…AND OTHER ROADBLOCKS IN WRITING!

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1.) I had to enter that sales-pitch drawing; you know, the one that says I’m about to win $15,000,000?

2.) My eyes hurt. I’ve been staring at Facebook for two hours straight. But that’s important. It’s today’s link to the outside world, right? When it works.

3.) I was filling out marketing postcards for my next book, which will come out…soon…I hope.

4.) I checked into Dictionary.com and got distracted. I love etymology! It’s like word DNA.

5.) I had to file reports for my writers’ organization and that took too much time.

6.) Then I needed a break to read the comics. Everybody needs to laugh, right? Don’t bug me.

7.) I get aggravated and can’t write when I’m under pressure.

8.) I need to follow the news so I can scribble a bunch of snarky slogans.

9.) I had to clean out my desk, and that filled up the trash can, so…

10.) I had to empty the trash. I can’t concentrate with a full trash can staring me in the face.

11.) The mail came. A catalog had 20% off a blouse I really want. And shoes. Maybe I’d better look a little closer. I may have missed something.

12.) I don’t write well in the morning. Just slogans. After I watch the news. I need coffee. And half a bagel.

13.) It’s too noisy outside. What are my neighbors doing now?

14.) It’s too quiet inside. I wonder what the dog’s doing now?

15.) I can’t forget to use my Dunkin’ Donuts coupon. It expires today.

16.) I need to drop stuff off at Goodwill. And maybe I’ll check out Publix for BOGOs.

17.) I must check the newspaper before I recycle it. Maybe there’s another BOGO I missed.

18.) Found a list of upcoming events at Sunrise Theater. Oh, I need to sign up for some of these! Where’s the phone? Where are my credit cards? In my purse. Where’s my purse?

19.) Emptied the coffee pot. Ran the clean cycle.

20.)  Reheated last cup of coffee. Decided “What the heck,” and had the last half-bagel.

21.) I can’t write while eating and drinking.

22.) I can’t stand having a dirty cup and plate on my desk.

23.) Had to empty clean dishes from the washer so I could put the dirty ones in.

24.) Can’t stand clutter. Had to put the clean tableware where it belonged.

25.) Now I’ve had too much caffeine. I can’t sit still at the computer.

And, dear Muse, if that’s not enough reasons, TRUST ME…. Oh, now there’s a good one for a snarky slogan. BELIEVE ME… that’s another. Boy, I’m on a roll now. Hey, Six-, ten-, twelve-word slogans–that counts as writing, no? How about that? I was writing all the time!

 


GOLD IN YOUR SHORTS

Okay. Let’s get this straight. I am not suggesting something suggestive here. No off color (or full color) adult movies or photog sessions you’ll regret later in life — like when you’re the top box-office star, or you’re running for political office. Oh, wait. Rules apply only to real people. Let’s try again.

You’re a newbie at the Prim & Proper Inc. Under the influence of a couple of rum-laced eggnogs at the holiday party, you decide to Xerox your private parts. Word gets around, accompanied by the photos. Result? Because you are a real person, you find your holiday gift is the address of the local unemployment office. So, no; titillating temptations are not what I mean by Gold in Your Shorts.

While you are waiting for enough experience (and luck) to write the next blockbuster bestseller, think small. I know, I know. Everybody tries to sell you rose-colored glasses and THINK BIG slogans. Fine. Have goals. And if you didn’t have the lousy home life that drove so many successful people, pretend you did. Little Orphan Annie, and all that. Maybe you are dealing with misery in your life right now. Thank him or her. You’re already halfway to success. Meanwhile, Think Small. Write small.

You can write a short story or a small “How To” book for Kindle. You might have your doubts about putting out one more self-help article, but readers are often drawn to the experiences of people like themselves. Ever read something and think there’s a better way? Write about it. Check magazines for those who take short articles and lists called fillers. Things like “Ten Ways to keep your Man/Woman/Toddler/Teenager/Mom/Dad Happy.” Get the idea? Query submission procedures if not given. Google for a gaggle of ideas. Think small. Write small. There’s gold in your shorts!


My resolution has always been to not clog the blogosphere with ramblings day-to-day or week-to-week. That carries over year-to-year with my unfailing adherence. It’s the one resolution I always keep. Until now.

My January vows to lose weight, to exercise more, to see- and/or phone my friends and neighbors more often somehow fade away like nightmares in daylight as the weeks go by. Then J.D. Salinger happened to change all that. Well, yes, he actually happened on January 1, 1919 and unhappened on January 27, 2010, at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire.

Last November, three of his unpublished stories were posted online for a short time, and I’m wondering how they slipped out, as his will says they may not be published until fifty years after his death. It may be these are part of what’s said to be allowed to be published between 2015 and 2020. Anyway, about a week ago, all this was revealed in a TV program as news, which did remind me however, that J.D. and I have a bit in common.

NO, unfortunately, as yet I have not made the NYT Bestsellers list. I assume he was financially able to live the life of a recluse in New Hampshire and devote his time to writing. Just writing. He loved to write, but hated publishing, which he considered an imposition on his time. Of course, we differ in that I cannot afford to do the same, but I’m sure he, too, would have some choice words for today’s demand on a writer to spread oneself across  a gazillion media formats.

To me, it’s a bit like stripping oneself naked for approval before one’s services are purchased. There’s a name for that.


Maybe most of us can’t remember back that far, but watch a baby in a highchair being fed mush. Strained peas, carrots, squash, bananas, peaches, prunes (really?), beef, chicken, lamb—ad nauseam.

My least favorite, so my mother says, was applesauce. In fact, from those highchair days on, any time I screwed up my face in disgust, my parents called it my “Applesauce Face.”

Watch that same baby when folks around the table are eating dinner, too. That lovey becomes a cranky terror who dumps his dish, knock over his bottle and raises a holy hullaballoo! Little One is saying, “I’d kill for one of those chicken legs to sink my teeth into. Or gums. Just give me real food!”

It occurred to me that this is the way I feel about modern media. To me, there’s an enormous amount of brainpower, electricity, and battery power—not to mention time—wasted on…mush. I do not twitter or tweet. I am not a twit. Okay, so this leaves me out of a market to sell my stuff. I really don’t care. Minds of 140 characters are not those I’m trying to reach.

I don’t iPhone, either. I do blog. I do Facebook. When I want to. Not good enough? Too bad. I’ve got a life to live, and there’s a hell of a lot of world out there I haven’t seen yet. To prevent my bottom from developing acreage by sitting in front of a computer, to avoid driving into a canal and drowning from yakking on the cell phone or texting, I’m going to do it “My Way,” like Frankie.

Anybody else brave enough to speak up?