I’ve spent the past two days scouting magazines and journals for submission guidelines. I must say the process is just as overwhelm as I had assumed it would be. However, I’ve currently found sixteen promising leads during my search thus far. Amazing!

Unfortunately this has eaten into my time, so I’ve not gotten much accomplished on my next article/ blog entry for FFOM. I should be sure to do that first tomorrow as I at least need an outline to feel better. Then I can continue my hunt. I should aim for a rough draft by Friday morning so I can get some peer review and submit my entry to the board. I may be setting myself up for disappointment with that time frame, but we shall see.



I absolutely have to start work on a few articles for the fall newsletter, my next article/ blog entry for FFOM, writing here more often, and compiling a list of publications to send queries and/ or submissions. The first two tasks are relatively simple — I have the topics, access to the information to write about send topics, and the (self-imposed) deadlines for the topics. The third task involves a bit more thought and a lot more spontaneity. The fourth task absolutely terrifies me. Have you any idea how many publications exist in this world? For every niche, there is an outlet. For cat lovers, you have Cat Fancy. For parents of babies, you have BabyTalk. For those domestic goddesses out there, you have Better Homes & Gardens. These are only examples of my point. In general, one is expected to have clips geared towards the publication’s overall theme and essentially choose topics pertaining to that genre. The difficulty I have is choosing one genre. I do not feel that I can be boxed into one genre.

For starters, I have never fit into a particular category. I find it degrading to be labeled as something because we are all individual people with differing tastes, beliefs, opinions, values, ideals, dreams, and motivations.  For example, my blogs have mostly pertained to the “slice-of-life” genre, yet I’ve written and edited for a materials science and engineering newsletter and written for a midwifery advocate group. Each of these relates to me as a whole in that they make up parts of who I am. I can’t just stop doing one thing or another to fit into some category that will dictate my writing for the future. Perhaps if I was one of the professors in my department, I might have to choose a specialty to write about. However, I’m not a professor specializing in ceramics or polymers, therefore I do feel the need to limit myself.

That being the case, I have several interests that I feel I’d love to write about — which explains why I’ve got to compile a list of publications first. Then I suppose I’ll need to narrow down my options based upon the overall feel of the publication and the copyrights. I simply cannot allow someone to own my writings forever. One time rights? Certainly. Non-exclusive rights? You bet. Exclusive, permanent rights? Not a chance. Once I’ve narrowed it down, I have the even greater task of writing letters. However, I also face the issue of my clips not pertaining to their genre. I suppose I’ll have to cross my fingers.


A Taste of the Audience

So I’ve been getting a taste of being on the opposite end of the angry mob — you know, the side where you’re running for your life from people chasing you will torches and pitchforks? This situation made me realize something very deep and personal — the reasons why I’ve taken the stand I have. I choose my sides based on my values and beliefs. I want my children to grow up in a world where they are safe, respected, and given the rights they deserve. I’d like to think my writing and efforts can at least fix some of the atrocities I see everyday. But then you always have the people who don’t always agree with every thing you say — or worse, you say something that comes out completely wrong in front of the wrong people. Of course in writing, everything seems cold and insensitive because it’s merely black text on a white background. Unless you change the color schemes and/ or add emoticons, the connotations and context of your words may be misconstrued to varying extents. This situation has completely pushed me back down a few notches today.

