I Quit…TV.

Focus on now. Not being overwhelmed by the amount to do. Not doubting the end result. Focus on NOW.

Each day I am making positive changes that are slowly (but [if I am consistent and cumulative] surely) helping to progress toward my goal—my book.

So I’m not going to get upset at myself for having lived four city blocks from a San Francisco Public Library for two years and never once going inside. I am not going to get upset at myself for all those times that I reasoned, “Eh, I have nothing I really feel like reading,” and instead watched mindless TV. Instead, I will focus on what I can do NOW.

Last weekend—my first official weekend as a blogger (am I a blogger? Don’t you have to have a certain number of posts or followers or retweets or starts or stripes? Perhaps those people are Bloggers, capital B)—I was exploring the vast world of WordPress. My topics of interest, of course, center around “writing” and “book publishing.”

I stumbled up Author Raimey Gallant‘s post, Developing Your Reading List: A Strategy for Authors. In addition to her reassuring words, “Try not to be overwhelmed [by the overwhelming amount you need to read],” she offered advice to help encourage a personalized reading curriculum.ª

Within minutes of finishing the post (and a mini-panic attack—so much for not feeling overwhelmed), I registered online for a library card, and was out my front door.

I checked out three books:

  1. Hungry Heart, the newly-published memoir by Jennifer Weiner, which I consumed (no pun intended) in four days.
  2. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham. She is 31! If she’s not too young to write a memoir, neither am I.
  3. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess.

I also quit TV.

Time to get reading!

 

 

ªAt a particularly low-moraled moment of my 9-5 week, I checked my Gmail. Someone is following my blog! Thank you, Raimey Gallant for being my first visitor, reader and follower. *:)

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“Aren’t You Too Young to be Writing a Memoir?”

My book. Both the bane and spark* of my existence. It is so big. And now my Inner Judgmentalstein* and tired mind tempt me with thoughts of giving up—I am not stuck anymore!

I am unstuck from being financially dependent on my parents.

Unstuck from long winter months of being cold and grumpy.

Unstuck from being so lonely and exhausted, my journals seeming to be my only source of emotional support in the world.

I live in California now! I earn enough money to pay my rent, go on vacation with people who love and support me, and buy new outfits for the occasion.

Going back to labor over my past life now seems…unnecessary? retroactive? 

This thought process confuses me. I am in a new city. Beautiful. Infinite*. Sunday afternoon 3 p.m. It is a chilly but sunny day in San Francisco. However, instead of living, experiencing here, I am at home on my computer, working to conquer my Everest.

Hush, Inner Judgmentalstein.

Too young to write a memoir? Am I not supposed to have learned anything from the last phase of my life?

I wrote my twenties as I lived them—through journal entries, essays and resonating quotes. I have my evolving personality snapshotted through time. I have exact moments captured that I would have never remembered with such authentic emotion, if I even remembered them at all.

I want to share what I have learned to help other people. I am moving forward. I write on.

So how is my book unique? This blog is to help me construct, catalog and organize those ideas into a professional and effective book proposal. Today I have three concepts that speak to the uniqueness of Let Me Out I’m Stuck.

(1.) Structure. The first-person, present tense plot line will unfold through various writing styles, including journal entries, creative essays and scenes with dialogue that work together to create a three-hundred-sixty-degree window into my young adult persona. 

(2.) Tone. It’s funny. I’m funny. Exercises of candor and wit, I tell it like it is. Or at least how I saw it. I believe people will laugh out loud when they read my book. They will also cringe and cry as they connect to the raw, honest emotions of vanity, helplessness and perseverance.

(3.) Timing. Let Me Out I’m Stuck presents a historical account moving to New York City as an aspiring writer in 2007 and being on the front lines as the Digital Revolution changed the way we communicate (and the publishing industry). From flip phones and Facebook going public to iPods, iPads and iPhones, I share a vivid and analytical perspective of the digital shifts in both my personal and professional worlds.

No. I am not too young to write a memoir. Perhaps I was too distracted. But that is changing now.

 

Start by Giving a Fuck

*This post includes adult language.

My boss recommended the book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

I’ve been giving too many fucks. And thus, nothing has gotten done.

Today’s post is dedicated to page 160 of the book: The “Do Something Principle.”

Action > Inspiration > Motivation.

The hardest part is getting to the gym.

The hardest part is getting to the page. But then once you’re there here, you might as well do a couple crunches write a couple paragraphs.

So here I am! Full disclosure: the reason I am here is because last week I made a commitment to writing every Thursday. I couldn’t let myself down the second week in—even if I am tired and seemingly uninspired. I am here, on the page. Because only by being here (consistently) will anything get done.

