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It was a big surprise-the above number was one day of hits for this blog on the subject of writer's block.
At first I thought I read it wrong-510 for one day? It's not as if my blog is on the same stratosphere as a gossip columnist or celebrity. Honestly, I was amazed.
Evidently lots of writers are stumped for ideas on how to get out of the doldrums and get back to getting some work done!
Maybe part of the problem lies in the fact that actual publishers are not really hiring us for reasonable salaries? Since the demise of numerous print publications and many of the ones that are left are mainly using staff writers or even unpaid interns-getting paid is a huge issue.
One dear close friend who has had a great career writing for magazines ranging from Good Housekeeping and Woman's Day says she now finds herself writing three times the amount of articles and receiving half the pay.
When I moved from Orange County, CA I lost my contract with the Orange County Register-they only wanted to use local talent. I understood, really. But the publications I still wrote for have also gone through huge changes.
One magazine decided that they wanted to write the publication for those under 25. There's a decision. Because so many millennials are into print editions. The editor went to another start-up and is now finding herself writing everything until the start-up can support paying others. Another long-time publisher was actually bought out by the same company that owns the Register.
Can you guess who no longer needs freelance writers?
When I got here to Arizona, I tried really, really hard to introduce myself to all the various local magazines and the one regional newspaper. Not a good experience.
My son said, "Maybe you need to get out of what you usually write and try something new." That might work IF there was a magazine or paper that would even acknowledge that I sent them queries and letters of introduction.
I was encouraged by one editor who somehow found me-she e-mailed, she called and said she was so impressed with my work and wanted to have me as a regular contributor. By that point I knew the going rate here and told her my fee.
That didn't seem to matter as long as she could work with me. Great. Thrilling. Then she said she'd send me the names of people she wanted me to profile. Two weeks went by and I heard nothing.
I dutifully sent her a reminder note. She apologized and said she'd send them right over. Two weeks went by and I sent another note. At that point I got a terse note saying things were changing at the magazine and to please understand that she would get back to me by the beginning of the coming month.
That didn't happen. I sent one more note-this time I said that I thanked her for considering me and that I didn't want to bug her-but that I did want her to be honest and say that this was not going to work out or to explain what was happening so I knew how to proceed with accepting other assignments.
This woman who found me didn't have the courtesy to respond!
And with this rant, you can now understand why I hit over 510 hits on just one day on the subject of writer's block. It's not only the writing that's in question-it seems to be a wall that's ever rising that many of us can't seem to reach the top of in order to find a reason to keep on doing what we love.
I feel as if I've hit a "brick wall" lately. I have done several interviews, more on the calendar to do-yet, I sit in front of the computer and stare.
It was bound to happen. Let's face it-most writers do have some form of "block". I'm sure I'll shake it off and get back on track. But right now, nothing much has been happening!
My subjects are interesting, the questions and answers are fine but I just sit here and stare at the processor. Mostly wondering, "How do I start this profile?"
Could be that I'm tired of doing the "same old, same old". Could be that our lives have just gotten in the way of my creative ability. Could be that I just need to give myself a bit of a break and stop obsessing about the 3-4 articles that are just fanned out on my desk!
Usually a walk will break my block. They have NOT. I went and started Qigong/tai chi-I'm enjoying it and it has added another dimension to my PT, but I'm still not getting any further along in my actual paying work.
At first I thought-I just realized that I have about 3 months finished and ready to be sent to the editor and maybe that's why I'm in no particular rush to get out of my self-imposed ennui. But I'm not so sure.
Even coming up with something for this blog is sometimes an effort in futility.
Things haven't exactly been running very smooth of late. Busy with the boys, busy with all the aftermath of the break-in and extremely busy just trying to keep myself at some sort of level of being human with all the physical therapy, pain and running back and forth to doctors.
Maybe I pushed all that I've been through the last two years too far back in the recesses of living my life and it's coming to the surface now?
