Brief moment to refill the tanks

Today I picked up three assignments another writer had abandoned. 2000 words apiece on Florida injury laws. All three are due tomorrow at 10am. I have been spending the afternoon writing. Each one takes an hour and a half to two hours to write, but in between, there is a moment I need to recharge, either in mind or with some glucose, or both. This last post is like pulling teeth to write, mostly because I’m feeling a little bit fried. You would be surprised how much brain power you use up with this stuff.

I have the third assignment outlined, but I have to continue to read some really dry statutes on workers compensation laws. As much as I would love to just spend the rest of the evening slacking, I need to get these done. The money doesn’t always flow immediately, and I have a lot of unreviewed assignments that haven’t sold yet. They might not. They could trickle in over the next several weeks. There are no guarantees. It’s like playing bagpipes. You put effort in and it slowly plays out. When work comes in, you pick it up, because sometimes there could be several days when there is nothing.

It might seem a little counterintuitive that I am taking a break from writing by writing this, but I needed to fill my tanks writing my thoughts, rather than writing copy. There’s a big difference. Unless you do this kind of thing, it’s probably impossible to explain. I needed to fill up on some happy before making the final push.

At this moment, I am drawing a blank for the assignment, and I need something to invigorate my brain. Freshly tuna-fish sammiched, Carmello-ed, and watching some YouTube, I feel the brain power meter going back up. Maybe not to full, but at least no longer at empty.

I need to do some reading tonight as well. It has been too long since I have read for pleasure. Lately I’ve been working on photography, reading up on travel writing, and even some new scenes for the next book. I’ve put edits on hold for a bit. The edit brain is different than the writing brain, though you often find yourself rewriting. It is more critical. Right vs. left brain if such a thing actually exists.

The rest of the day has been somewhat productive in other ways. I hung my laundry out to dry. I took Penny to the park and played ball for a bit. Several cups of coffee have been drunk. I also took a vitamin, so now my pee gets to be flourescent yellow for a while. Yesterday I made gumbo from scratch and I have plenty of leftovers. Tomorrow I might make a Marry Me Chicken. I have website stuff to work on then too.

I had better go. I’ve started yawning and that’s not a good sign.

Update: I finished the third assignment, but I’m doubtful as to whether it will sell. They didn’t have any guidelines attached to it and I did the best I could without plagiarism and staying within my word limits. So, three for three today. I hope they sell!

It was a full day, with about 8 hours (counting breaks and food and such) for three assignments.

*Sorry for any typos. I was running on empty.

Set adrift

Most mornings start with just trying to wake up and get motivated enough to start the day. Today, I woke up shortly before I needed to go to my weekly allergy shot appointment. I got showered, made a coffee, and then let my dog out. My dad was working in his shop, but he was talking with someone, and rather than go pee for the morning, Penny decided to bark at these people she didn’t know and make herself a general pain in the ass. I didn’t have enough time to deal with this, and this was the first moment she demonstrated that she doesn’t think she needs to listen. She pulled this kind of thing a couple more times today, and spent time in her crate as a result. She also ate the rest of the bathtub plug. She’s been a royal cow today.

Anyway, I struggled for most of the afternoon to get the motivation to either do some paid writing or work on my book. I came up with a big goosegg for motivation. At some point, I put together some samples I got for a website shop I am building for someone and photographed over a hundred shots of product. The pictures turned out great! I was surprised at how well they turned out. But the experience of positioning, staging, and shooting was also pretty exhausting. As I was sorting pictures, I ate a whole bag of Haribo gummies and wound up taking a long nap. I slept so hard I dreamt and it was hard to wake myself up for the rest of my day.

Though this sounds productive, it didn’t feel like it. I have dishes stacking up in my kitchen and no motivation to wash them. Without dishes, cooking is a pain, so that’s why I had gummies for dinner. Later, I ate some roast beef and cheese with mustard. Nothing else even sounds good.

Lately I feel like I am drifting. Some days I feel like I am failing. I know there are plenty of things I need to do (like the dishes) but days like today, it’s all I can do to do things. Taking pictures was a creative outlet, and it felt good once I saw the proofs after I downloaded them. But up until then, I couldn’t help but wonder what the hell I was doing. I submitted edits last night for a paid post and also another post. I’m hoping they sell. I get tired of submitting stuff only to have it ignored for weeks and weeks.

Today was one of those days I feel like I came up here only to be forgotten. I don’t have many friends anymore. Sure, I talk to people in town I encounter, but for the most part I feel anti-social. I don’t have a lot to look forward to, and since money is tight, I just don’t make any plans to go anywhere and cure this wanderlust right now. I’m working for other people right now, (other financial obligations), and have to dedicate my resources to that. Without any hope or end in sight. Just another reason I want to shout at people who talk about absentee fathers when they discuss family law. Some of us work our guts out for children we never get to see, or worse yet, children who have been conditioned to hate us or fear us. But we still have to pay. As though trying to bring life into this world is an unforgiveable sin we have to atone for.

