Writing Vacation

Writing is my vocation and I try to do some every day. This is rule number one to be a successful author. Recently, I had been too busy to practice what I preach, so I decided to take time off for a home vacation so I could do nothing but write. I felt it was perfect timing as I was in an inspirational mood. If I went away, say to the mountains or the beach, I would feel obligated to indulge in maximum recreation or socialize, thus interrupting my train of thought. Instead, I would confine myself to the indoors and be productive. By the end of the designated week, however, despite a good output of work, I started to feel a bit depressed. I wondered if I had SAD, or seasonal affective disorder since it was winter. But I had never experienced it before. It was just a temporary lack of sunlight in my opinion. I read that this can cause depression for a while. I knew that I had been so into my writing, that I hadn’t seen the light of day for some time.

While too much sun is bad for you (it can cause cancer), a deficit can be more harmful. We all need a certain amount of vitamin D or we can develop heart disease. Imagine that! I might have made a big mistake in taking a stacation, but it was only one time. It is a known fact that lack of sunlight can lead to clinical depression (source: Be Right Light), especially if it is for long periods of time. The afflicted can feel mood swings, sleep problems, anxiety, or even suicidal thoughts. I had not gotten to this point fortunately. But I felt I had to get outdoors. I vowed to take a walk every day for my health. It would be an absolute requirement for my good health.

People who live in dark climates like Norway or Finland need light therapy I am told. It can restore their sense of well-being and promote renewed happiness. I would use natural light to help me fight my depression. I read a study done at the Medical University of South Carolina that concluded that this condition arises from a disruption of the body’s internal clock or circadian system. The dark mood inducing effects of lack of light leads to changes in the brain to the areas that regulate mood.

The walks were a brilliant idea and I felt better after a short time. It made my return to the computer easy and more fulfilling. I started to produce some of my best work. If I hadn’t been attentive to treating my low mood, I might have fallen into a writing slump. Talk about depression! It would have sent me off the edge for sure. Instead, my vacation was a success and I can do something similar every year. In effect, I will go on a writing blitz.


Helping Out a Friend

I enjoy a variety of clients providing me with a wealth of interesting writing assignments. I am trying to hone my craft at fiction, non-fiction, blogs and posts. I write emails, novels (other than the romance kind), letters, and web pages. If I get a plumb job, I can really augment my income. But there are times when you must do pro bono work for friends and family. I will edit their own writing or ghostwrite something for them. I have done greeting card poems, college admission and job applications, and so much more.

I wasn’t busy a few weeks ago, so I was happy to help a friend whose father had just died. No one in the family had prepared an obituary and it was past due. It has a certain format and style so I wanted to pitch in. I only needed to speak with him to get a sense of his father’s life. You want to list the key points about career milestone, wife, and offspring. It isn’t supposed to be too flowery but it should be light in tone and not overly lugubrious.

His father had been a welder most of his life, a career professional who had worked on many local projects of note. After I composed the obituary in standard style, I felt I had to add a touch of humor. These short paragraphs can be so dull. To give it some life and to please the relatives who remember him fondly, I mentioned his Lincoln welder from here which was a part of the family. He kept it at home in the backyard shed and used it to repair all kinds of household plumbing problems. He had even taught his son the craft.

My friend was more than pleased when he saw the obituary published the paper. It was also placed online by the funeral home. He loved the part about the Lincoln and he laughed out loud, for maybe the first time in a long while. “I could tell you so many stories,” he offered, and I listened. There was the time when the two of them, he and his father, worked together on the bathroom pipe. The welder got out of hand and burned his mother’s precious area rug. “I hated it anyway,” he said, “and so did my dad. I wonder if he did it on purpose. My mother was not happy and rushed out to replace it with the exact same one.”

There was also the time when he loaned the welder to a neighbor and it didn’t come back. He needed it as a backup at work and went to fetch it. The neighbor was on vacation so he raided his garage. The police came and questioned him. He thought he would be arrested for stealing his own stuff, kind of like O.J. Simpson. Fortunately, he didn’t have to go to prison, not for one single day. The policeman left and cautioned him, “Next time wait until your neighbor comes home.”