Important Things

Post slugTime. We can’t see it. We can’t feel it. But we know it’s there, whooshing past us at the alarming rate of one second per second. And although the water molecules and carbon atoms that make up my body have been around for potentially billions of years (and likely have billions to go: stable little buggers), they’ll only hang out together in this particular configuration for a blink of an eye.

“Oh, no. What’s he going on about now?” says Reader One.

“I don’t know,” says Reader Two.

“I think he’s having another midlife crisis,” Reader One suggests.

“Yeah, you’re probably right. Hasn’t he done this once a year since he was twelve?”

Excuse me, can you two keep it down? I’m trying to write a blog post here.

“Sorry. Carry on!”

Thank you. Anyway, as I was saying, though time itself is infinite, each of us is only allotted an infinitely small portion, and what we do with it must be spent wisely, lest we get to the end of it and say, “Dang it! I never finished watching that box set of The X Files that I got for Christmas in 2005.”

As I began to re-examine where I’ve been spending my time, and looked again at how many unfinished projects I have left, I also made the tactical error of checking the ol’ blog’s Google Analytics numbers. And as often as I like to joke in my self-deprecating manner about only having four or five regular readers, apparently that’s true. (Unless, you count all the fans visiting from best-seo-offer.com, best-seo-solution.com, and buttons-for-your-website.)

Now if I could write a blog post in ten or fifteen minutes, then I probably wouldn’t think twice about it. Heck, I waste that much time just standing and staring into the refrigerator each hour. But I can easily spend upwards of two hours on a single five-hundred-word post.

The process:

  • I have to get an idea first. Once in a while, I know exactly what this is. But most of the time I have to watch youtube for hours before I give up and just write about weight loss.
  • Next, I flesh out the idea. What’s my hook? Is there an underlying theme? Should I use any verbs this time?
  • Then I create the appropriate accompanying images. Original graphics are important, but time-consuming.
  • After that, I write the final copy.
  • Then I walk away.
  • Then I come back and edit with fresh eyes.
  • Then, and only then, do I approve it and hit the Publish button.
  • After which I read it one more time and make at least one small change.

I don’t want to sound immodest, but I think the end result is an above-average blog post. From time to time I hope someone might say, “Wow! I bet so-and-so would love this! I’ll send it to her!” or “I’m gonna share this on Facebook!” But the numbers don’t lie: this very rarely happens.

Thing Number One

But I’m okay with that. Like so many things in life, it is what it is. I have a finite amount of time to be creative and it’s my choice on where I spend it. Which brings me to the first thing: I’ll be cutting way back on posts here. Again. I simply have to reallocate my blogging time to other projects. Which, not coincidentally, brings me to the next things:

Thing Number Two

Way back in the 1980s, I started writing and recording music. I played piano, guitar, bass guitar; and would, with the cheapest equipment available at the time, record my work. I called myself “Continuum” and released six or so collections of “audio sketchbooks” between 1987 and 1997. After that, life took over, and although I still poked around in the home studio or picked up a guitar from time to time, I never really produced anything else after that.

I finally changed that in January. I dusted things off, fired up the studio, installed some new software, and said, “No more excuses. I’m doing this.” Since then, I’ve (nearly) finished two songs and I’m about a quarter of the way into the third. My goal is to have an hour’s worth recorded by the end of this year.

Given the near-twenty year break from this, and the nature of the reboot, I’ve renamed myself:

Updates on the music front will appear on my other blog.

Thing Number Three

I decided to finally write the sequel to my last book, Why Your Last Diet Failed You. It’s a sequel in the sense that it’s non-fiction, written by me, in a very particular voice and style, and uses the same fonts. The good news is, it’s not about dieting. Nope, this time I thought my turn with cancer three (yes, three) years ago needed to be put into words. And fast too, before I forget all of it.

I have two or three potential book titles, but haven’t settled on anything yet. It depends how the narrative turns out, and it’s too early to tell.

I began working on it on March 18. Draft Zero of the manuscript is already more than 27,000 words. When I started this project, I figured it’d be around 25,000 words when done: purposefully quite short. However, as I’ve already passed that target, it’s looking more like 30,000 to 35,000 now.

I know that would counts don’t mean much to the average person. For comparison: 50,000 words is considered the minimum number to be called a novel. Anything below that is a novella. (Until the novella gets too small, and then it’s just a short story.)

For a better comparison, here are the word counts of a few works, rounded to the nearest thousand:

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens: 29,000.
Animal Farm, George Orwell: 30,000.
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald: 47,000.
Lord of the Flies, William Golding: 60,000.
Why Your Last Diet Failed You, Charlie Hills: 65,000.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling: 78,000.
The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien: 95,000.
Tenner Heed, Charlie Hills (unfinished): 123,000.
Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien: 188,000.
All Back to the Fridge posts combined, Charlie Hills: 203,000.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling: 257,000.
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell: 418,000.
War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy: 561,000.

