7 Rookie Writing Mistakes (and 7 Ways to Improve)

A Writer's Path


by Phoebe Quinn

7 rookie writing mistakes:

View original post 1,042 more words


It’s Official: I’m Obese

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve checked my BMI. I know how it works: normal is, what, 18 to 25? 25 to 30 is overweight. 30 to 40, I think, is obese? Above that is morbidly obese.

While I was at a desk, sitting in my sedentary job, I took a look at myself, after having had a pretty nifty lunch at White Castle. By the way, I had two double cheeseburgers, two crab cake sliders, a small hash brown, a small shrimp nibblers, and coffee with five creams and three sugars. (As I wrote that out, I realized, “Damn. That is a lot.”)

I took a look at myself. I felt myself. (I’m not saying that’s what she said.)

For a while, I’ve started feeling a tad… unwell. It’s not quite obvious. It’s like feeling 10% unwell. Something is a little off right now, and it’s become a constant. It’s become chronic. Scary word. A lot of it has been mental. Being unfocused. Being lazy. Loss of libido. Feeling down. The physical stuff, I googled:

“What causes pain under the foot?”

“How long does it take for a scratch to heal?”

“Do I have diabetes?”

After doing two seemingly useless online Q&As for fun, I found out that I’m at a low to moderate risk for diabetes. In other words, I didn’t find out anything new, except that it takes a week for a scratch to heal, so I’m still good.

But do I have diabetes? I would have to go to a doctor to have that question answered. My hunch? I’m going to get there really soon if I don’t stop eating an entire bucket of Turkey Hill ice cream in two nights. I can’t help it though. It’s delicious. Unfortunately, “all natural chocolate & vanilla” doesn’t mean I could consume more obviously.

Then I thought of something, and went straight to a BMI calculator.

“What’s your height? : 5 feet, 9 inches”

“What’s your weight? : 205 pounds”

“Your BMI is … 30.3.”

I don’t know why I was a little surprised. For the past three years – three years ago can’t be the last time I checked my BMI – I was negligent, ignorant with the idea that my BMI was stuck at 25. I was 170 pounds then. But it’s weird that even after all the weight gain, and my seemingly sinking IQ, and the chronic pain in my right foot, and recent days where my mouth has gone dry, and even the sensations in my chest, it’s a single number that scares me the most.

Isn’t that weird?

Stupidity During Winter Storm Quinn

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

It was 5:41 PM when I finally arrived at my house, having driven 28 miles from Melville, NY to Woodhaven, NY in treacherous snowy and windy conditions. I was in a rage.

When I woke up that morning on March 7th, 2018, I was hoping for a day off from work. At the time, my hopes were not for the sake of my safety, but to please my inner sloth, having suffered from sleep deprivation for the past couple of weeks because I’m a moron who stays up late, either ruminating or reading. But no! Like many others – including the kids, the poor kids, who didn’t get a snow day – I had to go to work. Wahhh! How do you put an angry and sad emoji here?


It was around 2:00 PM. I was at work, sitting at a desk, a screen of eight cameras at my disposal. In all monitors, snow was falling in different directions. I got up from my chair a couple of times to stare out the front door glass and see that the snow was, indeed, real. Yay! I love snow. It fell in place of rain and covered the parking lot in an hour. No half day? I was looking forward leaving early and beating the worst of the storm.

I think of myself as an intelligent driver whose emotions get the best of me. On the road, my greatest enemy, to put it blatantly, are stupid drivers. Stupid drivers! Arghhh! I’ve driven long enough to be able to call them that! S-T-U-P-I-D! Do you know who I’m talking about? Unfortunately, I saw some yesterday during the storm. I’ll give you a few examples. Or a story.

I was driving home on the Northern State Parkway. Going east to west, things were deteriorating. The parkway was covered in slush. Honestly, I wanted to get home quickly. I was doing 40 mph when no one was around, but when there was another vehicle nearby, I’d slow down. I’m selfless when it comes to safety. In the rear-view mirror was a blue sedan, no doubt, going 50 mph, with cars all around. When he passed me by, I managed to see an a-hole with one hand on the wheel and the other holding a phone. Grrr! Stupid! But why do I care? He wasn’t directly affecting me. Why would I give a shit?

