I received this from Medium.com on Tuesday:
Your payment summary for July 1 – July 31, 2020
We’ve sent you $0.04 (USD)
Your payment was sent to your Stripe account on August 4, 2020, and will automatically transfer to your bank account or debit card on file. This may take up to 5-7 business days.
I knew writing was going to be tough…At least with the exchange, I received $0.05.
The goal for most authors is to earn a living writing. Unfortunately, for many, it’s not going to happen. Making some money? Sure. Writing full time and making scads of dough? Not happening for most of us. As you can tell by the above graphic, unless I pare down my expenses a bit (just a bit…), I’m going to need more income streams.
Joking aside, there are many avenues for writers theses days, Medium being one of my latest finds. It is a site for news/entertainment/general interest/poetry etc. I started on a similar site, vocal.media, and had a few views of my articles (mostly reworked blog posts). Posting the same content to Medium gained me more reads and followers in a few weeks then the months that I used Vocal. As you can see, views=$, or in this case, cents. But as a writer, you want to gain a readership, so any exposure is worth it.
What do I like writing the most? I think my science fiction stories compel me to write more, but I do thoroughly enjoy coming up with topics for my blog. I still write poems from time to time, but not at the rate that I did when I started.
I didn’t start writing to make money, but I enjoy writing, and if I can make a living from it, I’m going to try. If my writing helps someone get through tough times like it did for me, or if a reader finds it entertaining, I’m OK with that too…
I didn’t think that I needed too much editing done on my poetry book (such arrogance!). With some of the grammatical freedoms us poets (see how I put myself in with all the other great writers?) are granted, I figured that the most important aspect was spelling, so spell check, and some reading from friends/family would suffice. Was it a good choice? In hindsight, not the best, but I’m still satisfied with the result. The problem is that you read what you believe that you wrote, not what is actually on the page, unless you go word by word (which I did), so you still can miss things.
I’m looking for an editor for my science fiction book. I’m a new writer, still learning the rules and trying to find my voice, so it was important to me to find a professional to guide me. I sent out some writing samples to several editors, and what surprised me was that the edits that I got back were very different.
Some came back as if they were just run through the same writing checker that I used, while others had detailed notes on why certain changes were made. Some editors focused on the continually changing tense (which I knew, but was hoping that it was appropriate – nope); others did not mention it at all (was I that good of a writer?).
I received several quotes that mentioned that they enjoyed the story that I had sent and were excited about this project. I hoped that they were not just buttering me up. A few didn’t say anything about it – is that what I want in an editor?
. A writer must connect with their editor, to be on the same page (Ha!) so to speak, and is an important relationship in a writer’s life. This will be a hard decision that I can’t take too long to make.
Did I make any spelling errors? Ask my editor…oh, that was me today.
What is funny? Anything that makes you laugh I suspect. Or chuckle, snicker, chortle, giggle, or smile. The measure of real humor is something that makes you laugh when you are alone. Think about it. When was the last time that you laughed out loud all alone? For most of us, it is rare, if non-existent. But, as they say, laughter is the best medicine. One feels contented after a good, long laugh.
I remember a time when I was sitting in the mall with my sister reading a newly purchased Calvin and Hobbes book. I remember it fondly because of the tears running down my cheeks from laughing so hard. Then there was the time that I couldn’t place my drive-thru order because I couldn’t talk through all my laughter (I don’t remember why, though). Then there was the time my mom said something that no one expected her to say…
You can’t feel angry when you are laughing. Or sad, or alone, or helpless…Pain disappears for a while (not counting the pain in your side). You can laugh so hard that you cry, and those tears can wash away any sad thoughts- at least for awhile. Laughing is contagious. Try to hold a straight face while others around you are partaking in the joy.
I like to make people laugh. It makes me happy. Most of my writing these days has a humorous edge to it, even with some of the more serious topics. Some of my ideas were the catalyst for my cartoon, The Miniscules.
People’s sense of humor evolves. What was funny as a child (farts) is not necessarily funny as an adult (notice that I said not necessarily, I bet you know someone who still laughs at them). Children get some of their sense of humor from their parents, and they also get it from peers and pop culture. Schools can be a breeding ground for hurtful humor, but I know that our educators do their best to teach what is acceptable.
Humor is constantly changing. What was thought of as humorous in the past is no longer acceptable. Many comedians went through times (some still do) of pushing boundaries and limits, using race, gender, sexual orientation, status, profanity, and taboo subjects in order to get a rise or laugh out of the crowd. People supported this questionable content, demanding more profane, edgier routines.
I know. I was there. I admit, I laughed. Now I don’t.
One last thought: Has anybody ever laughed at a “Knock, Knock” joke?
