Creating the Perfect Writing Environment is an Ongoing Process

There are countless posts out there about how to create the perfect writing environment for yourself. As with most advice, what’s offered varies significantly from one tidbit to the next.

Some will tell you how in order to write effectively you need to basically find a secluded cabin in the middle of the most serene wilderness landscape so you can draw inspiration from the chirping birds and rustling wind outside the window next to your writing desk.

Others will tell you need to position yourself in the middle of Union Station at rush hour, drawing life and creativity from those around you, moved by the stories you write about the passersby in your head and the hustle and bustle.

Here’s what I’ve found: The best place to write is where you are. If that’s not working for you, the best place to write will be where you move to next. Repeat as necessary.

There are times where the solitude of my home office has been the perfect writing environment, whether it’s marketing copy or something more personal and creative I’m working on.

There are times where the hustle and bustle of a nearby Starbucks have helped shake me out of a funk. Other times that kind of environment can be distracting and counter-productive.

There are times where the understated tones of NPR announcers are the perfect accompaniment to getting work done. Other times I need mid-80s arena rock to even put two words together.

The main problem is that a large percentage of writers of all stripes don’t have this kind of flexibility. They’re told that they *must* be productive in an office devoid of personality. There are still ways to make this work, but the options are more limited than they are for someone who’s freelancing and is able to adjust their environment as needed. Many companies are making changes to accommodate creatives who feel stifled by corporate beige, but there’s still room for growth.

There are conversations to be had around the role of the central office in a day when Slack, text and other tools let remote teams communicate more easily than ever before. But barring a sea change in thinking, you have to play the game you’re a part of.

So it comes down to this: You just kind of have to work with the situation that’s presented itself. That may sound like German pragmatism, but that’s only because that’s exactly what that is.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Quick Takes – Marketing and Media News for 2/27/18


This is a great read on the problem we keep running into with tech companies completely dropping the ball when tragedy strikes, consistently caught with their algorithms pushing conspiracy theories, fake news and other hoaxes. In each case, the companies in question talk about how hard it is to police the trillions of data points their systems are meant to process and promise to do better and each time they drop the ball. While yes, the problem would likely be solved in large part by shifting resources from algorithms to human editors, that would entail them dropping the useful fiction that they’re not media companies, a fig leaf that protects them (for now) from more serious government scrutiny.

A Danish television intentionally took a two-week hiatus from posting stories to Facebook to see exactly how much of an impact it could have and the results will shock you!

At least some of the Ist/DNAInfo news sites are coming back to life under a new deal with the public radio stations in a few markets. Too bad Chicago isn’t on that list.

Speaking of site takedowns, new details have emerged on how Peter Thiel wound up being able to take on Gawker and erase it from existence. It boils down to the reality that powerful people don’t like organizations and people that don’t play by “polite” rules (see also: every the entire conservative media’s reaction to the Parkland, FL teens) and will use their money to punish them. Also on the “behind the scenes” front is this examination of the problems that have plagued Newsweek for the last few years.

Publishers cut the number of native videos they were producing for Facebook in half, on average, after the network, stopped subsidizing them. But that’s alright because Facebook got what it wanted, causing the entire rest of the industry to “pivot to video” and make other changes that have come back to bite it in the backside, leaving Facebook to keep dominating on other fronts with lots more data at its disposal.

Warner Archive always seemed odd in the idea but awesome in execution. Now its substantial catalog of classic films is part of FilmStruck, which makes so much more sense.

Meanwhile CBS Sports is launching a free OTT service that’s pretty much meant to take the wind out of ESPN’s sails before that service debuts.

Marketing / Advertising

It’s good that Facebook is working to make ad metrics more streamlined and understandable, eliminating quite a few redundant or confusing numbers and offering more education on what remains. It would be even better if it opened up their ad business to auditing and verification by a third party service, but we’ll take baby steps for a (checks notes) decade-old company, I guess.

A super-interesting read on the various forces at work that have resulted in the logos for many tech and other companies looking remarkably similar.

Overlooked, I think, in the ongoing discussion of which companies have or haven’t cut official ties with the NRA is that while these companies may benefit from conservative policies, more and more studies are showing that younger people want to work for or do business with those that align themselves with progressive causes and viewpoints. *That’s* what I believe is driving a lot of that movement.

