In Sickness

I have been so lax this month in my #writeonehour a day. My family and I are still fighting a flu or cold or zombie virus that simply will not go away. Tomorrow will be fourteen days that my sons have been fighting and thirteen days for my husband and I. Luckily the kids are mostly over it and it’s just the hubs and I that remain in headache-stuffy-nose-hell. At any rate, I’ve attempted three days to login here and write and those three days I just could not do it. I logged in tonight, despite the flu fog and awful feeling because it reminds me so much of where I was about ten years ago or so.

Roughly ten years ago I bought a house. It was a foreclosure that literally sat in escrow for two years (no one believes me, but that’s the way it was back then). At any rate, when it finally closed, everything on paper said I could afford that house. Everything on paper said that my budget and the house meant that I’d be playing it very close, not much left over for savings, but that I could do it.

This turned out not to be the case.

I refused to get back into debt, a place I’d been in before as a result of a miserable relationship that had left me buying stuff to fill the void, rather than accepting the relationship had tanked and moving on. But I digress…

I had just gotten out of debt and gotten everything sorted and bought the house and now I was staring at going into debt again. Hell no. So I took a course. At the time it was called Man Vs. Debt, I don’t know if it still exists…hang on, I’ll check. Wow, yup, still there. It was absolutely terrific when I took it and I can’t imagine with ten years it could have gotten anything but better. If you’re struggling with debt I highly suggest it, you can find it here. (And no, I’m in no way affiliated with them).

So there I was taking this course that was literally teaching me how to take control of my financial life, I was learning stuff I’d never learned when I was growing up, wondering why they didn’t teach that shit in high school or sooner, and one of the things I needed to do was make more money. I did all the things the course recommended, which I won’t go into here as it’s not my place, and then I jumped ship (I kept taking the course, but I let my mind wander to other possibilities). I thought outside the box. I thought, I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life, launched a dog walking business in sixth grade, long before it was a thing, did a pet-sitting and plant watering business too, was babysitting from seventh grade through all of high school. I thought: what is something else I can do that won’t interfere with my job that can bring me income.

Obviously hooking was out of the question, illegal. (I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek here, but it’s to drive home the point that I literally looked at all possible avenues of income).

And what I found was this service that put people who write in touch with people who need things written. Not essays for rich college kids or anything sordid like that. This was a service, I can’t remember the name or I’d check to see if it’s still around, that allowed publishers to put up an ad that said something like:

300 words on Spam through the ages. Must use the following words: Hawaii, cooking, and delicious. Submission required within two hours of acceptance. Pays $0.80

So if you were a writer logged in to the site, you’d see the ad, decide you knew a hell of a lot about Spam, or could learn in less than two hours, and you’d take the gig. Then the timer would start. You had to do your research and submit your piece before the timer got to 0:00. If you failed, it gave you a black mark and you were no longer eligible for a certain tier of articles. If you succeeded the publisher got to grade your work. If you got a lot of good grades you moved up in tiers. This meant longer articles and more money. But we’re still talking pennies.

Everyday after work I would come home, open a bottle of beer, go into my room and search for articles to write. I told myself I had to work on writing for a minimum of one hour a day. More is fine, but less was unacceptable. And I gave myself two days off a week, any two days I wanted each week, but that was it. You figure if you only write five of these a week that’s maybe $10.00 If you’re lucky. It was usually less. So I wrote a lot of these horrible articles. And who knows where all they went. Cause you didn’t get any credit for them either. They’d be posted to someones blog or in a magazine and the actual author got zero cred.

But it was part of my plan to keep out of debt and it was part of my plan to keep myself writing. I figured even if I didn’t get the credit for it, I was still using my brain, using my fingers, using my talent (if it’s there, the jury is still out), and that was all important.

Since getting sick and being in a total brain fog and some days not even being able to get out of bed, it’s been all I can do to take care of the kids (my husband is a god but he, too, is sick; it’s been rough). So there have been three days this month that I have missed my #writeonehour, and seriously y’all, it’s kind of killing me.

I can’t decide what the rules would have been if I’d stipulated rules in the beginning. Would I have given myself two days off a week, like I did back then, like a job would do now? Would I have given myself the option of making up the lost hours somewhere else on another night? What stays most true to the purpose of #writeonehour ?

I think the answer is: I want to write one hour a day to get myself trained to sit down, focus, and write for one hour. After a year, maybe less, when the kids need me a little less at night, maybe that becomes two hours, maybe three. At some point, the idea is that I devote myself to this in a manner befitting a full-time or part-time mother and author. So if the goal is to get the training in, then I suspect it’s probably okay to miss a day here and there because I’m sick. Not okay to miss a day here or there because I don’t feel like it, or I’m tired, or any other ridiculous lazy excuse. But sickness…hell, I’d have called in to work sick with this, so why not call in to myself?

I don’t ever want to give up on my dreams, but maybe it’s okay to take a sick day off every now and again.

~~~That’s one hour~~~

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