Monday, May 30, 2005

Exercise: Keeping Up The Supply

I’ve never been much of a sports buff, either in doing or in watching, but exercise keeps catching up to me. I have to admit I like the feeling of having done a good routine. I must have hiked three to four miles today in the desert. The coyote, rabbit and prairie dog sightings are a plus. It’s always a treat when you see a dozen hot-air balloons doing their runs, though hardly the thrill we get in October during Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta when the sky fills with many hundreds and you can watch them stage before dawn.

After the walk, I did weights: fifteen pound dumbbells. I do not wish to build impressive muscular bulk, though I do own a pair at twenty-five and thirty-five pounds. I am soon going to get into the habit of walking to do certain shopping and errands. I imagine walks of between one-and-a-half and five miles each way, carrying ice packs in a backpack when I need to buy perishables. It’s the routine of doing this that really brings the benefits. Of course, in Albuquerque, you have to be careful crossing boulevards, even at crosswalks.

I’ve never quibbled at the price of gasoline, yet I keep mileage down on my car as a means of being good to it. My 1997 Mitsubishi Galant has just over 60,000 miles and has never needed a major repair. Every errand done on foot saves several dozen startups, turns, backups, and other “wearing transactions” on the car. Since I may be driving the car to New York and back this summer, it can use the extra babying now.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Writing Standards and Limitations

I’m writing this essay, as I write many of my pieces, as a break from my business writing. I’ve committed myself to writing at least five culinary book reviews a week for my web site and RSS news feed. Publishers are sending me culinary books to review. While I have active plans to revamp my publishing company, this time specializing in food books, I’ve made a commitment to myself to concentrate on establishing these cookbook reviews as the definitive site of its type on the web.

I cannot deny that I am prolific as writers go and accomplish a great deal, but I follow my own standards. There is, hence, a limit to how much I can produce a day and still maintain my own high quality level. I’m beginning to feel that my daily limit is about 1500 words, from concept to completion.

I’ve recently, after much thought, revamped my plans for a new book, You Have A Voice, in which I distill my experience as a public speaking trainer and coach. My previous outline was much too limited. I incorporated all the material of that outline into a new, more fluid outline. I still have a month or so of reflection to go before I get to work on You Have A Voice, and then it will only be in my off moments. It is precisely because I am constrained not to write the book in a white heat that a well-burnished outline is necessary.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Too Much Travel

It has taken me several weeks to recover from more travel than I am used to. In early April I arrived in Australia, planning to spend two weeks in the Sydney area for my son’s wedding. As soon as I got my email, I learned that I had been nominated for the James Beard Foundation Journalism Award, with the ceremony to take place in New York City just ten days after my return to my home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In Australia, I was Master of Ceremonies for the wedding. I arrived back in Albuquerque Tuesday April 19th after more than 24 hours in the air or in airports, competed in a Toastmasters speech contest that Friday (taking second place state-wide), flew to New York the next Tuesday, attended the sumptuous banquet and award ceremony that Friday, and return exhausted the next day. Three weeks have now passed and I am just back to normal.