Goodbye Freelance Writing Career

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I’m at the point I think I’m going to have to make peace with the fact that my freelance writing career is over in many ways. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still plan to blog and do this kind of personal writing when able, but over the past years I also supplemented our income a bit by taking freelance writing gigs from various clients. I covered a wide variety of writing assignments: reviewing books, writing promotional materials and press releases, writing children’s books, editing and proofreading, and many other oddball writing jobs.

Now, I find I just can’t do it. Partly due to physical health conditions (particularly my back/neck pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia), but also due to my mental health conditions (depression, anxiety, bipolar type 2, etc.) Sometimes I’m not even sure which condition is really at fault. Is it the CFS making it almost impossible for me to get out of bed and function at all, or is that the depression? Is my back pain causing me anxiety, or are the panic attacks causing me to tighten up and the back pain to worsen? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Much of the time, I really don’t know. But I do know I can’t go on like this forever, and I definitely can’t take the additional stress of taking on freelance writing jobs anymore.

* Art by Maranda Russell

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Belief in Hell Dies Hard

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Recently I read an excellent poetry book entitled “Shit House Rat“, written by Daniel Crocker (a fellow bipolar writer). The poetry in this collection is brutally honest, gritty, and humorous, and even engages some of our favorite characters from Sesame Street in a way that is unique and really outlines the harsh reality of adult life “on the street” .

One poem that especially triggered some thought on my part is one called “A Dream of Siblings”, in which the poet has a dream about his deceased brother being trapped in a sort of hell. Like me, the author no longer believes in a literal hell, at least not of the Christian theological kind, but as the following lines from the poem show, he still struggles to let go of that old belief in a fiery pit of torture:

“Even though I gave up
believing in this shit
years ago, I still wonder

Maybe I never gave up believing

Maybe, once having faith, no one
ever gives up believing

Even if the things we believe in
are horrifying.”

Writing Prompt: Message in a Bottle

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Today’s writing prompt: If you were to write a message in a bottle, what would it say? Who would you hope finds it?

My response: “To whoever finds this, I was here. I lived. I loved. I hurt. I laughed. I cried. You will too. Enjoy the ride.”

I would hope it was found by a thoughtful young person who was just starting out in life. Someone who isn’t too cynical or jaded yet, but is mature enough to appreciate life for what it is.

Writing Prompt: $1,000 to Spend

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Today’s writing prompt: If you were given $1,000 to spend right now and you had to spend it, what would you buy?

My response: If someone gave me $1,000 to spend right now and I couldn’t save any of it, I would go on a fun shopping spree! The top things that come to mind to buy are books and toys of course! There are a bunch of books on Amazon I have been wanting to get for a while, so I’m sure I would grab up a bunch of those. Lately I have especially been interested in getting some of the poetry collections written by people who have bipolar disorder. I would also do quite a bit of shopping on Ebay, getting certain toys and collectibles that I have been wanting for my collections. The Funko mini Heroes series comes to mind since I have been collecting those recently.

I would also likely grab some new agey or pagan stuff. There are some t-shirts put out by The Mountain company that I would love to have that feature all kinds of cool designs. I would probably buy my husband that 3-D Star Trek chess set he has always wanted too. Pretty much, I would buy the stuff I always buy, just in greater quantities! Oh! And I would pick up the new Halloween candle at Bath & Body Works! And do some shopping at the PINK store at the mall! And Hot Topic! Man, now I really wish I had that $1,000!

Writing Prompt: Favorite Childhood Memories

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So I’ve decided to try to post a writing prompt every Saturday. Hopefully I won’t fall off the wagon too many times trying to do so!

Today’s Prompt: What memories from your own childhood would you most like to relive?

My response: I know it sounds corny, but the memories I would most like to relive are just ordinary days filled with happy ordinary moments. Eating cinnamon toast made by my mom while I sit and watch My Little Pony and play with my own pony toy collection (how I wish I had kept those toys!). Playing on the trampoline in our screened in front porch. Watching Nickelodeon back when it was the bomb. Coming home on the last day of school with my backpack full of goodies from the teacher and an entire summer spread out in front of me like a magical adventure. Camping out in my Smurf sleeping bag with my sister, telling scary stories and then being unable to sleep. Family picnics and midnight fishing trips with my dad. Those are the things I miss the most and would love the chance to revisit.

Writing Prompt: What Would Your Happy Ending Look Like?

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For a while I’ve been wanting to start posting occasional writing prompts to my blog. Just a question or two or a spark of an idea to hopefully inspire you guys to take up your pen/pencils/keyboard and write out your thoughts and feelings. Even if you aren’t a writer by profession like myself, writing out your ideas, beliefs, and emotions can be extremely therapeutic. I plan to post the prompt itself and then do a short writing response myself to the prompt to hopefully inspire you further or help you get to know me even better. So today’s prompt is…

What would you envision as a happy ending to your own life?

My response: If I could plan the perfect ending to my life, it would look something like this: Most importantly, I would die loved and surrounded by people who will genuinely miss me. I hate to think of hurting people by leaving when they want me to stick around, but it is much better than the alternative of dying all alone and having either no one to care or having a funeral where only the officiator shows up.

Secondly, I would like to go out a success. What does that mean to me? Not being rich necessarily, although it would mean not dying penniless or homeless or from starvation and lack of medical care. I would have enough resources to meet my needs and a few pleasures on a regular basis. I would die having left a large positive impact on the world, being respected for what I did, inspiring others to be more creative and compassionate, and having contributed to helping many people think about important things more thoroughly and reasonably.

Lastly, a good death to me would mean that all the people and things I loved and leave behind (family, friends, books, toys) will all have found good homes of their own and others who appreciate and love them as much as I did.

Author Self-Interview! (Fun Facts About Me)

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So the idea and questions for this post come from the Usborne “My First Story Writing Book” which is an awesome resource for helping kids learn creative writing skills! I thought it would be fun to answer some of the questions they ask myself and share!

I live with…
Myself
My husband, Steve
My 3 cats (Spyder, Mao Mao, and Icky)
Depression
Yearning

The most unusual thing about me is…
I’m a physical and mental trainwreck (who knows what is actually wrong with me???)

My worst fear is…
My husband dying.
Being alone.
Having to support myself entirely.
Spiders getting into my ears.
Getting sicker or being in even more pain.

I feel happy when…
People appreciate and compliment me.
When I am being creative!

My biggest ambition is…
Make more money as a freelance writer/book reviewer (maybe review books for bigger companies).
Work with kids again. Maybe hold more children’s writing workshops in the future.
Grow my blog/vlogs.
Advocate for those with chronic illness and mental illness.
Sell more art on ebay!

My first memory is…
Riding in a stroller and being frustrated that I couldn’t get out!