I like space stuff. I always have. If I had the chance to go into space, I would. No hesitation. I credit my father for reading science fiction stories to me as a child, and watching Star Trek, Space 1999, and Lost in Space on Saturdays. I remember being fascinated with the Time Life books: The Solar System, Space, The Sun. I don’t know what the first sci-fi book that I read on my own was, but if I had to guess, I think that it was The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury.
I experienced a partial solar eclipse once. I think that it was around 84.2% (no, my memory isn’t that good…). My pinhole telescope and welder’s glass provided a very cool image for a pre-teen kid. When the first Viking pictures from Mars were broadcast, I thought for sure we (humanity, not my family) would be living there sooner rather than later.
My family bought my father a telescope for Christmas one year. I think that I championed that idea more to serve my desire to have one. Seeing the craters and mountains of the moon, the rings of Saturn, and the moons of Jupiter for the first time was a dream come true. I think that I had hoped that he would build an observatory in his backyard. No Keck observatory for me…
So, it was odd that when I started to write, I didn’t start writing science fiction. No, not really. My poetry served its purpose, and I continue to be inspired to write it. But my head was always in the stars. If I had a book in my hand, it was more than likely about space. I always got excited when a new sci-fi T.V. series or movie came out.
I’ll quote from the introduction of my next project:
“I decided to write a series of short stories in the style of the early years of science fiction, where scientific knowledge wasn’t king, and imagination drove the author to create…”
I should probably talk about the title of this post. I missed seeing Halley’s comet. I don’t remember why; I’ll just blame it in the clouds because I can’t think of any reason that I didn’t stay up all night to see it. I did see a comet in the ’90s, and now I have an opportunity to see another. So, I’ll set my alarm, get up stupid early, travel away from the light pollution of the city, and gaze upon an object millions of years old.
Last week, the days started to get shorter. Since December, the days had lengthened, almost imperceptibly by a minute or two a day, until before I realized it, we were on the downswing once again. Now, I don’t know how far south one has to go before the days and nights are close to the same length all year round. I suspect once you get to the two tropics (Cancer and Capricorn), it starts to even out. Which one is the northern one? I never remember. I’m sure that it came up on a high school test in my past. It’s not a fact that I have needed – until now. There was a book called Tropic of Capricorn ( or was it The Tropic...?).
We used to have to memorize everything in school: Math facts, times tables, capital cities. There’s nothing wrong with memorization. It’s just not that easy for everybody. Apparently, some things that I memorized, I didn’t. Oh, I’m sure that it’s in there somewhere (in my brain, that is), but sometimes it takes a little longer to find.
I like math. Really. I find it fascinating. I also find it frustrating. Remember those times tables? Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. Quick, what’s 7 X 8? Did you say 56 right away, or did you think “ If 7 X 7 is 49 then 7 more is….umm, well, 49 plus 1 is 50, so I have 6 left over from the 7, so 50 + 6 is 56. Which way is quicker? Which method makes you look smarter? Although, you do need to understand why 7 X 8 = 56, then once you do, it’s better to remember it.
If I were able to recall any math fact instantly, I probably would have become a mathematician or a scientist, or in the worst-case scenario, an accountant (my apologies to all accountants, but that was just too easy). I assume that people like Einstein, Hawking, Turing…OK, one sec. Bear with me…
Tangent Time– I had to Google female mathematicians. That’s sad. Marie Curie was the only female scientist that came to mind, but now I know. Here are a few in no particular order (well, the order is how they were listed on the Smithsonian site, and that was chronological), so here they are as presented on the Smithsonian website: Hypatia, Germain, Lovelace (who wrote the first computer program the mid- 19th century, that’s pretty cool), Kovalevskaya, Noether, Johnson.
Back to the topic, which was…memorizing. I went to university to learn Classical guitar. If you are a musician, you know that memorization is the key. You don’t have time to think what note comes next because once you do, it’s already gone. I was never that confident with my memory. I was always afraid of forgetting, and sometimes I would. Complete blank. Not an ideal situation for a performer. When I do have to play, that thought is always there, “Don’t forget. What if I forget?” Nice set-up for failure, right?
What about spelling? Most of the time, you probably don’t have to think about it. Then you look at what you typed and see all those red squiggly lines. I still forget how to spell certain words. Remember that stupid saying, “i before e except after c, except in the words: their, weigh, receive, receipt, and the 100 other exception to the rule?”
Not everyone is going to excel at memorization or understanding certain topics. We are not all the same. So I try to practice remembering things: names, numbers, what the heck did I come here to buy?
Oh well, seeing that I am here, I might as well pick up some chips and dip.
Do I have enough money? Chips cost $1.18, and dip is $2.39. Well I know 8 + 9 is 17, and 10 + 30 is 40, so 40 + 17 is 57…add that to the $3, and you get $3. 57! Since I have a fiver in my pocket, I’ll be left with $1.43. All good.
