As Kevin Spacey once told me, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Granted, he told me this while imitating Clint Eastwood, during a mock interview, at a fictitious nacho bar restaurant called Casa de Papitas (House of Chips). But that doesn’t make the message any less poignant. Especially when you consider how, that same week, my Nickel’s Worth on Writing compared writing to weight lifting — and how it’s easy to hurt yourself by trying to lift too much.
I can honestly say I’ve never injured anything other than my pride at the gym — an incident I blame on an unfortunate combination of Mexican food and an ill-timed squat that cleared out an entire row of stationary cyclists. However, in terms of my writing commitments — combined with my commitment to family, firefighting and the newspaper — I feel like the guy on the bench press who has suddenly realized, on the fifth rep, that he shouldn’t have added that last 10 pounds while his spotter was in the bathroom. Do I keep trying to lift, hoping I get the bar back into the holders before my arms give out? Do I bring the weight down onto my chest and wait for help from my spotter, knowing he suffers from IBS and could be on the commode for 20 to 30 minutes? Or do I, in a loud voice, announce that I had Mexican food again and allow the entire gym to clear out before dropping the bar-bell onto the floor?
Those are the questions that have been running through my mind this past week. True, I’ve also questioned watching the rest of this season’s The Bachelorette, and whether I should shave my beard. But mostly it’s been the bar-bell analogy thing.
(Warning: Whining zone ahead) In addition to my weekly syndicated column for News Media Corporation and covering local sports for Siuslaw News, I post three weekly features on my blog and write for Long Awkward Pause. I have a book out, with plans for another book this summer and a mystery novel in late fall.
More importantly, I’m a father with three teens at home and am also a volunteer firefighter. This is not a coincidence.
At this point, you’re probably asking yourself:
1) Why is he telling me all this?
2) When is he going to stop?
3) Holy @#$%! Did I miss an episode of The Bachelorette?
Not necessarily in that order.
The truth is, I feel you are part of my family. Like second cousins, with a few questionable ties to the bloodline, but family nonetheless. And because of this, I felt the need to explain some decisions I’ve made regarding changes to this blog that I know will help me strike a better balance between my writing commitments, my personal life commitments — and my goals for both.
Mondays is the day I send out my syndicated column to newspapers. Beginning this Monday, I will also be posting the column to my blog, as opposed to writing something separate for my blog on Tuesdays, such as The Box or The Door.
Wednesdays will be open to either Wednesday Rewinds (Previously Post Traumatic Sundays), The Box or The Door, depending on whether Skippy cooperates. And remember, Skippy is still out there. Somewhere. Looking for your mystery photos. Avoid having to explain to your neighbors why there’s a blindfolded, rabid squirrel in your yard by emailing odd photos you’d like us to investigate to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fridays will still be the day I offer misshapen pearls of writing wisdom with my Nickel’s Worth on Writing, which Writer’s Weekly Digestion has called “…A banquet of literary advice from a writer who could stand to lose a few pounds…”
In addition, I’m privileged to be the subject of two upcoming interviews in the next week, first at Bookin’ It with blogger and author Marcia Meara on June 11, and then with award-winning novelist Eden Baylee on her website June 20.
I’ll also continue to link my Long Awkward Pause posts here, including my next LAP post this upcoming Thursday (June 11).
I hope all of this makes sense, and that I haven’t disappointed any of you. It wasn’t easy to admit to myself that I had bitten off more than I could chew, particularly for a man who occasionally talks with his mouth full. However, part of the reason I felt it necessary to make these changes, and admit to myself and all of you that I had failed to take my own advice, is to show that even “established” writers can get caught up in trying to do too much — and that it’s important to recognize those signs and make the changes necessary to keep growing as a writer and a person.
I really can’t tell all of you how much your support has meant, and not just because my mouth is full.
In all seriousness and sincerity: Thank You so very much.
I hope to see you here Monday 😉