Saturday, January 16, 2016

If you're like me... Working in Writing

If you’re like me, you’re in the middle of this interesting journey called “looking for work.” Not just a job, but work – the “I am what I do” kind of work. The kind where something you love puts food on the table and vacations in your memory.

If you’re like me, your work is creative.

If you’re specifically like me, you’re a writer. The feel of the keyboard is like the sound of waves to a surfer. The ideas come thick and fast. And, it turns out, so do the possibilities.

Almost too fast. Way too thick.

Because, if you’re like me, you started with the certainty that to be a writer meant to be published -- in magazine or book form -- and peddled through bookstores. But you’ve recently discovered just how many opportunities there are for your special skills. Options beyond finding an agent. Options that don’t take a year to reach fulfillment. Options that are actually being actively sought by people who will pay.

But so many options! Copywriter; blog writing; travel writer, greeting cards, and oh, what about editing? Where should we put that precious focus? How do we decide where to start? Because, really, what am I going to like or be good at, besides crafting my stories?

The good news is, most of these options are just another form of sending stories for publication. We can sift through the advertisements like we sift through publishers and agents, gleaning clues about voice and genre and experience. We can see what each company is about, and view samples if they’re provided.

We can pick something that sounds like a fit.

And then we can do the work. Jump in and apply and submit and, praise be to the Muses, write.

If you’re like me, it will take practice finding where and how (and for whom) you want to work. But it’s practice we need as writers anyway. And while we’re winding our way through the possibilities, we’ll be building our portfolios and sharpening our skills.

And at the end of the path, the table and the memories will be full.

I hope you have a great day!


Monday, January 4, 2016

If you're like me... The real cost of bottled water

If you're like me, you've been downsizing.
A lot.
And like any other form of self improvement, just when you think you've hit the lovely, level plateau of accomplishment, another mountain of opportunity is presented.

If you're like me, you're still fluctuating between fiscal franticness and fiscal freedom. And you're probably as tired of reading about my monetary journey as I am of writing about it.
And you know there is more to money that the arbitrary value assigned it by some faceless being somewhere who equates money with power, and expects us all to do the same.
And you know there is more to the COST of a thing, than simply the monetary value assigned.
And you know somewhere, somewhere really close, there is that beautiful place (perhaps a plateau) where money and value and personal happiness and understanding and abundance and connectivity and spiritual bliss all meet and dance.

As a happiness practitioner, money is one of the most difficult things for me to... with
...get a grasp on.
 And I don't think it's all due to my unique view of the Universe. The "economy" aspect is just too slippery, and possibly illusionary, to find a good handle. So I'm left with a mix  of platitudes about work ethics and spiritual wealth that neither agree, nor provide for my happiness at all.

So naturally, as soon as the thought comes to mind that I need to budget, or cut back, or curtail my spending, I become rebellious. "That's not how I want to operate." "That's poverty thinking." "That's giving up on my dreams!"
Which, yes, I suppose some of it is.
But perhaps, since it is something that has happened over and over again, there's more to be looked at.

Like downsizing.

The key to downsizing, at least for me, was to look at something and ask "It is something I use?" (or "something we use", since there is a spouse involved.) And if they answer was, "Oh, yes!" -- even if that use was for comfort, or happy memories -- the item stayed.
And if the answer was, "Well, it's something I want to use," then most often it was released. (True, there were some things that didn't make the first cut. They often made the second.)

One of my quirks is that I believe everything is a form of energy. And energy is meant to be used. Lying fallow does not make the energy more valuable, or less valuable, it simply makes it a resource that isn't being utilized.
So having things that I don't use is almost sacrilegious.

Now I am facing that financial mountain again.
And I am working at it.
I am climbing it. With my keyboard as my pitons and my marvelous exotic brain as my rope, I am making my way up that mountain to the next restful plateau.
But along the way, I still have thoughts - about cutting costs. And slimming down. And. And. And.

And I realized today, it was not poverty thinking, or defeatism. It was the need for more downsizing. Or, a more comfortable, streamlining.

Because how much does a 6 gallon bottle of purified spring water cost? Well, there's the water price, and the bottle deposit price, but you get the bottle deposit back when you exchange and...
Yeah. No. I actually mean, how much does it cost in terms of effort. And what about space.
Part of my work area is taken up with the extra water bottle - because who wants to run out?!. It fits nicely, but it's in the way when I'm doing rune readings, and sometime when I'm practicing my music.
Add to that, the water bottle is heavy. I cannot pick it up. I am reliant upon my spouse to change my water.
Add to that, one has to go to the store to get the water. It does not conveniently appear in my home. (yes there are delivery services. Those involve strangers.)
Add all of those costs - cumbersome bottles, dependency, time and energy to retrieve it - to the monetary cost of the water. That's actually a pretty high, uncomfortable price, if you're like me.

So perhaps it's time to streamline. There is already water coming to the apartment. With absolutely no effort on my part. It is used for multiple things; I LOVE multi-use things. So what's one more thing for which to use it? Add filter, and free up time & space. Yay, streamlining!

So perhaps, if you're like me, the money crunch isn't so much a poverty consciousness, as it is an awareness of all the costs; and further an improvement in the practice of using what you have.

If you're like me, there are still a lot of aspects in life that can use downsizing. Or streamlining. We've done the easy one - the physical visual objects. Now it's time for the next mountain.

What freedom is possible?

I hope you have a great, and multi-useful, day!