It is time. I’ve been holding on too long, and it is just frustrating. This is no longer working for me.
I have to get a new knife.
How long have we been together? Ever since I got the department store credit card in college. I needed a dress shirt, and being in college, I had no money. Credit cards make you have more money, right? So I got the card, and the shirt (long gone now), and the two free gifts. Free gifts? I like free gifts as much as I like free money (which can be traded in for free dress shirts).
I know what you want to know. What was the other free gift? I know I did say two gifts, and I know that you are smart (SMRT) enough to figure out that the knife was one of them. But this post is about the knife, so why am I teasing you with this mysterious second gift? Why, indeed…
Do you want to know about the knife or the other thing? OK, it was a serving tray. Not that exciting, except for the fact that I still know where that one is as well. It’s in my mom’s kitchen. She still uses it. That’s the gift that keeps on giving. I gave it to her on Mother’s Day (or birthday, it was so long ago).
Back to the knife. It’s been sharpened (improperly probably), and if you place the blade on a flat surface, you can see a space between the edge and the surface. Makes cutting tricky as it leaves parts uncut. So, I'll have to bite the bullet and fork out some cash. I like to cook. I don’t like crappy cutting.
I also need new running shoes. I admit that I have used them well past their prime. There are holes which I have unsuccessfully repaired, but they are so comfortable, and shoes are really expensive. It is suggested that you replace your shoes every 300-400 miles. Mine are hitting triple digits. Ever try on new shoes? They don’t feel the same or feel comfortable.
I also need a new bike helmet. I’m not going to go into that stats, but something rather than nothing is probably not the best argument. But hey, if I fall and my head hits the ground, would I rather have a bare head or an old helmet? Right?
Am I cheap? No, I’m thrifty. OK, I’m cheap. I dislike spending money, especially when I’m on a budget. Here is a link to an article that I wrote: Maximizing Your Food Budget. I’m a fan of the adage: If it’s broke, fix it (if that isn’t an adage, it is now). I use and fix, and fix again. That’s my gift to the environment. So, with a heavy heart, I must retire "Mr. Slicey" (not really the brand name).
If I still have it next week, you can call me cheap.
Say that five times fast. That’s OK. Take your time. Try again. I’ll wait…
We’ll just have to add that to “Peter Piper” and “She Sells Seashells,” won’t we?
I decided to reach out to some more book bloggers this week. I googled book blogs and came up with sites with lists of book bloggers. As I suspected, there were a lot of them. Why book bloggers? Somebody has to read your book and like (or dislike) it enough to tell others. There are countless blogs out there, and many companies/individuals that set up blog tours, cover reveals, and book blasts. I checked out a few of them, and I wasn’t convinced that it was worth the cost (advertising is always a gamble even if it is a necessity). Sure, you get a fancy banner, and they send out your info to the participating blogs, but I visited a few, and some blogs had tour stop after tour stop that looked pretty much the same. I don’t think you get to choose your site either.
The last point was the most important to me. Now, I’m sure that these bloggers get many emails from authors, so how do I stand out? I wanted to make a personal connection, so this is what I did:
I did discover some interesting things during this exploration:
I came across several blogs that had been inactive for a long time. I was compelled to peruse through the blog to see if there were any clues to why the site had been abandoned. Not one had closure, no last post saying thanks, or link to follow. Nothing. A ghost in the digital miasma (I learned that word while doing a crossword puzzle...). So, as a writer, I wrote:
I stumbled upon your blog today
The place you built to have your say
A clever name
Graphics much the same
Stars twinkled between pages
Of poetic thoughts, dreams, and rages
Shared part of your life right here
For friends and followers to hear
But where do you go?
The last post was two years ago
Why walk away?
Was there nothing left for you to say
Do you still look the same?
Do you have the same name?
I hope you left for good reasons
Like the changing of the seasons
There’s nothing I can do
Except hope for you
So, I’ll go on pretending
That you wrote a happy ending
I closed your blog when I was done
The visitor count read 3,471
Till next time, keep reading!
I’ve been thinking of what to say about the events of the past week. What will one voice do? One voice that echoes the sentiments of many others. Can you see a drop of water in the ocean? No, but you can see the ripples radiating out into the expanse. Has anybody actually won by ONE vote? I don’t know.
Being silent doesn’t mean you agree or disagree. If I didn’t say anything, would you know? No, but I would. If you listen carefully to the noise of a crowd, you can discern individual voices, if you try hard enough.
So here I go...
It hasn’t taken us that long to get here. In the scope of things, we are just a fraction of time in existence. Maybe we did it too quickly. Perhaps we should have taken a few more steps, planned it out better, thought about the consequences of our growth.
How do I feel? I’m saddened that someone had to die. Again. Needlessly. I'm disappointed that some people used it as an excuse to destroy property and steal for personal gain. I do, however, believe that there is more goodness in the world than bad. Seeing police officers kneeling with protesters confirms this.
