Friday, March 27, 2009

Writing Takes a Back Seat


My goal has always been to make my living as a writer. More than writing though, I wanted to be a mom. When my kids grew up, I reasoned, THEN I could write. And if it didn't happen when they grew up, if I needed to perform some other tasks that took me away from writing for a majority of the day (because money wasn't coming from my writing), I could always look forward to retirement. 

I never really looked so far into the future, though, that I considered I would also be blessed with grandchildren and great grandchildren – so many people – so much love. 

My days are divided into segments where my day job (daycare) takes sometimes as much as 11 hours a day and writing occurs only when and if possible. I had hoped I would be an established writer by now.

But when family and friends call, email, or visit, goals I set for writing get put on the back burner. The back burner is ready to topple over.

At one time, I felt like the Jimmy Stewart character in my favorite movie, It's a Wonderful Life. For so long, finances were so bad, I had to claim bankruptcy. My expenses were more than double my income. I sometimes felt as if I should throw myself off a bridge just to see if an angel would think me worthy of rescue. 

But the frustrations of writing with so many interruptions were, I discovered over the years, offset by the love I received from every member of my family and from the great friends I have.

Even though everything took me away from my writing, I found snippets of time to write little things that could be added to other little things that eventually grew to bigger things. I found online communities that supported my articles and my blogs. 

I found angels everywhere – family members who actually took the time to read my blogs and my articles, friends who took the time to comment. And new acquaintances who told me I was doing a great job. 

Family and friends will always come first and I look forward to whatever interruptions I get from them. I rely on the phone and email to connect me to loved ones and I live for photos like the one above, when my daughter-in-law, who lives with my son (a U.S. Marine) and their three children, sends me little treasures every once in a while that mean so much to me. My grandson Kaden wrote a "G" for Grandma, reminding me of the importance of family connections, and he gave me a reason to write this blog.

Aside: while I was writing this blog, I asked Audrey (my granddaughter) to give me just a few minutes to write – four and a half hours later, my blog is finished!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What is talent?


(link for video is below)

I received an email today that truly amazed me. I'm not usually wowed by emails, mostly because I've read the same ones over and over. 

Today, though, Mom sent me a new, never-seen-before email with a link to a video that got me thinking about creativity and talent and remembering how, when I was young, I would spend hours producing what I considered to be masterpieces worthy of publication (they later proved to be colossal embarrassments – like the mystery thriller I wrote when I was around ten that started, "Thousands upon thousands of burglars piled into the city..."  – My mother still falls apart when we reminisce about that first line). 

Every school year, when my parents, sisters, and I roamed the aisles looking for crayons, pencils, pens, and paper, I breathed in the aroma of the new supplies and couldn't wait to get home and open them.  I loved designing and I loved writing. I couldn't (and still can't) draw. Three dimensions on a two-dimensional plane have always mystified me. How do people penetrate the paper with their pencils to demonstrate the peaks and valleys of a face? 

I could never figure it out. As I forced my pencil into the page and discovered holes instead of shadows, I realized my talent was NOT going to be expressed in art. I gave up drawing and focused instead on designing and writing.

And then today I discover an elephant that has more ability to draw than I do. Sad. How is it possible for an elephant to draw a self-portrait? 

Makes me wonder. Maybe every living thing has a talent, and it's just a matter of being given an opportunity to express that talent. Who thought of putting a paint brush into an elephant's trunk?

Watch this amazing video. 



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Money Money Money Money


My earnings for Associate Content break down like this: I make $.0015 every time somebody clicks on one of my articles. What that means is that for every 1,000 clicks, I make $1.50. I honestly didn't know of any place on the web that paid more –

UNTIL TODAY

I read an article by fellow Associated Content writer, Charlene Collins, who joined Factoidz. They pay $5.00 for every 1,000 clicks, bringing the amount of income up to $.005 per click. You don't have to come up with new content. You can rewrite or repost old content from wherever you write. 

So guess what I'll be doing after tax time!

AND Charlene suggested getting Adsense. What Adsense does is post ads on your blogs. And if anybody clicks on your ads, something you are forbidden to persuade them to do, you get money that way too. It's a win-win – as long as you don't break their rules. And there are many.

