May. 26th, 2017

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We wake up to a new set of issues, as if we've been transported to the Land of Oz. Yesterday seems like the distant past once the Moon blasts into impulsive Aries at 6:10 am EDT. We're eager to leave our emotional baggage behind, along with the stability of Earth. We soar like kites on the changeable spring breezes of the Sun and Mars in mutable Gemini. Additionally, several fateful aspects remind us that we never know what the future will bring.

Everyone seems overly demanding today and you don't know whether or not you can provide what they want. Naturally, you enjoy making others happy, but you're not willing to engage with someone who is acting mean-spirited. It really doesn't take much effort to be nice. When people treat you like they don't care, believe them. You will rest easier once you make a clear distinction between dependency and love. Give from the goodness of your heart with no strings attached or don't give at all.

Today was cold and windy enough to elect to stay in bed all day. That’s exactly what we did until 3:00 pm. I had a smoke out on the balcony with my dear friends Gabby and Jessica. It was quiet and little was said about having a roast for supper. Gabby and Peter left to go to the mall for anything we might need in the next few days of holiday. Tomorrow will have almost everything shut down for the holiday. Yea! Fireworks from the balcony at 9:00 pm later.

The fireworks were terrific! The fireworks show at Landsdown Stadium lasted about half an hour. There were all kinds of fireworks from fountains of coloured sparks to very high blasts of clouds of shimmering sparks that floated down with mixes of colours. Peter took a movie video of the complete fireworks performance. It was enough for me to sit out on the balcony and watch the whole show. Altogether, the three of us thoroughly enjoyed the big performance of costly coloured extravaganza.
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At about 1:30 pm, Cynthia came through the door. Cynthia has her own set of keys and is a member of our little nuclear family. We stick together for several important reasons. The important thing is that we all love each other.

Cynthia did a major cleanup and the dishes. Cynthia had numerous smoke breaks that punctuated both play and work time. Believe that we all enjoyed the presence of Cynthia. Peter and I spent an hour together with Cynthia in the bedroom. Peter had a number of sessions with Cynthia in the bedroom and kitchen that were close, intimate, and very painful. Cynthia happens to be a very submissive, masochistic, hermaphrodite little slave. In part, that is why we love her so much as we do.

Cynthia had a mission to come and visit with us. She had a shower chair that I could use for the short time that I can’t take a bath. Cynthia made the best use of her time with us from her arrival until her departure at about 6:00 pm. It was far too short of a visit and we all felt the pinch of time for every second.

When Cynthia left, Peter busied himself with making a fresh pot of coffee. We set about getting ready to go out in the cool and cloudy afternoon. It was our intention to visit our dear old friend Sam Zunder in the hospital. He is a blind old man in his early nineties hooked up to oxygen with a serious case of pneumonia laying in a hospital bed for the past week.

Sam is in a precarious situation of being coaxed into picking a full care facility after moving from his limited care but luxuriously posh two bedroom condo. We may or may not be a rescue for Sam’s sanity, As we visited with Sam, Peter noticed that there were several times that Sam stopped his sentences for his own reasons.

Sam was fully conscious that there was a black family with children on the other side of a thin curtain. Sam is a conscientious Hebrew who shares a personal dialogue with Peter and myself. I would allow such blunt little interruptions in Sam’s dialogue while Peter took it as a slight indication of dementia.

Sam was on the verge of falling asleep when we showed up at his bedside. Sam thought he was dreaming at first when we greeted him and announced our presence. It was only moments later that Sam realized we were really there in person. From then on, Sam kept a good response to our comments and questions. We found out that Sam can get kosher food at the hospital, so I was relieved that we didn’t go to Kettleman’s Bakery for a dozen kosher bagels.

We spent almost an hour with Sam before we let Sam’s droopy eyes relax with our goodbyes. We wheeled out of the semiprivate ward into a dark blue screen. So, we turned about and took a long way around and down the long halls to the elevators. We stopped at the hospital’s main doors to bundle up for our hike home. It was cold outside and a wind was blowing. It took us a half hour to follow the sidewalks leading to our highrise.

