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Starting Fresh

Photo credit to Jessica Jack Wyrick

Photo credit to Jessica Jack Wyrick

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Last weekend, I came across the Mary Oliver poem that included that line, and it’s stuck with me. Since then, I’ve been hustling my freelance game harder than ever before. As a result, I’m calling September The Month of Just Doing It. So far, I’ve pitched two national publications and one regional one. I’ve requested an update from a private client, and scheduled an interview.

Even though I haven’t been blogging, I’ve been writing more than ever before on many of the same topics. Here’s a handy list of life updates:

  • I still love cocktails. My dream of writing for mental_floss has been a reality for almost a year, and my editor’s help in finding my voice in science writing has been invaluable. Read those posts here.
  • I’m exercising regularly. Not all of the written entries have been posted yet, but having Chris Conn as my personal trainer at Omega Life Fitness has pushed me to a new level of fitness. On to the next goal.
  • Rejection is OK. I’ve already had a pitch rejected from one national publication, but immediately pitched another. If my motivation to keep moving, working, failing and learning ever stops, I’m finished as a freelancer. For The Month of Just Doing It, I will continue to research and pitch new stories, even if they fail. I also entered a cocktail competition earlier this year and made it to the finals. I didn’t win, but did learn a lot from the process itself.
  • I’m engaged. Even before I was engaged, I was writing for Love Inc., a wedding publication dedicated to all love — equally. I’ve written about buying a wedding dress, getting engaged (in that order), and various industry trends.
  • I don’t like new things. As a writer, being change-averse is both silly and counter-productive. Without experiencing new things, you can’t develop new material for any medium. This weekend, Adam and I went to a marksmanship clinic. It was a new and thoroughly frustrating experience, but I can now hit a target with a damn fine grouping at 100 yds, and am a passable shot up to 400 yds. This winter, I’ll go hunting with Adam for the first time.
  • Bartending is still awesome. Writing and bartending are two of my passions, and getting to pursue them both concurrently is amazing. But both take hustle, hard work and energy. Over the next few months, I’ll be ramping up my networking on both fronts to see how I can move them forward.

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How to change your form

After attending a running form clinic, I was informed that I was “caught in the marathon shuffle.” My knees weren’t driving forward much at all, and the rest of my body was compensating. As a result, I burn more energy than necessary and am not building strength or endurance effectively. The report from the clinic also outlined ways to start changing my stride, and I found that many items were applicable in both running and writing.

  • One step at a time. It’s difficult to focus on more than one thing at a time while you’re running, so consciously work to change one aspect of your form at a time. For writing, choose one stylistic element to tweak whether it’s your diction, syntax or grammar. The tiny changes will add up.
  • Be mindful. Your body and writing won’t stand up well to abuse. Work towards change; don’t try to force it all at once. You’re liable to get burned out and/or injured.
  • Research experts’ advice. Just like in writing, you have to research authors’ credentials and backgrounds. Their information will inform how you treat your body or body of work, so choose and implement information only from trusted sources.
  • Don’t fight it. Yes, you’re trying to change ingrained behavior patterns. No, it’s not going to be particularly easy. Change happens, and with some direction on your part, it can ensure better results.
  • Uncomfortable is normal, overwhelming pain is not. Running through minor pain and cramping is par for the course. If the pain gets unbearable or overwhelming, slow down. You’ll be out of the game longer with a compound injury than you would if you slow your training. Likewise, writing in new areas can expand your boundaries as an author, but if an article topic makes you downright uncomfortable, it might not be a good fit. Your emotional health is more important.

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Filed under BlogLikeCrazy, See Clair Run, See Clair Write