Red Writer, Red Writer, Can I Comes Over

Fantastic-Autumn-LeavesCouple of points before I head into this post:

  1. I don’t understand algebra.
  2. I’ll never tell you my political opinions.
  3. I’m not really older than dirt. 

Now, first, about the algebra: When my oldest brother was in high school, he earned A’s for calculating stuff. Then I came along and earned A’s for writing stuff. While he can write passably well, he probably won’t ever earn any change for it; when I see an algebra problem, my brain screams and hides behind the nearest door.

I’m glad I got the words and he got the gobbledygook, because words really do have power. I’ve yet to see anyone tweet an algebra problem. Then again, if people are out there tweeting algebra problems, I’m never going to follow them, so hmm … OK, I’ve yet to see anyone tweet a political algebra problem.

Which brings me to my second point: This is the blog where I record my thoughts about being a writer. In my real life, I write blogs for other people for small change and pen political posts when they strike me. That said, you will never, ever know which “side” I’m on because, like I said, this blog is about the writer, not about the writing.

Moving on to point three: While I’m not really older than dirt, in less than a year I will be the big five oh. When I was out running errands earlier today, I noticed the trees … rather than trying to impress you with my nonexistent poetic skills, let’s just call them fantastic. They’ve entered their head-craning-accident-causing phase this autumn.

Most of them here in dusty West Texas are just plain brown, which makes the reds/oranges/yellows just that much more spectacular. But the reds are the best. And it occurred to me that my writing, like me, has entered into its own autumn. When I was in my spring – in high school and as a young mother – my writing and I were all about the punch line. We were giddy, and we couldn’t have written anything else had we tried.

As spring turned into summer, we matured. When my mom passed on, we wrote such heartrending essays about her that we promised ourselves that – if we had any talent at stringing words together – that we’d stop using it to make people cry. So, in that summer season, we turned to concrete matters: we started using it to earn some spare change and we entered the political arena.

But, lately, we question our choices again. While we don’t make people cry anymore (I hope), there’s a lot of shouting in the arena and, although we’re not major players, we’re certainly doing our share of whispering from the sidelines. While the leaves change colors outside, our own hair grays within, and I suspect we’re accidentally maturing again – but I don’t want to be a plain brown gasp from the sidelines. I want to be a warm, earthy, joyously red writer. And I wonder … couldn’t our words be better spent serving others somehow? Or, at least making them smile again?

Do aging algebrarians ignore deadlines for an afternoon while they ponder such questions? I’ll never know.

I is a writer.

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I Fights Writer’s Fat

I-is-a-Writer-I-Fights-Writer's-FatAt the risk of becoming a broken record, wearing comfy pants is the third best thing about working as a freelance writer. The second is that my home office is in such close proximity to my refrigerator and to my pantry. The first is 100 percent control over my schedule.

Unfortunately, these three benefits, working in tandem, are also the worst things that ever happened to my waistline.

I tend to unconsciously meander into my kitchen whenever I’m stuck on the next sentence, ambiguous about what project I should tackle next, or overwhelmed/frustrated/miffed over how the day’s work is going in general.

My comfy pants cheerfully accommodate the results.

About 25-years ago (oy! sad, but true), when I worked as an administrative assistant, a friend and I went to a new French “bistro” that lasted something like a month here in where’s-the-beef-rural-West-Texas. I’ve never seen anything like that place, before or since. The dessert menu was unbelievable. We turned into children in its presence. When we left, she went home and I went back to work. The unyielding waistband of my denim skirt knew not of comfy. Its training was in torture.

I never insulted my “work clothes” that way again.

Flash forward to last spring. Although the winter had been the most productive season of my writing “career” (please stop laughing), after six months of nearly complete immobility, even my comfy pants were starting to whimper. I thought I’d lose the excess … baggage … during the summer because I’m much more active, but (last Saturday) we had the season’s first freeze, and I’m still…

Well, let’s just say that, apparently, I wasn’t active enough this summer. I kinda had to change out of a pair of comfy pants this morning into others that were …  more comfy.

Does writer’s block necessarily have to equal writer’s fat? When I’m on a roll, and the words are stringing together like good little soldiers, I forget about the chocolate chip cookies that are only nine steps away. Ice cream is but ten. (Yes, I counted them. Was that OCD?) Anyway, as long as I’m on a roll – not overwhelmed/frustrated/discouraged/miffed – I stay out of the kitchen. Not acceptable. Such nirvana rarely lasts long. I need a better plan this winter, lest I have to buy ever-larger comfy pants. Unfortunately, I’ve been trying to formulate that better plan so that I can write this sentence for at least half an hour. Now I’m not only frustrated and discouraged but, yes, miffed. Not only did I just face plant into writer’s block, but also my stomach is growling again.

The nice unlucky good bad thing is, relief is just nine steps away.

I is a writer.

