Silence!

Everyone who has ever written anything knows writing is hard. There are many reasons why, and every writer’s journey is different. Something I struggle with may be easy for someone else and vice-versa.

I could write a novel about why writing a novel is difficult for me–I won’t. Not today, anyway. I have something specific in mind and it’s universal to all forms of writing.

How does one deal with their inner critic?

I can’t say much yet, but yesterday, I wrote a poem comparing Donald Trump to the Titanic. I wrote it in a rush of creative madness, knocking out a 32-line poem in about twenty minutes. I bragged about it to my friend and on social media, and even texted my husband while he was at work, something I rarely do.

I thought I was so clever, and I was positive I could publish it.

And an hour later, I hated it. The more I re-read it, the more I thought it sounded like pretentious garbage, and I wondered how anyone could ever like it, much less anything else I write.

For the record, I’m back to believing in my cleverness. I finished editing the poem and have already scouted out some places I’d like to submit it to. Wish me luck!

But I know it’s just a momentary respite. Once I hit “Submit,” my fears will return.

So…how do you silence your inner critic? A girl could use some advice.

Oh, is This Your First Time?

Among all the changes to my life I’ve made since I turned thirty, I also decided I was going to begin submitting my writing. If I want to be published someday, I have to start putting myself out there. Opportunities aren’t just going to fall into my lap, after all!

Though, wouldn’t it be nice if they did?

During my research, I stumbled across a great online literary magazine called Mother’s Always Write, and I thought, why not? I’m a mother, and I write. Sometimes I even write about being a mother. Perfect fit, right?

I am proud to announce that my poem, “The Robin,” will be published in the late summer issue on Monday, August 24th. Please look forward to it!

Here is a short preview:

The Robin

The robin bop,
bop, bops along
the stone path,
her beak digging
into the cracks
she passes,
looking for supper—

On Turning Thirty

Whatever your personal feelings are on the matter, I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a strange year. In just seven months, we’ve dealt with, among other things, wildfires, murder hornets, and a global pandemic. It’s been a lot already, and the universe doesn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon.

Another thing that happened in 2020 that’s personal to me: I turned thirty! Don’t ask me how I feel about it, because I don’t know. It’s odd to have a different digit beginning my age, but I don’t feel any different.

Except, I do.

The me I want to be and the me I am are not the same person. I got sick of it. I don’t want to reach the end of my life a bitter, depressed woman with a lifetime of regrets. So, I’ve changed a lot in my life. I’m going back to school. I’m pursuing a new career. I’ve started a novel, which I’m very excited about. I’m trying to change my eating habits, and I’ve started an exercise regimen.

I’ve made a lot of decisions that will, hopefully, lead to a happier, healthier me. I deserve it, my husband deserves it, and my children deserve it.

So many times you hear that your twenties are meant to be the prime of your life. A lot of good things happened in my twenties, but the decade was also fraught with uncertainty. I waffled between what I wanted and what I thought was feasible, and, unfortunately, I chose to settle. Subsequently, I hit a bad depressive episode and flunked out of college.

Now, I’m older and, I think, a little wiser. At least, I’m less willing to settle.

All-in-all, thirty is feeling pretty good!

Let’s Talk Experience

I haven’t been playing the freelancer game for long, and I certainly haven’t learned all the rules. I have learned, however, that experience, as experience always does, plays a large role.

You know, the whole “you need experience to work at this job but you can’t gain experience without a job” shtick.

Hence why I decided to go back to school. I’ve always wanted an English degree, but if it didn’t seem like a necessity, I wouldn’t bother. I’m already in debt from my BS in Psychology; I’m not looking forward to being even more in debt.

We do what we must, though.

Before I was laid off, I worked as a Behavior Therapist at the Minnesota Autism Center. My schooling was invaluable in that it helped me understand the technicalities of Autism Spectrum Disorder, but it was my personal experience growing up with a sister with ASD that helped me understand how each child’s experience with ASD is different, and how important it was to adapt my approach to their individual needs. It’s that knowledge that ultimately made me a good therapist.

I’m not disputing that professional experience is important. I am, however, disputing the disregard of personal experience, which I believe is just as important. I would even argue that sometimes, personal experience is the most important.

As I mentioned before, I’ve been writing prose and poetry for 20 years, and I’ve been editing it for nearly as long. I edit all my own writing, and I offer proofreading and editing services to my writer friends who ask for help. Please visit my Portfolio and Testimonials pages for more information.

Writing is hard, but I can at least make the editing process easier for you, and I’ll do it quickly, thoroughly, and while having the time of my life. The degree and professional experience will come in time, but in the interim—take a chance on me. You won’t regret it.

On the Job Hunt

I admit, now that I’m tasked with finding my first job, the initial excitement of my decision to pursue freelance editing has waned a bit.

No one likes job hunting, least of all me. There’s always a lot of anxiety involved–it’s the nature of the beast. Are there many jobs available? How many am I qualified for? Will anyone be willing to take a chance on me?

For someone like me, a long-time sufferer of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, the innate uncertainty of job hunting compounds issues I’ve been trying to overcome for years; it’s hard to remain confident when my brain is working so hard to undermine me.

I am, however, confident in my proofreading and editing abilities. I know I’m capable of helping writers reach their full potential. I wouldn’t have begun this journey if I didn’t think I could see it through to the end.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to completely silence the little voice inside my head telling me I can’t, but I won’t let it dissuade me.

Now that I’ve come to the vast ocean of the writing and editing business, it’s time to cast my fishing lines. With enough skill, determination, and maybe a little luck, hopefully I’ll reel myself in a big fish.

Or even a small fish. I’d be happy with that.

A New Business Venture

Hello! I’m Cassandra Henken, a newly-minted freelance editor (for hire)!

Like many, my life has been turned upside-down by the global pandemic. Three months ago, I lost my job. At first, I was upset–who wouldn’t be? I’m a mother of three, and I’m a homeowner. A loss of income could mean the loss of our home and, subsequently, an extended stay with my parents.

Thankfully, none of that happened.

After the initial shock passed, I began to look at it this way: I had been planning to quit, anyway, but there was always something keeping me there. Being laid-off meant I could no longer make excuses. I had two choices: wait for my position to become available again (on the off chance it ever did), or find a new career.

2020 has been a year of many changes–what’s one more, right? I’m confident this change will lead to only good things, though, and I’ll finally be able to wash away some regrets I’ve held on to for nearly a decade.

Eight years ago, as a young mother, I made a quick decision to settle for a degree I knew would help me find work, but it wasn’t the degree I had dreamed about since I was a young girl just learning how to read. Now, I’m older, wiser, less willing to settle, and in truth, a tad desperate–I’m going back to school for my English degree, and I couldn’t be more excited!

I’m new to the business of freelance editing, but I’m not new to writing, or even to editing. I’ve been writing fiction and poetry since I was 10 years old, and I’ve been editing fiction for nearly as long. It’s something I love doing. Helping a fellow writer reach the full potential of their ability is a rewarding experience, and I cannot wait to share in this journey with fellow writers.

For more information, please visit my About page.