I Fell Down a Hole

I have always considered myself an organized and responsible person. In college I never missed an assignment or flunked a test. After graduation, I worked diligently until I found a job and had a steady income. Nowadays, I rarely miss work deadlines, show up at least five minutes early to everything, and never run out of clean underwear.

I have also always believed that life is all about balance. No one can be organized and regimented all the time, me included. I am very responsible when it comes to work, exercise, and other household chores, but I am definitely not organized when it comes to my hobbies.

When it comes to my main hobbies, like reading, writing, crocheting, and horror movies, there is absolutely no gray zone. I swing between being completely obsessed with a book or project for days at a time and having zero interest in even thinking about it.

I recently came up with a name for my habit. I call it falling down a hole. giphy
A few weeks ago I was sitting with my coworkers outside, enjoying the sunshine and talking about books. We were talking about our favorite genres and, of course, I brought up my obsession with scary stories.

My coworkers, Stephen and Meredith, said that they had read some Stephen King, but can’t read a whole lot of his work. For every book of his they read, they have to read something light-hearted to “recover.”

In my entire life, I’ve never had to do that. When I finish a scary story, I don’t try to find some way to escape from my terror, I revel in it. I finish a scary story and then immediately search out the next scary story I can find. I can’t get enough. I need more, more, more. A few years ago I read my first novel by Jack Ketchum. It was gruesome and terrifying and stomach-turning and I immediately wanted more.

Can’t stop, won’t stop. That’s basically my policy when it comes to my hobbies.
Well, it is until the switch in my brain is suddenly flipped off and I lose all interest. And when I say a switch if flipping, I’m being very serious. It’s not a gradual thing. I put something down and then just don’t pick it up for months and months.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll finish a book if I start it and if I’m crocheting something for a friend I’ll always finish it. But if it’s something I’m just goofing around with then there’s a good chance I’ll put it on a shelf and just forget about it. I have so many partially finished novels and crochet projects just laying around.

You’d think for being the most organized person in my office I’d be more organized when it comes to my own hobbies, but nope! Apparently all of the energy I use to stay on track I use at work.

Fuck everything else in my life I guess.

-EMS

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Cutting out the Middleman

After many infuriating hours of trying to jog my memory, I finally remembered what I wanted to write about. Note to self: in the future, write my ideas down. Just taking a second to jot this down would have saved me hours of frustration. What I wanted to write about was how spectacular it is that sites like Paypal, Ko-Fi, Patreon, and Kickstarter exist.

Recently, I’ve been trying to find easy ways to put a few extra dollars in my pocket. I have a full time job with decent pay, but having some extra money to throw at my student loans would be very, very nice. I’ve looked into freelance writing and other flexible online jobs, but I’ve been having an incredibly hard time getting hired. I’m sure thousands of people, in similar situations, are applying for these positions and it’s so hard to sell yourself over email. So what’s a woman with some debt to pay to do?

I know I have talent, but how can I make money from it if I can’t convince big companies to hire me? Well, the answer is easy. Skip the big companies and go right to the consumers.

I’ll admit the internet has it’s problems. It’s my primary source of procrastination. I waste a ton of time mindlessly scrolling through Tumblr and Twitter, time I could be using to actually improve my life.  On the other hand, the internet has created a whole new way to make money from art. It’s cut out the middleman by giving artists, writers, and other creative people the ability to let their work speak for themselves.

So before I jump into this, let me just clear something up. I define art as anything that is creative. Therefore, despite what a lot of people think, to me the term artist includes painters, sketchers, writers, dancers, musicians, poets, and basically everyone who creates things to make people feel something. I consider myself an artist, despite the fact that I do not paint or draw or sculpt. I am an artist who works with words and yarn, sometimes at the same time.

Anyway, before the internet, only a few very lucky artists could live off of their work. An artist would not only have to be talented and hardworking to make money, they would also have to be in the right place at the right time to find their audience. Now, with the invention of the internet, the world is a much, much smaller place. My work might be very niche, but now, using the internet, I can find that niche even if it’s on another continent.

Now I’m not going to lie, finding a freelance writing job would be much, much easier.in terms of making quick money. Making money online takes a lot of hard work, but at least my work would get to speak for itself. I can say on a resume that I am a good writer, but a person would actually have to read my work before they would really believe that.

So, I guess I need to think about where to start? I’ve been working on opening an Etsy shop, so should I also look into selling my writing skills? Looking at my student loans, maybe that’s not such a bad plan.

-EMS

 

What will I regret in 2018?