Upon our arrival at home, we decided that something to eat was in order. Fresh coffee was started and Jessica set about making a Hamburger Helper sort of meal. Fresh coffee was served long before two bowls of hot hamburger and noodles appeared upon our desks. We dug in with spoons to stuff ourselves in a short time.

At about midnight as usual was when I began my conversation with Mom. I had three days worth of digital images copied to a website called Shutterfly. It allows personal webpages to be constructed for free. I like the for free part. So, I started a personal webpage to display the myriads of images I took during my travels here and there. My conversations with Mom are demonstrated by the photo albums that I keep online. I like the online for free part.

Time passed quickly as did the conversation with my Mom. I told her about the new photo albums for viewing in her own time. I often keep her up longer than she wants simply by changing topics of interest. We talk about a lot of interesting topics and history that we remember.
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We're on a quest to re-establish stability in our lives after the fiery Aries Moon moved us into new territory. The Moon's shift into earthy Taurus at 8:32 am EDT reflects our need to slow down and find our center of gravity so we don't go flying off into the unknown. A rowdy Moon-Mars alignment releases stress while the Moon's conjunction with chatty Mercury prompts us to discuss our feelings. Nevertheless, it serves us well to keep things simple.

People seem shadier today, like they aren't disclosing everything that might concern you. It's not that you are paranoid, but you are curious about what's being conveniently dropped out of view. Unfortunately, asking questions won't help; your prodding will only make someone clam up even more. Your smartest strategy is simple now: live your life from the inside out. Rather than basing your wellbeing on anyone else, seek emotional security within and let others go through their motions. Whatever you need to know will be revealed in due time.

Today started off with a short sleep until waking up at 7:00 am. I took my 8:00 am pills only an hour early which is something I often do. I was all stuffed up with thick phlegm that didn’t want to move out of my breathing tubes. I felt like I was suffocating only because I couldn’t draw any breath. It took a long time to get over the feeling of being short winded.

I watched two movies while I typed out some blog material in order to catch up. I seem to have gotten myself into being a steady two days behind and struggling to remember just what happened. It is hard for me to remember things at the best of times. Still, I make something of a tale out of thin air. There are lots of stuffs I could be writing about instead of the innocent story telling.

The day passed by slowly until it was time for us to leave for Peter’s shrink appointment. We loaded up when we were prepared enough and made a good time to the shrink’s office. As usual, Peter had a good session with Dr. Spees with me as the main topic. My health was enough of a concern that Dr.Spees came outside to see me personally when Peter’s session had ended.

Dr. Spees is a handsome old man in his particular way. I like him and he is sincerely impressed with my abilities and capabilities. Anyways, he was standing outside the van’s door to see and talk to me. We were both happy to see each other. I showed him my latest work on a sketch of a house done with a mechanical pencil and .007 lead. The soft lead was difficult to make sharp lines with shading. He greatly admired the sketch after saying that I looked well when I was so shortly recovered after my tummy surgery. He didn’t spend more than a few minutes before disappearing back inside to see the next patient on his list.

On the way home Peter was rather short tongued about his session summary. He did say that they talked mostly about me, breathing, and a few other things. The way home was slow and we had to take a detour. It was even slow getting into our parking space. From there, we went for a short walk along the river. We were across from WallyWorld when the cold wind blew enough to discourage Peter from walking further. From there it was a short walk through the mall to home with supper.

Peter and I were able to sit down quickly at home and fill up with Tuesday Tenders. At the Independent store is a weekly menu with our favourite meal deal being Tuesday Tenders of deep fried and coated chicken pieces with spiced potatoe wedges for a total of $10.00 packed in two paper boxes. Peter always buys two Tuesday Tenders orders of four boxes for a sum of $20.00 even. It’s worth it, eh? Is there no tax on food?

Priorities. Sitting at a desk with an antique desktop computer can be very tiring. The ‘to-do’ list is long and the likelihood of it all being done is quite impossible.
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We prefer to keep our lives free of drama as much as possible while the reflective Moon visits bucolic Taurus. However, even the most casual relationships grow complicated when words miss the mark. A cavalier Mercury-Jupiter alignment seems like a cosmic invitation to exaggerate, but stretching the truth won't serve anyone's cause. Feelings deepen when the Sun and Moon both connect with passionate Pluto, requiring us to get real with one another.