Social Media

There are a dozen things that are disturbing or mind-blowing in this piece at Wired about how Facebook’s ad marketplace seems to have been custom-built to benefit someone as outrageous and shock-inducing as Donald Trump, a situation that allowed his campaign ads in 2016 to achieve a reach that significantly outstripped ads bought FOR THE SAME AMOUNT by the Clinton campaign.

Automatic captions, location-tagging, enhanced chat and more are all part of the update package coming to YouTube.


As expected, Google made a big announcement about its augmented reality platform at Mobile World Congress, including the news it would have an exclusive Pokemon Go-like AR game called “Ghostbusters World.”

Mobile devices will, according to Forrester, play role in one-third of all retail purchases in 2018, though that could fall anywhere along the customer journey, from awareness or research to final purchase. Activity is still split between native apps and the mobile web, meaning retailers can’t ignore either format.

Yes, Google is a monopoly that uses its dominance to snuff out smaller – or even bigger – competitors.

No big deal, just data-mining companies analyzing not just your actual health information but your interaction patterns with your mobile device for clues as to your physical and emotional well-being.

At first I was going to be snarky about this story and how tech jobs that don’t require a college degree or the same amount of experience are popping up in the Midwest, but then I realized that’s a good thing as it means people don’t have to incur the expense of moving to an often-unaffordable area like San Francisco just to work in their desired field.

More airlines are considering creating customer profiles based on IP addresses and more that could be used to create a variable pricing model that will almost certainly wind up having issues of racial bias because that’s what’s happened with literally every other instance of something like this being implemented.

Want even more recommendations? Check out my Pocket Shared Items.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

The One Thing You Give Up When You Decide to Become a Writer

It’s much bigger than seven, the list of things you give up. It’s also much smaller.

There’s really just one item on the list.

The sense you’re ever really done.

There’s always another blog post to write. Another page or two in your novel that can be churned out. Another client project to tackle and finish up. Another of any number of other things that you can be working on.

I don’t remember who it was, but someone on Twitter a while ago said something along the lines of “Being a writer is fun because it’s like you always have homework and then you die.” Too true.

It might just be me, but I’m always pondering the kinds of things I could be writing. Even if I’m taking a little bit of downtime or trying to sleep, I’m thinking about something to write. I’m working on the opening of a freelance piece or trying to arrange a client project in my head or cracking the next step of a fiction story.

There are lots of things you have to get over. But the fact that there’s always something else out there beckoning for your attention is the one thing about being a writer you have to accept immediately or you’ll never survive.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

This Week Elsewhere – 2/23/18

Cinematic Slant

Cinematic Slant is where I write about movies, including the campaign recaps I’ve been doing since 2004 along with other news and opinions.

Half Magic – Marketing Recap: It’s really too bad – and more than a little surprising – that there’s been so little chatter about the film. You’d think that with a message as culturally resonant as this the studio and Graham would want to ride that train as much as possible.

half magic pic

Here Are Five More Recent Vertigo Titles to Adapt After The Kitchen: So, putting aside no-brainers like “American Vampire” and classics like “Fables,” here are five series I want to see turned into movies.

the kitchen banner

Mute – Marketing Recap: I hope the campaign works. This is clearly a passion project for Jones and he has a loyal fanbase on the internet who have been attracted to his accessibility in addition to his talent. The continued reminder of the film’s connection to the beloved Moon is a big part of that, hoping to turn out the audience that made that film a decent hit.

mute pic

Annihilation – Marketing Recap: If there’s one positive thing to call out it is that the studio made no effort to hide the fact that this is a female-driven story and that the character’s gender isn’t a big focus, like it’s something they have to overcome. Instead it just…is. That’s going to rankle some ignorant sci-fi fans who still believe the genre should be a boys-only club, but that’s reality, idiots.

annihilation pic

Black Panther and the Current State of Science Fiction Movie Marketing: So what’s going on? Why are studios seeming to run away from science fiction? Looking at recent – and upcoming – genre releases some patterns begin to emerge.

