It has been almost three months since the last time I posted and if you’re wondering what I’ve been up to let me tell you that I had not gone missing, but getting my life in order. Below is a brief rundown of what I achieved:
Writing for Newsday’s Luxury Living Magazine and the HealthLink special section. For the magazine, I wrote a feature story on Yoga studios in the Hamptons. The issue will be available on June 19th. For the May Healthlink special section, my article centered on HPV and its link to cervical cancer.
I’m pleased how the articles turned out and more so after I received complimentary emails from both editors. Edits and questions were minimal. Newsday is a good market to break in and I hope that I’ll continue to get asked to pitch more story ideas and get assigned to write more articles. The next market I want to pitch is Yankee Magazine. Why? Well that leads to achievement number two:
A new home in Brattleboro, Vermont! Yes, I moved from the woods and back to civilization on April 30th. Indian Lake was lovely, but it was too remote. Although I received a clean bill of health, I don’t ever want to be too far away from a hospital (not that I plan to be hospitalized again) but you never know when you might need to have medical services nearby for a human or canine emergencies.
The new pad is the downstairs flat of a two family house located within walking distance of town. That means I am near the food co-op, restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, art galleries, the library, post office and so on. Brattleboro reminds a little of Park Slope, but prettier. Within in a short driving distance in North Brattleboro (about five minutes from the house) there’s a shopping mall with an Aldi, a Hannaford, a Staples and a Peebles (similar to Marshalls). A little further south is the Brattleboro Outlet Center, a PriceChopper, the hospital, and veterinarian. There’s also public transportation and a train station nearby. And the best part…sidewalks for easy walking into town. No more having to trudge on steep dirt roads and slipping on debris, snow, ice or mud. Below are some photos of the new flat and of Brattleboro.
Savings! This is a big one. I sold the Jeep. No more paying nearly $500 per month. I still have a vehicle—a 1995 Land Rover—that needed $1,200 in repairs, but now that I’m close to town I don’t need to rely on it to drive long distances to get groceries and run errands. I’ll only use it when I visit friends in Northampton, MA, or go exploring outside my little area. But there’s more! The apartment’s rent includes heat and utilities. In this case, my savings is almost $1800 a year! My overall savings including not paying the Jeep and the extra insurance comes out to nearly $7,800!
Since January, I’ve accomplished three major goals, but I still have more to wrestle:
1. Pay off debt, fixing my credit and dismal tax situation(an ongoing process).
2. Writing for larger regional markets (Hello, Yankee Magazine!) and national market publications
3. Launch Plain Speaking Communications (more on that in the next post).
4. Finish (yes, I mean that) Julius and find an agent.
I’d like to reach three of these goals by December 2016. That’s seven months of hard work and getting out of my comfort zone. I know there will be days I’ll want to hide and be a hermit, but I’ve done that for too long. I’ve come to realize that solitude isn’t good for me mentally or emotionally. I need to have some human interaction.Thankfully, because of the Messrs. Bessie et Trumbo’s daily walks, we are all getting a good dose of human interaction—they’re admired and I’ve actually have had conversations with my own species!—and quite a bit of exercise. We average five miles daily.
Now that I’m settled in the new home, I hope to be consistent with this blog (I know, promises, promises) and flex my writing muscles again. I discovered yesterday during a round of slight revision on Julius that my fiction muscles were as tight as my hamstrings (working on those too) and needed to do some serious stretching. It was a short “workout” but I think I’ll get back up to speed again.
More to come in the next couple of days….