A conversation with a friend can take you in a totally unexpected direction today. In fact, you may be touched by the fickle finger of fate when someone says something that acts like a catalyst and opens a new world of possibilities. But simply going along for a ride now is not on your agenda, even if you're being carried to a magical destination. Naturally, you want to have a hand in deciding your future. The manifestation of your dreams starts from within. Existentialist J.P. Sartre wrote, "We are our choices."

It was surprising that I went to sleep at 3:30 am and woke up at 7:00 am. I started a sort of cleanup on my desktop while watching a movie. It was very occupying for me to exercise my fingers with the little things at hand. I know it did much good for my desktop to get the needed attention I gave.

My mood of cleaning went much further than I thought it would. With a lot of help by Jessica, we cleaned and debugged the entire livingroom, dining area, kitchen, bathroom, and the two bedrooms. We took a couple of smoke breaks during the two hour expenditure of intense energy. Three desks, a LazyBoy love seat, a futon, and a queen sized bed were attacked vigorously. The results of our combined efforts was amazing and most satisfying in knowing that we were now happy with the condition of our home.

Did you know that you can work up a sweat at cleaning vigorously? Well,yes, you can do that or anything else for that matter. Any physical activity can be overdone to the point that sweat can appear in the most surprising places. I much prefer to sweat it out in a hot tub of soapy and sudsy water. The thing is that sweating is a good way to flush out lymphatic fluids laden with disease and waste materials. Go Lymph! Go!
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The ever-changing Moon dances into lighthearted Gemini at 8:15 am EDT like a kite flying in the spring breeze, signaling a loosening of personal and professional restraints. But the flighty Gemini New Moon at 3:44 pm carries a heavier burden with unrelenting Pluto and sobering Saturn in the picture. An uneasy Venus-Pluto square indicates expressing emotions can stir hurt feelings while an anxious Mercury-Saturn alignment delays satisfaction.

You can't wait to share your travel plans with others. Although it's fun to fantasize about your next adventure, you must get serious if you truly intend to turn your visions into reality. Rather than spinning wild stories based on your conjectures, start a productive dialogue. The curious Gemini New Moon sets up shop in your 9th House of Distant Horizons, inspiring you to reevaluate your long-term goals. Create a bucket list if you don't already have one. Life is short; do whatever is necessary to make your dreams come true.

Today started off at about 7:00 am and went along slowly. Peter had an appointment at about 10:00 am with a doctor at the Montfort Hospital. We prepared ourselves and left in plenty of time for the bus. Everything went along smoothly as usual until we made our way to the elevator to the second floor of the transit line. With no elevator, there was no way to get to the bus we needed. Any detour would make us too late to keep the appointment.

Peter came up with an alternative plan to get to the Montfort Hospital. Peter was always good at arranging things and for years hadn’t been late or missed and appointment. This time was merely an inconvenience. So we returned back to the apartment for my set of keys. From there we had an hour of time to wait until we were to leave again for the second time to get to the Montfort Hospital.

We departed our apartment in good time to keep the appointment at the Montfort Hospital. The van was in sound mechanical condition and we had a half full tank of gas. The drive there was as usual without any traffic difficulties. Peter made it to the Montfort Hospital in plenty of time to keep his Thrombosis appointment.

Peter was occupied at his appointment for an hour and a half. I waited in a lot of a small strip mall about two blocks away from the hospital. I sketched away without worrying about time because Peter was going to phone me when it was time to pick him up. It actually worked out well because I started moving the van about ten minutes before Peter’s cellphone call.

I picked up Peter who had walked out the front entrance as I pulled up and parked at the main entrance of the hospital. Peter had no trouble loading up his electric wheelchair into the van. Once that was done and Peter had buckled himself into the front seat, we slowly drove away. We went a few blocks when Peter had the bright idea of going for a poutine at the chip wagon located on Russell Road. I seconded the idea and off we went in that general direction.

