Once upon a time, when I felt like my life was crashing down around me, I would fall apart. I didn't know how to handle the little things in life much less the big things. It took me quite some time (years) to get to the point where I didn't crack at every roadblock. But getting there and staying there are two vastly different things.
Most recently, when I was getting a bit stressed, someone reminded me to take the time to be grateful every day. I used to do that, and it did help. So a month ago, I started writing three things I was thankful for that day. And, once again, it's been a blessing.
Sometimes, if it was a particularly trying day, I might write that I was thankful for the comfort of my home where I could shut out the world if I needed to. Or that someone had paid me a compliment. And, one day, when I was struggling to get anything accomplished, my end of the day list included that I had gotten my new modem set up. And it made a difference. On a day where I felt like nothing was getting done, I proved that something had gotten done. No matter how small.
Being grateful for the little things makes me more appreciative of everything in my life. As crazy as it may sound, I can even be thankful I didn't break a bone when I fell. So it's a different way of looking at the times in my life that aren't the best. And I'm thankful that I was reminded to resume this habit.
So many writers are interested in getting started freelance writing. They want to know if there is an easy way or how do they take their first steps. One of the places I will point every writing to is Make a Living Writing. Carol Tice, who earns six figures a year freelancing, started this site to help other freelancers. To me, this is the best place to get started. There are over 1200 articles to peruse for the beginner all the way up to the advanced writer. So if you're interested in taking the step toward freelancing, this should be your first stop.
And that change is brought about by a hard decision I decided to make regarding my writing. As much as I love writing books, my focus doesn't seem to be there anymore. I can get started, but then I lose steam halfway through and can't drum up the energy or desire to go back. But I'm always excited to write an an entertainment article, an essay, a writing article, or a short literary piece. So that tells me that, for now, I need to give my complete focus to that.
Mostly likely, I will be changing my website around to highlight this focus. Does this mean I'm totally abandoning my books that have been published? No. They will remain available for purchase, but there won't be any new releases unless they are novellas. There will be no book-length fiction in the foreseeable future. I don't know when or if that will change. But I'm happy where my writing is taking me right now, and that is more important than struggling to write something I have no interest in!
For the past seven years I have tried to get my work accepted by a literary magazine or site. No joy. Most of the time, I didn't even receive a rejection, and the silence was deafening. Literary fiction isn't easy to write, and I know that's the reason why I hadn't succeeded yet. So I kept trying.
Finally, my determination paid off, and I sold a short piece of literary fiction to Short Edition, which calls itself a new kind of literary pulse. This description is taken directly from their website.
Short Édition aims to raise literary awareness, encourage new and emerging writers, and highlight the importance and timelessness of literature.
And if you click on the link above "a short piece," you can read my story for free. I hope you enjoy a part of my dream.
Those of you who've been following this blog for a while know that I write every day whether it's a blog post, a page on my latest work-in-progress, an essay, or a post for Red Shirts Always Die. It's a goal I set for myself way back in 2012, and nine years in, I'm still writing every day. But what I write has changed so drastically.
When I set that goal, I was focusing on fiction mainly. Now, I don't write as much fiction as I do non-fiction, although I do keep a work-in-progress at all times. I try to write at least two different things a night like a few pages on a manuscript and a blog post. That doesn't always work out which is why I haven't updated this blog since December 7th. Ugh.
I'm working on a schedule that will help me get things back in order. So hopefully, this blog won't be in dry dock for much longer!
On a side note, I rewatched some of Dawson's Creek last night. It's been so long that I've forgotten most of the series, but Joshua Jackson has just gotten better looking with age!
s I said in my last post, I'm always interested in learning. I'm just as interested in trying. I'll try most things at least once to see if it's something I'll like. For instance, I rode in a roller coaster once. Didn't like it, and I wouldn't do it again. I tried sushi. Never again. I took a painting class, and one was enough. And the list goes on.
There are so many things I want to try in the coming year, and hopefully, it'll be a much safer and open year so I'll have the opportunities!
I want to
test-drive a Porsche.
take a ride on the Orient Express.
take a ride in a hot air balloon.
go to an observatory
sleep out under the stars
go back to Las Vegas
learn to shoot a bow & arrow
go back to Biltmore House
Will I do all of these things in 2021? Probably not, but it's fun thinking and planning. And there are plenty of other things on the list that I will, most likely, get to do.
I'm always interested in learning new things. I don't think I'll ever get enough of learning. Sometimes, when I'm doing research for a book, I'll learn how to do something, and it's like an ah-ha moment for me. Like "that's how you do that!" I love it.
I take a lot of online classes and watch a lot of Youtube videos to teach myself new things. This year, I learned how to use a new graphics program, and I've been using it non-stop now. I've also continued my Spanish studies, and I started learning Danish because I'm fascinated by Danish culture. And I learned even more about building websites, SEO, and affiliate advertising.
There's another graphics program I want to learn, and I've already found the class for it that I can start next year. I want to start a small garden on my back porch so I'll need to take a class on that. I want to learn more about the fascinating city I live in (Charleston, SC), and I've become fascinated even more with astronomy since I started writing for RedShirtsAlwaysDie.com. So I'll probably take a class on that, too. A beginner's class!
Is there anything you're hoping to learn next year?
Some of these might not be able to happen, depending on restrictions in different cities, but here goes anyway.
And we're off on another quick blogging challenge! I like doing these when I feel like I've been in a blogging rut. Today, the challenge is something I've accomplished that I'm proud of. This one is an easy one for me as I've recently had an essay published in the New York Times!
I can remember years ago when I first started writing, I dreamed of seeing my name in what I called "the big leagues." The New York Times is the big leagues to me, and I made it. I'm not kidding myself that I've "made it." But I am proud of this accomplishment as it's always better to be moving forward than backward!
'm sure if you've been following me a while you've noticed that I'm bouncing around a lot with the things I write, especially in the past two years or so. Once upon a time, I focused solely on writing fiction, but I reached a point where I was having to force the words, and I wasn't enjoying it anymore. Writing was a chore.
Enter articles. I could write several of these a week and still my goal of writing every day. Along with those, I began to write essays and short stories, and I got more involved with writing posts about television and movies for sites like Movie Pilot (now defunct), Hidden Remote, and now Red Shirts Always Die. It was refreshing not to have to worry about plot holes and characterization.
Recently, my first fiction novella in 2 1/2 years released, and I'm working on a second one now. I'm back in the groove of fiction writing, but I don't know when I'll return to full-length novels. Right now, I'm enjoying writing various things, and I don't have to force any of the words. Writers write, and that's what I'm doing.
I wrote all of this to say, if you're a writer, write whatever you feel like writing. Don't push yourself to write what just isn't in you. I did that for too long, and I almost stepped away from writing altogether. I'm glad, instead, I decided to spread the words I write out over a multitude of avenues.
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!