marco Island): http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/01/prweb12439299.htm
Press Release (National post-State of the Union): http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/01/prweb12460853.htm
Book Website: http://getoutofcollegedebtnow.com/