Fuck. Writing a book is hard.

Not if you are Caitlin Jenner or Ivanka Trump. Let’s assume for a second they actually did their own writing. Bitches with no day jobs have the luxury of a daily routine focused around writing. Ok, second’s up.  They more likely had a team of writers and editors helping to organize and transcribe 300 pages worth of personal anecdotes and life lessons.

Me? I’m a team of one with a full-time job that absorbs hours of productivity.

But even if I manage to write this book (it’s called Let Me Out I’m Stuck), who is going to read it? And more important [to publishers], who is going to buy it?

I’m not a former Olympian, now transgender “activist” for the LGTB community with a permanent residence on reality TV because my stepdaughters excel at selfies (both action and still). And my father isn’t Donald Trump.

I exist on social media to know when people’s birthdays are and to post my resume (for my corporate jobs). I rarely participate in the new feeds’ conversation. Of all the fucks I give each day, I definitely don’t give any fucks to posting pictures of my food before I eat it or pictures of me where I know I look so cute just to have people tell me how cute I look. I’m not even on Instagram or Twitter.

Right now, I don’t come with a platform of millions, or even thousands. If each of my Facebook “friends” and LinkedIn connections bought my book, I’d sell about 1,000 copies.

And that is fucking terrifying. It is terrifying to the point of paralysis.

But a ridiculous, terrifying dream does not imply an impossible one, only one that I will have to work hard to achieve.

So here goes nothing! Good thing I have this accountability blog.

Hypothetical readers, are you still there?

 

 

 ªMark Manson propelled his career with a blog. He now has over two million readers and a published book.

 

 

 

Being Grateful

A few Sunday mornings ago (or maybe afternoons since I had the freedom and desire to sleep until eleven a.m.), I was curled up on my couch in San Francisco, California, reading the Handmaid’s Tale. Then I wrote this:

I get so mad at myself. It sees like everyone around me is always doing so much. I woke up today to three text messages:

(1) The first came from my boyfriend in response to the text I had sent him at 9:30 p.m. the night before. “Good day?” I asked. By this time, I had already been in bed for three or four hours, nursing sunburnt legs (from an afternoon in Golden Gate Park) and numbing my brain to my favorite antidepressant, vintage episodes of Law & Order. My computer streaming the cable network’s self-proclaimed “binge-o-thon,” I fell asleep shortly after I sent the text.

This morning, I saw his response, timestamped at 9:54 p.m., “Cleaning up now. But it was good.” Twelve hours before he sent that text, he sent me another one saying he had already gotten to work for the day and couldn’t chat. He worked for twelve hours, jackhammering his way toward his goals. 

(2) The next text was from my boss, “I sold my 2012 MacBook Pro yesterday for $440 (bought it for $1000) and bought a 2015 MacBook Air two hours later for $780. #score #craigslistrules” She probably should have included one more hashtag, #whileyouweresleeping.

(3) The last text was from my younger sister, reminding me it was Father’s Day (which, for the record, I did remember on my own) and telling me my dad slept in the hospital last night (gasp!) because my ninety-year-old grandpa had the flu (phew!—not that I’m happy my grandpa is sick, but his frequenting the hospital is much less shocking than my dad being the patient).

I have two sisters. My older sister lives in Chicago with her husband (a professional in Jewish education) and two young kids (the grandchildren). My younger sister lives in Philadelphia, a short drive over the Delaware River from my parents in South Jersey. She is in med school, studying to be a pediatrician and follow the King tradition of my father and grandpa, now resting in his hospital bed.

While my sisters unconsciously rival for the gold medal in Parental Approval, I undoubtedly hold the bronze. I seem to date non-Jewish men, never want to birth children and dismissed law school for a career as a writer and dreams of being a New York Times best seller.

Let Me Out I’m Stuck. A New York Times best seller!

But that will only happen if I do something. If I work as hard and diligently toward my goals as I imagine the senders behind the text messages on my phone.

Which brings me back to the purpose of this post: Being Grateful.

In the Handmaid’s Tale, the main character is stripped of her freedoms—Freedoms of choice, voice, passion and action. As a young American, I take these freedoms for granted. But Margaret Atwood’s words resonate—my freedoms are a privilege. Yes, they are meant to be enjoyed. Sleeping until noon on Sunday is a luxury I should not guilt myself out of enjoying.

But my freedoms are also a responsibility. To do, to make, to grow, to share to help.

I am grateful for the freedom to use my time. This blog is to keep me accountable.

Before You Get What You Want, You Have to Do What You Need.

