Overwhelmed at the thought of writing?

Fast Company’s Art Markman has four suggestions:

  1. Break it down

  2. Make an outline

  3. Just get something down

  4. Write for five more minutes


If the list doesn’t tell you enough [and it doesn’t], here is the fleshed out version.

And I would add another suggestion.

Bake…[no, it doesn’t necessarily help you generate a bestseller, but it’s great for an afternoon coffee and who knows, the caramel experiment might just pay off in a fun blog post.]

two banana breads side-by-side
I added an amaretto caramel to the banana bread on the left. I added an Irish cream caramel to the banana bread on the right.

Guys weekend!! My latest eCard

cavemen attending to daily chores

Passing this along from my other blog, retirerenew.com

After completing a five-day ‘showing up’ challenge, I’m focusing these next four days just on my Incomplete Book of Retirement Wisdom**.

More on the challenge later…

**The book doubles as a collection of eCards.

Suggestions:

— Save/download the image above and send it to a retired/soon-to-retire friend.

— Better yet…

  1. call it up in an image editing program [even a presentation program like PowerPoint will work]

  2. slap an even better caption on top of mine or add a personal comment

  3. export it as a JPG or PNG, and email/text message it to that friend.


Writers: Looking to suck some valuable time from your already busy day? Launch an all-out investigation into whether or not you should add an apostrophe between the ‘y’ and the ‘s’ in ‘guys weekend’. I skipped that annoying grammatical gnat–I figured ‘guys’ answers the question ‘what kind of weekend?’, which makes it an adjective, not a possessive. I’ve also been sticking to the  ‘better done than perfect’ guideline. Now I can sleep peacefully…until the dog digs his shoulder into my solar plexus. [A writer’s day isn’t complete until he shoehorns ‘solar plexus’ somewhere into his digital blather.]

Rants and Riffs Installment #12: Greeting cards, too-early calendars, and cable companies

infant ranting
Greeting card makers…since when did your product need that glued-down third ‘page’? The minute I pull a card from the case and feel that extra heft, I know that baby’s going to cost an extra buck.

Moving on…
A curious question from a snail mail donation plea…”How are you enjoying our 2020 calendar?” It’s September of 2019! Why would I have a calendar out three months ahead of time? And really, enjoying a calendar?

And finally…
Cable companies forcing you into ‘bundles’. All I want is fast Internet access! No, I do not want Keeping Up with the Kardashians, meaningless statistics spewed by sports networks, or some poor mosquito-bitten shlub relying on a palm frond [if we’re lucky] for warmth.

 

Rants and Riffs Installment #10: July 4th Fireworks ‘Solution’

black dog asleep

Total rant: We’re doing it all wrong.

Rather than go to the trouble of buying and administering tranquilizers to skittish pets on July 4th, how about we track down and tranquilize the mouth-breathers who set off fireworks in the late night?

Not enough? Partial lobotomies or personality transplants come to mind.

“No need to pay a fine, you guys. Just step right in for a quick noise abatement orientation…”

***

And while I’m at it, how many of the folks who slap together those fireworks stands for a quick buck are also owners of skittish pets?

 

Not writing? I’ll blame anybody.

I directed one of my morning pages blaming others for my not writing.

Sooo satisfying…

For starters, I blamed Hilary Mantel, who said,

“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie exclamations

, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” [The Guardian, 25 February 2010]

One small segment of her message seemed to resonate…

I repeat…all her fault.

And I blame Trader Joe’s who is selling organic strawberries for $2.50 a pound. Let’s face it, most of those gorgeous ones in the supermarket have very little flavor and considering they are one of the dirty dozen, well, that doesn’t help in the ‘appeal’ category.

But back to my relentless search for scapegoats…let’s see…yes! Sam Merritt’s to blame for serving up this winning recipe for strawberry cream cheese pie.

strawberry cream pie with dog lying nearby
Always good to have a member of the quality control team nearby

My only complaint: “Return to refrigerator and allow to set at least 4 hours (preferably overnight) before slicing and serving.”

Okay, in what world do people actually wait that long?