What if

When I face moments of stress, it’s not hard to find myself slipping into a negative place. What ifs are a great way to stop a good day dead in its tracks. Today I decided to work on my book. The last three days has been dedicated to paid work, which is nice and all, but I need to fill my heart with something that fuels my soul. So, like a star cluster forming, I’m letting the dust and particles and plasma gather and form into the idea I want to ignite into the story today. One way to do this is to write my thoughts down and carry myself forward with the momentum.

The what ifs I face lately are stressful and enough to just throw a bucket of ice water on the whole creative process. They might be enough to tell me that instead of giving my brain a break, I need to recharge, otherwise the work I do will be sloppy and I’ll spend the next couple days doing rewrites. You have to pace yourself.

It’s not hard to manifest the negative. What if my book sucks? What if I am fooling myself? What if I’m everything my detractors say I am? A dreamer with no talent, a dillitante, a bum, a loser? What if I’m no longer living where I am in a year because everything has fallen to pieces? What if I’m not worthy of so many things. It is so easy to manifest all of these negative thoughts. On the other hand, what we look for to make these thoughts some kind of self-fulfilling prophesy can be worked the other way as well.

What if I continue to work hard and get better at what I do? What if I take risks? What if I keep my heart open? What if I seek out opportunities to improve myself? What if I am exactly where I need to be at this moment in my life so I can finally make that push to take myself to the next level? What if I detatch myself from the white noise of social media and feel that sting of loneliness a little more often because I am building something great for myself, and it deserves my full attention? That the number of “likes” you take that whole half second to give or receive from somebody else isn’t filling your buckets. That finishing a scene, or a chapter, isn’t so short-lived as that micro-dose of dopamine you get from social media. That I can sleep a full night or feel amazing for at least a day knowing that I accomplished another step in the direction I can sometimes see like land on the horizon.

What if all the stuff I’ve ever wanted is within arms reach? What if I will find the freedom to go where I want? What if I can have that library with the big comfy leather chairs that I keep liking on Pinterest instead of just daydreaming about them? What if I can do what I love and feel like I’m cheating the system because whoever heard of doing what they love and getting paid for it?! What if you can manifest all the good things just as easily as the bad?

Anyway, the cosmic dust has collected. Time to throw a match into the whole thing and watch it explode.

Writing Work Post: Winding Down

The last couple of days, I have been hitting the paid gigs consistently. I’ve been working at a steady pace so I don’t burn myself out writing about commercial type things. I did get a good review from a client though who said they were going to use what I had written as a template for 150 nationwide locations of their business. For something like that, I should probably be getting paid more.

But hey, at least the assignments have been steady and I haven’t had to go through the trauma of writing copy for companies that make sex dolls. *shudder*

It’s not often you find a client where you can just get into the groove and run with it. It’s a little like scraping paint when you hit that one big chip and it just peels right up your putty knife in such a satisfying way. Bummer is that my brain is pretty spent right now from the last couple of days, but I still want to work on the book. Which can be a little jarring, like grinding gears when you are learning how to drive a stick.

The paid gigs are bringing in money. Which I need. And maybe I can structure my time better to where I am making money with the writing (when I might normally be procrastinating) and then I can work on the book too when the night is quiet and there are fewer distractions of the day.

It’s all about how you manage your time, mixed a little bit with how much brain power I’ve got left from project to project. Right now, the post I’m writing here is just a way for me to buffer the paid work from the work-work. The agency doesn’t pay scale of what a freelancer should be getting, but it is income and it is consistent this week at least. There are lean weeks and there are fat weeks. This week is flush with work, but I also want to work on the book. Otherwise you risk losing focus on what you need to do versus a check. Sometimes you feel like a potter who has to take a day job making plates, when you really want to just stick your hands in the clay and go to town.

Plates pay so you can do what you love and not starve.

That’s it for tonight. Time for a snack.

Priming the Pump Vol. 213

Today I picked up four decent assignments for paid writing, with the potential for several more. I’ve felt the Resistance to it fiercely today too. I don’t know if it is that I’m feeling sluggish from the holidays, or the weather outside (blizzardy with a -20 F windchill), honestly it’s not all that bad inside. Except it feels very nappy. And the new season of Letterkenny just dropped…there I am, procrastinating again!

That is why I’m here right now. Maybe if I can get my fingers moving, and my brain braining I can actually muster up the fortitude to write about piano moving in Raleigh, NC. Some of these requests are really detailed and, well, I’ve got 1000 words to write on the subject.

Yesterday, I wrote a heartbreaking scene in my book. It was also about moving, and that time in your life that every parent dreads, when you have to pack up your kid’s stuff. Those of us who are adults have been on either/both sides of this. That day came for many of us who moved out of our parents’ houses and left behind all those trappings of childhood. The band posters, the collections, the drawings, or model rockets, scads of little green army guys or matchbox cars, comic books, the video games, the toys we hung onto like packrats. Maybe of us went to college (or just grew up and moved away) and went on to other things. Maybe we got that call from a parent one day where they said with so much sentiment:

“What do you want me to do with all of your crap?”

I’m kidding, but I know for some of us, that was the call exactly. For others of us, our parents might have had a hitch in their voice when they said it, trying to be brave. I’ve been on both sides of it. First when my folks asked me to get my boxes of stuff I had grown up with the hell out of there to free up some space in their house…and then with two of my own kids. Only they didn’t want the stuff. So, sometimes the stuff goes into a bag or a box for storage, or sometimes the clothes or stuffed animals get donated so other kids can enjoy them and bring joy to their lives. I held more sentiment in their things than they did. Those things meant something to me. I still have boxes of drawings, books, the odds and ends of costumes and other keepsakes. I couldn’t bear to part with them.

It was a hard chapter to write, I will say without going into too much detail. You’ll have to read the book.

That kind of writing fuels my soul…this kind of writing puts money in the bank until the stuff that fuels my soul can get published. Both are necessary. It is a balance. But try telling that to the Story when it has its nose pressed up against the window, doing a pig-nosed blowfish on the glass, saying “Hey! Look at me! That other stuff is booooooorrrringggg!”

Yes, Story, I know it’s boring. But it has to be done!

Anyway, just priming the pump today. Onward and upward.