Take a deep breath…

Now, visualize what you wantwant to happen. Want to be.

Things don’t just happen. In real life, as an adult, if you want to be extraordinary, you have to try.

It’s easy to coast along. Work week: commute, exercise, happy hour, return home to a nightly routine of preparing for the next day. Weekends: laundry, social plans, marveling at the kids—they grow up so fast.

But if you want something to change, you have to try. You have to be thoughtful and proactive. Lean forward. Disrupt routine.

***

I moved to California for many reasons. To get away from winter. To get away from my family’s doubtful opinions of me. But also, to write a book.

Have I mentioned I’m writing a book? It’s called Let Me Out I’m Stuck.

You’ve probably never heard of it though because I haven’t finished writing it yet (not to mention the professional proposal and polished pitch I need to attract a publisher).

Four years ago, I arrived in San Diego, California with a New Yorker’s swagger and determination. (I also arrived with no idea of how complicated, tedious and time consuming it was to write a book.)

My first summer here I proudly pronounced, “The Summer of Writing!” With four months vacation from my contracted copywriting gig (and very few friends within 3,000 miles), I committed to transcribing my New York journals onto my laptop. Eight years of City escapades and self exploration packed into three hundred typed pages of exercises in candor and wit.

First Draft

After two months of diligent digitization, I printed and bound my first draft at 2nd Street Printing in Encinitas, California.

For the remainder of the summer, I remember pouring over those bound pages. I added creative writing assignments I had written throughout the years and wrote new, scenic prose to introduce the reader into my world. I meticulously shaped the first fifty pages, focusing on my “hook,” as they call it in the publishing biz.  

Then, I got distracted by a complicated living situation. In the two years I lived in San Diego, I packed up and movedª five times.

After the fifth move, I decided to leave Southern California. I put my book on hold to apply for jobs in San Francisco—Which is where I live now, working at yet another corporate copywriting job (this one without a four-month summer break).

Work week: commuting, exercising, happy hour-ing, returning home to a nightly routine preparing for the next day. Weekends: laundry, social plans, marveling at the kids, experiencing the city.

***

This month marks two years in San Francisco. Four in California!

I moved to California as a result of trying, leaning forward, disrupting.

I moved to California to write a book.

No more distractions, Charlotte! You’re accountable now.

So, take a deep breath…

Visualize what you want.

I want to share my voice and vision with the world by writing a book.

Good. Now, what needs to happen/what do you need to do to make that happen?

Many things.

Today’s post is focused on the acknowledgement of two:

(1.) Read more. I recently changed my commute to secure a half hour to forty five minutes on the bus to read each morning on my way to work. (My previous commute required switching from bus to BART, ten minutes on each. Sure, I got to work faster, but was that really my objective? The great thing about public transportation is that someone else is driving! I might as well relax, turn the page and enjoy the ride.

This weekend, I plan to finish the Handmaid’s Tale. My next book is How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh. I saw her on Chelsea Hander’s new Netflix series. If that chick can write a book, so can I.

(2.) Write more. Content is reliant on production (more on this later). Starting today, right now, I am making myself accountable to a weekly 2-3 hour writing session every Thursday evening. 

 

ªShout out to Tttttravis who actually moved my stuff.

To My Hypothetical Readers

I have so many ideas!

But they are all stuck.

Stuck behind my nine-to-five job.

Stuck behind commuting and groceries.

Stuck behind doing laundry, exercising and socializing.

Stuck behind hours of Real Housewives and the Bachelor.

Stuck behind long distances relationships, and weekends spent flying to see family that’s six hours away, or a boyfriend whose one point five.

Stuck behind sleeping.

On a recent six-hour flight, I watched Julie & Julia. The based-on-a-true-story movie stars Amy Adams as Julie, a struggling writer desperately needing a self-promoting project. 

Naturally, she decides to write a blog. Through daily posts, she takes her readers on an emotional rollercoaster of devastation (killing lobster) and disappointment (flopping soufflé).

By the end of the two-hour romcom, both Julie and her life are transformed.

The lesson? Writing a blog holds you accountable to your goals.

Lobstercide, schmobstercide. I can’t be deterred. My hypothetical readers are counting on me!

I need a self-promoting propelling project.

Propelling, not promoting. Because unlike Julie, my intention is not to prove my self worth as an unmarried, childless woman working as a writer in a city (which I also happen to be). This project is to propel me forward by holding me accountable to my ideas—and goals.

So here goes nothing!

Stuck, schmuck. I can’t be deterred. My hypothetical readers are counting on me!

Let Me Out I’m Stuck.