black panther pic

Game Night – Marketing Recap: What to make of this campaign? On the one hand you have, as I pointed out above, Hollywood finally remembering how funny Rachel McAdams is by giving her something to do beyond just reacting to a male co-star. On the other none of the posters use that cast. And there’s almost no publicity effort to speak of.

game night pic

The Cured – Marketing Recap: I can’t say this is an enormously effective campaign because it’s not. In particular I could have used a bit more publicity and press from the filmmakers talking about what they were trying to do with the story and reinforcing some of its themes.

the cured pic

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Never Forget Who Owns The Land You’re Building On

I own my house. OK, the bank technically owns it for several more years, but you know what I mean when I say that. I can do what I like on that land and with that house, as long as it complies with the guidelines of the city it’s located in. I can paint the house any color I like, plant as many trees as the law will allow, renovate the kitchen and so on. Again, within the confines of the law my hands are pretty free to put my stamp on it.

If I were to rent a home or apartment I wouldn’t have that kind of latitude. Any interior changes would have to be cleared with the landlord or management company. And I have zero ability, outside of deciding what kind of grill to put on the back porch, to personalize the exterior. This isn’t my place, it’s someone else’s and the dynamics are designed to make my whims secondary.

The same philosophy applies to where you decide to setup your blog or personal website.

There are some good points made by the author of this piece where he celebrates how Medium has hastened the death of the traditional blog. Setting up that kind of outpost, he says, isn’t worth the time, effort or money because it’s not easily-monetized in an age when people are primarily consuming content from within the curated feeds of one social network or another. Better to setup a blog on Medium, turn on its payment program and let the money from your thought leadership roll in.

He’s right. Medium is much easier to immediately get revenue from than a WordPress blog. The former involves a couple of toggle switches and the acceptance of a TOS. The latter could take years to grow and you have to do all that pesky design work yourself.

(side note: I will never understand the “I won’t use WordPress because a default theme doesn’t look good and I don’t want to invest in a better one” mindset that almost always comes with a complete acceptance of the generic presentation offered by Medium and which offers 10% of the customization. Let’s move on.)

So here’s my question: What happens when the terms change?

Even putting aside the five different business model pivots Medium has executed in the last three years, it’s a platform you don’t own. They can change the rules with little, if any, notice. It could decide to double the number of “claps” needed to earn any sort of significant payout. It could drastically alter how it surfaces content. It could make any of several dozen other shifts that all result in the individual publisher receiving less revenue.

Are you willing to put your future in hands with whose motives are not only unknown to you but which could change at any moment?

Are you completely comfortable knowing it could announce it’s shutting down due to lack of funding?

What’s your plan for when you find your own future in doubt because instead of spending your time building out an owned channel on an open platform, you chased the buzz of the network effect?

Also, are you considering indirect monetization in your thinking? Sure, Medium pays you for the articles that wind up getting a decent amount of audience engagement. That’s great, and certainly beats the crappy advertising model used elsewhere. But does Medium allow for any kind of conversion path that would be beneficial for freelancers or others? My experience says no.

Blogging succeeded because it was open and not constrained to one platform. In the early days we had Blogger, TypePad and a couple others. WordPress came later, then Tumblr and so on. Medium is part of that ecosystem and is a perfectly viable choice, but it’s not the end-all-be-all for a number of reasons. At least, unlike some tools, it supports RSS feeds, which is how I read the story that’s gotten me all riled up. That too was an important element of what made blogging so powerful, a role it continues to enjoy to this day.

If you want to go all-in on Medium, great. I’ve chosen not to do that, though I do still want to use the site for some purpose. It won’t be as a replacement to this blog, though. There’s too much at stake to put my future solely in hands I can’t see and have no voice in influencing.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Quick Takes – Marketing and Media News for 2/22/18


As many people have pointed out already, this Newsweek story about the news brand’s parent company is enough of a media story in and of itself, but the editor’s note that appears at the top is a whole issue in and of itself.

SHOT: Vox Media is the latest company to engage in a round of significant layoffs, with many of the cuts coming from its video production team, with the news specifically citing how those efforts aren’t resulting in substantial audience or revenue growths. Another example of how all that “pivot to video” garbage over the last two years was exactly that since Facebook, which pushed media companies in that direction, never had any intention of sharing the wealth.

