Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Productive Day

After 11 and I haven't blogged! Oh my, the day got away from me. So here I am with more dribble :-)

I washed clothes, cleaned our bedroom and bath, kitchen, WORKED!, participated in a conference call for a meetup group where I'm an assistant organizer.

I feel great on productive days.

And then there are my lazy days. They come in two flavors. Sometimes I love nothing better than sitting around watching tv, reading, browsing the internet...napping, even if I didn't get out of bed until noon.

But other times a slow day just drains me. Depresses me.

I've started many slow, depressing days that I have turned around with the most mundane tasks--laundry, dusting ceiling fans, mopping floors.

Activity really works, folks. And positive thinking. You have the power to change your day.

Remind me of this tomorrow when I wake up late. It's about time to head to bed, but I have a feeling I'm going to be up a while!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I've procrastinated today. My goal, at least for my first week, is to blog everyday, but today I haven't been inspired. I did post a new Hub (well, the article is recycled from one of my previous productive periods, but I plan to do a lot of that!), and I've continued to research online writing opportunities.

I also did what I always do when this writing bug kicks in full force...I re-read stuff I wrote long ago. I went even further back today than usual, however. I pulled a file of clips from high school. Yep. High School. And in the midst of the photocopies and yellowed newspaper clippings, I found a handful of letters--some I wrote and never mailed and a few to me from my best friend in high school and my first cousin. All were from about the same time period--probably within the same week. I referred to two major events in my life in all of the letters I wrote. One was a significant family event (I might post more details about this after I talk to my sister and have her permission). The boyfriend dumped me. I was so sad. I wrote the same thing over and over to several friends:

Why? I didn't even like him that much. Well, I liked him, but I didn't "love" him. So why does it hurt so much? Etc., etc.

The first couple of times I read my young words, it was interesting. I reminisced. I laughed at my teenage self, and even toyed with the idea of sharing the letters with my 16 year old daughter. But by the third or fourth rendition of the exact same words (or at least very nearly), I was bored.

The same thing has happened to me as I've reviewed my adult journals now and then. I get very frustrated with myself for saying the same things over and over, for making the same mistakes over and over.

I hinted at my fears of writing online in my first blog. I don't want to put my "dribble" out there for the world to see. And here I am, doing it anyway. But on the flip side of the boredom that repetition threatens, practice makes perfect, right?

The truth is, in that file folder full of words, I also found a few pieces to be proud of...a couple of award winning articles, in fact...I put that file away before I started blogging tonight, but maybe tomorrow I'll reprint them. Or maybe I'll actually come up with something new!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The "Network Marketing" method of Writing?

My friends all know I'm an Arbonne consultant. I signed up a couple of years ago, enthusiastically dreaming of the white Mercedes. Alas, the business just doesn't really seem to be for me, although I love the products, I love the people, and I've learned A LOT about myself. I'm also not automatically opposed to the MLM/network marketing method of distribution. I've read all of the pyramid scam accusations, and I do think that many MLM companies fail to recruit honestly, but overall, the pyramid in network marketing is no different than the typical corporate America organizational chart.

Again, I love Arbonne's products, and I have continued to use many of them. But for the most part, my "network" perceives the products to be too expensive. And I never became completely "Arbonnized" myself, primarily due to cost. I never consistently used the supplements, though I'm sure I could benefit from them. I loved the results of the anti-aging products, but I'm lazy and inconsistent. It's pretty tough to sell something that you haven't 100% bought yourself.

Since I started facing the reality that I wasn't suceeding with Arbonne, I've been through a variety of self-help exercises in search of my calling. Every career test I've ever taken in my life suggests I should be a writer. So a time or two I've tried to imagine how providing a writing service could work in a network marketing model.

I think I (sort of) found it! HubPages! I've been reading and researching all weekend, and I'm really sort of excited that this seems to be a viable way for me to earn extra money, and more importantly, to build a source of residual income. From the websites "About Us" page, "HubPages is the leading online publishing ecosystem with easy-to-use publishing tools, a vibrant author community and underlying revenue-maximizing infrastructure." The reason I'm comparing it to an MLM is because you can earn commissions from the writings of people whom you refer to the site.

If you are a writer and would like to experiment with HubPages yourself, get started at HubPages and sign up with me! Before you start posting your own "hubs", I strongly recommend you read all of the terms and conditions, not only at HubPages but also at Google. Basically, the money-making part of this comes from Google ads that are included in your articles. I'm also looking into getting the ads on my blog, too. I hestitate to post too much detail here...first because I'm still learning, and second I want to make absolutely sure I'm not breaking any toc rules!

I'll blog again about this subject I'm sure. I have lots to learn, but so far I'm enjoying my experiment in the world of online writing!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Getting Started

I'm finally entering the blog world! I don't know why I've waited so long. Blogging seems like the logical endeavor for a writer, but I've resisted. I think I finally realized the cause of my's fear, the same source of all of the procrastination in my life.

I first realized that I'm a perfectionist thanks to I stumbled across Flylady many years ago while searching for cheap Christmas gift ideas. Somehow I landed on her crisis-cleaning article, and I was hooked. For those that don't know, the flylady website and email subscription (free, by the way) provides a managment system focused on keeping your home in working order...primarily house cleaning, meal planning, and organization. She provides encouragement and a common sense approach that worked for me, at least for a while. Part of her philosophy is that we end up with messy and cluttered homes because we are perfectionists. We feel we can't possibly get the job done "right" so we never get started.

Over the last few years, I've noticed this perfectionism rearing it's ugly head in so many different areas of my life, and specifically in the last year regarding my writing. I participate on several message boards but I've only posted freely and frequently in the forums where I use an anonymous handle. Even in those safe environments, I read and re-read my preview posts, second-guessing almost every word and phrase, before I press "submit". Then I read again--quickly in some cases because you can't edit after someone posts a reply on some forums--and I typically still find a typo or grammatical error that leaves me anxious and embarrassed.

I've called myself a writer since junior high school when I was first elected as "Reporter" of my 4H club. I was already an avid reader and felt certain as I was growing up that I would be a writer, on the best-sellers list shortly out of college, making big bucks. "Starving artist" was not part of the vision. I excelled on my high school newspaper staff and started UNC-CH as a journalism student in 1984. I quickly realized that entry-level newspaper reporters earned peanuts and the dream was shattered....almost. After my daughter was born, I started my own business, publishing a monthly community magazine. Like most first-time business owners, I had a great idea but lacked the business skills to make it work. After a year and half of earning an impressive loss, I folded. Since the early 90s I've journaled, written an occassional press release, started the great American novel at least 100 times, and cranked out a ton of academic and technical pieces for my various employers. I've also edited for my mother, Donna Campbell Smith, who has an impressive portfolio of magazine articles, four books and another book coming out this year.

Until now, however, I've done little to get serious about writing. Understanding this could be a pretty boring blog, I'm about to push "Publish Post" anyway. I'm about to take the plunge into the world of online writing. Maybe no one will read my work. Maybe I'll never earn a penny. Maybe I'll have lots of negative comments and reactions. Or maybe not. Either way, who cares? I'm 41 years old. I've neglected my dream too long. I've read some pretty awful stuff on the internet....I've read some pretty awful stuff that made it to the best sellers list! I'm ready to face the fear and expose myself--typos and all!