Just a few years ago, I had little things to keep me motivated. Little trips up to someone’s cabin, a hot tub weekend under the stars, hiking, road trips, adventures, weekends with my girlfriend, and even a grand road trip to meet someone I had gotten to know very well over the years. With gas prices nowadays, my stunted income, and being so isolated right now, I don’t have a lot to keep me looking forward to making plans. It’s halfway through May, and I can already see the summer barreling past, back into Winter, and then Spring.

My friends keep telling myself to be nicer to myself–and I’ve told them that plenty of times too–but it’s less beating myself up and just being apathetic. Like I hit the high-water mark of my life somehow and it wasn’t all that great. Right now, I’m just drifting. Getting by. I’m tired of just getting by, but some days it is like pulling teeth to find the energy to get that extra hussle that would put me over.

I spent twenty years in a workforce that gave me no skills. I just became more efficient at stuff I already knew how to do. I marvel at twenty-somethings who can fly airplanes or build things. They honed skills. I wrote. Though I am making some money from it, I lack marketing skills, I want to be able to do other things too, and just feel like a shitty marriage and a dead end job left me at the bottom of the hill again. I get so tired, trying to push up that hill.

Tonight, I make coffee at 10pm and started work on the next book. I got a good scene down and I wrote down the story and a sorta plot. Yeah, I know I complained I didn’t get good at anything over the last twenty years. Writing is different. You can be good at it, but some of the best writers in the world probably have books rotting on their hard drives that will never be published. It’s hard out there. The state of publishing right now is ridiculous. Everything has gotten so niche that nobody will probably take a chance on the stories I write.

Self-publish, you say? I tried that. I made $150 on my first book. Over the last eight years. It’s rough. Sometimes I feel like my whole life is shadowbanned.

Anyway, I’ll keep writing because it’s all I’m good at, and all I really have going for me right now. For now, anyway.

Weather Changes Moods

Today was a productive day working on paid writing. I wrote five posts today and two were already picked up. I need to make a little bit of money for bills and other obligations, and today was a decent enough day for putting in the time. However, the drawback is that I dedicated more of my mental resources to those 3000 words on various subjects than I had hoped to do. I guess I got on a roll, because once I was done, I was done for the day. Not bad for five hours of work. Plus Penny and I went to the park and played fetch. I cooked lunch and dinner, and took a nap. And also watched a little bit of Britain’s Most Beautiful Villages.

Tonight I’m still feeling a little unsatisfied about getting the real work done, but I’ve hit my limit and wouldn’t be doing the book any justice in editing. I’m feeling a little bit fried. I suppose I can read up a little and do some research on maybe starting a YouTube channel or pitching to clients for travel writing. The latter is a little easier said than done. The resource I’ve been reading makes it sound incredibly simple, when it really isn’t.

Yesterday I took pictures of the moose that has been hanging out in town for the last few days. It’s good to see them back, since it means Spring is here. Something was missing though…

I guess today was also a good day for building up my momentum to write for pay and feeling a little bit more confident about that. The work was there today, so I had to do it. Sometimes it is feast or famine. I got lucky, which is something that is a big part of this life. You have to take opportunties, and sometimes when you’d rather just not, you have to push through. Like I’ve said before, my schedule is no longer like it used to be. Weekends are pretty much meaningless. I work when there is work to be had. Some days I do work I would rather be doing (like writing or editing) and other days I do the work that will keep me from starving or allows me to meet other obligations.

It’s also important to take time to rest or better yet, take time to play. This year has been very lean on opportunties to play, but I’m hoping to change that. I’m also hoping to deal with a massive amount of ADHD that has manifested itself. I found myself watching a show on Amazon Prime today which had commercials and then scrolling through TikTok and social media as I was watching. Hell, sometimes the TikToks were too long.

I might have to go on another social media detox soon while I calibrate my workday for better productivity. When you work for yourself, you don’t always get time off. You might miss a chance at a good payday if you make choices to do something else for the day too. And there are those days when you have to dynamite yourself out of bed because things are overwhelming. With a 8-5 job, you can fake it and still get paid. That isn’t so for being self-employed.

Music is always a good way to keep focused, and lately I’ve been listening to Tori Amos, who I haven’t listened to for years. Her first two albums were the best, along with singles, B-sides, and other “strange little girls,” as she used to call them.

I’m glad summer is on the way. Hopefully (with the exception of one or two more) we are done with snow up in this part of the country. I’m looking forward to more adventures, but for now, I have to recover my bank balances and get back into the black. Spring was rough this year for assignments.