How I’m Handling the ‘Lock Down’

Image: KTSM.com

First of all, I’m not. I went out to WalMart today expecting something from a Stephen King book and it was pretty average. All the poultry was sold out from the meat department which intrigued me. I bought a pack of hamburgers and moved on with my life.

I have stuff already in the house and truth be told, I am not the kind of person that panics, ever. I did walk around a couple of stores not really sure what I was looking for but putting things in my cart when I found them. Like a first aid kit, Advil, and peanut butter. Sugar and coffee, too. I know what’s important!

It was strange to me the types of things that were still on shelves but then I remembered how many kids these days are allergic to peanuts and board games so it all kind of made sense.

As a die hard introvert, this whole ‘stay in your house ‘ thing is exciting for me. I mean, I don’t have to make up excuses why I don’t want to come outside.

“Um, Corona Virus, y’all… see ya in two weeks.”

I firmly believe that the media is a bastard when it comes to blowing stuff out of proportion. Telling us that Tom Hanks and his wife tested positive, people buying all the hand sanitizer just to resell it at black market value in other places. Yes, I get that it is a dangerous thing that can infect and hurt a lot of people. But I think freaking out over it and buying up all the supplies is a bit much.

I will say, though, that my living in an RV idea is looking more and more doable!

How are you handling the Coronavirus Outbreak?

Multiple Sources of Income

Hello, how are you? I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving and are getting ready for the upcoming end of year holidays. Today I wanted to talk about writing and the different avenues we can take to turn it into multiple sources of income. Also, how to stay steadfast in your commitment to yourself and not be ‘short changed’ by clients that don’t value your worth.

A short story

I acquired a freelance client via LinkedIn about a year ago. In retrospect, I landed him because I am a good editor/writer but also because I was first starting out and so I was cheap – dirt cheap. He would send me copyediting/copywriting projects and at first he had unrealistic expectations of how long it should take me (I was working a fulltime job as well then). I’d start, send him the project and my bill, and he would tell me he ‘sent it to someone else’ because I didn’t get back to him in time.

After a discussion about that, he said he liked my work and told me he was only going to work with me directly. I obliged – still charging my measly fee. After six months, he told me he needed more from me and even offered to pay more.

I thought about it. Why wouldn’t I accept more? If someone feels I am worthy of more money, then I certainly am (some writers and artists inherently undervalue their skills – I was one of them). So, he sent me two other projects that took two hours and I sent him my bill, at my new rate… and I told him how long it took. He emailed me back saying, “Two hours? Really?” I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad. I always put my hours and fee on the bill. Maybe he never looks at it… I have been cc’d on a couple emails when he tells someone else to send me a check.

Did I mess up? Did I blow it, so to speak?

No. It is important for people to know how long a job takes… they don’t have to know all the details, but if someone thinks it should only take twenty minutes to copyedit a five-page document, it is really up to me to let them know it takes a lot longer – especially if I am copyediting and copywriting the same document – these two copy jobs are not the same thing.

I got my check in the mail, but I haven’t heard anything else from that client.

Other ways to earn

I recently quit a well paying full-time job to pursue a few of my dreams. True I miscalculated my funds (and severance pay I was promised but never received) but over the last three weeks my stress has been at an all-time low and I am sleeping better.

I digress.

It is important to have more than one way to earn money. Besides a part-time day job and selling jewelry on Etsy, I write to earn my money. I pitched an idea to Roadtrippers Magazine and they accepted it on the first shot! Roadtrippers Magazine (online) is a great source for people who love to drive on the open road and visit wonderful, peculiar places rich in culture and history. That’s a big part of who I am, so I can see me having multiple articles on there once I get this first one finished. I have a deadline in a little less than two weeks and I am excited to submit my final, polished article. I just need to get back to the area I am writing about, snap a few pictures and get a short interview with a local. Stay tuned for the article link.

Protip about Roadtrippers: make sure there isn’t already an article about the place you want to write about. They have a ton of places that are open for a pitch if you search the website.

More avenues

There are always many places to find freelance work. If you are trying to build a portfolio, look into a local newspaper or even friends and relatives that might need something written on a blog or website. In my opinion, I try to stay away from sites like Fiverr and Upwork. LinkedIn and BloggingPro are better for legitimate freelance jobs. I’m not saying the former two are horrible, but if you’re starting out, gigs on there are a lot of work for a few pennies and it can be tempting to get sucked into thankless work like that just to make a few bucks. I made the mistake of accepting a job once and the person was not 100% forthcoming. She wanted me to write thirty-three greeting card verses for what came out to eleven cents each. Um… no thanks.

So, if you are looking for ways to make money between writing novels look into various forms of freelance writing. LinkedIn is one of the best places to find jobs. But there are many others.

Where do you find your writing gigs?