I is Still Writing

PumpkinsI is still here. I rarely post to this little blog about the writing life because not much has changed. I still get up as on time as I possibly can (depending on the severity of my insomnia the previous night) and fling myself toward my to do list face first, thinking I’ll get more than one or two items checked off if I just work harder. Then I go outside, get distracted by nature for half-a-day, look at the clock, freak, and eat chocolate to cheer myself up before finally settling down to work.

The weather’s starting to cool again, even down here in Tejas, which means I’m alternating between comfy pants and comfy shorts, depending on how my legs feel at any particular second. Another benefit of freelance writing, naturally.

I’d set a date of November 1 this year to finish that freaking book I’ve been working on for longer than I’m going to admit. What a joke. I’ll make that a top priority for next year, of course.

Again.

My fluffy little kitten (Mr. Fwuff) that was born last winter is now a large fluffy cat. Interesting how the word fluffy sounds more correct in its two different positions in the last sentence. The fact that I mentioned it proves that I haven’t become any less anal weird since I last posted.

Although I’m always sad at the end of the growing season, I love the crap out of fall. It doesn’t hurt that it’s followed by Christmas. I’m no fan of the long, cold winter months afterward because I hate shoes, but that’s when I do the bulk of my official writing-for-pay and I have fuzzier, warmer comfy pants (and socks) that make the situation quite snuggly. Oh, and I’ll be firing up my trusty under-the-desk heater then too, I’m sure. Freelancing may be a somewhat lonely life, but I ain’t complaining. It’s too cushy.

Living the dream. I is a writer.

I Experiences a Short, Hairy Distraction

Genuine distractions Possum and Mr. Fwuff

Genuine distractions Possum and Mr. Fwuff

The greatest challenge to my writing productivity isn’t lack of time. Since using Twitter is considered a social media marketing strategy, the hours I spend happily following tweets are crucial to my work. For example, thanks to this tweet, I found a recipe on how to microwave a brownie in a cup.

Chocolate is a critical component to any writer’s success.

Lack of motivation isn’t working against me. I’m extremely motivated. I need to earn a good living so I can afford higher quality chocolate.

Not being ambitious enough isn’t a problem either. I want to be so famous as a writer that people will no longer refer to the improper use of verbs as a mistake. When someone writes If I was a rich blogger, I could afford worms when I eat my cup of dirt, when what the writer meant was If I were a rich blogger … (because he or she actually does wish to eat worms), I want to be so famous that mixing up verbs becomes known as Ambering them.

No, the greatest challenge to a successful writing life is my hair. Or lack of it, that is.

The problem is twofold:

  1. I have to tinkle at least once per hour.
  2. I got a cheap haircut. 

Since you’re probably wondering why getting a cheap haircut was on that list, I’ll tell you straight up: I got a cheap haircut to try to correct a previous cheap haircut. When that one didn’t work, I paid for a third cheap haircut. Three cheap haircuts back-to-back-to-back add up to an expensive one. Not a good one. Just a really pricey one.

Which brings me to the issue of frequent tinkling. I drink about a pitcher of iced tea when I’m working in the summer heat, and there’s a mirror directly across from the toilet in my bathroom. I have a tendency to sit down, notice my reflection, be shocked all over again, and then drag out my hair equipment and try to style what’s left of it one more time.

When I can’t, I just make another hair appointment, of course.

That’s also why I never made time to defrost dinner for tonight. Surely there’s a tweet leading to a chicken in a cup recipe?

I is not a chef. I is a writer.

I is a big, fat liar. And a cautionary tale.

I-is-a-big-fat-liar-and-a-cautionary-taleThere’s an empty space on my wall where my college diploma ought to be. There is a long, complicated explanation for this that would either make you get all sympathetic and start sniffling, or it might cause you to call me ugly names, quote statistics at me, and tell me you hope my children take after their father, lest they be idiots like their momma.

If you’ll hang on a sec, I’ll explain why, I’m also a big, fat, lying cautionary tale. First, I need to explain why a village is missing me.

See, I didn’t know I could just change this blog (other than editing the text itself, of course). So, I spent several days trying to think of an appropriate title for a new and improved blog. I finally decided on either Comfy Pants or The Comfy Pants Chronicles (along that line), since other bloggers seemed to really connect with the fact that I mentioned I work in jammie pants from a home office.

But, when I went to register a title, my fingers kept trying to type I Has Comfy Pants. I couldn’t make them behave. That’s when I wondered if I could just change this, existing blog, and …

Duh. Obviously, I did.

So, I’ve been working on making it into a real blog, complete with images, categories all corrected, copyright stuff deleted (sorry, I didn’t know!), etc. Hopefully, you’ll find it more aesthically asthetically aesthecly visually pleasing. I hope that explains why I’m such a liar. It wasn’t intentional, but it happened.

(The reason I’m big and fat is because I never lost my winter weight. I’m just a tanner shade of heavy now.)