So if your goal is to write and to make money from writing, and you need a little help, read Charlene Collins article here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ah, sweet dreams


If you've ever had a dream that screamed, "Interpret me!" you should read this article:


Oh, I am so proud of me. I've never been able to provide a link in a blog before. THANK YOU, MELISSA!

Well, now that I know how to provide links, I must rush to all of my other blogs and do the same. Actually, I'm hoping to help dreamschool.org build their database of dreams. Hope you will help, too, by clicking on the link above and reading the article. You might be the one to save the world (you'll know what I mean after you read the article).

Sweet Dreams!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Writers Groups


An email I received from a new friend (who belongs to a writers group) reminded me of the writers group I belonged to many years ago.

I went to the meeting with some trepidation. After all, it was held at a local book store where anybody could listen to our conversations, and I feared that somebody I knew might hear something I had written. I wanted honest feedback, though, and I wanted to offer honest feedback, so I joined the group.

I noticed one thing immediately. In this particular writing group, honesty was as far from the truth as Mercury is to Pluto. Everybody's everything was great, beautiful, a work of art, a masterpiece. How was I going to get honest feedback from a bunch of people who didn't want to hurt anybody's feelings? Should I step up and offer honest advice? Weren't we there to critique each other and not hand out awards? And why was everybody writing about bipolar disorder?

So I offered my own advice, something I considered to be genuine help, and apologized in advance if I hurt anybody's feelings. 

And now a little peek into my life. If you know me, you know that my life warps now and then into weird. That's all. Everything just suddenly becomes weird. And that's what happened with this writers group.

As the months went by, the writer's group become more a support group for bipolar disorder than a writer's group. So I quit.

I'm not saying that all writers groups are bad. What I'm saying is that if you want honest feedback, offer honest feedback. Somebody complimenting your misspelled grammatically incorrect work is not helping you to be a better writer.

My suggestion? Take an English course at your local community college. Invite your group to take a refresher class together. It can only improve your writing and having a third party who gets paid to read your work benefits you in ways you never considered. 

Find the instructor that expects her students to exceed. Immerse yourself in the class. She will provide instruction and feedback unlike anything you can get in a writers group that wants only to build your self esteem.

And if you want to build a strong writers group, critique each other in ways that will improve the writing skills of each member of the group. To critique is to criticize, but in a positive, reinforcing manner that points out the merits of the work and suggestions for improving the writing. Think of it as a Simon Cowell criticism with a healthy mixture of Paula Abdul.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

RETIREMENT: CALLING ON RETIREMENT

COPD had me sitting all day yesterday, because I couldn't get up to take care of the kids in my day care – I had to cancel it. I sat – completely still – at my computer all day, where I focused on breathing and researching and writing. WOW! I was amazed at how much research and writing I could complete when all I did was research and write.

Nobody asked for something to drink or eat. No faces or hands to wash, no diapers to change. No dishes, other than my own, to wash. I didn't have to entertain anybody or set up games, computer programs, or ANYTHING. All I had to do was write!

And I got SO MUCH DONE! For somebody who has spent her entire life filling every single second of every single minute, etc., with multitudinous tasks, these past couple of days have been outstanding! 

Well, except for the COPD that is STILL ATTACKING ME! So what does that mean – that I can spend a full day writing only if I'm sick? Apparently. At least until I retire. Or until I can make a living from full time writing.

Oh, retirement, I don't mean to push my life forward too far, but how come you seem so close and yet so far away?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

NEW wordpress BLOG


As if these three blogs weren't enough, I just started another one on wordpress (using my real name).  

Is it obvious to anybody else that I need a life?

However, it's hard enough just trying to save my own. Just today for example, as I stated in my wordpress blog, my sister told me I was dying JUST because I couldn't breathe. I am having a COPD attack. 

In order to breathe, I need medication. And therein lies the problem, because the cost of a simple inhaler is KILLING ME financially. I have no insurance, and even if I did I'd probably save – NOTHING – where did we ever come up with the idea that by spending less on ANYTHING is saving us SOMETHING? We're still SPENDING!

OK, now my blood pressure is up. I think I'll have a heart attack. Oh so many ways to die. If only I could make three thousand dollars a month writing, I'd have enough money to pay for things that make me breathe easier.

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