Goals for 2017: March Check-In

While I prefer to wait until a month has actually finished to recap how I’m doing on my annual goals, unless something very dramatic happens, I expect to have a race recap to publish next Tuesday. As a result, this month’s recap is coming to you a few days early!

Goal #1: Publish at least one freelance piece
The good news: I pitched an essay! The bad news: I never heard back, and I’m almost positive it’s because I pitched it incorrectly.

I follow a few writers on Twitter, most of which were cultivated in the Thought Catalog/BuzzFeed bubble and have since gone on to write for bigger publications. Every now and again, these writers–or, more often, writers they follow–will put out a call for pitches, and those calls will end up on my feed, either because the person I follow tweeted it out, or because someone I follow favorited a tweet asking for pitches/freelancers. That chain of events led me to a site that seemed more than eager to accept freelancing work. Low hanging fruit! Hooray!

The site had several categories in which it accepts pitches. I felt most qualified to write an essay rather than a reported piece, so I read the paragraph about how to pitch an essay and set about writing one. I wrote my essay, revised my essay, carefully crafted my pitch email, and sent it off into the void a week ago today.

I don’t know what I actually expected from my pitch. Part of me felt like it fit perfectly into what the site wanted out of essays, but part of me also felt that all the essays I had seen published on that site came from Established Writers Who Mainly Live in New York City, i.e.: not me. I also worried that my essay, clocking in at 800 words, might be a bit too short, given that the essay guidelines had suggested 1000ish (as opposed to 2000ish, which is what I hung my hope on: that they preferred shorter essays to longer essays).

When 24 hours (admittedly, not much time) had come and gone without so much as an acknowledgement of receipt, I went back to look at the pitching guidelines. This time, I bothered to read the introductory paragraph about pitching the website, which specifically stated that the site did not accept pieces on spec (that is, fully written pieces), and only accepted idea pitches. I, naturally, had sent in my entire essay.

I’ll chalk this up as a learning experience, and in the future, be a bit more careful to actually read all of the a publication’s pitching guidelines, not just the ones I think apply to me. I am a bit frustrated with myself for screwing up my pitch, particularly since I channeled a fair amount of effort into my essay. I’m also discouraged by this process in general. I never expected freelancing to be easy, but it does bother me that I don’t feel like I’m part of the writing “in-crowd,” and as a result, have a lot more hurdles to clear to prove my worthiness as a writer, despite spending the first 3.75 years of my post-college life writing professionally (but not for the “right” publication that could put me on anyone’s radar). I feel stuck in the classic job hunt catch-22 of needing experience to get a job, but needing a job to get experience, except that I do have experience–it just feels like my experience doesn’t count because no one has heard of it. Of course, whining rather than working never got anyone anywhere, so forward we move onto April, I suppose.

Goal #2: Get rid of 50 things
I went on a tear a couple weekends ago and bumped my current total up from 30 to 47! Woohoo! I’ve cleaned out a good amount of clutter from my floor, which makes me really happy. I still have a LONG way to go to having a neat and tidy living space, but every little bit of progress in this department makes me happy.

Goal #3: Finish Dutch on Duolingo
Five more lessons down, 14 to go! I particularly enjoyed the Maps lesson this month. I happened to be reviewing countries in Spanish at the same time as I worked my way through the Maps lesson in Dutch (which primarily taught me the names of other countries), and it made me feel very cosmopolitan 😛

Goal #4: Stay healthy and out of PT
For the past two weeks or so, I’ve had some pain in the ball of my foot. I mostly feel it when I’m walking (or otherwise moving on my feet), particularly if I’m doing so in shoes without much cushioning. It hasn’t gotten worse on the 0-10 pain scale, though it does happen a little more often now than when it started. Because it usually goes away the more I move, I feel fairly confident that my issue is soft tissue related rather than a first metatarsal stress fracture (that, and the internet told me that you are MUCH more likely to stress fracture your second or third metatarsals, because they’re smaller, thinner, and weaker than your first metatarsal). I don’t think it’s plantar fasciitis since I don’t have any pain anywhere else in my foot, BUT your plantar fascia does attach to your metatarsals right where I’m having pain and this is the same foot I’ve had minor brushes with possible plantar fasciitis in before, so it wouldn’t surprise me if my plantar fascia is somehow related to all of this. Or maybe I have some sort of tendonitis? I could, of course, go to the podiatrist and ask, but since it’s not bothering me enough to affect my running at this point, I feel fairly unmotivated to go pay yet another visit to my podiatrist.

On a very likely related note, my Achilles on the same foot that now hurts had been bothering me after exercise for a few weeks. I started doing heel lifts on a stair after running, and that cleared up my pain almost instantly. Since weak calves can also contribute to plantar fasciitis in addition to Achilles issues, I imagine all of this is somehow connected, and am hopeful that keeping up my heel lift regimen will, eventually, help alleviate my current foot woe.

In more specific news related to this goal:

– Strength train once per week, minimally, during running season: Check!
– Stretch after every run: Not check. I was really rushed after a couple of runs and really only had time to shower before I needed to be elsewhere, so I skipped a few days of stretching. Oops 😦
– Foam roll after every run, even if that means with a Moji rather than a full-blown foam roller: I accomplished this exactly one time. Fail again. I do have another opportunity to foam roll after I run tomorrow, though, so maybe I’ll get two foam rolling sessions in this month!
– Do at least three PT exercises twice per week: I’m sure I didn’t accomplish this, but I couldn’t tell you how often I did or did not do PT exercises. I’m sure I didn’t on the days I skipped stretching after running. I don’t remember doing any before dance like sometimes. This is really something I should start logging so I can keep track of what exercises I do and how often I do them.

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