Podunk Meets Paradise

Musings from Central Idaho

We Have a Visitor!

Two of my four followers have commented to me, privately, “So now you do neither housework nor your blog?” Ouch. There’s no hiding the fact that I suffer from occasional but acute bouts of writer’s block, and I have an aversion to dusting. 

keep-calm-and-write

But my old pal Jackie the Journalist has offered to help crush the block and now makes her second appearance as Podunk Meets Paradise guest blogger.

Take it away, Jackie…

I’m a freelance writer. Most people don’t necessarily understand what that means – I often get asked if I’m writing a paper or working on a school project. I blame it on my youthful appearance and aversion to make up.

While I supplement my income by working in a restaurant a few nights a week, primarily my days are spent writing. And thinking of ideas and writing down those ideas and sending them to editors and researching new editors and places to send my work to. And interviewing people for articles I’ve booked and then transcribing those interviews. And lots of other things along the way.

It’s not the glamorous life some people think of – working all day in your pajamas. In fact, it’s a lot like any other job – except I’m my own boss. Here’s what I did today.

7:05 am: my alarm goes off. Normally I press snooze until 7:30 and then spend an hour reading emails and a few websites until I go to the gym at 8:30. However today I blissfully sleep until 8:30.

8:45-9:45: I meet with my trainer for our twice a week beating. I tell him I’m feeling a little under the weather (truthfully I am, but I’m hoping that he won’t make me run outside). He allows me to work on perfecting my biceps and we increase my weight on benchpress. I max out at 115 pounds. I’m pretty proud of myself and my arms feel like noodles.

10am: I’m back at home and looking at my to-do list. I reply to a few text messages, make a call regarding some housesitting we’re starting today, reply to a few emails and check a super-secret writing group I belong to on Facebook, make a cup of tea, do some dishes and read an article I had post in the local paper today to see if the copy editor screwed anything up. I also shower and pack my bag to go to the house.

Noon: I’m at the house we’re housesitting at and I make something to eat – throw a load in the laundry and sit down to write. At this point, I’ve written nothing productive or deadline-oriented yet. Just loads of emails. I belong to a Slow Food group and we’re all fighting about who’s going to host what event next. It’s a real time suck.

12:30: I finally am able to open a document and continue writing this 2,000 word feature on coffee roasters for a quarterly magazine. I’ve been working on it for about a month, interviewing eight coffee roasters, transcribing their interviews (some of which were nearly 50 minutes long – these guys seriously like talking about coffee) and putting the piece together. When I open the doc it’s sitting woefully at 288 words.

1:30: I’m about 1,300 words in and Hutch comes home to distract me with crappy Chinese takeout and a discussion about the rest of our day. He leaves in a whirlwind, I remove the leftovers from the table I’m working at, otherwise I’ll just eat them.

2:00: I continue writing the piece, taking a few moments here and there to check emails and make a few calls. I’ve got to set up a few interviews still this week and am also looking at assignments I’ve got coming up.

2:30: I call the bridal store where I’ve put down a deposit on a dress. I’m getting married in October and the longer I’ve looked at photos of the dress I ordered the more I dislike it. It’s been eating at me, and I also take this opportunity to peruse a few wedding websites for potential new dress options. When I call, the woman who helped me with the dress is unavailable. On vacation until Friday. ‘Isn’t there anything I can help you with?’ the woman who answered asks. I chicken out and hang up abruptly. I’m afraid of her answer. What if I’m stuck with this dress – will it be the end of the world? I’m obviously too big of a pansy to find out. Back to the article.

2:45: I change the laundry and go to the bathroom, realizing that I have brought my phone with me and have unconsciously started scrolling through Facebook while peeing. Too much information? Probably, but I realize I’m just putting off finishing this damn coffee article. Don’t worry, I washed my hands.

3:15: I finish the article and minimize it to read an article online about a couple who is refurbishing a French Chateau. I like to give articles I’ve written at least a 10 minute rest after I finish them before I give it a once over so that if feels a little fresh before I decide I like it and turn it in.

3:45: I write this blog post. Still not having turned the article in. Now my eyes will be super fresh.

4:00: I read the article, make a few minor changes and fire it off to my editor.

4:08: I’m back to this. On my task list for the rest of the day is transcribing an interview with someone from a band called the Bad Suns for a piece that’s due Friday, reading the free portion of a barrel oven book to prepare for an interview I’ve got tomorrow, meeting with a girlfriend who is also getting married and recently had second-guessed her dress to commiserate, and hopefully brainstorming some kick ass food pitches to fill up my August, which at this present moment only has three articles booked. Woof.

Due to my 5:30 meeting, I’ll probably wrap up with work around nine or so, watch a few episodes of Parenthood (don’t judge me) and fall asleep around 11.

Tomorrow will be more of the same.

How did you spend today?

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5 thoughts on “We Have a Visitor!

  1. Lurlynn Lumpkin on said:

    I think this is where someone is supposed to tell you how someday you’ll look back and realize that neither dusting nor work were as important as the time you spent with your family and friends enjoying nature, yada, yada, yada.
    There, I have said my motherly thing for the day and am now clocking out.

  2. Lurlynn Lumpkin on said:

    They better be waxed on the hour if I’m held accountable for the litter of dust-bunnies multiplying under my fridge as we speak!

  3. Hi Jackie,

    Nice guest post. It’s great to “meet” a fellow freelancer. Wow; you’re SO productive! From 288 to 1300 words in an hour–amazing. Pretty discouraging, too, I’m afraid. How can I compete with that? I wonder if my imaginary border collie that needs several walks a day is getting in the way of my writing.

    Cindy

    • Jackie on said:

      Hey Cindy!

      Nice to “meet” you too! To be fair, it helps when the article also contains tons of quotes – words I’ve already written through transcribing interviews – to bump up that word count quickly :).

      Trust me, I also have an imaginary dog that needs plenty of walks. And snacks. And episodes of the Walking Dead. Someone recently got me a magnet that said “I love deadlines. I love the sound they make as they go wooshing by”

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