Thursday, September 11, 2014

What do the National Football League and Author James Frey Have in Common?

They both lied! Only back in 2006, James Frey got scolded so publically by Oprah Winfrey that his book, ‘A Million Little Pieces’ nearly stopped selling and Mr. Frey has been pretty quiet ever since. So why does the NFL get to lie to the entire public about a video so vile and face no repercussions?

Let’s see – I call it ‘cultural brainwashing’. Clearly the NFL has us all so enamored with the sport that we’re willing to allow the entire league, and its Commissioner to get away with this! How is this able to happen? Well, my theory is that it all starts the day after the Superbowl. Why? Well, the day after the Superbowl is the first day of the NFL’s true marketing strategy (which is genius, by the way) because there is this collective hangover, followed by this kind of national depression that sets in – there’s no football game next Sunday. Which allows them to manipulate our emotions and sulk all spring and summer, awaiting opening day complete with performances by Pharell Williams and other artists we love.

During the ‘off-season’ – at least that’s what they call it even though the NFL is never really ‘off’ – we collectively pine away for the fall. Maybe the NBA playoffs are a bit of a substitute, but not really. We really can’t wait for ‘our team’ to take the field sometime in September – well actually August if you think about it.

In writing terms, it would be like the time you read the last page of that ‘Harry Potter’ book – maybe it was ‘The Chamber of Secrets’ or maybe it was ‘The Goblet of Fire’ – whatever! We all reacted the same way when we closed that book… “Man, I can’t wait until the next book!” So we ‘Muggles’ went online and checked into every week to find out when the next book was being released. We watched the movie EVERY SINGLE TIME it came on the ABC Family Channel. You know you did. Don’t lie to yourself.

Well, the NFL kinda works that way except… if J.K. Rowling were to have admitted she plagiarized the story we’d be outraged and call for her to NEVER write another book! So why does the NFL get off the hook? Yeah, that’s the question, isn’t it?

Friday, September 5, 2014

When You’re In Over Your Head… Just Relax

Yesterday was one of those buggy days. Those days where I can’t even answer a text message, before another phone call comes in, followed by a slew of emails… UGH! I hate these days! But it was for a good reason. I was in demand – well, my writing that is. And that is the profession I chose.

I remember all too well when I was not in demand – I mean my writing – and I stared at the phone waiting for it to ring. Checked my emails. Nothing. Text message? Nada.

So I suppose that I’m a bit hypocritical for complaining. But, I think all writers do experience those days where they feel overwhelmed and ‘out of sync’. It may be prompted by the demands that often come with this profession. So when this does happen, I do make time to relax – and I don’t mean relax ‘writing’. There was a time when I actually turned to writing for relaxation, but now that it could be the very cause of my stress, I manage to do a few things that I find to be very effective. Follow along if this is where you are right now:

1. Take a ‘Brain Break’ – okay, truthfully that’s just my personal term for a nap… but it works! We’ve seen, read, and heard study after study confirm that taking a brief ‘siesta’ is the key to making that final push through the day. So just go ahead and take a 30-minute sleep break. Your mind will appreciate it and you’re creativity will likely increase.

2. If you don’t want to lie down then ‘Get Up’! – Like most people, I definitely see the value of working out. But I don’t have a routine, for example I’m not waking up at 4:00 am and heading out to the gym. Puh-leeze! Instead, I save my workout time for that time of the day when the words on my laptop look like their moving around in circles, and my emails just never end. One of the luxuries of being a freelance writer is you get a chance to space out your time. Depending on when the stress starts to creep up, that’s when I get up and get moving. It really is true, just a 30 minute walk can do wonders – for your mind and your body.

3. Meditate – Even taking a two minute deep breather can be considered meditation. I really value the idea of meditation for clearing one’s head and for its calming effects. I try to meditate daily, especially when I’m feeling stressed. If you’ve heard of meditation techniques, but aren’t really sure of where to get started, check out this website for more info:

4. Do anything away from the phone or computer – If the three before mentioned don’t click with you, then just do anything! Whatever will take you away from the computer and the phone! Whether it’s walking your dog, or catching up on that episode of Pretty Little Liars you DVR’d last week, just take a break!

Trust me it will do you some good, help you manage those ‘buggy days’, but also put things in perspective. Feel free to share what you do in the comments below.

Happy Writing!