CHASER: Snapchat wants more publishers to make original video shows and you just know there are going to be plenty who didn’t learn a single lesson from what *just* happened with Facebook.

A ton of interesting updates about Tronc and its various business dealings in this Nieman Lab report, including how it viewed dealing with a unionized L.A. Times newsroom as a potential roadblock to its distribution strategies, a perspective that lead to its decision to sell the paper.

FiveThirtyEight has a good overview of how basically all media outlets pushed the same “conventional wisdom” narrative about John Kelly when he was named Chief of Staff at the White House. That initial framing has continued throughout all the instances over the last few months where it was proven inaccurate, which media acting like they were shocked their initial assessment turned out to be wrong.

Marketing / Advertising

Dear National Rifle Association,

I understand this is a rough time for you. I do. I don’t care, because you absolutely deserve it, but I understand. In the spirit of constructive criticism, let me offer you some advice regarding crisis communications:

  1. Pushing the falsehood that kids who just watched 17 of their classmates be killed by an assault rifle are all paid “crisis actors” was never a good idea since those claims are easily debunked, especially by the kids themselves, who have grown up with the tools and culture to call out the very kind of BS you’re peddling.
  2. Sending out the same woman who’s starred in a number of organization-produced videos that come within a hair’s breadth of calling for armed rebellion against the media and a not-so-thinly-veiled “other” population to act as your spokesperson in a nationally-televised town hall was not a great call.
  3. Certainly – CERTAINLY – don’t, having done just that, congratulate her on Twitter with a GIF of a TV show character who 1) repeatedly made it clear she was not a fan of gun culture and 2) was ALL about love and understanding and harmony. And CERTAINLY CERTAINLY don’t do so when the very vocal cast and crew of that show is active on Twitter and is ready to drag you for doing so.
  4. Don’t make your first two public statements – outside of that talking head at the town hall – declarations that anyone calling for gun control laws “hates individual freedom” or that the “mainstream media loves mass shootings” and is therefore the *real* cause of people dying.

These were all unforced errors that were easy to avoid. You chose not to, which tells me everything I need to know.



Social Media

Facebook has made it easier to add people to in-progress Messenger calls.

Anchor has upgraded and updated its app to basically be a professional podcast creation tool.


More warning against the rise of technology that can easily create videos that are completely fake and which are indistinguishable from the real thing, raising all sorts of potential issues, though some of the people working on it of course see nothing but fun, innovative potential.

Uber Express Pool brings the company just one small step away from successfully recreating the mass-transit bus system. On that topic, this is a good analysis of where we are in regards to ride-hailing companies, mass-transit, municipal governments and more.

The latest example of the Trump Administration being filled with terrible people is how FCC chairman Ajit Pai wants to change the “Lifeline” program that has helped connect low-income populations to high-speed internet in such a way that it does everything *but* that. While it’s not technology-based, there’s also the proposed changes to rent subsidy programs that would essentially kick hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes by drastically and cruelly cutting the program’s budget.

Speaking of the FCC, you can read all the inconsistent logic and poor reasoning behind its repeal of net neutrality, which is now set to expire on April 23rd, for yourself.

Another round of cleaning out of bots has resulted, predictably, in another round of white supremacists and other jackweeds complaining about how their follower count was being damaged in a liberal plot to diminish their influence. The lack of self-awareness in that crowd is only slightly less concerning than literally everything else about them.

I was wrong the other day about Spotify’s plans. It’s not that it wants to sell you things through the app, it’s that it wants to create its own native smart speaker. That sounds cool, but it’s another sign that the open web is increasingly being relegated to the past.

Google is expected to make a significant augmented reality announcement at Mobile World Congress that will likely involve upgrades to the mobile AR experience on its Pixel devices.

Want even more recommendations? Check out my Pocket Shared Items.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

I Thought We Were Supposed to Be Getting Better at This…

I know there are all kinds of issues around the online and marketing industries and how much data they’re collecting about us. Anil Dash recently reiterated on Twitter the reality that Facebook in particular is a data collection company more than anything, compiling information on us that is used by others to better sell us various products.

But two incidents in my own experience make me think that some companies aren’t even trying.

