Monday, January 23, 2012

Playing the Bass Card

I grew up playing guitar. I started taking lessons when I was about 11, on an acoustic guitar, and took lessons and played until I was 18. At that time I was playing electric, and was in a garage band after school. It was such a good time of life. I know that memories can sometimes be gilded, but I really do remember those days with such happiness.

The other day I was thinking about playing again. I think it was something in a movie that got me started. I had tried a few years ago, and boy are my fingers tender now. It would take quite a bit to get them toughened up again. I still remembered the placement of the notes. However, if I did go back to it, I was thinking about looking for a bass guitar and learning to play bass. It is such a cool instrument, and one I've always loved, but never learned.

Is it too late for this old dog to learn a new trick? Maybe now that I'm living back up in the city where it's easy to find lessons, I will take a look around, and give bass guitar a try this summer.

Smoke Free?

Well, as a writer I feel like I'm in good company when I say I'm also a smoker. That doesn't make me particularly proud though. I've thought about quitting often. I did manage to quit for a year and a half, but during that time I suffered huge bouts of depression and lost a lot of clients, couldn't concentrate on anything for long, and gained a ton of weight.

I went back to smoking and things leveled out very nicely, although it took a little time. I want to quit again, but do not want to go through the above problems. So I decided to try e-cigarettes. I got one in the mail the other day, and it is okay, but not enough to relieve cravings. I've learned that there are better brands, so I am waiting for a different one to come. It should be here next week. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Business or Pleasure

As a writer it is sometimes hard to think about what you do as a business. There always seems to be some unseen, unspoken line between commercialism and art, but never more than in the writing arena. It's a place where artists look down upon anyone mentioning anyone who talks about the money as a sell-out, and seems to hold aloft those that eek by as true artists.

Sometimes I think that's a myth perpetrated by the publishing houses so that they can get away with paying slave wages to the most of their writers while a few rake in millions--after all, there have to be a few to make the dreams for the many who will never achieve such heights.

The bottom line, though, is that even writers have to pay rent, mortgages, car payments, utility bills and buy food. The amount of money you make isn't really the reason you need to treat your writing like a business, however.

You may never need to get business funding, however you may need to apply for a loan on a house, new car or even in some cases cable internet. You need something that shows you are a self-employed business person.

You also have to show the IRS you are a serious business and writing isn't just a hobby. So it is important to treat your work as a business. Save receipts and keep records of submissions even when they get rejects. The act of submission is a business act that shows you are in earnest.


I was watching M*A*S*H today and thinking about how much I still love that show. It got me thinking about why there's such a connection with some shows, no matter how old they are, and how some other ones that you've seen decades ago and loved then, now were so dated. Perhaps some of it has to do with the fact that M*A*S*H was a period piece even then, but I thought that wouldn't explain some other classics such as All in the Family, Golden Girls or even I Love Lucy.

I Love Lucy is even more of a standout in that it was obviously done in the early years of TV. Sets were barely realistic, but still, it looks relevant still when watched today.

I think much of it has to do with the realism of the characters, the honesty in which they're played, but a lot has to do with the general atmosphere. There has to be something believable about the surroundings. In M*A*S*H it was evident. Even though shot in the hills of California, it LOOKED believably like an Army mobile hospital in Korea.

Even I Love Lucy on its rough sets was believable as a tenement apartment in New York.

So, how does that relate to writers? The stories you write need to be timeless to stand up when someone picks them up decades after you wrote them. Are the scenes believable? Do the characters ring true? Is the atmosphere palpable? These are the things that classics are made of. It doesn't matter what time period you write about or in, what matters is if it will still strike a cord decades down the line.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Learning New Things

It's still January, and I'm knee deep in work. I probably shouldn't be thinking of boating season already, but I can't help it. It's during this time of the year that I begin to long for the warm days of summer, the rolling water and spending the weekends on the boat. I have to plan for this year though, because the trailer we use to take the boat back and forth from the marina needs a little work before it's ready to haul 10,000 pounds. I've been looking into some miller welders, and thinking about trying my hand at doing some of the welding work myself. Actually, it would come in really handy if I could do it. There's a lot to be done both at the property and the occasional repairs to a 16 year old trailer. It would be a wise investment and something very interesting to learn. Heck, I may even be able to incorporate it into a story at some point where my heroine has to learn how to do metal work. I bet it could be funny. I'll find out when I try myself. If it's funny, or if I melt the whole trailer while I learn.

Wow, Busy January

I'm not sure what is in the water, but it seems like every single one of my regular clients woke up on January 1st and made resolutions to do an entire year's worth of work in one month. I am pretty busy on a regular basis and I sure am grateful for that. Since beginning my venture on Elance I have developed a very strong client base with excellent fees that keep me busy all the time, but I have been busier this month already to the point I am working overtime and wearing myself out. It's not all bad, of course. I've made more in 9 days than I normally do in an entire month. I guess that will make up for any occasional slow times during the year. LOL