Oh man, it’s been just over a month since I posted. I swear I haven’t been lazy. If anything, it’s been the opposite problem. Here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve been up to in the last month:

  • Portuguese school started again!
  • I joined the board of the Silicon Valley Portuguese Education and Culture Foundation.
  • I traded in being a non-playing manager for the Argonauts for being a playing manager of the Skrewts.
  • I started coaching SJSU Spartan Quidditch.
  • I returned to NCQC after applying unopposed for the community commissioner position.
  • Oh, and the day after I flew home from the MLQ Championship, I started working at the Los Altos Town Crier as a reporter covering schools as well as business and real estate.

Phew, just looking at that list is exhausting. It’s mostly been the last thing on that list that’s been keeping me from blogging. I’m definitely writing, just not necessarily here.

It’s taken me about a month to (mostly) bury my impostor syndrome and get used to working at the pace of a weekly print newspaper instead of a purely digital publication, but I think I’ve got it under control. Mostly. I have moments sometimes where I feel like I’m punching above my weight class, but let’s save that for another post.

I’ve decided to update my blogging schedule (yes, again) and not let all this content I’m creating elsewhere go to waste. I still want to write two original posts a week. Those will be published on Mondays and Fridays. On Wednesdays, I’ll be linking to my stories in the Town Crier, and most likely giving a little background info on one or two of them.

Spoiler alert: I am pretty damn proud of something I wrote for this week’s paper. Come back Wednesday and check it out.

Barcelos Knows turned one sometime in the last month; I only know that because got billed for another year of owning this domain. A year ago I was struggling with unemployment and wondering if I’d ever make it professionally as a writer. I’ve gone from intern to blogger to reporter in that time, with a few relapses into funemployment sprinkled in there, but that mostly upward trajectory wasn’t all my doing. There was a lot of luck involved, but also the support of you, my readers.

Every time you tell me about something I’ve written, in person or in the comments section, helps validate me and what I’m trying to do with my life. That’s kept me going when I’ve felt like quitting, which has been more often than I care to admit. Thanks for sticking with me as I continue to figure myself out. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of your support.

How to Use Quidditch to Start Your Career Without Sounding Like a Complete Nerd

Earlier this week, Major League Quidditch published an article I wrote when I was trying to convince people to join the Argonauts staff this summer. I’m not going to repeat anything I wrote there. I just want to expand on it because not everyone wants or can apply for an MLQ position.

If you’re reading this, you probably have some quidditch volunteer experience. You’ve probably wondered if it’s worth all the time, effort, and risk to your sanity. Will quidditch actually help you get a real job?

Yes. Maybe. Depends. But it’s not impossible.

Continue reading

Shameless Self-Promotion: Joomag Design Academy

Sometimes I get asked why I write this blog, but that’s another post for another day. The tl;dr version is that I want my writing out in the world where people can find it. I want to make a living as a writer and that doesn’t happen by firing up WordPress when the muse strikes and calling it a day. I write 3-4 posts a week, I research topics and think up new content ideas, I have an editorial calendar, I share my posts on social media, and I try to find other places to share my work. In other words, I treat it like a part-time job.

I learned a lot of this from my internship at Realtor.com, and between that experience and the work I put into my own website, I landed the full-time, salary/benefits/all the bells and whistles writing job I have now. After two months here, I’m stoked to announce that we’re (finally) launching the Joomag Design Academy blog!

I worked on magazines a lot in college, so I’m stoked to bring that experience to my work. Joomag is a digital publishing company and our platform makes it easy for anyone to create their own digital magazines, ebooks, catalogs, etc. But just because you have the means to design something doesn’t mean you know where to start. My vision for the blog was to create a place where you could learn the basics of magazine design and grow from there. It’s been so rewarding to go from having that pitch accepted to actually making it happen.

Eventually, we want to grow to the point where we have other writers and designers contributing to the blog. But for now, I’m just sitting here pinching myself.

#BarcelosClothes: My First Stitch Fix

Back when I was figuring what to call my blog, I eventually landed on Barcelos Knows for two reasons: I love a good slant rhyme and I’m known for being an insufferable know-it-all. While writing what you know is one of the oldest pieces of writing advice, I don’t know everything.

But you know what? There’s nothing stopping me (or anyone else, really) from writing about what I don’t know. In that spirit, I’m starting a new series on my blog: Barcelos Doesn’t Know. I’m pretty clueless about some things but I want to change that, one blog post at a time.

