Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Off the Deep End

So here we are again. And by “we” I mean me and all the characters that live in my head. It’s November and for the first time in four years I’m back doing NaNo.

Yup, that’s right kids. The time for fiction has returned!

What’s that you ask? Have I gone off the deep end? Let’s just get all the questions out of the way now so we can push on unfettered:

“Um, are you crazy?”
“Didn’t you just start a business with a partner?”
“Aren’t you already working as a writer?”
“How do you plan to find the time?”
“Won’t you miss showering?”
“Won’t you miss your friends?”
“You won’t try to sell this thing you think will be a manuscript, will you?”
“Um, are you crazy?”

For those not in the know on the NaNo skinny (and why any and all of those questions up there are totally valid points)…

The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel during just the month of November.

Sounds scary right? Well trust me, it is every bit as scary as it sounds. But I’m doing it anyway because fuck it. If I’m going to be a writer then I’m going to be the type of writer I want to be.

That I’ve always wanted to be.

But, there are so many reasons I gave up on the whole idea of being a freelance writer after 3 years. I had to have a long sit-down with myself to figure it all out. Which wasn’t too challenging considering I broke my wrist at the beginning of October. I had more than enough time to ruminate on life and career while I sat around doing nothing.

And, boy, do I ever mean nothing.

I was in a ton of pain, could not type, and I could barely move my left arm at all. Hell, I’m still in a temporary cast right now!

Last month was really a wakeup call in so many ways – personal and professional. I discovered many things that I never would have thought about before the moment when I incapacitated myself.

The biggies:

- Freelancing is not for me after all. Hey, I tried. Honestly I threw everything at the wall on that one and really wanted it to work out because it would’ve been nice to make a steady paycheck as a “real” writer. Alas, no matter what I did or what wall I tossed it at so little stuck that I just couldn’t justify wasting perfectly good shit like that anymore.

- I’m way to narcissistic to be a ghostwriter. Yeah, I really do need to see my own name, in print, on the cover of some amazing book that I wrote. I was good at ghostwriting but part of what I discovered is that my ego needs to release work into the world and, when people read it, they’ll know I wrote it.

- My words are worth more to me than the frustration of working like a dog for peanuts. I can make that writing fiction and have more fun in the craft again. I did make some money as a freelancer, that’s true, which of course was nice because I worked my ass off for it. I just couldn’t ever feel what I was writing.

- Freelance ghostwriting is essentially all marketing all the time. Sure, marketing is super important no matter what field you’re in, but I was always writing with a spin in mind – be it for a product or service – everything I wrote as a freelancer had the end goal of bringing in a sale. Hey, I’m all for that because I have shit to sell too. Which is why I’m glad I took a few years to really learn the concepts so I can now market my books instead of someone else’s product or service I have no vested interest in.

- I was reminded of something I’ve been saying since I worked in retail (circa 1996-ish.) I hate people. Most people are crazy, only out for themselves and pay no mind to your schedule, your business needs or anything else that matters in your life because they’re too busy worrying about all that same stuff for themselves. Just like me. It was time to get out.

Bottom line was that I missed writing from the imagination and not the wallet, I’m glad I learned better ways to sell my books though, and I’m using NaNo as the catalyst toward getting at least four out next year.

Yup. Four.

My goal is to get the heroine from my second book into a series and have her solving crimes all over this great nation for the next year.

Which reminds me…

Side perk of fiction I don’t get as a freelancer? A trip to Colorado can be a write off. Or a trip anywhere for that matter. Score.

By the way, I’m totally using this as word count today.

Just kidding.

No I’m not.

Or am I?

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Friday, September 26, 2014

So Many Updates, So Little Time

Other than my last rant post about my inner turmoil, I realized today that I haven’t shared anything since June. That’s just nuts!

So in what will probably be far too wordy a post for most people to deal with (unless you’re awesome of course) I’ll update you on the happenings of my entire summer in one easy to digest package.

Work took over my life, then crushed my soul, then made me realize hope is not lost


Life as a freelancer is going nowhere. And it’s kind of funny but I really don’t care. I mean, sure, having a teeny-tiny "income" was a side perk for a while but I honestly think I’m just over it.

I’m over doing great work with no feedback and no repeat business.

I’m over trying to help companies who absolutely could benefit from my help with their copy but who try to get me to take $15 for 2000 words of heavily researched writing because they saw some ad on a content mill where someone who doesn’t speak the same language as them promises to “write the quality contents” for money that no human can live on in this country.

I’m over apologizing for charging a professional fee for professional work or being outright laughed at for wanting to make a living running a business doing something I have oodles of experience doing and am pretty kick-ass at.

Over chasing people who don’t understand that a contract is a binding document.

Over having to ask my lawyer for help so I can make a measly $140 that was 6 weeks overdue.

Fucking freelancing.

Yup that’s right kids! If you want to run your own freelance writing business you too might be able to be poor, work your ass off well over 50 hours a week and be shunned from future work because you opted to take a weekend off instead of being a slave to your email!

