There were days this fall when I felt completely disconnected from the world after working in the home office too long. That feeling of “Do I actually exist?” Once that particular thought pops into my head, it’s a sign that I need to get out of the house more often.
I’ve discovered that getting out and about in my community doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. It can be as simple as being a repeat customer (i.e. a patron) of a locally owned restaurant or coffee shop.
My dictionary tells me that a patron is someone who gives financial or other support to a person, organization, cause or activity.
Lately I’ve found two Mom & Pop restaurants I frequent regularly as a patron to get myself out of the house and support my local economy. I’ve also discovered a fabulous local tea room, the St. James Tearoom in Albuquerque, to go to on a special occasion that gives me wonderful ideas for stories. And then there’s Satellite Coffee for regular tea and coffee breaks.
I am also getting out more often to non-writing arts events in my community. It’s a wonderful mental break to simply go out to an event to appreciate another artist’s work without feeling like I have to network or do market research.
I also encourage people to consider finding 2-3 local charities that they’d like to contribute to as a patron on a regular basis. Even if one can only afford a few dollars a month starting out, it’s worth it–and it gives one an incentive to work harder so that one can donate more in the future. Lately I’ve been worried about homelessness in my community, especially with the holidays coming, and found two local homeless shelters that I could support with regular donations.
Anyways, patronizing locally owned restaurants, local artists, and local charities can be a great way to feel less disconnected in the world. Hmm, reminds me of that old saying to “Think global, act local.”
Speaking of dogs and cats, I just saw OK Go’s video White Knuckles with the stunt dogs and goat. Made me grin. The musicians make the dog tricks (as well as their own moves) look so easy and smooth in this video, and yet a heck of a lot of practice hours must have gone on behind the scenes.
A heck of a lot of fiction writers I know have cats. A couple have dogs, or both cats and dogs. If one ever needs to break the ice at a gathering of writers, just mention the word “cats” and everyone will start talking. Cats and writers go together the same way milk and cookies do.
I used to have a cat, but she passed away, and my spouse tested positive for cat allergies, so I haven’t adopted another. Yet. We adopted a dog, and she’s wonderful to have around too. However, I admit sometimes I miss having a cat to knock over my pens, lay across my papers, and tap out gibberish with her paws on my keyboard.
Cats and dogs provide a valuable service to writers–they drag their owners out of bed before it gets too late in the morning, and demand their writers take stretch breaks out of their work chairs on an hourly basis.
Dogs and cats also keep writers from getting too depressed. It’s hard to stay in a funk when there’s a warm furry body on one’s lap purring, or while scratching a dog’s tummy. And keeping a dog happy requires two walks a day in all kinds of weather, which is great for dragging a writer out of the house instead of staying inside to fume endlessly over a piece of writing.
The other thing cats and dogs are great for is being reminded to not take work too seriously–it’s hard to wallow in self-pity over a critic’s online review when a paw shoots out from behind a monitor to whack one’s mouse in mid-click. Or mope over an editor’s rejection letter when the dog drops her favorite soggy rope in one’s lap.
Now that I think about it, cats and dogs have contributed quite a bit behind the scenes to the happiness and health of writers working in home offices. So let me raise my mug of tea in a salute to cats and dogs everywhere.
I really like using WordPress for doing a website. Great user interface and templates to use. I like supporting them directly by being a customer of theirs.
Tonight I discovered I’ve been making the mistake of only looking at my website as a whole. I check my blogroll links regularly, but I never had a need to click on my blog post links. So imagine my dismay when I clicked on an individual blog post tonight, only to discover a bunch of Google ads at the bottom of the post’s page. And then realized that every individual post page displays this sort of junk.
One ad was for a vanity press, which peeved me off to no end.
It was my fault this happened. I ought to have clicked around my website more throughly.
Anyways, now that I know about the junk ads showing up at the bottom of individual posts, I’ve done the necessary work behind the scenes to get rid of the junk ads for good.
There will be various changes coming to this website in the next six months, the first of which (the design) just happened tonight. Also, all comment sections have been turned off and will remain off in the foreseeable future–I’ve had too many problems with spam behind the scenes and I don’t have the extra time to mess with it.
The good news is that I’m too busy because my writing career is picking up speed.