Continue reading

Realtor.com Wrapup

It was only a few months ago that I poured my heart and frustrations out to the internet on how it seemed impossible to find a writing job and make a living in Silicon Valley as a not-quite-fresh-anymore college grad. This Is My Life in Silicon Valley is still my most popular post, but it did more for me than get my blog a couple thousand hits.

It got me a job. As a writer. Well, an internship, anyway. But a paid one!

While my internship has come to an end, it helped land me my first full-time writing job. (That started today!) I couldn’t be happier about being able to take the next step in my career, but I’ll always look back fondly on my first stepping stone.

Here are some of my favorite pieces from my time at realtor.com and the stories behind them.

A Grand Dame Gets a Makeover in the Berkeley Hills

This was the first thing I was ever paid to write, so it’s always going to have a special place in my heart. Being able to visit the house I was writing about would prove to be an exception, not the rule.

It’s Rude to Ask the Age of the Oldest U.S. Home for Sale (but We Did)

Is the title on the clickbaity side? You know it. It worked, though. Surprisingly well. I got a shoutout for it during our weekly meeting from our editor-in-chief and I could have died happy right there.

Zamboni Not Included: 6 Homes With Their Own Hockey Rinks

Every good content writer’s gotta know how to put together a good listicle, and this was my favorite. One of these places is even in San Jose!

Calling Harry Potter Fans: Build a Wizarding School in Your Own Home!

#notallquidditchplayers are Harry Potter nerds, but I am. So getting paid to write about it was pretty great. Utah friends: check this place out if you’re ever in the Provo area.

The Darkest Timeline: Day 71

I lost what little belief I had in time traveling heroes today. If they were real, they would have done something about the Darkest Timeline by now.

It’s been a while since I’ve revisited the Darkest Timeline here on my blog. The big picture got too overwhelming to turn into >1000 words every few days. I’ve been trying to focus on my small life with its small victories instead.

My internship and my website helped me land a full-time writing job that I’ll be starting on February 1st. (a decent salary! benefits! vacation time!) I’m moving into my new apartment with Jim (relationship milestone! adulting!) on January 31st. I’m finally playing quidditch inside Spartan Stadium on February 4th. (It’s gonna be a busy week.) I’m blogging at least twice a week and my 52 in 52 challenge is coming along well. I got my first pitch accepted and I hope to see it in print soon.

In any other timeline, these would be thrilling developments. Considering how down I was only a few months ago about the trajectory of my life and career, I should be over the moon over how much things have changed for the better.

I did a good job of ignoring things for a while. This week came around put that to an end by battering down the fortress of small accomplishments I was trying to build around myself.

The funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities is on the chopping block. That’s .002 percent of the national budget, so it’s less a cost cutting move and more of a plot by a strongman to silence the dissenting voices of artists. He wants to privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Or, y’know, make Big Bird and friends turn a profit to earn their keep. Between Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers, that’s how I learned English. Then I grew up to get a degree in it, not exactly the most profit making enterprise. Oops?

Speaking of learning, I doubt the Betsy DeVos hearings will stop her from being approved by a Congress eager to rubber-stamp whoever whatever President Trump (ugh, that’s the first time I’ve ever had to type that) puts before them. There goes any hope I had for going back into a career in education for the next few years. (I’m really starting to like this whole “getting paid to write stuff” thing better, anyway.) What the hell kind of schools are my nieces going to enter when the time comes?

Then today happened. Donald Trump is now the President of the United States. I didn’t watch, but not watching doesn’t make Trump not-President. I did read Vox’s annotated version, though. It was same Trump, different day. Divisive rhetoric, a dystopian vision of an America that was actually improving. The Big Lie that a large-enough-for-the-Electoral-College minority of Americans bought.

The past eight years made me believe in MLK’s conviction that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. How could I not? I voted for the first black president after voting for the first woman nominated by a major party. We made a huge step forward in making sure all Americans have access to healthcare. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a stopgap measure at best, was finally repealed. Any two consenting adults can be married. A woman won the popular vote in a presidential election. There was a lot left undone, but the slow progress we made was still progress.

I am still desperately clinging to that conviction. I have to believe that this step back we’ve taken—no, this catastrophic fall—is the last, desperate gasp of a dying idea of America. Most of us don’t believe in that, if the popular vote counts for anything.

I still reject the idea of making America great again. Our greatness is in progress, in what’s ahead of us, not in the whitewashed past. This isn’t his America or your America or their America, this is our America. No one man alone can fix it.

But can we do it together? Yes we can.