Lost in Learning

I have just been immersing myself in learning about business writing. I am waiting to hear back about one last job I applied for in the social services world. If I don’t get it, I am going to pursue freelance writing full-time.  I’m totally excited and totally freaked out!

The web is full of articles by freelance writers who claim you can earn millions of dollars. I’m not saying that wouldn’t be nice, but it’s challenging to find direction out there that seems trustworthy.

So far, I have bought a domain name and web hosting through ipage, which cost me $34 for the year. I’m going to join Lynda.com and start teaching myself SEO (which stands for Search Engine Optimization), copywriting, Adobe Suite, HTML, etc. ($25/month, supposed to be well worth it). I’ve also reserved some books from the library that are supposed to be good, so I’ll let you know.

I just submitted my first two articles to portlandsports.com, so I am excited to see them go up!

VOICE

I really want to post on here everyday. But here’s the thing (or, one of many): I want to find my VOICE. And I don’t think I have, and so I’m hesitant to post.

My natural voice, the one I’m writing in right now, feels carefree and off-the-cuff. It also feels chic-lit, irreverent, slightly hostile, deeply cynical, poppy (not poopy, though that too), and too clever. So I avoid it. It FEELS TOO EASY. It has all the qualities that critics pinged “Eat Pray Love” for. What to do?

On the one hand, I could write in this natural voice and risk alienating all my smart, fancy-pants friends. (Okay, I only have one. But I have a major crush on him, so it’s a big risk.) On the other hand, I could write in my smart, fancy-pants voice and risk not having anything to say, because nothing is smart enough for that voice. I have a sense that the answer lies somewhere in the middle. That my easy, natural voice feels uncomfortable because it is not digging deeply enough, and my fancy-pants voice feels stifling because it is too far removed from real life.

How to solve this dilemma?? I don’t know the answer to that question. What I do know is that I want to be posting everyday, so even if I have to do it in my chic-lit voice, I will do it.

Don’t Ignore the Voice!

Tonight I had a great, long conversation with a friend about vocation and passion and inner voices.  I’ve written about the inner voice that has followed me since I was nine-years old, saying “But… You want to be a writer!”  Turns out my friend has had one, too, since she was about 15.  Hers says, “But… You want to get a PhD!”

I am wondering tonight, what happens if we ignore those voices? What happens if we reach 50 or 60 years of age and that voice has gone unanswered all those years?  I don’t want to find out, because I don’t think it’s good.  It’s taken me 30 years to realize that this voice isn’t going anywhere, and that’s just pathetic.

Two nights ago I went to a friend’s reading.  He just published his second novel.  I feel so happy and proud of him (Benjamin Parzybok, “Sherwood Nation”).  He did this super cool thing after the reading, where he told the audience which bar he would be at, if anyone wanted to continue the conversation. Of course I went, because I really like Ben and because I am a bit of a lush.  It was a wonderful time of good, intelligent conversation and writerly company.  Affirming.

Since I am not producing enough at this time to share, and since I want to keep posting regularly with less rambling, I am going to share, bit by bit, the journey of my inspiration as a writer/creative.  This brings me to Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.  I assume most folks have heard of her by now, but if not, this book is a must read for aspiring writers.  I read it so many years ago that I really can’t speak to any specifics of what I liked, but let me just say that Goldberg’s book dispelled any doubts I held onto that I wasn’t a writer.  The book is so jazzy, motivating, inspiring and fun, you can’t help but want to jump up (or sit down) and start writing.  More than that, it really just tears down the whole snobby idea of Writer and gets you putting pen to page.

Here is a sketch I did of myself and my siblings, as cartoons:

Photo on 2014-09-18 at 22.59

website work

Oh man, what a busy few days. I got word back from the sports website that I’m hired as a freelance writer. I was SO excited when got the email. I haven’t felt so thrilled since the last time I fell in love, which was many years ago. So I’ve been cramming to get my Weebly website up and looking okay. It’s a really easy site to use, walks you through everything. But I’ve also been trying to enjoy the last bit of summer we’re going to get up here in the PNW.

I played my guitar for a few minutes today, which was fun. I’ve been thinking for a while that there are hardly any female musicians performing kids songs around town, but lots of men. Sometimes I think about going out to hustle up some gigs. I’d have to learn a bunch of kids songs, though, and my lazy self always stops there.

A while back I made up a creative schedule for myself. I figured out how many times a year/month/day I want to put out X (blog post, album, story, comic strip), and how many hours I can set aside a week for creative work. I need to start following this schedule! I would like to do that tomorrow, which means going to bed now so I can get up and write on my memoir before the kids I watch show up for the day.

Buona sera!

Here We Go

Alright, so I am in semi-panic mode after almost applying for a job as manager of a Wendy’s a few days ago.  My job is ending next month, I don’t have another one, and I am getting this many calls for interviews: 0.  Behind all of this is the persistent, slightly annoying voice that has been haunting me for 20 years saying, “I want to be a writer!”  Shut up, Voice.

Some famous writer once said that you know you’re a writer when the pain of NOT writing is greater than the pain of writing.  I think this is true.  But I apparently like pain a lot, so I have been mostly not writing for these past decades.  Correction, I have mostly been THINKING about writing these past decades.  Because when you’re a writer in your soul, you’re always thinking about writing, or how you should be writing, or how what you’re experiencing in the actual moment would sound if it were later written about.

This Wendy’s Panic that I got into prompted me to apply for my first ever professional writing job.  It pays practically nothing, but I think I got it.  At least, the guy offered me the job, I accepted, and now he won’t respond to me.  Being that I’ve never had a professional writing job, I don’t know if this is normal.  Anyhoo, it’s writing for a sports website (!), which, if you knew me, would make you laugh.  But I do love to hike, as long as the trailhead is within a 30-minute drive of a really good cafe, and not too hilly.  Okay, fine, I like taking walks in the city.  I AM super fascinated by extreme outdoors people (what is WRONG with them?), and I could interview them for this job.  Although, I’ll have to think of more questions than just “What is WRONG with you?”

So that’s what’s happening in my studio today.  I’ve been down here applying for a job, and then setting up my Weebly site (free website, hope it’s good) so I have something to direct people to when I want to look like a schmancy writer.  I also am trying to figure out how to get my few recorded songs up on soundcloud because my brother put his up and wants to hear mine.  Maybe he wants to feel less alone up there, too.  It’s not a complicated process to put your songs up, but apparently my computer won’t recognize my music.  Maybe that’s a bad sign?

I’d like to upload a sample of creative work everyday.  Since I’m so caught up with job hunting I’ve not been creating lately, so I’m going to mine some old stuff.  Here is the invitation I made for my 30th birthday party:

Photo on 2014-09-12 at 01.24That is a fetus at the bottom.  Self portrait.