Down the road, I was on the left lane of three lanes following a truck whose blinkers were… blinking. I wanted to pass so I merged to the middle lane. From the right lane in front of me was a silver SUV merging in front of me a little too close for comfort. Okay. No problem if you want to merge, but it turned out to be a useless merge! I said that I wanted to get home quickly! This vehicle made no effort to get ahead of the other vehicle she was behind in the right lane, nor did she try to pass the truck! So, with all the open road in front of her, she was blocking me from getting ahead! When the truck merged to the middle, she then merged back to the right lane! What the hell was the point of that?! Grrr! Stupid!

This one was nobody’s fault, but with a few miles left on the parkway, the wiper on my side of the windshield started to detach. What a piece of sh*t that only aggravated the anger that had been building up inside! When it finally detached, I had to turn it off and pray that the snow wouldn’t completely block my view, which it almost did. I drove for about three miles almost blind. I tried countering this by directing air to the windshield to reduce condensation and to melt the ice outside.

When I finally got off the parkway and into the winding road of a park, the road up ahead was blocked off by a fallen tree. So, I did a U-turn and had to go another way around the park. That damn tree shouldn’t have fallen down because the upcoming events shouldn’t have happened. When I got out of the park, I had to pull over at the next available parking to do an emergency stop and reattach my wiper. While I was fixing it, an MTA bus driver honked at me. What an a-hole! I didn’t realize I parked at a bus stop because there was a car already there and the signs were covered in snow. There was no passengers to pick up and no passengers got off. Grrr!

So, when I finally got around that damn park, now with a clear windshield, I was following a silver sedan whose license plate looked New Jerseyan. I put up with their incredibly slow pace, literally going 5 to 10 mph. Nothing wrong with that. Better safe than sorry. I had the opportunity to pass them, but I didn’t because I’m a patient guy. So… what happened next wasn’t supposed to happen… but it did!

They didn’t signal before turning left. Grrr. Followed them into that left turn that was a downhill street. Still slow.

I wasn’t tailgating. I know this because the fool stopped out of nowhere, signaled left to park seconds later, and, with the space I left them, tried doing so, but couldn’t, having to reverse uphill into the parking spot. So, they pulled out – slowly – and I – and others behind me – continued to follow. They kept braking to a STOP going down. When the fool finally reached the “foot” of the downhill, they stopped for a reason I will never know! I braked gently and skidded down. I braked until the pedal reached the floor, but I was still skidding down. It was useless as my vehicle slowly slid down towards the fool’s New Jerseyan ass. I honked repeatedly for them to move their ass. I watched as my front stopped at their back. A collision may or may not have occurred. Grrr!!!

When they – slowly – moved forward, there was no damage from what I could see on their rear. My theory is snow on our bumpers softened what was already a very soft collision, and my vehicle would’ve simply pushed them forward instead of creating a dent.

They pulled over at the mouth of another road and I didn’t bother to stop for what may or may not have been a very soft collision. I just drove on by. I wasn’t going to stop for this b.s. with all the cars this fool was holding up.

After an hour and 36 minutes, I finally made it home, angry. My love for snow didn’t change. My (I don’t want to say hatred) dislike for stupid people only grew… into hatred! No, I’m just kidding. Grrr! I’m not an a-hole, but people make an a-hole out of me.

If there’s anything I took from that day, it’s ideas for my next story.


Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

I learned a new word today. Benighted.

According to Dictionary.com, it’s an adjective whose definition is “intellectually or morally ignorant; unenlightened.” The second definition reads “overtaken by darkness or night”.

It’s an adjective I could use to describe a monster in one of my stories. Or a word I can use to describe myself right now.

What happened to me? I used to have this confidence that, at least, I knew a lot of things. Now, my mind feels small. The older I get, the more I realize that my brain has a limit. The amount of reading and school isn’t going to help that. Maybe I should get to know more people?

When I try to take a look from the outside of myself looking in, I feel like it’s normal. At least I can admit that I am not smarter than anyone else.

I like the definition of benighted as being “unenlightened”. That part is what speaks to me the most. I don’t think I’m intellectually ignorant. I don’t think I’m morally ignorant. And I definitely know that I have not been overtaken by darkness, which sounds like a motto out of True Detective, one of my favorite television series.