The chip wagon was up on blocks in the same location as it had been for years. It had been in business selling the same menu of excellent foods as other local locations. The owner and operator of the chip wagon is a good friend of mine. I made an HO scale model of her chip wagon for which she gave us free orders of poutine. I was happy she was pleased by the scale model and didn’t need a free order of poutine to mark her happiness that I could plainly see. That was the reward I was looking for.

There were eight men standing around in a line to place their orders at the open window to the chip wagon. I thought it would take a long time to place and make those orders. Simple fact was that the line kept moving along until all eight orders were placed and made in less than fifteen minutes. It was a fast rate by any standard. As far as standards go, the orders were crafted with a consistent, competent, and complete professionalism. That was what kept the customers returning time after time for their orders of sustaining food.

We waited for the men to be served while we ate our own orders of deliciously filling poutine. Then, I moved the van from across the parkinglot to stop beside the chip wagon. I got out and slowly walked to the window as if to place and order, A young girl was standing there, bent down to hear my oral growl with a sore throat asking where the owner of the chip wagon was. She just happened to be out back. I walked around the chip wagon to see the owner duck back inside the chip wagon. So, I walked over to the back door where a little black curly dog was circling. The owner appeared beside the little dog, mouthing cooing sounds and repeating commands to sit and stay.

The owner and I began talking excitedly to each other. She was happy to see me and I wasn’t going to leave without talking to her personally. She asked me how I was doing. In as brief a summary as possible, I began telling what I had been doing for the past two years. I told her that I had been fighting pneumonia for the past year and a half. I still sketched, wrote, and built things with balsa wood. I also had cataract surgery on my eyes and a hernia on my belly button. She frowned as all she could do to express her concern as she voiced an encouraging salutation.

We talked a bit more before I started to sway as I stood still. I said that I had to go and that I would be back. She laughed and agreed with me. I turned and walked back to the van. I waved as I drove away, filled with the owner’s smile, her waving, and the superb poutine. I will be back, eh?

We drove home by about 3:30 pm. It was a nice drive to the underground parking space we have had for the past four years. It is hard to believe that we have been in the same place for the past four years. Still, it is a nice thing to think about as memories keep being added to my storybook.


***************

Written by:
SONIA SIMONE | June 29, 2016 |

The 7 Things Writers Need to Make a Living

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classic traits of well-paid writers

If you’re a writer, you might have heard this most of your life:

People don’t make a living writing. You should find something practical to do with your life.

Smart, capable writers grimly pass around war stories on Facebook. Penny-a-word assignments, clients who don’t pay, disdain for our craft, and disrespect for our profession.

And yet, look around at this digital world so many of us spend our lives in — it’s made of words. The technology to produce digital content exists because we create words worth sharing.

Text, video, audio — it all needs great writing if it’s going to be worth spending our time on.

If writing is your profession and your passion, you can accept crap assignments for crap money and crap treatment.

Or, you can choose something better. Because there is something better.

In the time I’ve been writing professionally, I’ve noticed some necessary traits, abilities, and strengths that make the difference between life as a well-paid writer and life as someone who likes to write but can’t seem to get paid for it.

Here are seven of the most important.

#1: Love

This might seem squishy, but if you’re meant to be a writer, you know what I mean.

There is no substitute for the love of writing. For the passion of getting the words right: the head-scratching and the pacing around the house and the endless drafts that aren’t quite right yet.

If you don’t love language and your topic and the act of putting words together, none of the rest of this really means anything.

I could have just as easily used Compulsion, Obsession, or Bullheadedness for this section. Whichever word you choose, it’s about refusing to settle for weak writing, because the words matter.

#2: An attitude of service

Writing for self-expression can be high art, pursued for the sake of your own experience of truth and beauty.

As soon as money changes hands, though, the audience — the reader, listener, or viewer — becomes the focus.

Professional writers work from an attitude of serving their audiences. Serving them with truthful, beautiful words, yes. But also with language that meets their needs, language that clarifies rather than prettifies.

Novelists, copywriters, and content marketers all live in service to our audiences. No matter how clever or perfectly poetic we may find a phrase, if it doesn’t serve the audience, it goes.

#3: Confidence

It’s always struck me as odd that many of the most capable writers are also some of the most insecure.