For a while now, I’ve been feeling rather pleased with myself for getting my writing career started. I’ve published four blog entries with the Florida Friends of Midwives to date, and I served as a writer and associate editor for my department’s newsletter. I have my fifth blog entry to the outline stage, and I’m working on a second newsletter for the department. I might even have an article (or maybe more) published in the FFOM newsletter. I’ve been feeling so good about my writing that I’ve taken the time to start searching for publications to send either queries or submissions. Now today, I’m questioning why I’ve decided to be a little “freedom fighter.” I’ve heard it can be a thankless job. In fact, I don’t write for the FFOM for payment — I write for the satisfaction of knowing that my writing is going to a cause I feel personally invested in. I write because it’s really all I can do for this cause. I don’t have the extra money to lobby for change. I don’t have the means to traverse the nation in hopes that I’ll affect change in the system. I do have my Bachelors degree. I do have my thoughts. I do have my fingers, keyboard, and an internet connection. I’m doing my part for what I feel is the right cause. Of course, I also believe that working mothers are getting unfair treatment. I believe children deserve safer toys, safer vaccines, and safer environments. I believe animals deserve love, care, and respect. I believe fathers deserve to play an important role in their childrens lives. I believe children benefit from having their fathers in their lives. I believe in family. I believe in love. I believe in freedom. I believe that certain things mean certain things to certain people. I believe we all have varying opinions that make us unique individuals. I don’t believe we’ll ever achieve world peace, but we should at least strive to be as respectful and caring as possible.

If my opinions make me unpopular, so be it. I’m not trying to win a popularity contest — I’m trying to do what I believe is right. The right way isn’t always the popular way, to paraphase a wise saying.


Officially Published

I would like to share with all of you my first ever newsletter:

I wrote a few pieces and edited everything. I assume publications took care of all the last minute errors. I didn’t argue the Oxford Comma too much — it’s an English major vs. Journalism major thing. I’m listed as an associate editor, and I’m absolutely floating today. Please enjoy!


The Life of a Freelance Writer

As it would seem, I’m still in the preliminary stages of beginning my freelance writing career. My focus remains the daily routine with just a pinch of time devoted to my writing. However, I have heard that the first newsletter I’ve assisted in editing should be in print as of today. When it becomes available, I fully intend to parade my work shamelessly. What fun is there in sitting idly by without having a readership? In addition to said newsletter, I’ve completed three articles for the Florida Friends of Midwives blog. I’m considering posting those articles here with backlinks. Again, what would the fun be if I didn’t share my work?

I clearly haven’t been keeping myself active enough in order to utilize [redacted] as a viable option just yet. I also haven’t worked up the motivation to install Google Adsense and other such programs that would potentially net lovely income. I also haven’t been invested enough to continue my search for publications to either pitch an article or submit an article. Let’s call this an unofficial to-do list, and let’s also say I need to set goals and deadlines for these items. I find myself feeling relatively foolish just watching bloggers and time fly past me while I sit here daydreaming of rolling hills and fresher air.

Let us first assume that I should at least take a baby-step towards my goals, thereby instating that I should write every two to three days during the next month. At that point, I will resubmit my blog to [redacted] in order to gain that extra bit of income. Let us next assume that I should have a definitive deadline in which to monetize this blog, which should coinside with other income goals. I have set a goal to increase my income to a specific amount in two years from this coming Saturday. That being stated, my writing should be at least a small portion of my income, and I should have this blog monetized by then. I should also be submitting and pitching articles on some sort of regular basis. For the sake of clarity, we shall choose the arbitrary number of once a month as defining “some sort of regular basis.”

On that note, I will begin brainstorming future blog entries, as well as begin research for my next FFOM blog entry.


Seasonal Patterns

I admit this is relatively late in terms of the weather here, but I’ve finally gotten some time to post about the beautiful changes here in North Central Florida.

In March I began to notice the bare trees sprouting tiny, tightly-coiled buds of vivid spring green leaves — that vibrant, yellowish green color exclusive to spring. I love that color. Over the course of a month, the trees came back to life, inviting white ibis to perch among the many branches of the live oak, cypress, and pine trees. Gorgeous azaleas blossomed all over town — pinks, purples, white. It was fantastic. We even witnessed a pair of sandhill cranes before they departed for the north in early April. Flocks of robins paraded back and forth in the mornings in search of fallen berries from the palm trees. All of these occurences mark the end of the Floridian season I call “sprall” — a mixture of fall and spring that begins with a cooling trend and ends with a warming trend. It’s usually dry during this season as well, therefore some may call it the dry season.