Back to the lying thing: I’m afraid I still haven’t been completely honest with you. My daughter is my number one fan (yes, yes, I know she’s my only fan, but by default that makes her number one), and she actually didn’t want me to shut down this blog. You’d probably have to be as old as dirt, as I am, to appreciate the magnitude behind this:

My very chic, very-into-everything-Interwebs,very young-twenty-something-year-old daughter likes my blog. That’s heavy, baby!

I’ve still got to go back and follow all of my followers, find more good blogs that I’ll enjoy reading myself, and tweak a few more things here and there over the next few days (like fix that freaking Twitter button … it’s making me nuts …). As I said before, I have learned so much! Nevertheless, I wish it wasn’t my nature to jump into things first, without a clue about what I was doing …

Still, that just makes me a good cautionary tale for my little daughter. She recently quit her corporate gig as a studio photographer and is now starting to navigate the freelancing waters for the first time. I’m fully prepared to make every blasted mistake there is so that she can do exactly the opposite and be successful.

I is just a mom like that.

I is a writer second.

I Lays a Egg

I’ve been intently studying social media marketing (SMM) lately, and have discovered that I’ve been blogging quite badly.

Apparently, I was supposed to be “branding” myself (as a writer, not a cow) all this time. Using I IS a Writer as a blog title was a mistake.  It should have been Deep Thoughts by Amber Kay, or The Working Writer’s Life by Amber or something similar. In my defense, I’m just an old chick trying to learn new tricks.

I-Lays-a-Egg

Because I couldn’t find a photo of a chicken crossing

Neither title works for me because (in the first case) my deep thoughts would be more than even Freud could handle, and (in the latter case) I get so distracted during “working” hours, that I’d be greatly exaggerating if I said I had a real life as a writer. Yet.

Other mistakes I’ve apparently made include:

  1. Not finding similar blogs to follow.
  2. Not following all of my followers.
  3. Not commenting on other blogs.
  4. Not including images (this is the first – and last – post to include one)
  5. Not linking to other blog posts
  6. Improper tweeting etiquette
  7. Etc.

I could go on and on, but tweeting etiquette is the reason I’m currently blogging to myself right now.

Twitter is fantastic! I made it my home page and, so far, I’m following SMM experts, inspirational tweeters, professional writers and publishers – hey, do you tweet?

At this very moment, among the top tweets on my home page are the following:

  1. 20 of the best “calls to action” to increase engagement (don’t look for one at the end, here)
  2. A cushy quote shared by Kevin GreenThe whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going. Hmm.
  3. And tips from Wayward Advice (an Internet advice column guaranteed to lead you astray) about how to become famous.

Since becoming a train wreck is among those tips, I’m probably already on track for being famous. That said, I doubt it’s via this blog … which is why I’m about to shut it down.

It was my first attempt at a “personal” blog, my second overall (the original, still up and half-heartedly running, is a political/cultural spoof). I enjoyed some small successes, winced through quite a few failures, and learned a lot along the way.I-Lays-a-Egg-2

All while wearing comfy pants, of course. Freelancing may be a lonely business, but it truly is a comfy one.

I’ll be back, although I know not what title I’ll use for my next (drumroll) “professional blog.” On the Other Side of Sanity by Amber Kay first sprang to mind, but I’ll need to focus on the branding thing, and that might be TMI again.

I’ll leave this up one a week, just in case anyone’s still out there, * before I shut it down, but I will be back. Probably sooner, rather than later.

I’ll have to, of course.

I is a writer.

Thank you for reading!

I Is a Whiter Shade of Fat

I-is-a-Whiter-Shade-of-Fat-Amber-FergusonAwhile back, I mentioned in a post that wearing comfy pants all day is one the benefits of being a professional freelance writer working from home. Well, another benefit is that I can go eat a snack whenever I have writer’s block. Chocolate just inspires me that way.

Turns out, I fell victim to a very scientific principal. It is, in fact, as follows:

    1.                 comfy pants
    2. + recipe for “Death by Chocolate” cake
    3.      = oh, crap; what have I done!

Yep. Early spring has sprung here, and I put on my first pair of shorts of the season the other day. Besides the fact that I couldn’t zip them, my legs were so pale they had no reflection in the mirror. Thank goodness, my poor husband was nowhere around. My writing career already interferes enough with our love life because I have a tendency to throw things at his head whenever I have to do a big rewrite, and he has a tendency to tell me to my face that it’s not his fault. Well, of course, it’s his fault; he’s a man. When he falls in a forest and I’m not there to tell him he’s wrong, he’s still wrong!

OK, I digressed again. But, it’s just because I’m mad at him for letting me get so pale and fat.

Anyway, so now to my already overcrowded to do list I’m going to have to add the nasty word exercise. That’s the only way I have ever been able to lose weight. I’ve tried to diet before, but it requires too many harsh sacrifices: no beer, no deadly chocolate cake, no salty Cheetoh orgies, and intense concentration on dieting in general.

In other words: No letting my thoughts wander off anymore. I can’t keep my brain tied down that way!

I is a writer!

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