June 30, 2011

I'll be back. . . maybe

The people with the most to say online today are the ones who have time to say it, had enough sleep, and aren't too stressed to bloviate.

I was once one of those people.

Now I am not.

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June 29, 2011

I'll Remember Me When I'm Famous

Well, if the e-mail is to believed, I should have a payment of $10.77 going into my bank account tomorrow for Amazon Kindle book royalties. I won't be getting rich any time soon, or ever, but at least I can say I'm making money as a book author.

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June 22, 2011

Zoey Smiles

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June 20, 2011

Feelings

Ryan: Do you feel nostalgic being back in your old office?

Caroline: It feels strange

Ryan: Like putting on a used condom?

Caroline: I wouldn't know that feeling. But perhaps

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June 14, 2011

The Fog

A certain former blogger--a man who always made friends easily and never had a harsh word to say to anyone, ever, honest--made the following post on FaceBook recently:

"Wanted, Administrative Assistant, salary $2,000/month, must have at least ten years experience as president or vice president of Fortune 500 company (advanced degree a plus), Spanish fluency required, must be willing to work nights/weekends. To apply, please decode the following asymmetric key algorithm and go to the website indicated."

It was meant in jest, mostly, but it's really not that far off the mark. I consider myself a seasoned veteran of the online job hunting process--I know Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com better than I know my own blog--and it routinely astounds me how some of the job descriptions for even entry level positions require an education and skill set that reads like the side effect warnings that play at the end of boner pill commercials.

I mean, you'd think editing and writing job descriptions would be pretty straightforward, requiring things like "excellent English and grammar a must" and "experience with word processing applications necessary," but I'm regularly surprised how even some proofreading positions require experience with PhotoShop and video editing expertise. I've tinkered with PhotoShop once or twice, but I'm hardly well-versed, and my video editing experience is limited to the software that came with the Flip video camera I won back in 2009 (unless you consider making xTraNormal cartoons video editing, I mean).

I'm not necessarily worried about all the extra requirements, because they're so stringent and demanding only three people on the entire planet probably possess that kind of skill set, although I do, however, harbor a sneaking suspicion that the written word just isn't all that valued right now in the current world of Web speak and Internet comment threads and forums where misspellings and mangled grammar are tolerated to the point they're actually considered correct.

Still, I have enough freelance work coming in to convince me good, prolific writers are still valued, but in terms of an actual 9 - 5 desk writing/editing job, I've pretty much resigned myself to thinking they're more of a figment of my imagination than anything else anymore.

All of which brings me to this general feeling I've been picking up on over the last couple years or so. I've been reading and writing about the "Great Recession" and all the repercussions that have played out as a result, but there's something bigger going on out in the world than the news articles and reports can really convey.

When I'm out walking or driving, or meandering a strip mall, or if I'm just generally out and about, I swear I can almost feel a sense of despair permeating seemingly everything. It's almost as if a palpable cloud is hanging over everything even during the brightest, sunniest days. It's hard to describe, but the closest I can come is to explain it almost as a feeling of having given up, or about to give up.

I haven't given up, personally, mind you. As I said, I have so many freelance projects coming in right now I sometimes wonder if I'll be able to complete them all under deadline.

However, if my days were filled surfing job Web sites and sending resumes out into the digital ether for positions that have ridiculous qualifications 99.9999999999999999999999 percent of the world's population can't match, I'd feel a bit of despair and a creeping compulsion to just "give up," too, and I think there's a lot more of that going on in this economy than we'd generally like to admit.

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June 12, 2011

Amen

No Long Screeds

On the other end of the spectrum from the lolcats speak is the guy who apparently has hours to spare writing pages of response as the 200th comment to some blog post. There are people who have long things to say, and they do it by writing columns or writing in their own blogs. But if you canít get your column published and no one reads your blog, maybe youíre thinking youíll get exposure by putting the long screed in the comments section of something people actually will read.

Donít.