Clearing the Wreckage of my Past

Good afternoon. My name is Darlene and I am an alcoholic, addict, bonafide do anything that feels good until it almost kills me human being. I haven’t had a drink or a drug since 2006. Doing other feel-good stuff however (eating, over spending, etc) I have partaken in and it is time to quit that shit.

©2019, Darlene A. McGarrity

One of the things I had to do to get where I am today is “clear the wreckage of my past.” Now, this is a term used in treatment programs and it began in AA. And while it is mostly used in twelve step programs, I have to say that it can do wonders for anyone who feels stuck in the molasses of life.

I have cleared the wreckage of my past a few times… Taking a personal inventory is not a one time thing. It’s kind of like a tub drain. It gets clogged from the daily debris and muck of life and then it starts to slow down and before you know it, there is a clog. Clear the clog and the drain is flowing smooth and free.

Ain’t no arguing with the truth when you spin it in an honest way.

That’s how it is in life. All that crap we hold onto clogs our judgment, thinking, and decisions until we find ourselves in places we don’t belong with people we shouldn’t be with doing things we swore we’d never do.

In 2005, I tried to get clean and sober but refused to take responsibility for anything in my life. Finger pointing still kills me every time. These days I don’t drink over it, but I do feel shitty when I don’t look at my life honestly and decide to blame other people for my shit.

Even this morning, this lady in traffic pissed me off but then after my self-checking honesty I said, “Darlene, you’d be fine if you had left the house on time.” Ain’t no arguing with the truth when you spin it in an honest way. Did I want to be the one to blame? Hell no. But I was and after I admitted my wrongs, I felt way different after I got over my bruised ego.

When I take a look at the shit I have been through and any shit I am currently experiencing, I can absolutely see a correlation with past events if I am honest about it. There are a few gurus I have listened to and read that have helped me with his process.

Some people call me a pretentious, self-righteous bitch. And I am totally cool with that. We can only reach the people the way they are listening. I was that person a long time ago and once in a while I still am that person. A lot of times I want to write something and then I have to rethink it. “Am I speaking from my heart or my ego?” I do speak from my ego sometimes… we all do.

So, every day I try to figure out what is going on with me and live my best life. There is no substitute for rigorous self-honesty. There just isn’t. It is the one thing that will transport you to every next level of your life. So far it has done wonders for me. I am not saying that I am like Deepak Chopra or The Dali Lama and forgive everyone immediately or that I am all peace, sunshine and flowers all the time… hell no.

Peace and Love.

Don’t Panic

Don’t panic. If you’ve ever read Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you know all about that awesome catch phrase. Besides awesome works of fiction, it applies to any humans’ daily life as well.

Today I was driving to work and as I neared my destination (I was about ten minutes away) I felt this excruciating burning on my back. What the hell? I had to think about it for a second. Then it went away, and I kept driving. Then it came back. Holy shit, what the hell is that?! I knew what it was, but I couldn’t figure out how it got to my back. Then I realized all four of my windows were down (my AC doesn’t work) and the culprit must have gotten sucked into the cab of my truck.

Bee sting. Ouch.

Once I figured out it had to be a bee, I took deep, intentional breaths and found a spot to pull over (church parking lot). I was moving faster now as it was burning like hell. I threw the truck in park, hopped out, ran around the side away from the traffic and tore my shirt off over my head. I shook my stripped clothing vigorously and spotted the bee.

“Mr. Bee, why?” I asked as he fell to the ground. He didn’t answer but I knew that it didn’t matter why, it just mattered that I managed to not panic and was able to pull over and get my situation back to normal (without causing an accident) before I continued to work. When I got there, one of my female coworkers was in the office and I asked her to go in the bathroom with me and see if there was a stinger in my back. She looked and there wasn’t. Just a giant, red welt.

Okay, I can deal with that. I took some Advil, made my green tea and got on with my day.

So, why am I telling you this weird story about a bee sting and not panicking? Because when we panic, shit gets effed up. I mean, what if I had panicked and drove into oncoming traffic? Or hopped out of my moving car? I’m not sure that it is human nature to panic or of we just tell ourselves that because we’re expected to panic.

No matter what happens: don’t panic.

In my new book, I am writing about a carnival that comes to a small Pennsylvania coal town and a local waitress disappears during this time. Are they related? You’ll have to read the book to find out. But in writing my female lead, she is also the type of person who doesn’t panic – other people in my books panic, but my female leads don’t. I tend to like people who don’t panic…

Do you tend to panic or remain calm in high stress situations?

June 2019 – It Will Be Here

That’s right! Finally, after much anticipation, procrastination and wonder… Consequences is set to be released via Amazon on June 13, 2019! This book is so near and dear to my heart. I love every character in it (even the meanies) and was sad it had to end.