This really is the life isn’t it?

Good thing my husband makes an income too because living on the street isn’t on my bucket list.

But all snarky realism aside this whole tragic dance taught me one incredibly important lesson:

I need to be in control of my own destiny.

And by that I mean realize my talents and put them to use for once.

I have kick-ass writing skills, am a detailed and organized business owner who never fails to deliver on time, over-delivers most of the time, applies creativity to all of my projects and charges appropriately and if other business owners can’t understand why that’s light years ahead of other freelancers then, in the immortal words of Burton Guster, they can just:

Suck iiiiiiiit.

So with all that said it should be crystal clear why my friend Kate and I are launching our very own venture and why I’m so freaking excited about it!

It’s called Blogging Your Book.

This is our “first student” logo, what do you think?

This venture couldn’t be more necessary for both of us.

I’m an author turned copywriter who has taken so many online courses now that my hard drive is probably hedging on max capacity of pdf documents. Kate is a ghostwriter and general web copy guru who is maybe even more tired of the trying-to-land-a-client run around than I am.

Last spring we went to a presentation together and had the biggest light bulb moment of our lives. (If you want to read about that experience check out our Go Team! Page)

We knew we could structure a course on how to promote yourself as a first time author with the most powerful form of marketing available online – a blog.

Since April we’ve been putting this thing together and I have to say that in all my years of learning about blogging/freelancing/copywriting for income, NOTHING has ever made me as excited as the possibilities that exist through this business venture we’ll be launching next spring.

We are dedicated to creating the best product possible.

We genuinely want to help authors get their stuff out there in the world.

We both know it’s time to take control back in our businesses and stop relying on the clients that never come to make our dreams come true.

It is SO TIME to make it happen for ourselves!

So the site is up and we’re slowly starting to populate the blog with content, get our newsletter together and craft some AMAZING module content so we can really give a quality class experience to all of these authors who have no idea what a platform even is let alone how to build one to sell their books.

(By the way, you’d be my new BFF if you’d sign up to get our newsletter which should start running in October sometime. It will have all kinds of great blogging for marketing tips and other stuff so get in now!)

In other news…


This will be happening in the next 3-5 years:




This is one of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company’s larger plans at 777 sq ft and it’s for their B-53 model. However, it is very likely that Matt will be using things like this as inspiration but designing our new, much smaller, more efficient and more functional house from the ground up all on his own.

I do love our house but after being here for a couple years (as well as being in Phoenix, still having weird sickness symptoms on and off that I attribute directly to this geographic region) we know this isn’t the right place for us for the long term. We have way too much house, way too much underutilized land, and far too big a pool for what we really need.

Aside from the heating and cooling costs to own a home this large in the desert there’s just the overall waste of space that the environmentalist in me can’t justify anymore.

So you can understand even more now why Blogging Your Book needs to get off the ground!

You want even more? Okay!


In late June we went back east to celebrate my cousin’s wedding. She was a beautiful and happy bride, the ceremony was just perfect and we felt so honored to be invited to share that special day with her and her amazing groom. Plus it was awesome just to get a few moments to see a good number of our family and friends we haven’t seen in far too long. The week flew by but we ended it on the best note ever:

You're damn right that's Bianchi's!


I also made this homemade toothpaste recently and it was the first step in living a bit more chemical-lite.

I’m planning to start experimenting with laundry detergent, shampoo, conditioner, Dryel/Febreze alternates and a lot of other household cleaning products. We already ditched the toilet bowl and bathroom cleaners in favor of vinegar and baking soda.

Matt hates the smell but it dissipates pretty quick and has good properties for killing germs.

And I finally quit smoking cigarettes. I’m only 5 days in but have switched exclusively to an e-cig. I’ve had a pang here or there but not letting it suck me back in. Hello, can’t really live chemical-lite and still smoke now can I?

However there are a few things I’m not going to stop doing that are still chemically based (even though I try to go 3-Free as often as possible) because, well, I just love doing it.



And more still…


This summer was the summer of concerts let me tell you!

I had the pleasure of feasting my ears on some artists who had about 5 people in the room as well as some who had 5000 or more. I was lucky enough to share these wonderful nights and day-drinking days with my sister, her boyfriend, my mom, my step-MIL and her sister, friends, and/or Matt.

Marc Norman, Tony Bennett, Bushwalla, and Mötley Crüe were all touring either local bars or cross-country venues. They were great and all but for the first time in way too long I got to hear and see the live musical stylings of Jason Mraz (with Raining Jane) who are touring a new album titled YES!

The album rocks. The show was so fucking kick-ass I could hardly contain my excitement. I still can hardly contain it! It was a rare appearance for my favorite wordsmith here in Phoenix and it was great to have a chance to be in the crowd. 13th row at that. Boom!

Saw a few ball games, bought our season tickets to the Coyotes (13 days!) and got to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary on the shores of California with Matt for the 3rd year in a row.

We spent time chilling with family, drinking with friends...and vice versa.