Sane people know that the only people who have hours to spend writing pages of text in a comments section are crazy people. And thatís why no will read what they write except other crazy people with way too much time on their hands. So keep it short. Pick one point, and write no more than a couple of sentences. Keeping it short also helps you police your crazy. Iíve seen comments where Iíve read the first paragraph and thought maybe the person was just a little over-enthusiastic, and then I started the second paragraph and realized, ďOh, this is a super crazy person.Ē So keep it pithy, and avoid the crazy.

Posted by Ryan at 09:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 09, 2011

A Writing Fool

You know, when I think back to the ruinously depressing, drawn out, never-ending days of January, I remember at some point pondering the very real concept of declaring bankruptcy, losing my house, having thugs dropping by to break and re-break my legs and then eventually living under an overpass for a few months before hopping the rails with a stick with a bag of worldly belongings tied to it slung over my shoulder.

Freelance writing work was, shall we say, somewhat sparse, and what work I did have coming in I barely had the emotional or mental energy to slog through. It's easy to forget how bleak things seemed back then, until I read through my archives from that time and all the crap comes crashing back over me in sick waves of remembrance.

But, you know what? I got through it. WE got through it. That's not to say things are necessarily easy, but they are EASIER. And, they're harder, but in a good way.

Anyway, back in January I had, shall we say, serious doubts about my life as a freelance writer. December had been a financially AWESOME month, with freelance checks coming in like ka-ching from the gods. Then things came to an abrupt, screeching halt, for reasons that should be pretty obvious to people who were reading my blog at the time.

Freelance writing is a feast or famine endeavor, of course, but knowing that never adequately prepares you for the famine dips in the cycle.

If somebody had told me back in January that, come June, I'd have more freelance writing work on my plate than I could possibly fathom, I would not have believed that somebody, and I probably would have given that somebody a good cock punching, because I wanted to punch so many people in the cock back then.

But, here it is, June 9, and I really do have more freelance writing projects coming in right now than I ever thought possible. I've written more freelance articles in the last 30 days than I wrote all the rest of this year, and things are looking pretty rosy for the next few months as well. I'm astounded, quite frankly, but I'm also extraordinarily grateful.

Now I just need the rest of the scattered components of my life to come rolling back into place, and things could really start to look promising.

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June 07, 2011

Brotherly Love, or at Least Tolerance

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Still Selling

Yes, my Kindle download book is still selling like hotcakes on Amazon.

Okay, maybe not like hotcakes. But I'm still surprised at 22 downloads in two months, to be perfectly honest.

Posted by Ryan at 02:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 03, 2011

Fatherhood

Fatherhood is facing your deepest fears, most embarrassing anecdotes, worst nightmares. . . and having kids regardless so your kids can experience everything opposite.

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June 01, 2011

Holding Pattern

This last month has entailed a lot of monotony. We can't really go anywhere or do anything all that interesting because Zoey just requires too much constant attention and she doesn't handle changes to her routine, such as it is, very well at all.

Days primarily consist of me working on freelance writing projects in the basement while my wife tries to keep family life together upstairs. It can be tough working in the basement when I can hear my toddler son running around and chanting "Dah-dee! Dah-dee!" It's like trying to concentrate while my heart strings are being manipulated like a marionette through the basement ceiling.

Thankfully, the freelance feast and famine cycle is currently in feast mode. I literally have more projects on my plate than I can sometimes keep straight in my head, but that's hardly a complaint. Still, I'm keeping my eye out for standard full-time employment gigs just to enjoy some semblance of security and routine again, even though during the feast freelance times I actually make more money than at any job I've ever held. The famine times, obviously, are a different story. Hence the need for a bit more employment stability.

The NICU months are gradually fading from my mind. Not disappearing, since they'll never do that, but the finer details are starting to jettison like sparks from a campfire. In particular, the sounds like the alert beeps and alarms are strangely forgotten, although I could hear one right now and feel my heart rate tick up a couple of beats a minute. I still conjure them in my dreams from time to time.

If I really wanted to torture myself, I suppose I could make the alarm sound my cell phone ringtone.

Posted by Ryan at 09:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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