It speaks to my biggest problem right now. I’m only reminded that I am unenlightened. I haven’t been so in a while. The last time I felt enlightened, I remember being care-free, having more time, and being with less problems. That’s what life does to you. It overtakes you. It fills your mind. It does become overtaken by darkness. So, I can relate to that definition. Stress. Anxiety. Rumination. Thinking. About life. Work. Food. Definitely food. My next cigarette. Loans. My savings or lack of. My father’s waiting list for a new kidney. My mother’s weight gain. Keeping my girlfriend happy. My cat. Haley. Going to lunch. Right now. Because I’m hungry. Eating Wendy’s. Driving to Wendy’s in this treacherous weather because it’s the closest thing around while stationed somewhere in the middle of Long Island. Finding a new home. Worrying about commute times. Worrying about whether or not there will be room / privacy / a decent home that’s move-in ready. That stupid greenhouse my parents built without a permit. Ideas for my horror story that may never come to fruition. My career.


Help me meditate. If I can remember from reading / school, the first step to enlightenment is to free your mind like Neo from The Matrix. Let go. Not literally. For a few moments, just practice freeing your mind. It will lead to a healthier mind.

I have self-diagnosed myself with brain fog. I think it stemmed from the darkness that is blanketed over my mind. Doesn’t brain tissue turn black in people with dementia? It’s just a question.

I don’t know what I’m talking about. Maybe I do. My mind has to make room for other things in life.

The Transition of 2017 / 2018

Monday, March 5th, 2018

Since December of 2017, I have been in a transition phase. Back then, I was still a Certified Trainer at a restaurant, passively waiting for a new job. I waited six months after graduation for someone to call me back, so my transition phase actually started retroactive in May of 2017. One day – literally – in December, I decided to put in just a little more effort, and I was able to escape the “trap” of being stuck at a job.

A part of me thought it would never happen. But there was also a part of me that knew it would. What do you call that?

I still am in a transition phase at my new job as I’m still trying to get used to it. It’s hard to do with all the floating around. At a job that may never feel like me doing me, it’s hard to say that the transition is over. I still intend on doing something that is who I am. But for the first time in my life, there is a realistic optimism. Before it was this kind of delusional optimism, where dreams (which are always possible) seemed so far out of reach. Maybe because I felt like I was dead in the water. Right now, I feel like I can pivot to the next best thing. Yes, I still need to do some work, and yes, I have to stop being passive, but I’m going in the right direction.

I go at my own pace though.

With that: what a great time to be looking for a new house. Just a month ago, browsing through houses and seeing them come and go on and off the market felt like torture. Things weren’t moving. My optimism was slowly fading away.

A few days after an open house, it’s all slowly starting to become real. Things are moving. I’ll be moving. The next step is coming. From there, I’ll be able to pivot even more to other places in life. Hopefully, soon, there will be no more transitioning.

Just a Thought…

Thursday, February March 1st, 2018

With all the traffic in a city of 8.5 million people, there should be more bumper stickers on cars to keep one entertained. It would help to get to know the person next to you while you’re stuck in traffic. Also, it’s an opportunity to express yourself.

“Hey, skullhead! How about this traffic, huh?… No, I said skullhead, not dickhead!… No, I was looking at your skull bumper sticker!… Don’t kill me!”

Or maybe, with all the easily distracted drivers out there, that will lead to more accidents and even more traffic. Maybe even more hate crimes because a lot of us don’t respect each other.

Forget it.


Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

Hello. It’s been a while.

I have this passing desire to “grow up”, “be mature”, and “act like an adult”. (Still?!) Having written over 50 reviews on Yelp, I realized that my tone sounds weird. There are more exclamation marks than usual. It sounds as if I’m yelling, but my tone is enthusiastic and vibrant (I have no right to call myself that). I believe two classes with the unforgettable Professor John Weir – author of…

*Googles John Weir’s books*

…”The Irreversible Decline of Eddie Socket” and “What I Did Wrong” (please remind me that I still have to read them) – influenced my voice in writing. I don’t think I sounded like that before. I intentionally adapted his style, because, well, he was such a great guy who I wanted to turn into. I don’t think I mimicked him; he was just a great influence.

However, it doesn’t feel right. At least not anymore. Maybe it did before. Do I really talk like that? I don’t think so. But it doesn’t matter as of this moment because I want my writing to sound more mature. I’m not dissing Professor Weir’s style, but he did preach about sounding more professional, but most of all, unique, in writing.

It’s time for me to come through with that and evolve. His influence will sometimes show itself in my writing, but I have my own identity, and one’s identity is a unique myriad of influences. I am not him nor should I entirely sound like him. I have my own voice.