First, I got an email marketing message from a company I’ve done business with and which has significant insights into my spending habits. The email asked if I was going to be heading out on spring break soon and if so would like to offer me some travel tips.

This company should absolutely know that at no time in the last 20 years have I taken anything resembling spring break. If I’ve traveled at all around this time of year, it was for work. There’s zero data in my financial profile that would suggest the whole family has taken a trip like this and therefore nothing that would make this message relevant to me.

Second, one of the ridiculous number of unsolicited PR pitches I receive (a result of being included in Cision’s media database several months ago) not only didn’t grab my name from MailMerge – “Hello, [mediacontactname]…” – but it didn’t include any sort of unsubscribe link.

If you want to pitch me, that’s fine. I’ll unsubscribe if the pitch isn’t relevant to me or outside of my interest areas. But you *have* to give me the option to do so, otherwise I will absolutely do everything I can to mark your emails as spam so your delivery rate is hurt.

We were supposed to be making marketing better. We were supposed to be moving to an era when messages were delightful and relevant. It seems we still have a long way to go.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Singular or Shifting Focus?

As I’ve written about before I’ve made various changes in my daily productivity routine to help with time management and focus. Both in agency and freelance life, these changes have been largely positive, keeping me on task to get things done as efficiently as possible.

Most of those changes have been in service of finding a balance between focusing on one thing and focusing on everything.

You know what I’m talking about. You have 15 things on your to do list, all due at various times. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that each project will take six hours from start to finish. And they’re due on a staggered schedule, not all at once.

(Yes, this is hypothetical. The above never happens. I know. Let’s move on.)

So what’s the better approach?

  1. Chunk up the schedule so you get a little of everything done, spending more time on those projects due sooner but overall varying the day?
  2. Devote all your time and attention to one project until it’s done and only then move on to anything else?

There’s no tried and true reliable answer here. Your preference is going to be different than mine. Even my preference will be different from one day to the next. Sometimes it works best to just take on one project and focus on nothing else until it’s locked down. Other times I get the most done when I bounce my attention around a little bit, changing up the problem I’m working on.

I’ve found moments of serendipity happen in either scenario. I can be eyebrow-deep in a project and have a moment of inspiration that cracks a nut I’d been working on for a while in that same project or a totally different one. There have been times too when shifting over to another project actually opens up a solution to the one I was working on previously.

What’s important is that, no matter what approach is being taken, you not take yourself out of it. If you’ve committed to six hours on a single project to get it done and you have an insight related to something else, don’t take yourself out of the groove. Even if you’re mixing things up, don’t get distracted. Finish the two-hour sprint you’ve devoted to that project, otherwise you won’t come back to it.

This is why I keep a TextEdit document open on the side of my screen, to jot down random thoughts so they don’t get lost but also doesn’t necessitate taking the time to open the project itself.

What do you think? Which approach works best for you or, like me, does if vary from one day to the next? How have you adjusted your setup to capture random thoughts without distracting you from your primary goal?

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Quick Takes: Marketing and Media News for 2/20/18


A number of editors and others have been let go from Vanity Fair and other Conde Nast publications. CNN also fired about 50 staffers from its digital operations as it seeks to “restructure” that department.

One can only imagine the number of “Hillary Did 9/11” and “Obama’s Deep State Redistricted You” documentaries that will be available on the new OTT streaming service Fox News is planning.

I have some very strong opinions about the news that MAD Magazine is getting a reboot including a new image and more after a move to Los Angeles that wasn’t made by John Ficarra and other longtime staffers. *Very* strong opinions.

Marketing / Advertising

Considering how bit “unboxing” videos are it makes a lot of sense that consumer goods companies are introducing more experiential products that are well-suited for creating fun videos.

More and more companies are starting their own in-house creative shops, eschewing traditional agencies in the process. Those owned operations are better positioned to pivot with corporate changes and are more responsive to feedback. It also saves money (now that more people know how to effectively manage things like programmatic advertising) and builds an internal knowledge base. I have to wonder, though, how many of the people in these shops are actual employees and how many are contractors.

I get and totally understand what the author is saying here regarding brands building “belonging,” but it also seems like it’s being narrowly defined in that piece. The same concept applies to bumper stickers, jacket patches and other signals by which we use the things we like as a shorthand for who we are and what we enjoy.

