The Outsider

The bird swooped down and landed at Laura’s feet.

She watched it, as it cautiously hopped toward the seeds that laid scattered about. Pecking furiously, the bird worked quickly to open the sunflower seeds, and greedily ate the contents inside.

Laura laughed to herself as she watched. Sometimes she wondered what it was like to be a bird. It seemed that they always managed to find their way, no matter what. Perhaps there were always people like herself, who would make it a point to occassionally feed them.

Life hadn’t been the kindest. Laura beared the scars to prove it. Her jeans, ripped at the knees, where peppered in paint, sewn-on patches, and an oddly placed zipper. Each embellishment was a memory and a testament to her life.

Laura had lived off the kindness of strangers for many a year. The day she sprang from her abusive alcoholic father’s house, the open road was her home from then on. It had been two years since her dog London had passed, and she had yet to pick up another travel companion.

She kept his collar around one of the straps of her backpack, worn from hopping trains, and hitchiking on highways. Occasionally she would find herself lovingly stroking London’s collar, when she found herself missing him.

Laura remembered one night sleeping huddled under a bridge. Luckily, London was by her side, and barked when some creep tried to steal her shoes in the night. She never slept well. Vigilance was her only security, in a merciless world hellbent on catching her in a careless moment.

Eventually, a few other birds gathered around, to enjoy the little feast that Laura had provided. Scrounging around her bag, she pulled out a soda that she lifted from a nearby drugstore. Popping off the cap with her lighter, she let the cap hit the ground unceremoniously. She tilted her head back, as the cool drink hit the back of her throat.

She let out a loud belch, followed with a laugh, and stretched out her arms. Life was hard, but she was free. The birds were almost done eating their meal, as Laura gathered her things. She was headed to see the river, one last time before she had to catch a train. The road was calling again.

 

If you enjoyed reading this short story, please feel free to follow me @gritnvinegar, leave a comment, or donate!

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The Lake

Terri looked out on to the wide expanse of bright blue water.

She was shocked that this was only one of the Great Lakes. It had to be an ocean, but in the back of her mind, reality set in that she was land-locked.

She made her way down the path, so she get closer to the craggy rocks that cradled the water at its edge. The waves ebbed and flowed, while occasionally jumping up to lick at the rocks. A splash of water would leave behind droplets and small pools of water, which would eventually make their return to their source.

The air reeked of dead fish, but there was no salt to it. This was indeed a lake, despite its immense size. Terri carefully ambled over the rocks, as she didn’t want to slip out of her shoes. She chided herself silently for not wearing boots.

Terri looked around the rocks, to see if she could find anything of interest. Glass bottles poked their necks out between cracks, amid used condoms and torn wrappers, broken doll arms, and the occasional muddied newspaper. A rat scampered quickly past, in an effort not to be seen or caught.

Eventually, Terri spied the perfect rock for her to take a seat. The top surface was flat enough, with only a slight dip on one side. She took her place atop the rock, crossed her legs, and began to stare more deeply at the water.

Occasionally a sailboat or two would make an appearance, where it seemed the edges of the water were touching the sky. A lighthouse way off to the distance began to emerge. The sounds of passing traffic veering down the nearby highway faded off into the distance. Terri closed her eyes, absorbing all that was around her.

Passing gulls swooped in and out, while calling out to each other. The sound of the waves gently crashing into each other, or pounding against the rocks made a soothing rhythm. The chatter of occasional passerby was hushed to a whisper. It was just Terri and the lake. A moment of rare serenity was gleaned.

 

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Spring Cleaning

Dearest Readers,

Thank you so much for taking the time out to spend a few moments online Grit N Vinegar. I started this blog out of a desire to transform my personal challenges, into a platform to inform myself and others of solutions. As I greatly enjoy not only writing about natural health and self-development, but also short stories and flash fiction…

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I have decided to utilize Grit-N-Vinegar as a platform for my shorts and poetry.

If you are still interested in reading about natural health tips, personal development, and more… Please visit my newest online outreach at The GNV Life! (The Grit N Vinegar Life)

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The title Grit-N-Vinegar was chosen for my values of “old school” mother wit and wisdom, natural solutions for health, beauty, and balancing the body, in addition to adages about “bootstraps” and “elbow grease!”

