Friday, February 27, 2015
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
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.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
From Leftovers to Comfort Food
Steve doesn't really love meatloaf or leftovers-but I'm betting on this meal to be a winner:
Friday, February 20, 2015
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
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
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
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.
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Picky Eating Club
When push comes to shove at grandma's house:
Friday, February 13, 2015
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
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
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.
Saturday, February 07, 2015
While I love The Chew and Michael Symon, I'd also like to have my husband around for a long time-so I've made Symon's BLT casserole/bread pudding a slight bit healthier
Friday, February 06, 2015
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
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
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
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”