July 23, 2014 at 2:13 pm
Photo by Sarah Reid / by CC 2.0
“So what do you do for a living?” asks a woman I’ve just met.
“I’m a web site developer.” I reply. “I specialize in WordPress sites. What do you do?”
“I’m a writer. I’ve been doing a lot of advertising copy and ecommerce stuff lately.”
“That’s cool.” End of statement. I do not mention that I’m a writer. I do not mention that I have written two books published by traditional publishing houses. I do not mention that my old blog was so popular that at one point that it was covering my rent every month. I sit down and check my email and wonder, why do I still have such a problem introducing myself as a writer?
One problem is that if I tell people I’m a writer then I have to tell them what books I’ve written, which means we’ll have to have a conversation about my chronic headache and my lifelong struggle with weight. Then come the headache remedies and diet suggestions and oh-my-God please shoot me. This is [...]
April 7, 2014 at 7:52 am
You may have noticed I’ve been blogging more frequently. (Please tell me you’ve noticed I’ve been blogging more frequently.) I’d like to say this is because I’ve felt particularly inspired and productive lately, but mostly it’s because I don’t want to pay my friend Shauna five bucks every week.
Back in December, Shauna posted an entry that mentioned (in parenthesis) that she wanted to “get back on the writing wagon.” When I read that I thought, I want to get back on the writing wagon too though not literally because it would be hard to write on a wagon. That’s when I proposed the idea that we mutually extort blog entries from each other, though I think I phrased it as “being accountable to one another.” Accountability was an important part of my weight loss success when I was actually losing weight, so I hoped it might work as well with writing goals as it did with weight-loss goals. The best part is that once you’ve written something you can’t un-write it, unlike weight loss [...]
November 2, 2012 at 9:21 pm
Photo by Leo Reynolds / by BY-NC-SA 2.0
Whew! I made it! Thirty-one days and thirty-one posts composed of over 14,000 words. They account for 27% of all the entries on JenFul so far. It was a lot of work. I stared at many blank Word documents. I spent a lot of time going through my big list of blog ideas thinking, No. Nope. Not that either. That one will take too long. I don’t want to spend time thinking that one through. I have no idea what that one even means. When I did pick a topic I would type and then hammer the backspace key into oblivion. Writing is hard, even when you know what you want to say, even harder when you don’t. I often wanted to abandon an entry, but would finish it off because I had to meet that damn daily deadline.
Despite all that, or maybe because of it, the experience left me feeling really fulfilled. After I’ve been writing for a few hours, I get a happy, feel-good buzz in [...]
October 22, 2012 at 7:35 am
Photo by Nathan Harper / by NC-ND 2.0 CC
I’ve gotten thousands of nice comments on my blog entries over the years, but it’s the mean comments that I remember best. Fortunately I don’t get many nasty comments, but when I do they get stuck to my memory with super glue, whereas the nice comments are attached like Post-It notes, easy to peel off and forget. I tend to be a positive person who focuses on the good things in life, so I’ve often wondered why the negative thoughts are the ones that get imprinted so deeply. I’d prefer to erase them like an Etch-a-Sketch, but shaking my head back and forth like that only gives me whiplash.
I’ve got a hunch about why this happens. It has less to do with my attitude and more to do with biochemistry. Research has shown that you make more vivid memories when you are emotionally aroused, and reading an unexpectedly mean comment definitely arouses my emotions. The only time a good comment has created that same passionate response in [...]
October 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm
Photo by woodleywonderworks / by CC 2.0
I’m almost halfway through my blog-a-day challenge and it looks like I might make it after all. I haven’t had to post any cat pictures at a minute to midnight yet either! This is at least partly due to the encouragement I have gotten from you guys in the comments section or on Twitter and Facebook. I honestly didn’t know if anyone was still checking in on me, but now I know there are at least a few dozen of you! I appreciate every single one of you, and your kind words mean a lot to me.
Looking over what I’ve written in the past few weeks, there are a least a few entries I think came out really well, and I would never have bothered to write them if I hadn’t made writing a non-negotiable daily task. Writing is like exercise, it’s easy to make an excuse about why you don’t have time for it, but you can usually squeeze it into your day if you decide it’s a [...]