Remember when we used to be timely with our posts, Daniel? I used to write my post Thursday morning, carefully proof read it, and then schedule it to post early Friday morning. Now, I’m lucky to have the post done by the middle of the day on Friday. Eventually, I’ll be routinely posting Friday night at 11:59 p.m.

Anyway, I enjoyed your post about your plan for 2017. I’ve also never been much of a New Year’s resolution person because why wait until January to start a new goal? I also feel like calling a goal a New Year’s resolution just sets you up for failure. How many people do you know who’ve actually followed through with their resolution? I can’t think of a single person in my life.

However, I do have some things I want to accomplish this year, but I don’t want to call them resolutions. Resolutions are something to give up on. Instead, I’ll think of it the way you did, Daniel. At this time next year, what will I regret not doing?

Well, for one, I finally want to write a novel. I have so many half-finished novels lying around and, this year, I want to finish one. This has literally been a goal of mine since I was 15 and I regret not doing it every single year.

I also want to look into self-publishing my novel. I’ve wanted to write books since I was little and now there are so many opportunities for me to do so without the struggle of finding a big name publisher.

I want to open an Etsy shop for my crochet pieces. Everytime I crochet anything the first thing people ask me is “Do you sell anything on Etsy?” My answer has always been no and when they ask me why I don’t have a very good reason. I think I’m just nervous to put myself out there. Well, time for that to change.

I want to read more books. I already read a lot, but I feel like I don’t make it a priority in my life anymore. There are so many books I’ve been meaning to read and there’s no time like the present.

I want to run a half marathon. I’ve run 5ks, 12ks, and Triathlons. Time to step it up a notch.

I want to earn my beer server certification. Now, I know this one seems a little random, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I graduated college. There is a test online that I can take and become a licensed cicerone, which is like a sommelier for beer. Why the heck not? I know a ton about beer already? Why not make it official?

I want to be more aggressive with my freelancing. I’ve been wanting to start freelancing on the side for a long, long time and, much like my Etsy store, I’ve been nervous to put myself out there. Time to change that!

I want to teach myself calligraphy and hand lettering. I’ve always been attracted to words and  I want to turn my words into art. There are so many free tutorials online so there’s honestly nothing standing in my way.

It’s easy for things that you really want to do to end up on the back burner, isn’t it? Well time for that to change. 

-EMS

Well, I was thankful…

Well, I had a post about thankfulness that I planned to post today, but you thought that was too obvious a topic for the day after Thanksgiving. I apparently didn’t challenge myself enough so I’m going to write another post. Way to ruin it, Daniel. It’s Thanksgiving for god’s sake. I don’t want to spend time re-writing my post.

So what to write about if thankfulness is off the table? And if thankfulness if off the table, family, food, and Thanksgiving itself are probably also “too easy.” Hmmm, what’s on my mind on Thanksgiving?

Let’s write about crochet.

While we were sitting outside smoking cigars today you told me that my obsession with crochet was not surprising at all. You said that when I decided to start crocheting you were “negative 50 percent” surprised. Crochet is apparently a very “Emily” thing to do, just like collecting antique books and following art blogs that include photos of neatly organized things. To be honest, I never really thought of crochet as an Emily thing to do. It’s something I just enjoy doing, but I guess it does fit into my writer, bookworm aesthetic.

Then we started talking about why we like the things we like, which got me thinking about my crochet. Why do I like to crochet? What is it about crochet that makes it so addicting? When exactly did it transition from a hobby into part of my identity? And yes, it’s part of my identity. Nowadays when a friend finds something online that looks crocheted, it ends up on my Facebook timeline. I’ve accepted that I’m the “crafty” friend in my social circle.

So, why do I like crochet? Well, I like crochet because it’s something I can do with my hands. Have you ever met someone who likes to doodle while in a meeting? It’s the same thing. I usually crochet while I’m watching TV or listening to music. It gives me something to do with my hands while I’m supposed to be listening. However, unlike doodling, when you crochet you’re actually making something. You can’t give someone your doodles for Christmas. You can, however, give a crocheted scarf to someone for Christmas.

What about crochet makes it so addicting? It’s easy and it’s repetitive. Most crochet patterns are just that, patterns. You repeat the same combination of stitches over and over, making the process perfect for when you’re in a meeting or watching TV. You don’t really need to think about it. It’s easy, once you get the hang of it.

So, there you go. That’s why I like crochet. I like it because it’s easy, the end product is pretty cool, and it’s fun. And you know what, I’m thankful for crochet. There, my post ended on being thankful.

Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone.

-EMS