“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” –Matthew 6:25
You may not have known this about me, but I have dabbled on again and off again with professional writing throughout my working years. I completed about 500 “How to” articles for one content farm/mill, I was a lead blogger for Radio Shack (RIP) late in their existence, and I have helped with dozens of other odd publications with hundreds and hundreds of pieces. Amazingly enough, I have completed more technical writing type pieces than odd things like this little blog. Why someone would like my version of technical writing I am not certain, but when complimented for it people typically say they like the conversational/folksy tone I employ. (Note: That may be a kind way of saying I write like someone who may or may not know what he is talking about…but would be fun to talk to over a Andy’s Frozen Custard. If that is the take they have, I succeeded… although I do try hard to know my source material)
When I was writing for “content farms” (a
somewhat euphemistic term for companies that provide internet content with a lot of ads built in), we had a unique job: We would log in and choose up to 5 article topics at a time and complete each piece within a week. If we succeeded, we were paid. If we either didn’t finish or our work didn’t pass the editorial sniff test we got nuthin’. Diddly. Nada. Jack squat. It got harder and harder to write for the one I chose because the topics got harder and harder to familiarize myself with quickly enough to justify the time for a mere $25. Nevertheless, I would complete up to 10-15 a week on the side after working full-time in IT. I was known for such gems as “How to Be a Good Janitor” or “How to Start a Solar Energy Business (Cost Effectively)” or the always helpful “How to Start a Cadaver Transport Business” although these represented a drop in the bucket of the odd topics that came to my desk.
Writing this way was very hard. I am a pretty darn creative person, so being shoehorned into odd topics led to all sorts of apathy and frustration within the field. I scratched my creative itch by publishing a host of Christian pieces and doing some other writing work that was “post-paid”…you write it, then market it for someone to buy to take credit for…but the inevitable writer’s block happened more often than not. I can vividly remember sitting in my basement, long before the rest of the family would wake up, pounding a hand next the keys (and on my forehead) out of frustration because the research for “How to Tell If Your Hamster Likes You” was giving conflicting facts.
It was very frustrating, especially for someone who genuinely NEEDED the money this side hustle provided my family. Writer’s block caused by my inability to connect fact A to Fact B or to draw from memories or skills made this even harder. Then, add in some distractions and stress about finances. Now I had to be creative, be a researcher…and concentrate, when all I wanted to do is sleep…or play with the kids (eventually) when they would wake up. I didn’t have the luxury of writer’s block…but that didn’t stop it from rearing its ugly head.
Now, if you will, close your eyes and just imagine dementia. Every fact is either disjointed or getting that way. Every task you used to know like the back of your hand has now become “How to Tell if Your Hamster Likes You“, and you don’t have a hamster nor do you have a way to find real answers. You need to have a clear mind…and don’t. The same brain you need to solve these challenges is actually working against you. Stress, distraction, fear, and confusion become your life editor and the deadlines are coming at you moment-by-moment. Can you join me in seeing why we need treatments and/or a cure? Stinkin’ disease!
Update: Mom is still the same. We have hit a plateau, it seems, and she is happy, so things could be worse. Now we pray the COVID-19 stays out since more and more people are having access to the building. Cases are spiking all around us these days, so we wait and pray.
Last notes: First, thank you for reading my drivel. Second, thank you for joining in as we fight this mess. The stakes are higher than hamster joy…we gotta do something. 🙁 Visit Alz.org and find a way to plug in.
BTW…6 months from today is Christmas. Here is a song for you to get in the mood.
Dad Joke of the Day:
Why do Marathoners make good students?
Because education always pays off in the long run…