Journeys

So Far, So Good

In September 2017 I moved from my condominium in the city (Santa Rosa is, at least to me, a city, since the county I now live in is smaller than Santa Rosa) to the rural community of Lake County, California. I moved to Clear Lake Park, a tiny community about a ten-minute walk to the actual lake of Clear Lake, the only natural lake (not made made) in California. As I settled in with the love of my life, I prepared my condominium for rent. The people came and applied, but background checks proved that I would not be renting to any of them.

Then, the devastating Tubbs fire happened, then the Sulphur Fire that was back door to where I had moved. We were evacuated from our house for about five days, and the area where condo is was evacuated for almost two weeks. Finally, when I was able to get back in to have an open house, desperate people came in droves looking for a rental. After all was said and done, I rented to a wonderful family who had lost their home in Coffey Park, Santa Rosa. It took them a year and a half to rebuild, and now they are safely back home, and my condo is up for rental again with the imprint of the good memories they left behind.

So, having advertised an open house, I waited for those potential renters to come running up the stairs. I advertised enough so that people from far and wide would know that my darling place I had lived in for 12 years was available. I emailed all the prospective tenants who had contacted me and let them know about the open house. I had been at the condo for over an hour when only one family showed up. Then another lady came with her smile, questions, and measuring tape. She took notes and filled out an application.

To be honest, I had anticipated the lull because the market is not as in demand anymore. After the fires, people relocated elsewhere, or they are still renting, waiting for their homes to be rebuilt.

So, I think today’s experience might be the Universe’s way of telling me it’s time for change- to release my 12-year past in my charming condo and move on. To let go this part of me, this house with good energy and history embedded in its’ fabric, to allow others to come and fill the rooms with their own joyous memories.

So far, so good. I am a true believer that my past has brought me to the place I am today. My past does not dictate who I am, but it has helped shape me into the self-sufficient and confident woman that my mother raised me to be.

Mom told me to get an education, find a career, and learn how to support myself. I did.

She told me to create my own life outside of a man. I did.

She told me not to marry the first man who came along. I did not, but I had a short union with the second man out of desperation and feeling like I was a late bloomer beside women my age.

I asked my mother why she wanted those things for me, and she said it was because she did not want me to be like her.

My mother was the most beautiful woman in the world. She had a heart of gold and loved my brothers and me fiercely and was always there for us to the best of her ability. But, she was also raised in a time when she could not experience the things she wanted for me- so, I have been sharing this journey with her.

My mother passed away from cancer long before seeing the mistakes I made along the way and the life I have today, but I am sure she is smiling down on me now- no, she is beaming as I embark on this journey, with four months closer to marrying my best friend, the love of my life.

In fact, she would love him.

She would say…..so far, so good.



blogging · Change · discipline · goals · storytelling

Running and Starting a Writing Business (What They Have in Common)

I am as much an avid runner as I am a writer. If I could write while running I would do it. My goal is to turn the little bit of paid freelancing I do now into a lucrative career.

Well, today as I was on my run, I thought about what my next steps are in trying to grow my writing business.  I have read blogs by successful writers, and I have watched the videos on creating business plans. I have even read a terrific book or two on freelance writing.  I’m a big planner, so I have put a lot of effort into working toward that milestone of taking my writing from making just a little money on the side to making enough to survive on.

Somewhere in this 40-minute run, I thought about how launching a writing career is similar to the process of running.  Read on to see what I’m talking About.

Both Require Setting a Reasonable Pace

With running, you need to start out slow, especially if you have never engaged in this activity, or if you have run very little.  You might walk for ten minutes, run for five, and then increase your time until you have run a mile, or two, or even more.  If start out too fast, you could injure yourself, but going too slow could bog down your efforts and make you feel like you’re not getting anywhere.

With launching a writing career, you also need to take your time. Don’t just quit your day job into trying to make mega bucks.  It takes time to build up any career.  You need to market and build up a portfolio. Test the writing waters on the weekends or evenings while you still have a job. Give yourself time to work toward your goal of becoming an accomplished writer. 

Both Offer Diverse Scenery

You can run anywhere–a trail in the park, on paved sidewalks, in the mountains, by the ocean, or even on the treadmill at the gym. You have a choice of what you would like to see when running.  There’s little chance of getting bored if you change your running venue often.

Scenery is also important when launching your writing business. You can experiment with different types of writing until you find one, or several, that appeal to you.  If you think you could never write about business, why not give it a try?  Or, if you love writing about animals, send some queries to cat or dog magazines.  Diversity is makes the world go around.

Both Require the Right Tools

If you’re a runner, you know how important it is to have the proper tools.  Good fitting shoes are a must, as is comfortable running attire.  If you have long hair, you need some good hairbands, and maybe a hat.  Some runners even go as far as using heart rate monitors to track their heartbeat and calories they have burned. 

Think about this in terms of running a business.  The right tools are a must, especially a computer setup, the internet, a word processing program and email. Another essential business tool is a website to let the world know you are available for assignments. Finally, you need to acquire the skill of cold queries to places you want to write for, and you need to consistently market yourself as a freelance writer. 

The Takeaway

Running can be extremely difficult at first, but it becomes easier as you build up stamina and learn the ropes.  It is also no easier starting up a freelance writing business, but I expect it becomes easier as you become experienced and start landing writing projects.   

In other words, keep working toward your goals and don’t give up. 

 

Writing and Family

New Year and Renewed Goals

I always look forward to the New Year because it means Thanksgiving and Christmas are done until the holiday season gives birth again ten months down the road.

The fall of 2015 was particularly trying for me and my partner of 10 years. First, there were three fires in Lake County California, the Valley Fire being the worst because it rampantly swept through Middletown, Cobb, and Hidden Valley. Three people died and almost 2,000 structures, mostly homes, were destroyed.  We saw our friends’ homes destroyed, to where whole communities were desecrated and people lost everything and were forced into evacuation shelters.  While my partner’s home survived, he started having breathing problems.

Over the next month or so, my partner’s breathing problems intensified.  On October 4, a middle of the night emergency room visit resulted in him having open heart surgery on October 26 for an aortic valve replacement. Thank goodness, he came through with flying colors and was released from all restrictions five weeks later. Now, he is going full speed.

What these experiences were devastating and stressful, they were heart opening and life changing. I felt so much compassion for friends who had lost their homes, but joy that their individual spirit and lust for life continued on.  I experienced the strength of the entire county as people came together in community and helped each other out in all ways imaginable. During our medical crisis, people whose homes had been affected reached out to offer support to us.

These experiences also put my priorities in place. It was as if my problems were minute in comparison. I began to examine my own mortality and what I really want to do with the rest of my life, and especially how to rekindle my writing.

For several months I had been working too much overtime at work, which took away from my writing. In the fall I cut way back on overtime, and then in late December I decided I would not do any unless absolutely necessary. Finally, in January my boss changed our overtime policy, at which time I decided I would not ask for any further extra work because I wanted to spend that time on my writing.

I have been working on my novel more and now have a critique partner.  I would like to finish this work and submit it to an agent. I will be looking for freelance assignments and I will start submitting short stories again. I will make time to write every day and work on creating and building my freelance business. All this because writing is my passion.

I have never had such a dose of reality in life that has put my priorities right where they belong.

Happy New Year, and happy writing!