I doubt that humanity will ever get to the point that it is able to live in complete harmony. I wish that that wasn't the case but I think that hatred, intolerance, racism, violence, and greed can seem too easy for some. Any type of power can corrupt. Oh, we are trying, I know that, and we are better than before in so many aspects, so I say, don’t give up. Keep talking. Keep moving in a positive direction.
My drop in the ocean…
Everyone is entitled to their opinion (that’s my opinion), but does that mean we are free to give our unsolicited opinion whenever we want? You know, free speech and all…I’m sure that I just opened a huge can of worms, methinks. So, just for fun, let’s crank the opener of these great dividers:
Smoothy vs. Crunchy
Can you sit on the fence and say both? Of course you can! Will you? Probably not.
Crunchy hurts to eat, smoothy sticks to the roof of my mouth, crunchy on toast, not on bagels though. Smoothy: good for making fudge (unless you like crunchy fudge…)
What about natural? Woah, hold it right there, Bucko. This is not a ____vs.____vs.____
Kirk vs. Picard
No contest. You know I’m right…
Dogs vs. Cats
If you don’t care about loyalty or the return of affection and you want to be able to just leave for a few days without worrying…
North Pole vs. South Pole
Santa, good. Penguins, cute! But what about narwhals?
North pole: Pack ice / South Pole: Packed ice
Coffee vs. Tea
I look forward to my morning coffee and my afternoon tea, but I have on rare occasions had a morning tea and I do enjoy an afternoon shot o’ espresso…
Ale vs. Lager
Beer lovers are either loyal or experimental. I see people beeline straight to their brand and get out of the store before I have even started to cooler window shop. But that has nothing to do with the Ale vs. Lager debate does it…
PC vs. Mac
Endless updates and glitches, or should I just spend the damn $$$$?
Zoodles vs. Alphagetti
You know that they are pretty much the same thing, but what can you spell with Zoodles?
Two-ply vs. Three-ply
I didn’t include one-ply because it becomes two-ply since you know you’re going to fold it.
The Turkey: Light meat vs. Dark meat
You might as well call this Dry and bland vs. Moist and tasty….
Star Trek vs. Star Wars
(See Kirk vs Picard)
Ren vs. Stimpy, Rick vs. Morty, Magellan vs. Cook, AM vs. FM
Well, I’m absolutely, positively, sure that I missed some real doozies, but did you think that I was going to talk politics or religion? No way that I’m going there….that’s as volatile as discussing what pick-up truck is best.
(It’s Chevy, BTW…)
“Do or do not. There is no try.” Hold it right there Yoda. I’m going against my adoration for you and your (well, Lucas’) universe and it pains my heart to when I say that I have to disagree with you. There is always a “try” in doing. It’s like telling a child that they can be whatever they want to be in life. Unfortunately, it’s just not true. But by trying, they will better themselves because they will fail at times (usually more often than succeed) and hopefully learn more about what they can and cannot do.
If someone wants to be an astronaut (Pick me! Pick me!) and winds up becoming a doctor or mathematician because they couldn’t hold down their lunch in the “vomit comet”, then the world has another person to be proud of, and they have learned that you shouldn’t eat a heavy meal the night before training. Maybe math or school in general wasn’t their strong suit and they go on to customer service, the arts, public service, or become a laborer. I hope they asked themselves, “Did I try my best?”, and if the answer was yes, then the next question should be, “Am I still trying my best?”. If the answer was “No” to either of those then we must look at, you guessed it, MOTIVATION.
I’m not an expert on the M-word. Far from it. Do I try my best? Usually, but then again, I’m a pretty good procrastinator too.
[Pan to figure slumped on a couch, bowl of potato chips in their lap, TV remote in the other…]
(But I won’t leave dirty dishes on the kitchen counter overnight)
A few quotes come to mind: “Commitment is doing what you said you would do long after the moment you said it in has passed.” I credit this to Bear Grylls, the adventure guy. If you don’t know, he was in the British Special Forces when on a training exercise, his parachute failed, and he broke his…everything? He then (not right away) became the youngest person to scale Mt. Everest. Wow.
Now, I’m not saying that you have to suffer some life-changing injury, but often things happen and we just say to our self, “That’s it, I’m going to do something/I’m going to stop something/I’m going to try something.”, or along those lines. It’s not easy making big changes or deciding to accomplish a task, and lack of motivation is a real killer of dreams.
Where does one get their motivation? There are many motivating factors to choose from and what works for others may not be right for you. Will what you do:
I think that if you can answer yes to the question, “Will I be a better person if I can accomplish this?”, then it is worth doing, even if there is a risk of failure.
So, do I watch TV and eat too many chips or finish this blog? Easy choice…
(Now where is the remote…?)