So there you go! I’ll be back, of course: it just won’t be next week. If you’d like to see how my creative endeavors are going, I’ll post a bit more often at www.elsewhither.com. Until then, eat right, exercise, and remember to stop and smell the French fries once in a while.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, this blog post is 1099 words long and took over two hours to write. :)



4 Responses to “Important Things”

Biz said
on
April 21, 2015 at 2:10 pm

I wish I could give you all the time I have Charlie! And, I wish I was as creative as you so I could actually put all of my extra time into something a bit more fruitful, instead of wasting it on Instagram and Pinterest :P

Love you! Love, your favorite sister, Biz (and I really hope I am your number one fan in terms of comments!)

Reply
    Charlie said
    on
    April 24, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    Second only to me (in terms of comments!)

    Reply
Sandie said
on
April 22, 2015 at 3:36 am

I love your posts. I tend to read them from my subscription email so I might not register as a ‘regular’ on your blog. Please don’t leeeeave!!!!

Sounds like you make good use of your time, much better use than I make of mine, that’s for sure!

Reply
    Charlie said
    on
    April 24, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Not leaving, just going to be a bit busy for a while. :)

    Reply

Leave a Reply. All the cool kids are doing it.

Comment:

Hidden Calories

April 13th, 2015

thumbnail-hidden-calories

Have you ever heard of dark matter? Astronomers and other smart people have observed the collective gravitational influence of all the things they can see up there (mainly stars) and realized they don’t weigh enough to explain their relative motions. Scientists have hypothesized that dark matter exists to make up the difference, and in quantities […]

Read the full post | 4 Comments »

Small Irritation

April 6th, 2015

thumbnail-small-irritation

Three years ago today I was flat on my back in a hospital bed. Had I not received any medical intervention, I would have been looking at the last three or four weeks of my life. My nick-of-time treatment bumped the odds to fifty-fifty that I’d see whatever blockbuster movies were coming out that summer. […]

Read the full post | 4 Comments »

The Treadmill

March 30th, 2015

thumbnail-the-treadmill

About once or twice a decade, something compels me to join a gym. It could be any little thing: from needing an extra boost because I’ve hit a weight loss rut to finding new and different ways to set my money on fire. My latest foray into the world of sweat-generating machinery came in February, […]

Read the full post | 10 Comments »

Yard Work

March 23rd, 2015

thumbnail-yard-work

In February, The Great Neverending Weight Loss Story got two much-needed boosts. First, I finally admitted that Diet #113 was dead and so started a new one. Second, I was presented with a Challenge. A Challenge? Enter the February Wellness Challenge, sponsored by my employer. The idea behind it was: hook up with three co-workers, […]

Read the full post | 19 Comments »

Wii Fit Plus

March 16th, 2015

thumbnail-wii-fit-plus

I am somehow forty-two days into Diet 115 already. Which is hard to believe because it actually feels more like forty-one days, twenty-three hours. It’s like we inexplicably lost an hour somewhere along the way. The good news is: I’m down five pounds. The bad news is: I was down five pounds thirty whole days […]

Read the full post | 6 Comments »

Diet 115

February 23rd, 2015

thumbnail-diet-115

It’s with mingled happiness, excitement, sorrow, and regret that I announce Diet #115 has begun. Before Back to the Fridge went off on a five-week diet soft drink adventure, I had embarked on Diet 113C. In that post I talked about how all my ambitious, post-holiday diet plans crashed and burned right out of the […]

Read the full post | 6 Comments »

The Soda Chronicles, Part Five

February 16th, 2015

thumbnail-the-soda-chronicles-part-5

This is final installment of my mini-series, The Soda Chronicles. Welcome to Part Five, or How I Found a Solution to the Most Trivial and Pointless Problem on the Planet. A quick recap: I switched from sugar soft drinks to diet soft drinks due to excess calories. I switched from diet soft drinks to no […]

Read the full post | 3 Comments »

The Soda Chronicles, Part Four

February 9th, 2015

thumbnail-the-soda-chronicles-part-4

Welcome to my continuing mini-series, The Soda Chronicles. This is Part Four, or Why I Switched from the Sugar Stuff to No Soft Drinks At All. So on September 30, 2014, I decided to stop drinking diet soft drinks (really, to halt my intake of artificial sweeteners completely) and switch to regular sugar sodas again. […]

Read the full post | 6 Comments »

The Soda Chronicles, Part Three

February 2nd, 2015

thumbnail-the-soda-chronicles-part-3

Welcome to the third part of my mini-series, The Soda Chronicles. This is Part Three, or Why I Switched from Diet Soda Pop Back to the Sugar Stuff. In our last episode, our intrepid hero Charlie had seemingly found everlasting happiness with diet soda pop. It had no calories. It tasted good. And, best of […]

Read the full post | 6 Comments »

The Soda Chronicles, Part Two

January 26th, 2015

thumbnail-the-soda-chronicles-part-2

Welcome to the second part of my mini-series, The Soda Chronicles. This is Part Two, or Why I Switched from Regular Soda Pop to Diet Soda Pop. Unlike last week’s semi-rhetorical question, this one is easy to answer: calories. When I realized that the drinks I was guzzling down contained levels of sugar that could […]

Read the full post | 4 Comments »

