Write of Refusal ► Unpacking The Writer

First things first: An apology to my regular readers. I’ve not published nearly enough lately. Sorry.

Yes, I’m still crafting my regular Friday Fox Follies for PoliticusUSA, a column of Fox “News” criticism I’ve been doing since October 2014. However, that’s the only freelancing I’m doing for other publications at the moment.

The rest of my output, such as it is, has all been here and on mindless social media.

Since the last time we’ve had one of these little talks, I’ve started a new series, UpLyfting Thoughts, which has been very well received. Maybe too well received. I created it for two 2 simple reasons: 1). Interesting things happen in the Grey Ghost and I wanted to share them with my readers; and 2). It was a stopgap measure. I knew would have less time to write. UT is something I can put together fairly quickly. It’s based on notes jotted down at traffic lights and coffee shops while I’m out and about. I already have 3 more in the hopper, but I certainly don’t want this to become a Lyft blog.

A recent email from one of my secret sources in The Grove said:

Just an FYI, a lyft blog is a great story….
While not as satisfying, it makes a connection with readers.
My 2 cents.

Sadly, they are right. It’s not nearly as satisfying.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love writing UpLyfting Thoughts — and I have some really interesting ones partially written — but the truth is they take little time and effort to bang out. There’s no research. They are merely anecdotes, which I attempt to make pithy in the editing process. [You be the judge.]

I could probably drop one of these every day but I don’t want it to become a Lyft blog. The other topics are what keep my interest and, hopefully, the interest of readers who come back for more.

My (now semi-)regular series Monday Musical Appreciation and Throwback Thursday provided more of a writing challenge as well. I’d wake up at 5 and start the coffee. After catching up with some mindless social media, I’d take a look at a few history sites until I found the music or event I wanted to highlight. I’d do some research, craft an essay, move paragraphs around in the editing process, add pics and/or vids, and — finally — publish the sucker by 9. It was like being given an assignment with the due date RIGHT NOW!

You may be surprised to learn that the Not Now Silly Newsroom is a non-profit . . . and that’s not by design. That wouldn’t be the case if more people clicked on the adverts. However, I can’t game the system by asking. I just need to hope that people think of it on their own when they’re here. It also wouldn’t be the case if more folks contributed to the Go Fund Me at the bottom of every NNS page, but I’m not going to beg.

You may also be surprised that the bills to keep the bricks and mortar Newsroom afloat continue to come in every! single!! month!!!

That’s why I traded in the immaculate Lexus for the Grey Ghost and taken up driving for Lyft: to pay the bills. The Lexus, as deluxe as it was, was simply too old to meet Lyft’s requirements.

Lyfting changed everything. I am still trying to adapt to an entirely new writing schedule because it leaves far less time for Not Now Silly.

The best time to Lyft is early in the morning, soon after I wake up. I shower, jump into my shoes, and log into the Lyft app. I spend a few hours every morning meeting new Lyftees. When things slow down, I go home. All too often, when I get there, I don’t feel much like writing.

My best writing has always been done early in the morning. I’ve found that, as I get older, my writing suffers later in the day. It’s not as sharp and focused as what I craft early in the day. It’s more of a struggle to find the right words and craft sentences that are not typo-filled. That’s one of the reason I gave up writing after noon. By then, because I’m up at 5, I already have some 5-7 hours of writing behind me.

However, I’m trying to adapt my writing habits in various ways. First I am using my downtime between Lyftees to continue to work on stories, even if it’s in longhand in the Grey Ghost.

That’s how this essay started. It was punched up and polished at red lights and in parking lots. Then it was brought back to the Newsroom, and converted from analog to digital by the sheer will of my fingers. Pictured at left is one of my final edits as I monitor the Fox “News” Channel for egregious lies.

I’m also learning to write later in the day (all over again), but I know better than to publish any of that effluent. I edit the raw wordage early in the day, before my brain turns to mush all over again. That’s why I have several articles in various stages of completion. Eventually at least one of them will be complete.

All I can do is promise my faithful readers that I’ll try to do better and more. Now it’s time for me to go out Lyfting again. Back on the roadway “already in progress”.


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Headly Westerfield
Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.