Centering my Soul

One of the best gifts I received for Christmas this year was a complete surprise, but I’m fairly sure I will be adding this to my future lists.

This year, my mother gave me a day planner/calendar/ journal called What I Will Do to Feel the Way I Want to Feel by Danielle LaPorte.

I love the story of how this journal ‘found’ me. I describe myself as a bit of a hippie when it comes to spiritual beliefs. I meditate, practice yoga, and generally believe in the power of positive thought. I’m usually more into natural healing methods (nutrition, chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine) than I am into allopathic medicine. I follow sites like Sarah Prout, practice Reiki, use essential oils, and consider myself an empath.

My mom sometimes feels a little the opposite, although she is probably not. She fills her spiritual well not by meditation and yoga but by attending church, prayer, and reading her Bible. In her retirement she has become a professional dog walker. She saw this book on the counter at the home of one of her clients and thought I might enjoy it. One of the reasons she chose it is because the energy of her client’s home feels similar to the energy in my home and life. My mom didn’t use the word energy, she said “When I am in her house I feel relaxed and at ease, like I do when I am at your house.”

The book is full of prompts to help you focus on how you want to feel. The idea being that part of the reason we strive for a goal is not because of the goal, but because of the feeling it will provide. I encountered this idea of feelings when thinking about taking a trip recently, while I wanted to take a trip to feel warm and relaxed, I didn’t feel like I had the funds for a trip. I knew if I spent money I felt like I didn’t have to spend that I would not come back and feel relaxed. As I thought of the idea of taking the trip I also realized that I had missed several parts of the journey (planning, saving money, anticipating, and achievement) that would have made the trip more enjoyable. Ultimately I decided to use my time to begin planning and saving for a future trip.

I won’t lie, 2017 got off to a rocky start. I turned 40 (cue mid-life crisis fears and worries), I discovered that someone I trusted had been lying to me, and fears of how the hate our country has awakened directly affects my loved ones nearly became a real.

Yet, this planner/journal/calendar helps me sit down daily and write three things that I am grateful for, helps me focus on the positive, helps me remember to turn off the constant panic of the current news feed and feed my soul. Because I can’t be there for those I love unless I have taken care of myself.

Do you have a favorite day planner? Does your day planner center your soul?

 

 

 

Celebrating Labor Day weekend with my Union

It’s Labor Day and I’m proud to say that I’m a Union member.MP822-2.jpg

This weekend I had the opportunity to volunteer with the IATSE Local 13 kiosk at the Minnesota State Fair.

For four hours I had the opportunity to talk about my Union and the skills that are represented. It was so fun talking about what I get to do (wardrobe and costumes) with people. It is also fun to talk with people about the range of skills my union represents. I loved telling people that the person running sound and I were represented by the same union even though we each focus on completely different aspects of backstage theater.

I had the chance to talk to people from other unions and talk to young people about unions and why they are important. Several brothers and sisters from my Union or who are represented by my union stopped by to say hi, which was awesome.

I was set up next to the Minnesota Nurses Association and it was great to see them getting support from people as they prepare to go to strike on Monday.

I noticed that some of the unions represented didn’t have a lot of women represented. Many would talk about needing to go see which brothers were at their kiosk. It felt cool being a woman out there and belonging to a union that recently established a Women’s Committee.

After volunteering with IATSE I headed over to the Eco experience to teach people how to turn t-shirts into grocery bags. It was so much fun teaching people to create something and see the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with creating something.

 

Now offering blog comments on fiverr.com

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I’ve been writing product descriptions and critiquing picture book manuscripts and query letters on fiverr for a while now.

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I tried out some of the other avenues for freelance writing over the years, but what I really love about fiverr is that I don’t spend my time searching for projects and bidding on them. Instead I get to spend my fiverr time actually working on my gigs.

My product description gig is by far my best selling gig but I really enjoy to positive feedback I get from clients on my picture book beta reading gig and my query letter gig.

“Carrie’s advice was spot on. I have sent my manuscript for critique’s in the past, but Carrie pointed out the main problem that myself and those who have critiqued in the past were unable to see. Thanks again Carrie.”-fiverr customer

“Carrie made a catch that my critique group missed! Thanks!”-fiverr client

Getting positive feedback is definitely one of highlights of my fiverr gigs.

‘ve always loved blogging, and while I don’t blog as often as I used to I still love interacting with blogs. Which I why I recently started offering a blog commenting gig on fiverr. Check it out for some blog comments or advice.

Dusting off my pen

I haven’t updated this blog in ages.

Part of the reason for that is that I actually got really busy last year actually writing. I spent a lot of the last year writing product descriptions and critiquing stories with my gig on fiverr.

I have to confess that after years of slogging away writing, revising, submitting, getting rejection letters, lather, rinse, repeat. It has been nice to get positive feedback from customers about my writing. After years of paying for writing classes, workshops, and conference,s earning a little money from my writing has been a nice change.

I have to say that it is hard to strike a balance between full time job, copywriting gigs and writing for myself. And maybe for other reasons the writing for myself fell by the wayside.

But, stories need to be told. And I find myself collecting story ideas, and writing them down in a little notebook. I find myself pinning inspirational quotes about writing on Pinterest. And though it has been years since I tried my hand at poetry I’ve been scribbling out poems this month because it is April, it is poetry month.

Poems feel easy, but they also feel hard. I wonder if I’m doing poetry right. Or am I just throwing words on a page without thought to the rules of writing that usually plague me. Oxford comma, no oxford comma?

No matter what, it is good to stretch those writing muscles again.