The Soda Chronicles, Part One

January 19th, 2015

thumbnail-the-soda-chronicles-part-1

Welcome to my new mini-series, The Soda Chronicles. This is Part One, or Why I Love Me Some Soda Pop. Ironically, I can’t actually answer that question because the concepts of likes and dislikes lie beyond logical definition. In short, people like what they like and they don’t like what they don’t like. Take mushrooms, […]

Read the full post | 6 Comments »

Just Kidding

January 12th, 2015

thumbnail

I’m not a novelist, but I play one on the internet. In my quest to become one in real life, I’ve studied a thing or two about the craft. Fortunately for you, one of the “one or two things” I’ve learned along the way can be directly applied to dieting. When it comes to starting […]

Read the full post | 5 Comments »

Diet Within a Diet Within a Diet

January 5th, 2015

thumbnail-diet-with-a-diet

A few minutes after midnight on Thursday, January 1, 2015, I had an amazing idea. A groundbreaking idea. In fact, it’s hard to believe no one has ever come up with this before. Forget about revolutionary notions like the automobile or space flight or even the Slap Chop. I’ve got something so good it’ll make […]

Read the full post | 1 Comment »

The Year in Review

December 31st, 2014

thumbnail-the-year-in-review-2014

As a species, we talk a lot about how fast time moves, but in all reality it doesn’t. That sense of speed is, more or less, an illusion. A year “flies by” only because we do not have the ability to recall, minute-for-minute, the entire time span. It’s like a good night’s sleep or a […]

Read the full post | 8 Comments »

Day 9000

December 20th, 2014

thumbnail-day-9000

Today we once again touch on a difficult topic: the passage of time. Each of us is acutely aware of the fact that the older we get the faster time moves. Up until the sixth grade or so, we generally experience time moving forward at the expected rate of one second per second. By the […]

Read the full post | 5 Comments »

Little One

October 20th, 2014

thumbnail-litteone

I knew that inserting a baby into the marriage would change things. How could it not? Think about it: suddenly you have a new member of the species, barely out of the shrink wrap, now wholly under your care. Imagine the responsibility.Gone were the days where at a moment’s notice we could pack an overnight […]

Read the full post | 17 Comments »

Diet Within a Diet

October 13th, 2014

thumbnail-diet-with-a-diet

I’ve essentially been on one straight diet for over twenty-four years now. However, from time to time, I “go on a diet,” as they say, just to mix things up a bit. I define this diet within a diet like so: adopt a specific methodology, aiming at a specific target weight, for a specific purpose. […]

Read the full post | 6 Comments »

It’s All Relative

September 29th, 2014

thumbnail-its-all-relative

When I decided to get this blog going again in July, I made a conscious decision to steer it away from the usual (read: boring) Weight Loss Journey topics and more towards the things that truly matter in life, like Toast and Ramen Noodles. But that didn’t mean I wouldn’t ever talk about the weight […]

Read the full post | 8 Comments »

Happy Birthday Mom!

September 23rd, 2014

thumbnail-happy-birthday-mom

Dear Mom, Every year I get you something different for your birthday. Sometimes it’s a Hallmark card and other times it’s a different Hallmark card. Often the birthday card is accompanied by a gift of some sort. Like, one year I got you those socks you’d had her eye on for months. And then on […]

Read the full post | 12 Comments »

My Story

September 15th, 2014

thumbnail-my-story

“I should write a book.” That’s what I thought to myself back in April of 1993. “A real book,” I added, as I had, at the time, just finished writing a four-hundred page technical manual. I had never really thought about writing before that moment. But something about watching the printer disgorge copies of that […]

Read the full post | 6 Comments »

Fan Mail

September 8th, 2014

thumbnail-fan-mail

As a world-famous blogger, I receive thousands of letters from fans each week. Unfortunately, as a word-famous blogger, I don’t have time to answer all of them. Any of them, in fact. This is wrong of me. I understand this now. As a world-famous blogger, I have an obligation–nay, a duty–to acknowledge my fans. After […]

Read the full post | 12 Comments »

Ramen Noodles

September 1st, 2014

thumbnail-ramen

I don’t understand why prepackaged, dehydrated ramen noodles get such a bad rap. They’re quick, convenient, and taste as awesome as you’d expect from something providing your weekly recommended allowance of sodium. All I can think of is that their rock-bottom reputation is solely related to their rock-bottom price. Yes, they’re cheap. (You’d be hard […]

Read the full post | 9 Comments »

Keeping a Promise

August 25th, 2014

thumbnail-keeping-a-promise

Cancer treatment, to put it mildly, is a bit of an inconvenience. It prevents you from going to work every day. It gives you a fresh, new perspective on life. It helps you lose those last twenty pounds . . . Wait a second. That doesn’t sound inconvenient at all. That sounds awesome. Let me […]

Read the full post | 3 Comments »

Best Blog Post Ever

August 11th, 2014

thumbnail-best-blog-post-ever

So the other day I was in the shower or driving to work or taking my giraffe for a walk when I had an idea for a blog post. In fact, not just any blog post, but a good one. In fact, not just a good one, but maybe the best one ever. It would […]

Read the full post | 10 Comments »