Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sending positive thoughts does nothing for me

There has been a trend, and I first saw it appear on Facebook the last two years I was in college. Someone would say that they were struggling with something, or sad or disappointed, and several people would say, "Praying for you!" Then, there would be that one acquaintance who would say something between "Sending positive thoughts your way," or "Sending light and positive energy to you."

First, that sounds to me like the jokes we make about "You must have brought the rain/snow with you."After I get over that, I think about the flip side... do people think prayer is the same as just a good wish, and that the power is from themselves whether they are thinking, wishing, or praying for someone?

How many times do we just say that we are praying for someone and not doing more than thinking of them for 5 seconds? Ever feel guilty when you receive an update because you totally didn't even remember it again after that first moment after someone shared bad news / a hard situation?

I'm still learning about prayer. I'm not as consistent as I would like to be. I don't spend enough time listening. I'm not perfect. 

And, I know that people mean well when they say what they say. But empty promises of praying for one another changes about as much as a thought. And I don't subscribe to the philosophy that you can change things with just thoughts. God may intervene supernaturally, but there will be action. You yourself may take action. But this physical world primarily is affected by physical action and we hide behind good wishes when we can bring that meal, wash those dishes, and sit by their side.

Friday, December 19, 2014

It will be perfect

As I sat between the socks, new outfits, handmade gifts, blankets, baskets, gift bags, and wrapping paper, I felt so many things. This was different than the other times I'd been in that room.

It was several weeks ago now, but it affected me for days. My husband had just discussed with me when we should put up the crib. I was dead set on December, AND wanted the only "guest bed" (aka futon couch) we had to stay up, too. That's not really reasonable, I realized, but it was the last point that had me feeling like I couldn't let go: We don't know where we'll be - here or somewhere else - until mid January, anyhow.

Why does that even matter to me? Because I was planning on decorating and making a perfect little nursery, and I couldn't wait to start...

And even then, I know I'm not going to have a perfectly coordinated picturesque room. Why?

Well, because I'm doing it. And I mess things up. They don't come out like the magazines. They don't even function half of the time. And who has the space for these Pinterest ideas, anyhow? I have three bookcases lining one wall, and a piano, and a futon couch, and a big reclining chair in that room already.

 Besides, I don't even like pink that much, yet one of my themes is Precious Moments...

These things don't matter. My child's going to all too soon be communicating what she likes, anyhow, and I don't she'll be so boring to only like one thing.

I'm a military wife. I can pick up and go and never even have a nursery, and still raise my child right. If that's how it has to be, it happens that way. Then why do I feel so sad? Maybe because I couldn't even wrap the Christmas present that I was wrapping in that room that day without messing it up, leaving a crumply corner at the top.

But, I don't need a crib set up to start decorating, and I don't need much to organize these tiny outfits and tiny items she'll need at the beginning of her life, whether she spends her first months in this room, or another. So, today, this is all that's done, but it's a start:

Why you can't re-write an article

I've run into this a few times lately on - people want you to "re-write" something. The different aspects I see that come into play are as follows:

Often the content is very well written, and even well known material, but the client wants to use the information for his own purposes, and doesn't know how to talk about the content himself.

The client may have some specific ideas about what he wants to add or not include, but usually doesn't communicate those things, and then is disappointed that the client didn't know instinctively where he was going with the project.

The client only provides one source, but expects the writer to pull from multiple sources, OR the client doesn't realize it's impossible to write a new article on things that are not common knowledge subjects without research and pulling from other resources. 

For example, re-write the above sentence... there are only so many ways you can say that.

There seems to be a big misunderstanding about what an original idea is, and how writers function. If you're re-writing one sentence, that's one thing... but it's much more productive and much easier to write from a topic (such as: discuss homelessness and veterans) than to say, "Hey, I found this great article on this topic and I want you to rewrite it so I can use it in my book."

Often, I can't even "re-write" a description or a single sentence to a client's satisfaction. How many ways can you say, this product is a mug? I often think I've done well to engage a reader, and I receive back comments such as, "I was looking for something catchy..."

So, re-writing is now a key word I stay away from, because, for me, that means: A client with poorly thought out expectations, with some agenda they aren't sharing, looking for a shortcut to having their own stuff, without creating their own stuff, and expecting me to read their mind and then create awesomeness. That's worth more than the $5 they're usually willing to pay.