 

 

 

 

 

Reading Confession

I don’t know when it happened. Maybe it was the decision to add the Facebook app back onto my phone. Maybe it was stress and life stuff.  Whatever the reason I haven’t been reading as many books as I used to.

I even got a paperwhite kindle last year for Christmas so that I could do more reading. The light makes it great for reading in dark places, like backstage between costume changes.

I used to be a person who could read, on average, a book a week. Lately I feel like I’m lucky to read a book a month. While I realize this still puts me ahead of most of the population it doesn’t put me ahead of me, or the person I used to be or the person I aspire to be.

This feels like a terrible confession for someone who wants to write books to make.  I haven’t been reading as much. I feel like so much of being a writer depends on reading. I don’t know if I’d want to be a writer if it wasn’t for my love of reading.

This year I’ve been trying to take a more business approach to writing. How can I make more time for writing by writing more? I’ve written newsletter, product descriptions, content and about me pages. While it is really great to make a little money with writing I haven’t been reading as much. Or worse, what I have been reading has been Facebook status updates as it is easier to take a break from the work I’m doing by looking at Facebook. Or sometimes the work/research I’m doing requires me to look at Facebook, YouTube or other social media.

As I work to manage stress in my life and make healthier choices I’m returning to reading. I’m currently trying to fit in as many beach reads as possible before the end of summer.  Sometimes it is hard to remember to set my phone aside and pick up  my book instead but as I sink into the lives of the characters in the book I feel the stresses of life melting away and I remember why I love reading and why I want to be a writer. I remember that reading is the first step, the base, of being a good writer.

 

 

A Cure for Writer’s Block

Free picture book or query letter critique- I have been on fiverr for a couple months. I’ve been staying busy writing product descriptions, but I’d love to do more picture book and query letter critiques. If you have a picture book manuscript you’d like beta read and critiqued, or you have a query letter you’d like critiqued I’d like to offer you a free critique.

I haven’t updated my blog for good reason. I’ve been keeping myself busy writing.

At the beginning of the year a writer friend contacted me about trading writing on a weekly basis. Basically how this works is that we send each other whatever we are working on that week on Fridays and then we send back comments on Tuesdays. That has been keeping me on task.

My fiverr gigs are also starting to take off. As I figure out if I can earn some money putting words on paper I have been writing a lot of product descriptions. The good thing is that I’ve found some repeat customers. The work has been pretty steady. It is still a small amount but that is all I feel like I need right now while I figure out if copywriting is a way for me to make an extra side income.

My biggest fear when I started offering copywriting services what that writing things for other people would suck the fun out of writing, and that I wouldn’t have energy for my own writing at the end of the day. Currently the few projects I get a week through fiverr have not had that effect. Instead, I find that writing copy and product descriptions is a great little warm up, and leads nicely into my own writing. I also find that the confidence I’m building by earning a little extra money from writing is helpful in my own writing.

I have been more productive this year due to the combination of trading stories back and forth, and spending my days writing. So, it turns out that writing cures writers block.

Here’s the deal. Currently my top selling gig, the one customers see first when they come to my page is a gig for product descriptions. I would love to be doing more picture book critiques or query letter critiques. My gig on fiverr is for a critique, up to 1000 words. So, if you are looking for a picture book critique or query letter critique check out my gigs and take advantage of my free critique offer. *This offer is only available to new fiverr users, so if you are already a fiverr user get in touch with me on the site and mention this blog post and I will give you give you an extra service (i.e. rush delivery or proofreading 1000 words) for free.

Earning a Living as a Writer

A couple weeks ago I read this article on Salon. In this article the writer talks the need for writers to be honest about what is actually supporting their writing careers. Whether is is being heir to a family fortune or having a spouse whose career supports your writing.

I come from the other side of this equation. I am not an heiress to any family fortune. Alas and alack my mom’s calling isn’t finance and business like the rest of her family. Her calling is nursing and while she’s done well and has been a responsible investor she certainly isn’t at the same financial level as her brothers. She married for love but it didn’t work out. My dad has gone through a series of career choices- computer programer, day trader, poker player- but he’s not exactly saving money for his elder years or to leave his children. His philosophy on money seems to be “You can’t take it with you.”

I have been writing for over 10 years. After several classes, conferences, and writing classes I started really pursuing the whole writing for publication thing in 2008.

I have to confess that as a single person working in the arts my biggest obstacle in writing is often money. I work in theater. Sometimes there is plenty of work, so much work that I feel like I need to take on as much work as I can, because other times there is less work. In addition to my full time job I regularly take on freelance wardrobe gigs doing laundry for other theaters. Or I babysit. Lately I’ve been lifeguarding and teaching swimming lessons. I’m trying to build a copywriting/editing business in hopes of earning some of my income by putting words on paper.

While I think the article makes some good points about money I also think that sometimes when you are writing it is one of those situations where the grass looks greener in someone else’s yard. I used to envy my friends who were able to be stay at home parents. I dreamed of meeting someone who had the kind of career and benefits that could sustain me and my writing dreams. But I realized in some ways maybe they also envied me. My fun job, the copious amounts of free time I must have since I don’t have kids.

Sometimes concerns over money cause me to waste perfectly good writing time. I enjoy the structure of going to work. Even though I dream of being independently wealthy I’m certain that if I were to win the Powerball tomorrow and be able to sit and write without needing to worry about paying the bills I would probably not get any more writing done than I do trying to fit writing into my life with two jobs.

What do you think? Is money a huge factor in your writing life? Do you wish it was a more talked about thing? Have you found creative ways to support your writing career?