But it doesn’t need to be that way. Confidence comes from putting the work in to become a genuinely authoritative expert. It comes from research, craftsmanship, and seeing the difference you make to your audience.

Serious craftspeople are humble and proud at the same time.

The pride and confidence come from hours of deliberate practice — the kind of work that expands your abilities and challenges you to grow. The humility comes from the knowledge that a true pro is always improving, expanding, and refining.

#4: Training

Many writers imagine that if you have a good writing voice and a strong opinion about the serial comma, you’re qualified to work as a professional copywriter.

Not so fast.

Great copywriters and content marketers are fine wordsmiths, but they’re also strategists. They understand what types of content work to attract attention, to stand out amid the sea of content clutter, to motivate buying behavior, and to help the audience make the journey from interested bystander to loyal customer.

Solid content and copywriting strategy come from training (and practice). You can get a lot of that training right here at Copyblogger, of course.

And for writers who are serious about professionalism, we have a course designed to train you about the craft of professional content creation. (The “art” is up to your talent and abilities.)

#5: Discipline

You may be a brilliant wordsmith and master strategist, but if you don’t devote yourself to the butt-in-chair time needed to produce a significant quantity of work, you won’t get where you want to go.

To a great degree, discipline is a set of habits that can be cultivated. As a writer, you can string together rituals, create the right work environment, and adopt the behaviors of productive writers.

As a working writer, you also need to throw in a set of habits that will ensure that you meet your deadlines, keep clients updated, and invoice your clients promptly.

If you care enough, you’ll do it. The habits can be difficult to put into place, but fortunately, once they’re in place, they tend to keep you on the right track. (That’s the difference between habits and will power.)

#6: The willingness to become a marketer

There is some money in writing fiction. (For the lucky few, there’s a great deal of money. Emphasis on few.)

There’s also still a little bit of money in journalism and feature writing, especially if you have excellent contacts.

But for the most part, if you want to make a living as a writer, the fastest, most enjoyable way to do that is to write content for businesses that want to find more customers.

It’s interesting, lucrative, very much in demand, and it will get you researching and investigating as many different topics as you like.

You might think that this kind of writing is boring to do. Far from it. Creating really good content (as opposed to the mass of junk that makes up 95 percent of web copy) will call on your skills as a storyteller, investigator, wordsmith, and historian.

A well-qualified content marketer needs all the skills of a great feature or fiction writer — combined with solid marketing strategy.

You also, of course, need to get comfortable marketing yourself. This can be surprisingly tough even for writers who create superb marketing for their clients.

“Create a bunch of content and hope someone wants to do business with you” won’t work for your writing business any more than it will for your clients’. You need to apply the same strategies and frameworks to your own business that you do to theirs.

If this doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t let that worry you. It doesn’t come naturally to a lot of good writers. But it’s something that’s well within your ability to learn. And we have some resources that can help.

#7: Support

One of the tough things about living as a professional writer is that the path you walk is one you make yourself.

There’s no one to tell you which direction to go, no one to give you sign posts along the way, and no one to outline your day for you and tell you where you need to be and when.

That’s also one of the fantastic things about living as a professional writer. But sometimes Fantastic is also Difficult.

Writing is a lonely business. And it can be just a little lonelier when you don’t have colleagues to bounce questions off of or share your gripes and triumphs with.

When you do find a community of writers, though, it’s a lovely thing. They’re some of the most funny, smart, and quirky people you’ll ever meet. And it just feels good to hang out with people who get you.

(Because your friends and family actually do think you’re sort of a weirdo.)

Where to find professional writers and content marketers

If you need a talented, passionate, skilled writer with terrific knowledge of marketing strategy, our Copyblogger Certified Content Marketers are ready to help with your projects.

You can find a complete list of them here: Certified Content Marketers.

Or, are you a writer who wants to become a professional content marketer?

For you, we’d recommend participating in our Certified Content Marketer training program. It’s usually closed, but we’ll reopen it soon for a short time to invite a new group of students inside.

We’d love to see you there. Add your email below and we’ll let you know when we’re enrolling a new group of writers.

Find out when our Certified Content Marketer training program reopens:

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