Open contempt for those in better shape is first step to a healthier you

imageLike many Americans, I recently stripped down, prepared myself for the worst, and stepped onto the scale. Soon after, I retrieved the scale from the front yard and accepted the fact that, yes — it was probably defective.

At a friend’s suggestion, I tried our neighbor’s scale. This led to the discovery that, of the 23 scales I tested within a five-mile radius of our home, every single one was off by exactly 11 pounds.

Being a journalist, I had to wonder: Was this a widespread problem? Were we being duped into needless exercise by faulty scales?!?

I immediately brought this to the attention of my reporters here at the newspaper who, realizing the implications, told me to stay out of their candy drawers.

The truth is, I have no one but myself to blame for putting on these extra pounds. This is why, every year around this time, people just like me make a commitment to start going to the gym.

I know this because I recognize most of these people from last year. We all have the same expression: grim determination mixed with a sense of purpose in knowing that, afterward, there’s a fast-food place nearby. We come dressed with headbands and towels over our shoulders even though we spend most of our time wandering around the gym looking for water bottles.  Continue reading

Exciting tips on how to fail at your New Year’s writing resolutions

imageNo doubt, many of you have embarked on your New Year’s resolutions:

“I’m going to lose weight!”
“I’m going to drink less!”
“I’m going to change careers!”
“I’m going to stop referring to myself in the third person!”

Ok, maybe that last one was just me.

Regardless, I think we can all agree resolutions are a great way to jump-start goals for personal improvement and life changes. At least until the end of February, at which point we often “re-evaluate” our goals and make “more realistic” adjustments to those goals by “dropping them completely.” For this reason, as writers, we need to be careful about the resolutions we make regarding literary goals, and in some cases we shouldn’t make them at all.

Many of you are probably saying, “Sure Ned, that’s easy for you to say!”

Oops, sorry — That was me speaking in third-person again.

Still, I think it raises a good point: I’m fortunate enough to write full-time for a newspaper, so who am I to tell you not to set lofty goals for yourself when I’m living the dream my editor coincidentally calls her nightmare? Continue reading

Exciting tips on how to fail at your New Year’s writing resolutions

image No, we didn’t hit a time warp. And no, you aren’t just waking up from a rum-induced fog caused by fruitcake vapors. It really is FRIDAY! If you’re like me, and spent most of yesterday thinking it was Monday, this probably comes as a bit of a shock. Rest assured, being a journalist, I have verified this development through rigorous research and the help of my local Starbuck’s, where I was told it is Frappe’ Friday. That means in addition to saving .50 cents on a $9 coffee drink whose name sounds like a kitten getting sick, it’s also time for Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing — or my NWOW for short. Not that my NWOW has ever been called short.

At least in terms of word count.

For those who might be visiting for the first time, I should explain this is the day I draw upon my 15 years as a columnist to offer tips that Writer’s Digest recently called “… a shining example of why some writers go on to have successful careers as plumbers…” and what Tom Clancy has described as “The antithesis of precise literary implosion.”

I don’t know what that means exactly, but hey: Tom CLANCY said it! And that’s good enough for me.

But enough with the accolades! Continue reading

Open contempt for those in better shape is the first step to a healthier you

Speed up your workouts by avoiding eye contact with anyone in better shape than you.

Speed up your workouts by avoiding eye contact with anyone in better shape than you.

Like millions of Americans, I recently stripped down, prepared myself for the worst, and stepped onto the scale. Soon after, I retrieved the scale from the front yard and accepted the fact that, yes — it probably was defective. At my daughter’s suggestion, I tried our neighbor’s scale. This led to the discovery that, of the 23 scales I tested within a five-mile radius of our home, every single one was off by exactly seven pounds. Being a journalist, I had to wonder: Was this a widespread problem? Were we being duped into needless exercise by faulty scales?!

I immediately brought this to the attention of my editor, who, realizing the implications, told me to stay out of her candy drawer.

The truth is, I have no one but myself to blame for putting on these extra pounds. This is why, every year around this time, people just like me make a commitment to start going to the gym. I know this because I recognize most of these people from last year. We all have the same expression: grim determination mixed with a sense of purpose in knowing that, afterward, there’s a KFC right across the street. We come dressed with headbands and towels over our shoulders even though we spend most of our time wandering around the gym looking for water bottles. Continue reading