This story is about a young girl who has been relegated to a youth house. Despite her mother’s pleas to stick it out with a promise that ‘things will get better,’ Rose decides one day that she’s had enough and runs away. Trouble seems to follow her to a little Pennsylvania coal town despite her rationale that life is sure to be better now that she is somewhere new. I’d love to tell you more but you’ll have to read the book. ❤

Here is the preorder link: Consequences – Kindle Version

So, what’s next? The Ashes We Bury! Yes. This story is a little more creepy than what I normally write out loud. 😉 It involves clowns, carnivals, mine fires, a small town diner (of course!), and murder.

Also, I am now freelancing. I plan on making this a regular gig, but as with any new business venture, I am looking for clients. I mostly do copy editing and article writing. I also proofread and look over existing websites to see if your prose and message is clear and interesting. If not, I can show you how to use keywords and short bursts of vital info to keep people interested.

That’s all for now. Take care and have an amazing Tuesday!

Blessed Be. ❤

Rock Metal Scissors

Unofficial Rock Metal Scissors Logo

I love music. Have since I was a wee crying baby in a crib and my grandmother couldn’t take it anymore. The closest thing she could find was a little music box that played ‘London Bridge.’ She tossed it in next to me and whaddaya know? I zipped my lips. I’m still that way. If you want to shut me up, turn up the music.

Since I got sober in 2006, I have done a lot of reading of certain texts like Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, One Day at a Time, etc. You get the idea. I have also thrown myself into numerous writing projects. It started with The Daily Woman, then I went on to write for Technorati, then Rock On Philly, then Brutalism.com, then on and on. I now write this blog (damswriter), along with books and also for a website called Devil Inside Promotions. Around 2015, I started a website called Rock Metal Scissors. It was really just for fun. I had been writing about music since about 2008 and had built up a lot of connections through writing via other sites. I’m sure me branching out on my own had to do with someone pissing me off because I couldn’t write what I wanted to write.

They say that contrast causes us to act and thereby changes our lives. Isn’t that beautiful?

The Steel Onion was born and I was able to do what I loved! I wasn’t getting paid, but that was fine. I was having fun. The whole project was 100% self-supported financially but the more I said, The Steel Onion, the more people didn’t get it.

I need to change the name… after some meditation, I came up with ROCK METAL SCISSORS. I loved the way that sounded! I envisioned it as a household name in the music scene…

But, I let Rock Metal Scissors fall by the wayside for about a year. I had so much stuff going on – plus working a day job – that I couldn’t hang anymore. Some things I noticed while I took a break from writing about music:

I was prone to more fits of crankiness. I felt sad a lot more. I was hearing all this great stuff but what could I do about it? I was able to immerse myself in nature which was awesome and I also got to spend more time with my husband, which was doubly awesome.

Then I got an email that threw me right back in… A guy from a label was representing one of my favorite bands! Was I available for an album review and also… to cover a local show? Um, yeah! That was all it took for me to realize writing – writing about music – is a true passion of mine.

And now I am 100% serious about my writing. I have set up a Fiverr site, and am starting to pitch to sites all the while keeping up the work on Rock Metal Scissors.

Stay tuned for my next post about exhaling and going for it in the world of freelancing! And hey, go check out Rock Metal Scissors. 🙂

Peace and love to you all. ❤

Do You See What I See?

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2018 is about to say goodnight and that is just fine by me. It has been a topsy-turvy year for me and the hubs. I’m still at my day job but made a mental note and commitment to myself to be out of here by June 2019. My hubster is still doing great over at Time Spiral Tattoo Studio in Quakertown. I know it is still two weeks before it is officially 2019, but I just wanted to go over a few things.

a) Don’t give up on your dreams. This year I finally decided to self-publish my books and while I am still not generating sales, I feel good about my choice. The future is in the eye of the beholder. Most people who try to talk you out of things only do so because they lack the courage to go for it in their own lives. Surround yourself with formidable people who want the best for you.

b) It is so okay to say NO. Make a commitment to yourself to be your own best friend and do what is best for you. Say no once in a while. Say no as much as it calms your soul. We weren’t put on this earth to work at soul-crushing jobs, be around toxic people, or kill ourselves with addictions. Find out what your mind, body, and soul need and go after it. Get rid of any clutter that weighs you down.

c) You’re only as great as you think you are.  I studied so much this year about the Law of Attraction, self-love, and being in the moment and I have to say, it has been mind-blowing. I am still working on a few things, but I did happen to instantly manifest a couple things (a Judas Priest t-shirt once and also money). I have suffered from low self-esteem for most of my life and I learned this year that my poor self-image stemmed from caring too much about what other people think. I had to believe it for me.

My full-length novel Consequences will be out in 2019 and I am so excited for everyone to read it. I am still debating on a sequel but haven’t quite nailed that down. Maybe I’ll turn my latest project into something related to it. We’ll see.

And finally, people are buying Poetry through Recovery which is awesome.  I hope it helps anyone who reads it. Take care of yourself and remember to love yourself first!

*Peace*