If you're ever feeling bad about your weight, particularly when looking at old pictures of beautiful, slim people - don't.
The rise in obesity is strongly correlated with the decrease in smoking rates. Basically, post-1964, we stopped lighting up and started reaching for the potato chips as an alternative way to self-soothe. Combine that behavioral change with the increased availability of junk food and prevalence of eating out and you've got yourself a three-punch combo that makes staying trim a constant struggle (at least for us Americans).
I mean, you can't even go to Staples, an office supply store where they sell paper, without being confronted with a wall of junk food at the cash register. Same for the FedEx store. Why are they selling Pringles next to the packing tape? On my old commute (which was long and stressful and topped off a long and stressful day at a job I didn't particularly like), I passed probably a dozen fast food restaurants and another half dozen gas stations stocked to the gills with junk food every. single. day. How long could I resist that level of stimulation and advertisement encouraging me to bliss out with a bag of cheesy popcorn or a crunchwrap supreme?
So if we're not suppressing our appetites with cigarettes anymore (cause we don't want cancer, cardiovascular diseases, emphysema), and we're exposed to more calories/day than any previous generation has ever experienced in the history of humankind, then you probably shouldn't feel bad about your weight.
Go ahead and eat healthy, exercise more, get fit, etc. Those are all great things. Just don't let yourself fall into a cycle of despair and guilt over weight issues or for caving into a junk food craving, because the odds are stacked against all of us. It's really unsurprising that it's an issue given the conditions. It's not all about free-will. You are the product of the society and culture you live in, and right now things are out of whack.
And this NOT a PSA to encourage you to smoke, which is infinitely worse for your health than carrying some extra weight. This is just a reminder to be kind to yourself.
-signed, the person who stopped at McDonald's for a Shamrock Shake and decided she wasn't going to feel bad about it. She'll change when everything else does too.
I've got a to-do list that's a mile long (actually, it's several index cards long). There's always a list of things I want to write. Novels, short stories, non-fiction e-books, blog-posts, emails, etc.
And lately, I've stumbled onto something that I think a lot of people have already figured out, but as usual I'm slow to learn the rules to any game.
Basically, re-use your content.
On my editing website, I have a small blog where I talk about basic grammar mistakes that I notice scientists often make in their manuscripts. I write these posts because I'm interested in grammar, but I also use them to market my business to some degree. So for example, I wrote a post about the difference between the abbreviations "e.g." and "i.e." and then I posted that link on Facebook. That link brought people who were interested in learning how to use those abbreviations to my editing website, and now maybe they'll use my editing service at some point in the future. Basic web 2.0 marketing.
So that's great, but it's certainly time consuming. Writing those blog-posts sometimes keeps me from writing fiction or non-fiction at the end of the day because I'm exhausted. I feel like my brain gets used up.
But then I realized that I can kill two birds with one stone. Because I'm also trying to write an e-book for scientists on how to become better writers by learning some simple rules and tricks. Maybe you're already seeing the connection...
So now when I write these grammar-focused blog-posts, I just copy and paste them into my working draft of the science writing e-book. I'll revise it later to fit into the appropriate chapter. So I turned one post into two uses. Win win!
Here's another example. The other day I was reading All & Sundry's blog-post about meditation, which inspired me to write this long and detailed comment because I'm really interested in that topic. Well I wound up adapting that comment into a blog-post here. I figured, hey, I spent a lot of time writing that comment, why not expand it?
I'm calling this BOGO writing, buy one get one free. Obviously, you have to be careful not to overdo it (I think a lot of bloggers who have written "books" make this error by repackaging old blog-posts, which just ends up pissing off their readers). But if you've written good content once, why can't it be used in a different context when there's virtually no overlap between the readership?
I guess it's an example of working hard AND smart, something I've always struggled to do. I can work like a dog, but dogs aren't that smart...
Do you ever BOGO write? Is it a no go or a yes go?
Have you ever secretly thought you'd be really good at writing advertising copy?
Maybe to some of you, writing advertising sounds like hell on earth, but then I suspect there are also those of you who are nodding your heads with me right now.
I mean, have you ever read some ad copy and been like, "Shit, I could do that."
For example, let's look at National Bohemian beer, or as it is affectionately known in my home state, "Natty Boh." This local beer tastes about as good as Keystone or Natural Light, which is to say, not very good, but for some reason, we love it in Maryland. For one thing, it has the sweet nickname, Natty Boh, and that's just fun to say, which makes you think of fun things - like parties, where you should buy beer. If that was created by an advertising writer, my hat's off to them.
Plus, it has a bizarre symbol: the one eyed man that's vaguely reminiscent of the Pringles guy. It's just weird enough to catch your attention and make you ponder it for the half-second needed to make a purchasing decision, but it's not so weird that you're turned off. It skirts that line between affection and disgust.
But check out the copy on the side of the beer can:
"Oh Boy, What a Beer!"
...that's it? That's all you've got? Oh boy, what a beer? That's pathetic. That's almost as bad as the Hot Pockets theme song (skip ahead to 3:53).
Natty Boh also has a secondary tagline, "From the land of pleasant living," which is ok, except nowhere have I heard anyone describe Maryland as the land of pleasant living, so that doesn't really make any sense. Kind of a head scratcher, really, because you can't just declare your home town "the land of pleasant living." That's a bold statement. Plenty of people I know actively dislike Maryland and would call it anything but pleasant. They're wrong, but you get what I'm saying.
What ad-lines would you write for Natty Boh? I'm going to take a crack at a few. Don't judge, these are off the top of my head:
"Sip and smile!"
"The drink we all share!"
"Let's drink to Natty!"
"You, me and a Natty Boh!"
"Nothing's smoother than a Natty!"
"Ahh, that's good Natty!"
Fun, I think the ideas get better as I go :) That's one of the things I love about writing. You just keep playing with the words until you find an order that sounds good.
Want to take a shot at it? It really is a fun game, I sometimes try to get friends to play. What jingle would you write for Hot Pockets?
p.s. Yes, I do think it's weird that as a non-drinker I seem to be talking about drinking a lot lately. Sometimes, like the Pixies, I wonder, where is my mind?
Writing, editing, and doing science when I feel like it. Just a book without a genre.