Now in late April, we’ve shifted into early summer. The cicadas have returned, buzzing away in trees to remind us that sultry summer days will soon be upon us. We’re on the brink of wildfire season, which usually gives way into hurricane season. The highlights of a Floridian summer are really only swimming, barbeques, fresh summer produce, and ice cream. I could honestly do without the wildfire smoke, hurricanes, and blistering heat.


Spam Bots Galore

Have I ever mentioned how much I despise spam bots? Yes, buddy, that’s right — I’m talking to you. Here are a few reasons as to why it’s pointless and laughable that you make an attempt to use my blog as your own personal billboard:

1. All comments have to be approved by me first. If it’s spam, it will be deleted without so much as a skim-over.
2. When I say “without so much as a skim-over,” I absolutely mean it — I see the blue text, assume links to unsavory websites, and select “delete it” at the bottom of the comment.
3. You’re better suited to going through someone like Google Ads to advertise your stuff — at least that way the advertisement is presented in such a way that visitors might not feel blinded by your overusage of links.
4. Of course if you’re advertising pornography, you probably aren’t all that popular with the ladies. Try leaving your house once in a while and doing this little thing called “socializing.”
5. The fact that you’re spineless enough to program a spam bot to attack my blog with gibberish and links tells me that you probably live in your mother’s basement, wear thick coke-bottle glasses, have terrible halitosis, and are generally a child in a middle-aged man’s body. Dude, for the love of Scorpio, please grow up and get a life! And move!

And to my real readership, I apologize greatly for my lack of posting. I know I had gotten onto someone’s RSS feed back in February, but I haven’t been capitalizing on it.


Venturing Forth Into Controversy

Although I previously stated I wouldn’t delve into a controversial topic, I’ve decided that I’d like to donate my authorship to advocate for pregnant women, mothers, children, families, and animals. I feel strongly about these topics, and I couldn’t imagine not writing about them even during my early career. While the slice-of-life genre does yield a readership, it doesn’t yield a sense of accomplishment in so much as affecting changes in the world to create a more harmonious environment for others.


Fiery Valentine’s Terror

Thursday night around 9PM, I sat on the couch in front of my laptop while the kids played and Brian talked business with people. I heard a faint beeping outside, smelled smoke, then heard a loud pop. My first thought — some idiot kids were setting off fireworks. I peeked out of my living room blinds and saw the reflection of a roaring fire coming from my next-door neighbor’s bedroom patio door. I froze in fear and denial before turning my head to confirm the raging horror transpiring next-door. I could see it was spreading fast. I shouted to Brian, “get the kids, there’s a fire, we have to leave now!” as I scooped my precious baby daughter off the floor and herding my son down from his chair. I grabbed the cordless phone, ran out of the apartment with my children and husband, and called 911. I frantically pleaded with the 911 dispatcher to get help as soon as possible while my son and I cried hysterically. My daughter quietly looked on, and my husband tried to chase the pets out before grabbing our fire extinguisher. The 911 dispatch yelled at me to calm down – she claimed I was upsetting my children. I certainly hope she never experiences such a horrifying situation in her life because she would learn that you cannot possibly remain calm when all you’ve ever worked for is about to go up in flames. Brian and some other neighbors ran around to the back of the building to try and stop the fire before the Gainesville Fire Rescue arrived. From my view, I could see the fire spreading faster and faster. I panicked, I begged for the 911 dispatcher to get the GFR out there quickly before the fire spread to my apartment. A man named Alton tried to get my cats and puppy out the apartment – he got the puppy, but he couldn’t find the cats before a Gainesville police officer arrived and told everyone to stay out of the building. I would estimate it took about 5 minutes for the GFR to arrive on scene. Smoke billowed above the apartment building, embers spewing from the fiery roof. Some wonderful neighbors got me and the kids wrapped up into blankets and jackets while letting Brian and I call family and friends for assistance.