I have to admit, I saw some photos of a similar accident in the local paper and it had me feeling a burst of anxiety I've never actually felt before-too busy trying to prove that I'm not that "bad".
Of course, it could just be that I'm in the midst of plain old everyday writer's block and I need to step back, take a few deep breaths (thank goodness I'm going to tai chi where everything is about the breathing) and just relax.
I felt so sorry for Pepper this week. He's 11-1/2 now. Thankfully he's in good health (knock on wood) and still full of impish behavior-but like all cats, he's never really cared for loud noises.
This week we've had a LOT of loud noise.
Even though we've had record breaking temperatures that we're all thrilled to feel-we all not too happy about the gales pealing through our rather rural community. With the wind we not only get pushed around while walking, we also get a lot more dust and whistling.
Now that we have security doors I'm able to enjoy letting fresh air into the house. While Pepper loves to sit on the mat by the screen and sun himself and feel the air-he's not crazy about hearing the accompanying whistles that come with it.
Speaking of those security doors-after 4 long months and lots of rather curt talks with the store manager we finally have the replacement for the one that's been hanging there in a very warped condition. The installer came with it and a much better attitude than the first guy.
It was my fault on part of the noise. I remembered to turn off the motion sensors on one side but blew it on the other. Of course the "other" was where the new door was going in. First Pepper saw this unknown man. He ran to one of his hiding spots.
Then the installer made noise with his drill. That drill set off the motion detector-it was screaming throughout the entire house until I could get a step stool and turn it off.
Pepper glared at me from a hole in his condo. "Mom, first the whistling, then the drill and now that screeching! I'm not happy."
About two hours later, as the installer was finishing up, he accidently moved one of the outdoor dining chairs into the glass door. It had a sensor on it. Ack!
Off went the screeching again. This time I had to open the blinds, find a way to reach it from the couch and get it turned off (and back on as well).
Lucky didn't exactly love all the noise but she's a dog and quite social. So as long as I was within "reach" she was fine with the stranger (she smelled him and gave the okay), she was fine with the drill and even the screeching. She wasn't happy about having to stay inside during her usual morning sunbathing hour or getting pushed around the yard when she wanted to use the facilities but managed through the noisy event.
Thankfully the doors are okay and Pepper seemed to forgive me by dinner time. But we'll have to start realizing that he's getting to the point where he just wants to spend his days playing and bathing his dog, chasing after his mini-tennis balls and playing fetch and sleeping.
And that's okay-now we know he'll be safe doing so.
It all started with an e-mail I received last week. Our local library is fantastic, truly. Every class, every program, every book for rent is all done without charge. To some that statement may be greeted with a "duh", but not for those of us from Orange County, CA where we had to pay to check out new books, DVDs and pay for anything other than "old" novels.
Last summer I took the boys to a magic program and a science program. Right now they're having a blast in a weekly arts and crafts class.
But I digress. The e-mail I received was one telling me about a Qigong/Tai Chi class. Seems it's been going on for a very long time, but I just got the memo.
Now that last week's latest epidural has kicked in and physical therapy has me moving better, I decided to give this slow moving and breathing exercise class a try. It was an hour, said it was for beginners and it actually used the adjective "easy" in the description.
My feeling was, "hey, what's the worst that will happen? I try a few minutes and realize I couldn't/shouldn't and better not do it?" So I texted my girlfriend and asked if she wanted to check it out with me.
Linda had to work, but said to report back on how it was and if I'd be going back.
I got there and there were a lot of newcomers-seems I wasn't the only one who was sent the love note! We even had 2 men amongst the 14 women. Big class too-the teacher said it was her largest ever. Normally there were about 8.
"Bina" is very quiet and I'm guessing under all that reserve, a bit of a "spitfire". Realizing that most of the newbies had all sorts of issues, she decided to keep it extra easy.
Qigong is big on 3 types of breathing. And leg work. Fortunately, I've been working a lot on breathing and the importance of proper use of my legs in physical therapy.