Oh hey, this is why you have social media policies that apply to everyone up and down the organization, so random executives don’t go on misguided tweetstorms about company issues that later have to be walked back and contraindicated in later official statements.

Little Debbie wants to challenge MoonPie’s status as everyone’s favorite Twitter account by doling out relationship advice.

And Spotify may follow Snapchat’s example with hints it’s planning to expand into physical products.

Social Media

Regular reminder that the price of international growth of the platforms managed by tech companies is they’re occasionally all-too willing to comply with governmental requests to take down “offensive” material that’s questionably both legal and ethical. Now extrapolate that out and ask yourself what happens (if it hasn’t already) if the U.S. government asks these companies to take down posts that complicate international relations.

Last week’s news that a judge had ruled linking to content did not constitute copyright infringement is countered by this week’s less-than-great news that a different judge says embedding Tweets *is* copyright infringement. While I do have concerns, I think what this means for media companies is that they need to not use photos or other media they either haven’t licensed themselves or at least can prove the provenance of. That should be common sense and would mostly, based on my reading of the case, infringe on their rights to publish low-quality “Everyone is talking about this photo of…” content. Nieman Lab has some more informed commentary.

It’s not surprising at all that Facebook’s methodology for determining that “just 5%” of what people see in their News Feed is actual news is somewhat sketchy and rife with eyebrow-raising oversights.

Speaking of gaping holes, there are plenty in Facebook’s plan to use mailed postcards to “verify” a U.S. address for anyone looking to buy political ads that mention or endorse a specific candidate. One of the most glaring is that this won’t be applied to buying issues-based ads, where were shown to be one of the most common used by Russian agents in the last couple years. It also overlooks how one of the frequent tactics used were contracting with U.S. citizens to act as sock puppets, something easily replicable here.

There is a tangible decline in referral traffic from Facebook after the most recent changes were put into effect. Not surprising for a number of reasons, including a new report showing people are spending less time on the platform.

Snapchat has added Giphy integration along with changes to how Stories are organized.


Interesting profile of WeWork, but I’m having a hard time not going full-on cynical about the company. Not only does it seem to be filled with the same cult-of-the-genius-founder thinking I thought was played out, but its vision seems to be one of Company Town 3.0, where you never need to leave the confines of a single area for any purpose. Finally, you lose me anytime you start talking about for-profit education, bro.

AT&T has made streaming through its owned VOD services part of its “sponsored data” plan where usage doesn’t count against data usage by prepaid customers. This is exactly why net neutrality is such a big idea, though mobile companies have been doing this for a while. They want you to use their owned services instead of, say, Netflix, because you won’t burn data while doing so. That’s called “unfair advantage.”

Want even more recommendations? Check out my Pocket Shared Items.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Prioritizing Creation over Consumption

Along the same lines of what I wrote yesterday, one of the mindsets I’ve tried to keep in mind, particularly this year so far, is that creation should take priority over consumption.

Creation, I realized, moves me forward on my various personal and professional goals more than consumption does.

So I’m opting to write blog posts. Or make progress on a novel. Or something else.

Still, the FOMO is real. I can feel the number of unwatched movies on Netflix and Amazon on my shoulders sometimes, as well as all those on DVD. After reading over two dozen books in 2017 I haven’t finished a single one this year.

I just have to keep telling myself it’s alright, that I’m working toward something right now and that means putting other wants to the side for the moment.

That doesn’t necessarily make it easier, but it’s the rationale that’s working for me right now.

More than that, it’s a reminder that it’s not simply choosing to do Option 1. Doing so is also actively choosing to not to Options 2-38. It requires weighing the opportunity costs almost constantly.

I admit I have the luxury of choice. Simply having the free time to fill as I see fit is a privilege. Many people don’t. I know that.

That’s not to say I don’t take time to watch movies or TV shows or read books. There have been a few nights where I’ve pulled up a movie and enjoyed a night of passive entertainment. Sometimes you need a night off.

It just means I have other things in mind. So for as long as I can, I’ll keep going down this road. Things may change tomorrow, but this is where I’m at now.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.