We went inside a neighbor’s apartment to wait for the fire rescuers to extinguish the fire. Brian realized that he had inhaled far too much smoke while trying to help put out the fire – he had a severe asthma attack. A neighbor escorted him to an ambulance for treatment where our puppy was also receiving treatment for smoke inhalation. I called my friend Karen to get her help. The wonderful people who let us into their apartment offered comfort in the form of clothing for my daughter – who was in nothing but a diaper as she had been awaiting bath time – as well as snacks for my son and blankets for all of us. I found out that Brian needed medical assistance at the hospital and retrieved the puppy. Of course, the EMTs neglected to tell me which hospital they were taking him to. Once Karen arrived, we took the kids to find out where Brian went and to follow him. We were stopped by a reporter and the front office staff. American Red Cross collected all the residents of the building – who, by the way, were NOT mostly students as some incorrect sources might have you believe – to fill out paperwork and receive assistance and lodging. Rob’s idea of clearing the tension was farting loudly in front of everyone. I heard someone say, “at least he hasn’t lost his sense of humor.” Once I finished getting the paperwork done with Laura Mager of the Red Cross, Karen brought us to the Shands at UF emergency room. As usual, the ER was packed, the staff was rude sans for one shining gem named Jay, and Brian was absolutely frustrated at his situation. Apparently, he had two people attempt to start IV fluids – a fire fighter and an EMT. The first try Brian’s veins were blown, the second was not much better. He discharged himself against medical advice for two reasons: one, he felt he was needed with his family; two, he couldn’t tolerate the inconsiderate staff any longer. Of course, Shands at UF’s ER deserves their own special topic for a later date.

Karen drove us to the Days Inn on SW 13th Street, where we almost couldn’t stay because the American Red Cross didn’t ask for pet rooms. Luckily the manager allowed us to bring Bebop Jr. with us. We called more relatives and my boss before sleeping for a few hours. The Days Inn needed the rooms back by 11AM, so Karen returned the next morning to help us get some necessities and get settled in our apartment complex’s front office. We waited for word on where we would go and if we could get our belongings. I count my blessings that the Gainesville Fire Rescue prevented the fire from spreading to our apartment because everything inside was perfectly fine asides from some smoke soot and a little water on the kitchen floor. We found our cats alive and well, thankfully. The front office staff got us into another apartment Friday afternoon while Gator Moving came to move our belongings at no charge to us. Because no two bedroom/ two bathroom apartments were available, we got a wonderful three bedroom/ two and a half bathroom townhouse at the same rent price. Although I’m not pleased about having stairs with my increasingly mobile baby girl, I know we’ll be able to manage this transition. It’s been quite hectic moving at a time like this, but I’m infinitely grateful for my caring family, friends, co-workers, superiors, and apartment complex. We’ve received rides from the property manager himself, gotten food and clothing, and have been comforted in such a terrible time.

By the end of the day on Friday, we learned what caused the fire. Early investigations found that someone had dropped rose petals and lit candles. Whoever did so left our next-door neighboring apartment. They had two cats, who more than likely knocked over a candle – or more. The poor cats didn’t survive. All of this stress could have been avoided if a little commonsense had been exercised. Sadly, my neighbors learned their lesson by losing everything and their two cats. I hear some people may want to sue them, but I know I could not possibly be involved in such a pursuit. While I have been inconvenienced and will be losing pay, I have my family and belongings. They lost everything. As for myself, I’m certain I’m suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I never wish to witness such a disaster again. The image of the burning apartment will forever ingrain itself into my mind.


An Obviously Forced Hiatus

This must seem quite sad that my blog is barely three months old, yet I’ve barely written in it. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say — quite the opposite. It’s that I don’t have the time in which to dedicate myself to my writing. Blame it on life circumstances. I suppose I’ll eventually devote some time to my passions.