The class was both easy and hard, relaxing and yet my heart rate got going. I left feeling as if I'd gotten a good amount of movement and yet I felt peaceful.
At the end I enjoyed my hour of newness and I really enjoyed all the others in the class.
I texted Linda when I got home and re-hydrated (you get mighty thirsty doing all that deep breathing), "Linda, class was gr8. Def'y am going bk. Coming? Bring water"
Where did the Years Go?
Wow! This past week we had a celebration. Dylan, our eldest grandson, had a birthday. Number 8. How in the world did this happen? A few more days and Aidan, our middle grandson and Dylan's brother, will turn 7!
It's amazing how the time has flown by and all the various things that have happened in the ensuing years since their births.
Besides these major happy events, we've seen the entire Nadel family and their families move to another state, I've broken two limbs, we've all started over (in a fashion), we've added another precious grandson, Steve and I have lived through my having 3 major auto "events" and all of the lawsuits (one still in the works) and medical procedures that followed. And these are all the things off the top of my head-trying to prioritize the rest in order of either importance or what I'd like to just plain forget.
I'm not at all sure what the next few years will hold for the boys but the last few have been quite amazing, to say the least! They came here as toddlers and now they know how to read, write, help around the house, have definite tastes in food and clothing and love their cousin Jackson.
They love playing soccer and basketball. Aidan loves to do arts and crafts. Dylan loves creating with Legos.
They have hearts as big as the outdoors. They both aren't thrilled about doing homework (but then again, I'm not thrilled about it either) but love helping grandpa around the house and even the yard.
They've become little men. Dylan is almost as tall as I am-but let's face it, it doesn't really take much for a boy with tall parents to overtake his 5'1/2" grandma. Aidan is very close behind.
Yes, the past 8 years have seen wondrous changes in the boys and their lives. Let's hope that the next few remaining years of boyhood sees a smooth transition into the upcoming tween and teenage segment of life.
The ride so far has been interesting and filled with love-may it continue.
In the meantime, Happy Birthday to our two oldest dividends.
I Already Did This!
I had a good laugh and a scare at my own expense this week. It's a good thing, I needed a good laugh. Not so happy about the scare.
The past couple of weeks I've been really doing a lot of interviews but hadn't had the time to write them up! Or at least I thought I didn't...
We've had the boys over for several nights and then there were the countless physical therapy sessions along with the doctors' appointments that made my time feel as if it were totally non-existent. Plus, well-my pain level has been rather high thanks to the very cold (thankfully brief) winter weather.
My neck and lower back were on fire for a few days there-so much so that the manual therapy and extra reps of kinetic exercises did NOT help. I decided to give in and take a muscle relaxer and some anti-inflammatory to cut myself a break. About 40 minutes after I swallowed those 2 rather tiny pills, I realized that I was just sitting on my extra pillows with my heated rice-filled sock on my back and staring out into space in front of my computer.
Despite the pain, I felt I had to get some actual work accomplished.
When I caught on to the fact that I was not working but in a daze-I gave up and went to bed and tried to sleep it off. I didn't really sleep. But I didn't go back to work either.
Then a few days later, after another doctor's appointment, a walk with Lucky and a round of PT exercises I sat down at my desk and knocked out one of the profiles, wrote a couple of e-mails to the press offices for the blog I needed to write on Earth Day and then decided to keep on going and write up another profile.
I opened up the file, the one with what I thought was just the name and questions I had written-guess what I found????
Believe it or not-the story was written! Not only was it written-it was really WELL written. Whoa! I couldn't remember writing a single word of it. That is scary enough on its own to realize, but to discover I can do my job in a muscle relaxant coma was even scarier!
After thinking it over, I decided to keep up the hope that maybe, just maybe-I wrote up another one during the time I found myself staring into space.
No, no such luck the second time around-I opened up that file and it really was just the name of my interviewee and the questions. Darn.