a little bit of this, a little bit of that

Billy Joe, a porter in my apartment complex, often stops me as I am coming or going out of my building and tells me to “relax”, “take a break” and “slow down”. He is under the impression that I’m one of those people who is always on the go and incapable of sitting still for more than five minutes. I don’t have the heart to tell him he’s wrong. I don’t think he’d believe me anyway.

The truth is, there are certain things I always do and consistently fit into my schedule no matter what, almost to the point of compulsion. I always make time for the gym or a run. Even if it means waking up early on a Saturday, which I hate. I, with no exceptions, always make my bed first thing in the morning and wash my dishes immediately after eating. I never fail to get to Duane Reade before my toiletries are depleted. I keep to a regular schedule for, ahem, personal grooming. And I pay my bills religiously as they come in. Billy Joe always seems to catch me on my way to or from the gym or with a giant Duane Reade shopping bag hanging from my arm and just assumes I need downtime.

What he doesn’t know is that, despite having a great workout ethic and loving my moisturizing/conditioning products, there is an indention in my leather couch that looks a lot like my rear end because other errands slip through the cracks. Not because I’m too busy doing other things, but because they are apparently not important enough to get me off my couch and away from repeats of Beverly Hills 90210 on the television. Things like cleaning my apartment (beyond the aforementioned making of the bed/doing the dishes), printing out the pictures from my mom’s surprise party which took place almost two months ago, food shopping for the week, hanging the pictures that have been on the floor and leaning against my wall for a year and fixing the printer I received for my birthday two years ago (which never worked) take energy I cannot summon at the risk of missing a status update from a friend on Facebook, or lying around my apartment doing absolutely nothing. And don’t even get me started on laundry. I have a box full of watches with batteries that need replacing, bracelets with clasps that need repair and dresses I need to take to the tailor so the straps don’t fall to my elbows, but schlepping to the jewelry district (all the way across town) is much less appealing than curling up on my couch. As a result, I never wear a watch, my jewelry is limited to earrings and the straps of my dresses are usually sliding over my shoulders. Poor misguided Billy Jo. If he only knew.

I always thought people fell into one of two categories: those who do, and those who sit on their bums waiting to “do” another day. But I play for both teams in that regard. Not sure why I’m telling you this. Too lazy to hang my pictures or fix my printer, I guess!

great review of Just Friends With Benefits!

Just a little shameless self-promotion!

http://www.cribnoteskelly.com/1/post/2011/06/just-friends-with-benefits-book-review.html

let’s get personal!

Greetings from my weekly writer’s group.

I had a lot of difficulty coming up with a topic for this week’s blog. Truth is, I have trouble coming up with a blog topic every week. I tend to use the phrase “not a problem” often. For instance, if my boss asks if I can run a trademark scan, my response is “not a problem.”  If a friend comments that she’s running five minutes late to meet me for drinks, my response is usually, “not a problem.” But wracking my brain week after a week for blog topics, it’s a problem.

I used to write a personal blog. I’d post about my love life, dating adventures, family issues and just general musings about me, myself and I. (FYI these blogs have since been deleted so don’t bother trying to find them!) Since I never had trouble coming up with blog topics then, I assumed that when my website was up and running and it was time to post blogs in my capacity as an author, it would be a cinch. Every article I’d read about book promotion suggested blogging and I was excited to get started and assumed I’d enjoy it as much as I had enjoyed writing blogs before. I also knew that I’d have to tailor my posts to the subjects of writing, my book and other topics related thereto.  (“Thereto” – my paralegal-speak is haunting me from outside of the office!)

I’ve come to the conclusion that tailoring my posts to those related to writing is the problem.  I love to write.  But I don’t like to write about writing! It’s become a job and not in a good way since I’m not paid to do it – I’m also not convinced that most of the people reading my blogs are actually interested in writing except perhaps those who are writers too. And I get the best feedback in response to those posts of a more personal nature and let’s face it, I like feedback! I like engaging people with my words and fear some of my blogs are boring.

I know I’m trying to build my “brand” and as a writer, it is logical that I would write blogs about my writing and sometimes I will. At the same time, the feedback I’ve received on my book is often that it was completely relatable to “real women”. Many readers saw a bit of themselves in my main character and her circle of friends. Just like those who read my personal blog way back when would often comment that they related to this or that often felt the same way and had similar experiences – they appreciated my ability to express with ease what they often felt. I think that’s my strength- I am real. I am relatable. And I draw on personal experiences when writing my novels. What I often think is unique to me is actually shared by many. If you enjoyed my book, you’d probably like me. And if you like me, chances are you’d really enjoy my books. So, while I originally thought posting about writing, publishing etc was the way to go, I have changed my mind. I think if I can pique your interest in me personally, I’m more likely to entice you to buy my books and that, my friends, is the point. Well, that and actually enjoying the blogging process like I used to.