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Keep reading, writing, sharing, and believing in the indomitable and inimitable human spirit to conquer your fears, and achieve your dreams!

-Alex

@gritnvinegar

So You Want to Write for Cash Money? Here are Some Places to Get Your Wordsmith Career Off the Ground and Generate Views and Income, Part I

At the time I am writing this, I am still on my journey of building a life as a writer. While I am still not at the level I want to be, because I have found some success, I wish to share some resources with you to help you on your path to earn money for writing.

The benefits to writing for money are great. Here are a few to keep in mind.

  • Writing helps build your vocabulary
  • Writing helps develop your creative mind
  • Writing encourages you to learn how to organize information
  • Writing helps with storytelling skills
  • Writing helps to illustrate points more clearly
  • Taking on clients for writing assignments requires discipline and organizational skills
  • You build up your in-depth knowledge on subjects
  • You get to learn about how things are connected and jump on opportunities
  • You build up your self-esteem to communicate more readily and clearly
  • You create valuable material that will educate, entertain, or sell ideas to others

Picking up writing assignments has helped me develop my inner drive and focus to succeed on my terms, learn the importance of over delivering to clients, and has pushed me to read more.

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Rule #1

If you want to write, you have to read!

So many people today seem to be about take, take, take, and not giving back. When it comes to writing, if you don’t read often, and read a lot, your writing is going to fall short of your best work. Reading other people’s stories, articles, blog posts, etc. help develop our understanding of language, how to shape arguments, and expand our vocabulary. You don’t want to overuse the same 4 or 5 words to describe an event, an emotion, or a person do you? READ! No excuses… See this post if you don’t believe me!

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Rule #2

Be a part of the writing, reading, and book worm community!

Check out your local library and support it regularly! Read books! Read the newspaper! Read blogs!

Write comments on other people’s blogs and social media platforms. Respond about how you feel, regarding writer’s posts on reputable sites. Submit short stories, poems, and prose. Engage in constructive criticism at writer workshops. Write, read, discuss, dish, and rinse and repeat. Remember, behind the stroke of the pen, or the tap of the keyboard, there is another flesh-and-blood human behind those words. That is, unless AI has finally replaced article and news writers. Gasp!

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Rule #3

Discover your niche!

Writing about what you already know can really expand your knowledge base even more. When you write about subjects you are passionate about, it may seem like the floodgate of writing opportunities will just open up and inundate you. Embrace what you are excited about, and your writing will come through more genuinely, more passionately, and craft it with care.

Now that we have these 3 rules to keep in mind, before jumping into writing for the money…

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Here are some sources to check out to get your feet wet.

Freelance Writing

  • ProBlogger
  • Freelance Writing Gigs
  • UpWork

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Mad About Blogging? (It’s a great way to get exposure and join the writing community!)

  • Beyond Your Blog (has over 1k+ listings of various blogs looking for writers to submit)
  • The Write Life
  • Writers Weekly

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Places to Submit Flash Fiction, etc.

  • Funds For Writers
  • Poet’s & Writers Magazine

Google

  • Type in “Write for us (enter subject of choice)” in the search tab and see what pops up!

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No matter where you choose to start, whether its submitting poetry, trying to get a guest blog post, or entering the foray of freelance gigs… Be committed! Be patient! Write well!

success

Success does not come overnight, and many writers have poured in many hours to build up their client base, writing sources, and build up a portfolio. As you peruse the web searching for writing opportunities, be advised that you can pay for memberships to gain access to exclusive lists of writing opportunities, receive tricks and tips to get your pitch letter responded to quickly and successfully, or gain access to information from writers who have already been there, done that — so you don’t have to struggle as hard.

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Either way, we now exist in a competitive global marketplace, but with trial and error, or careful choices of how you invest your time and money, you can find success and new found freedom, making a living from writing!

If you found this post helpful, please feel free to share it with friends and leave a comment below!

I am planning on making stickers for this site, so if you are interested, please just drop me a line!

All the best in your writing journey! Keep reading! Stay focused! Keep writing!

– Alex

@gritnvinegar