By Rae Hadley
Welcome to The Content Castle on the sunny island of Koh Samui. We’re excited to have you here. We must congratulate you on getting here as it’s not the easiest travel you may have experienced. Long-haul flights and layovers and maybe extended hours of bus, train rides, ferry, and taxi rides; the trip can be endless. But hey, you’re finally here!
Your first day is for you to get settled in. This is your chance to wander around The Castle that will be your new home for the next three months. Get to know your new housemates, unpack your things, and maybe recharge yourself after that long journey with a nap in one of the many hammocks. Naps are a luxury you might not have every day, so take advantage of this chance while you can. Soon after, we’ll start throwing work on you.
Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your stay:
Everyone has their Own Working Pace
The Castle is filled with decorative nooks, relaxed spaces, and multiple balconies where you can work. While you don’t have to confine yourself to the air-con room, you may enjoy the relief from the heat of Thailand. You don’t need to force yourself to be where everyone else is. You have the freedom to choose to work alone in your room. You can use your productivity to your advantage, if you’re a morning person you could explore cafes in Lamai and come back to The Castle for lunch, or if your creativity comes alive at night, you could settle onto your bed and work while everyone else sleeps. Find what works for you, as long as you manage your time and meet the deadlines.
Manage Your Expectations
Yes, you are on this wonderful island that we are sure you’ll fall in love with and the beach is just a few steps away, but you should know that you’re not here for an all-day-everyday vacation. On a serious note, your stay here is to hone your writing skills with some beach days and party nights served on the side. No one is stopping you from exploring the beauty of this island. However, you should know, workloads can be quite heavy and deadlines might be here and there. So remember to manage your time and meet your deadlines so you can enjoy weekends lounging around at the seashore while sipping Piña Coladas.
You’ll also experience one or two power interruptions and an occasionally questionable internet connection–welcome to Southeast Asia! We take full advantage of these days and channel our inner digital nomads. You can hit some beach clubs, restaurants, or cafes and work from there while hitting the beach or getting a tan on the side. Don’t forget to take pictures and show it off on Instagram #Digitalnomadlife.
Thailand is also an all-year summer destination and weather can be pretty hot so it’s best to keep a bottle of water and sunscreen handy to stay hydrated and avoid the damaging sun rays.
Everyone is from a Different Background
One thing that you have to remind yourself is that very few came to The Castle with writing expertise. Everyone goes through a learning curve to perfect their writing skills. You’ll be surprised to know that most of the residents here were wearing career hats other than, ‘writer’.
The Content Castle is here to transform people into strong writers. In the moments you feel like you need help, don’t be shy to ask; the first step on being an expert is to know you are not one and do everything in your power to sharpen your skills. Sometimes, that will require you to seek help from people who are more equipped than you. There’s no need to be too harsh on yourself. You don’t have to be exceptionally good the moment you step in, but with your dedication and hard-work, The Content Castle can help you drastically improve your skills and you’ll leave their doors as a better and more confident writer.
First Edits Are Heartbreakers
Your first article will likely be your pride and joy; you’ll spend time researching, writing, and reading it aloud before passing it on to the cross-editor. When it returns, be prepared for possible heartbreak and a serving of humility. Trust me, we’ve all been there and this is something you needn’t take personally. In fact, edits are meant to benefit both you and the article. It is best to have a fresh set of eyes look over your piece as they may catch some things you missed. There could be a simpler and more concise way to communicate what you’re trying to say and their perspective can help. At the end of the day, these edits will only make your piece better.
Editing is for the Brave Hearts
You’ve taken a leap of faith to get here. That said, we are sure that you are a true brave heart. You may not have realised it yet but we’re here to tell that with a bit of practice and guidance you could be. Most would shy away from editing another’s work as it appears to be a task reserved for the strong; editing can be a hesitant experience at first as you’re infringing on other people’s work. However, even the best writers need editors–we’re all human after all. You may need to add in punctuation and your grammatical suggestions could improve their piece. As an editor, there’s no need for you to rewrite the whole piece, but to check that it is according to the client assignment and it is well communicated. In instances when they reject your suggestions, try not to feel bad about it as it doesn’t mean that it is not good or valuable. Your ideas could have simply sparked a different idea that they want to rework in their own voice.
Staying in The Castle can be challenging. This might be the longest time that you are far away from home. But you are brave enough to be here, and we know you can do it. It’s helpful to know that if you’re feeling under the weather or a little down, Cherry’s cooking can make you feel better.
The residents and the management team here look after one another so you can always count on them to have your back. You’ll finish your term equipped with a writing background and portfolio to help you kick off your digital nomad journey or even your own writing career. You will survive and thrive in this experience, and you’ll leave the island with a broader set of writing skills, new friends, and an incredible experience to share with your loved ones.
Again, we wholeheartedly welcome you onboard and if you need anything or want some company, everyone is just one Slack message away or hanging around in one of the corners of The Castle.
Content Castle resident