As ranty as my last post might have been about the way I go off the deep end sometimes, this summer is a perfect example of how much awesome there really is in my life.

I’m truly a lucky gal.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Have You Ever Just…

…wanted to scream, laugh, cry, shake, dance, yell, applaud, thank and shout all in the exact same moment?

Well if you have then you’ve got a teeny clue about what the inside of my brain has looked like for the past couple months. I used to come over here and use this space to rant as my personal form of therapy when I felt like my head might just pop off at any second.

But since this summer started my ADD and overwhelmed, overflowing, over capacity mind has been in full-steam overdrive and I couldn’t seem to reign it in enough to even rant.


Every last word of that song just segues so perfectly into the entire point of all of this stupid bullshit that I couldn’t figure out how to stop from taking over my life. But then it all took over anyway.

This past weekend Matt, my mom & I went to see Jason Mraz perform live here in Phoenix. It was the first time I’d seen him take the stage in over four years and I was looking so forward to the show that I could hardly contain my excitement.

As I predicted, the show was amazing. I soaked in all the positivity he spewed from the stage. I let the whole vibe just wash over me like a big fuzzy blanket of awesome and I felt so great.

Then something really weird happened.

The next day we were invited to go and enjoy an afternoon with some great friends. Nothing fancy. No pressure. Just some pool time, wine, fun in the sun. And I couldn’t get my ass off the couch.

All of the blackness that had been bubbling for so long came flooding up through that blanket of awesome, coated it in sludge, and pulled me into its depths of suckage.

Quicksand inside my head that folds my good thoughts into suck-tion and no matter what I do to try to swim out, I just can’t break free.

I was in such a terrible place in my head that I couldn’t imagine spending one second with anyone. I felt insanely vulnerable. Overly self-conscious. But I know it was for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Seriously, no reason. I look fine. I don’t have any weird health stuff going on right now (thankfully). I just couldn’t wrap my head around anyone being around me. I disconnected. I was sitting here on my sofa with my mom and Matt but I was so far away from present I wondered if I would ever get back.

My mind was racing at a billion miles a second with way too many horrible things. Stuff that doesn’t matter for shit in the grand scheme of life. But stuff that makes me feel like I’m balancing precariously on the edge of that proverbial razor blade.

But I know it’s just me. Sometimes it happens and I have no choice other than to sink into it and let it happen.

I hate it though, especially when it stops me from having a good time, but I realized this morning that I can’t feel bad about it. Because when it happens I always come out the other side of it understanding more about who I actually am. I have a greater sense of what I want, what I need in my life. And also what I don’t.

A big house. A cool car. Half an acre of underutilized land. Makeup in every shade under the rainbow. Area rugs for every room. 6 colors of the same pair of jeans.

Stuff.

So much fucking stuff.

I should really follow around one of these urban legends I’ve heard about and find out how they do it. You know the people – they only work 25 hours a week, make over $100,000 a year, have a spotless fresh smelling home, totally weed-free front yards at all times, homemade organic non-GMO meals on the table every night, and bath towels that don’t smell because there hasn’t been a moment to wash them in 3 weeks.

Yeah, I know they don’t really exist, but in this world of “everything in my life is fucking great!” internet perfection it’s easy to be convinced that they do.

And it’s just too much for me to deal with anymore.

I’m weeding down.

Starting today I’m fleshing out all the things I don’t need in my life. I don’t need a Pinterest account. I don’t need a twitter account for my old company. I don’t need email addresses of people I never communicate with. I don’t need tax files from 1999.

And I don’t need a house or yard this big.

Another thing we did over this past weekend was watch the short documentary movie Tiny: A StoryAbout Living Small and it finally hit me:

Matt and I are killing ourselves just to keep up with some perceived notion of what we should have and how we should live. And for what? So I have a place to store books I haven’t read since I was 10 years old just so I can say I have them?

I started thinking about Jason being on tour. Sure, he’s got a home base where he can house all the things that mean something sentimental or otherwise, but for months at a time he lives out of a bus, or a suitcase even, but he’s enjoying the things that matter and not needing to be surrounded by copious crap all the time just to feel fulfilled.

At least I think that’s the case. I don’t know the guy or anything but based on his own statements I believe that all to be true.

And I believe it to be the most inspiring thing I’ve ever heard.

Because, why should Matt have to work 50 hours a week, me at least 45, just to make the money to pay for all of this stuff we don’t really need? It’s a pitiful existence and causes stupid shit like this to spew out of my fingers but it doesn’t actually do anything for either of us.

All it seems to do is make me feel like crap because I have too much crap. An avalanche of stuff that doesn’t help me feel any happier.

The time has come to sit down together and figure out how to release all the things that don’t matter so we can embrace more of the stuff that does.

Laughter. Hugs. Family. Friends. Passion for my career. Music. Travel. Love.

Maybe if I do that I’ll be able to make it to the next pool party my friends invite me to. Because instead of feeling chaotic, like I’m nailed to the floor but could tornado across the world at any second, I’ll have a fighting chance for a calmer mind. 

It's time to fight for focus.

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