Now don’t get me wrong, I will not be posting about my love life, or my personal family issues. Nor will I write about the girl who stopped being my friend after I fell off a couch from too many vodka tonics. Those days are over. (Well, if I ever have a friend again who is that judgmental and prissy, I probably will post about it because she wouldn’t deserve my protection!)  The bottom line is, while I will no longer tear my hair out coming up with “appropriate” writing-related subjects on which to write, it won’t be the “Meredith Schorr – Uncut” journal either. Like Goldilocks searching for the perfect sized chair and bowl of porridge, I just have to find my happy medium between too dry and too juicy. I hope you’ll give me feedback along the way!

Until next time, have a good night!

I’m going mobile

You might have noticed that I haven’t blogged in a while. A couple of weeks ago, I was too busy getting ready for my vacation in Savannah to do much writing, and last week, while on my vacation, writing was not on the agenda. My vacation was fantastic.  I’d been really stressed at work and the week off was heavenly. Now I’m in the middle of my first week back in the office and it’s hellish. I was tempted to skip my Wednesday writer’s group to work late tonight, but as I mentioned in my last blog, I only skip for special occasions and work does not qualify unless I’m facing an urgent deadline. Also, I didn’t want to disappoint my many readers who have already suffered without a post for two weeks :).

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I enjoy writing on my Blackberry. For many reasons, I find it convenient. For one, the Blackberry is lightweight and takes up little space in my bag, making it easy to take everywhere, unlike a laptop. Additionally, I find the task of filling the small screen much less daunting than the large screen on my laptop. If you read Just Friends With Benefits, you’ll recall that the chapters are very brief. That corresponds to my writing style – I tend to write in short snippets/scenes and, with my Blackberry, I am able to compose the first draft of an entire scene while waiting on line at the Food Emporium.

Sadly, when I quit my last job, they made me return my Blackberry device and paralegals are not required to have Blackberries at my new firm.  I did not want to incur the cost of the unlimited plan without any reimbursement from my employer so I’ve gone without for the past four months.  Not having constant access to my work email hasn’t bothered me, but my desire to write has lessened due to the necessity to either write on my regular computer at home or the old fashioned way (pen and paper) on the road. I hate the duplicate effort of writing first on paper and then typing it again on my computer. And so I’ve stopped taking advantage of long lines to write in favor of reading or simply tapping my foot impatiently waiting for my turn (and sometimes cursing under my breath).

Since writing is my passion and favorite escape from “the real world”, this lack of desire concerned me, but since my second novel was already in revisions and I haven’t been writing much new material other than blogs, I initially decided to take my time deciding what to do until I was ready to start book #3. But I worried that I’d never be ready to write book #3 if I did not resolve the issue of writing on the road.

A friend suggested I buy a netbook since they are also lightweight and because he knew I wasn’t in a hurry to trade in my basic phone for a fancy one with apps. I considered the netbook option for a while, but couldn’t picture myself writing on a netbook while waiting on 2nd  Avenue for the M15 bus. The Blackberry was perfect and I missed mine terribly. Although it was the oldest version from the 1900s and I was teased by friends and strangers alike, the keys were the perfect size  for typing and I’d done some damn good writing on it.

So two weeks ago, I decided to join the rest of the modern world and upgrade my basic phone to a fancy device, except I chose the Droid over the Blackberry.  I wanted a physical keyboard in addition to the touch and my choices were limited.  I shopped around a bit and chose the Droid because the keyboard seemed easy to navigate and the screen was a nice size.

This is the first time I am using it to write more than a text message or quick email to a friend/Facebook status update and I regret to report that it kind of sucks. I am typing so slowly, making mistakes up the wazoo and I think I might have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I hope it is just a case of practice makes perfect because the contract is two years!

Some find my writing process – writing first drafts as emails to myself on a mobile device – odd. But it works for me. Or at least it did. I’d be curious whether anyone else does significant writing on a phone. If so, what device do you use and do you like it?  Also, do you have any other “odd” writing habits, for example, only writing standing up (I heard you can’t get pregnant that way), writing only during a full moon or writing naked?

Come on now, don’t be shy – we’re all friends here!