Saturday, October 20, 2012

I Dreamed a Dream

Everyone has a dream, something they want, something they want to do, something they want to be different.  But let's be honest, most people's dreams don't come true.  They are just ideas that for a moment make you feel like something is possible.  You can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket.  If your dream is to be on Wheel of Fortune, Vanna White and Pat Sajack aren't just going to appear at your door and beg you to spin the wheel.

Whatever you're dream might be, you have to work at it.  It won't just fall in your lap.  Last night I was watching Charlie Rose interview J.K. Rowling and once again I realized how much I am failing at my attempt to be a writer. Yes, I write and some people think by doing that I should consider myself a writer, but I don't.  My dream is to get a book I wrote published and until that happens I don't consider myself a writer.

The three Ds of writing are desire, determination and discipline. And actually you can say you need those three things to make any dream come true.  I have the desire and the determination but I struggle with the discipline.  Finding time to write is always difficult and making yourself write after you've worked an 8 hour day is hard.  At any writers conference you go you're told that you have to give something up in order to find time to write (sleep, watching TV, reading, spending time with friends, Facebook, blogging - wait that counts, doesn't it?).  If you can do that you're half way there.  The other part is where discipline comes in.  You have the time, now write.  It was kind of like when you were in school and it was time to study.  Who hasn't made their bed, cleaned out the closed, sorted their socks, before they could start studying (fondly called procrastination)? 

I am constantly struggling to find that balance.  There are things I won't give up, like sleep.  Waking up an hour early to write before work is not an option.  And even if I did, anything I would write at 6 a.m. would be totally unreadable,  Lately I've been trying to write during my lunch hour (time I normally spending reading) but it's hard.  It's a limited time period and part of that time is finding someplace quite and seclusive to work.  I know, I know, excuses, excuses.

So after watching J.K. Rowling last night I realized I won't ever have the perfect situation in which to write so I somehow have to make due with my current situation.  And if I want this dream to come true I'm going to have to work at it every single day (not just days when I feel like it or the time presents itself).  I am going to keep trying.  And whatever your dream might be you should keep trying too.  I've heard that all the hard work pays off.  We'll see....

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What was your major?

Kiplinger’s just came out with a list of the worst college majors in terms of getting employed after graduating.  Unfortunately, a lot of them would be considered very creative career choices.  Here is the link to the list that includes unemployment rates, average salary, job growth, and (my favorite) likelihood of working in retail.

And here are the top 10 worst college majors:

10. English
9. Sociology
8. Dram and Theater Arts
7. Liberal Arts
6. Studio Arts (painting, sculpture and other media)
5. Graphic Design
4. Philosophy and Religious Studies
3. Film and Photography
2. Fine Arts
1. Anthropology

I wasn’t surprised by most of these, although I didn’t expect to see Graphic Design.  I did expect to see my major, Journalism (my emphasis was in editorial, which meant I wanted to be a newspaper reporter).  It was hard enough back in the day to find a reporter job and now with so many newspapers going out of business it’s probably be even harder.  Plus, in my opinion, the quality of work done by journalists today, especially television journalist, is appalling bad, really, really bad.  My journalism degree did help me get jobs in other semi-related fields such as advertising, public relations and marketing (which is what I’m doing right now). 

Around my senior year in high school the only thing I was really interested in was writing.  I had a GREAT language arts teacher who was encouraging.  I had taken a creative writing class and was on the school newspaper.  I thought I’d have a better chance of getting a job with a journalism degree than with a creative writing degree (which isn’t even offered everywhere).

My senior year in college I interned at the Windsor Beacon (Windsor, CO), which has since been bought by Gannett, graduated and spend 9 months looking for a newspaper job before landing in southeastern Colorado at the Rocky Ford Daily Gazette.  That was the one and only journalism job I ever had (it lasted about 3 years – and that’s another story for another time).  While I did work at the now defunct Rocky Mountain News, that was in the advertising department.  Today, many, many, many years after graduating college, I don’t think I would want to go back to reporting but I do enjoy creative writing and hope to have some success with that.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

No Ice Cream For You

Road trips mean junk food.  You may start out with good intentions, you pack fruit and trail mix but the first time you stop to get gas and walk into that convenience store the healthy food you packed goes out the window.

Mid-morning on the first day driving back to Colorado from Texas my Mom wanted vanilla soft-serve ice cream  She just spent 6 days in the hospital and her medication was upsetting her stomach so we wanted to get her ice cream  We stopped at the first McDonalds we saw for ice cream and a bathroom break.  I walked inside, waited in line, placed my order, paid my money and waited.  Then I was told that the machine was broken, there was no iced.  I got my money back and we got back on the road.

Down the road at the next McDonalds (because there seems to be one at every highway exit) we stopped again and pulled into the drive-thru.  I ordered a soft-served ice cream and was told the machine was broken.  What the heck?  We drove across the street to Burger King were we got ice cream (I always preferred BK over McD anyway).

About the same time the next day Mom wanted ice cream again.  We were still in Texas (that is one big state) and hundreds of miles from where we were so we stopped at the first McDonalds.  And guess what?  No ice cream.  We got back on the highway and thankfully there was a Dairy Queen at the next exit.  And yes, they had ice cream.

Moral of the story: if you're in Texas and want vanilla soft-served ice cream, don't go to McDonalds.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Book List - September 2012

31. Off Balance: A Memoir by Dominique Moceanu.  Dominique was on the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics "Magnificant Seven" gymnastics team.  I have always loved watching gymnastics and this book really goes to show you don't know what goes not behind closed doors of public figures whether they are entertainers, politicians or athletes.

32. Getting the Pretty Back by Molly Ringwald.  This is kind of a self-help/memoir.  None of the self-help stuff is new (basically common sense stuff) but there were a few insights into this 80s icon life that was interesting.