The Juice

I’m up tonight for a different reason. Other than the cup of coffee I had at 9pm, I picked up some assignments today and have a few days to get them done. I’m trying to discipline myself better on getting the work done earlier than the day of the deadline. I’m excited to do these. There is a certain thrill of getting assignments when you A) don’t know when you’ll get more B) Don’t even know if these will sell. But unlike July when I got so few, it is nice that there is at least some work out there.

But now my mind is spinning on how to write them. Steeling myself to get as much done over the next couple days as possible to free up my weekend, and well, there is the elephant in the room for me.

I haven’t worked on the book much over the last couple weeks. I’ve been too busy with other things. At the end of the day, I find myself scrolling social media or bombarding friends with TikToks. Last night I did sleep though. I slept seven hours solid for the first time in a while without antihistamines, a nightcap, or even listening to ASMR videos on YouTube. Part of that is probably that it is cooler.

The leaves are starting to turn. I think it is going to be an early Fall this year.

I need to get my files sorted on my computer for upcoming photo shoots. The Fall colors up here are amazing. I can probably improve storage space by deleting a bunch of pictures, or putting them on my backup drive. Which I will probably do in the next few days or so.

The challenge I face tomorrow is knowing I have three assignments to write and I often find it hard to get motivated enough to just freakin’ do it. I almost always feel better when I am done, but the worst part is the waiting. Then the edits, which might come several weeks later. It leaves me second-guessing myself and my abilities. I don’t necessarily agree with some of the clients who send back requests. I think much of it is based on what their analytics come back with as far as SEO optimization suggestions. That doesn’t always make for better writing, or interesting content.

But like the pteradactyl on the Flintstone’s says when they use him like a record player, ” MAWWH! It’s a living!”

Tonight I’m nervous about starting the assignments tomorrow. I hope like Hemingway says, “As long as you can start, you are all right. The juice will come.”

I would really love to do some writing for me tonight, which is the whole reason I even posted this. I’m hoping to get my head out of the place where I have to be to write content for customers, and instead focus on my own story, which has been sorely neglected as of late.

Maybe all I need to do is start.

Not sure what to write

It’s early, ish. For me anyway. I haven’t written here for a while because I’ve been busy with on spec work. It’s a sharp contrast from how things were in July, which was looking very bleak. It’s still not that great, because you can have items sit in queue forever and never sell, but at least there is work out there to pick up, write, and wait for to never sell. So at least there is that. I’m grateful for the work that has been coming through at any rate. Though the content gets a little repetitive. And I wish the clients would check their queues more than once a month.

Today I have some house business to take care of. It is being inspected for energy efficiency, so that means workmen testing appliances, coming and going, and not a lot of long periods of quiet to get the work done this morning. So I’m optimizing my procrastination time and getting my goofing off on the internet done before they are done.

I haven’t had a day off in over a week. Even the day that I did take off last week wound up being a work day and lots of driving. I need to take the work while I can get it in case I have another July, which was downright scary. The good thing was that even though there wasn’t much that could be done about it, I had other things that kept me sane throughout. I have access to some of the best hiking I have ever experienced, just a 20 minute drive in any direction. No groomed trails. No signs saying I can’t have my dog off the leash. And best of all, no crowds. There’s nothing worse than hitting a trailhead and being met by twenty people.

Each week I was doing a five to ten mile hike. I was working on my photography skills. I finished the floor in the living room. I kept busy. I lived on dried beans and cup noodles for more than a few days. The food drops help, and I’m pretty handy in the kitchen, so I came up with some pretty creative meals (when I wasn’t too lazy to cook).

Mostly I’m just passing the time until the afternoon. I have a couple assignments to write. One is due in a few hours, so hopefully I’ll have my house back before then. The other is due later. And I have one that is due tomorrow evening.

As much as I want a day off, I have to tighten my belt. Leaving town (even for a hike) costs money in fuel, snacks, and random stuff I can buy for a quick dopamine hit. Being away from my desk also means I’m not making any money, so that’s a double hit. I’ve begun to learn other things too, like how inexpensive reading is, or cooking, cleaning the house, doing laundry, or just calling a friend on the phone and chatting for an hour. I tend to not eat out much, because there are three restaurants in town, and they all serve pretty much the same thing. And it ain’t cheap.

Anyway, it looks like they are about done with the inspection, so I’m going to finish this up, get some lunch, and write about X number of things you need to know about roof replacement. Still beats the hell out of working in Higher Ed.

Pushing through

It’s a little bit late and though I am still a little wound up from having just finished another assignment, I am too fried to do the third post of the day. I outlined it. It’s due tomorrow, so I have some time to work on it before the deadline. Two is my limit for these kinds of posts anyway, otherwise it just becomes word salad. Then I feel like that scene from Shine when the kid is playing Rachmanimoff and all he hears is hitting keys on the piano without any tone, just the dull thud of hammers hitting over and over. Just the mechanical process of making his fingers work to accomplish a task.

Believe me, I’ve felt this plenty of times, especially when writing about injury and liability. Freaking dry stuff. But the work has been coming in. Today was a 4000 word day. As was the day before. As someone on the agency forum said, like a freaking mantra:

Got ’em.

Don’t want ’em.

Gonna do ’em.

Some days it’s all I can do to not pull my hair out and scream. Some assignments can be so tedious. But compared to the lack of work for the last two months, I can’t complain. Other than it is feast or famine and I really can use the money. And like I always say, a bad day writing is always better than a good day working that horseshit I used to have to put up with at the university.

This week would have been another return of the students. The complete chaos of switching rooms around for professors at the last minute when they should have been paying attention all summer. The shitstorm always fell on me, and though I took the heat for it, I got none of the praise for my efforts. I was just expected to work miracles.

I really don’t miss that life. None of it. I spun my wheels for 20 years in a job that gave me no advancement and no additional skills apart from what I walked in with on my first day.

Tonight I’m just writing down my thoughts, hoping to settle my mind so I can sleep. I feel accomplished as far as assignments go, but lately I haven’t had a lot of time to flex my creative muscles. The work pays the bills, but I will need to get back into some of my writing projects soon before I go mad. It’s a balance. Just like how working from home is a balance with keeping my house from falling apart. I did dishes today for two hours just because everything caught up to me and it got a little overwhelming. Tomorrow I have lots of laundry to fold and put away and the last of that assignment to finish.

I don’t have much profound wisdom to share tonight, other than to say I’m grateful for the work coming in. I just wish I could light a fire under my ass sometimes to get it done sooner. I’ve got other stuff I would much rather be doing.