Riding Bitch

The daily musings of a writer.

What’s New


It’s been a while. I won’t use the excuse that I’ve been busy because you’re all busy too and keep blogging. I will say that I took a freelance writing seminar in late March that sort of rocked my world, in a good way. In no particular order, these are some changes I’ve made in the past six weeks since the seminar (and last blog post):

New Routine

I now wake up at 6:00 or 5:30 a.m. and write until 7:00 a.m, every week day. I don’t always write, sometimes I just stare at the computer and think about writing. But things I definitely do NOT do are: 1) check my email or get on the internet, 2) clean the apartment, 3) pay bills or do anything administrative, 4) wash the dishes, 5) check my phone. This time in the morning is my sacred hour, when everyone, including the dog, is asleep and quiet. I love it.

Another change is that I no longer sleep with the phone (and alarm clock) next to my bed. The phone sleeps in the kitchen, so when the alarm goes off at dawn, I have to get out of bed to turn it off. There have been a few mornings when I’ve stumbled back to bed. But after staring at the ceiling for a few minutes, I got up to write.

Besides more/better writing time, I naturally wake up earlier now, even on days off. I’m more punctual to work. I feel more satisfied with my day because, even if I get nothing else creative done, at least I’ve had this hour. I watch less television and go out less during the week. On more than one occasion I’ve used “I have to be in bed by a certain hour” as a reason to decline evening invitations.

New Diet

At the writing seminar, I was asked to choose “a personal experiment I’d like to try for 30 to 365 days.” I chose not drinking, not spending money, and not over-eating. The day after the seminar, I quit drinking alcohol.

I honestly didn’t know if I could do it. I’d been drinking either a few beers or half a bottle of wine almost every night.  I’m not exagerating when I say that not having alcohol in the house used to make me antsy. The thought of not drinking really scared me, and the first week was tough. Tougher still are social engagements like going out to dinner or a party. The thought of going to brunch this weekend and not having a mimosa makes me sad. I miss drinking socially more than anything. On the other hand, I like being more present and less groggy.  I think it’s made waking up early a little easier. Originally, I’d given myself a 30 day limit. It’s been 37 days now. I’m not saying I’ll never drink again, but for now, I’m going to keep refraining.

As an experiment, I also decided to cut out sugar, and more recently wheat, dairy and caffeine. Again, very scary (especially caffeine). I’m now eating mostly protein, vegetables, fruits and nuts and drinking water or tea, occasionally a non-alcoholic beer. Like alcohol, I thought I couldn’t live without caffeine, but the weird thing is I actually feel more awake and energetic. I’m also less moody. I’ve heard people say these things before, but when you start feeling them yourself, it’s a bit of a revelation.

Oh, one last benefit of not drinking alcohol: it saves money.

New Social Media 

Not as important as routine and diet, but still relevant – I’ve started to be more active on Twitter (@nivaladiva) and less active on Facebook. Twitter was a challenge to figure out (I’m still figuring it out), but what I’ve learned so far is that engagement is key, as is providing information and not being afraid to voice your opinions about things that matter to you. You can learn a lot from the news feeds and other people, including job opportunities. I know people who have landed jobs that they learned about on Twitter. It’s not all about following celebrities.

New Toy

I bought a Suzuki s40 Boulevard motorcycle. More on that in another post.

New Work

No, I haven’t quit my job (yet), but I am revving up the freelance writing. Just this week I sent out my very first pitches to two publications. Working on the next set of pitches now. Feels both scary and exciting to put myself out there, but I’m determined to forge a writing career in more markets than just film & television.

New Travel

I took a few days off from work around Easter to visit family in the Bay area. Good practice for road tripping with Ruby at a later date. One thing about traveling with a dog, you end up spending a lot more time outdoors.

Not sure what this is, but looks like a huge "N" to me (Crissy Field, San Francisco)

Not sure what this is, but looks like a huge “N” to me (San Francisco, CA)

Ruby meeting the Golden Gate Bridge (Crissy Field)

Ruby meeting the Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, CA)

Meadow in Redwood Regional Park (Oakland)

Meadow in Redwood Regional Park (Oakland, CA)

Redwoods in Redwood Regional Park

Redwoods in Redwood Regional Park (Oakland, CA)

Bench in Cesar Chavez Park (Berkeley, CA)

Bench in Cesar Chavez Park (Berkeley, CA)

Close-up of bench

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Life is a daring adventure or nothing.”             – Helen Keller

Ruby and her sunset (101 Freeway rest stop)

Ruby and her sunset (101 Freeway rest stop)


 What’s new with you?




Author: nivaladiva

Freelance writer and independent filmmaker.

19 thoughts on “What’s New

  1. Welcome back! I have been wondering what you have been up to:). Ruby looks adorable. It sounds like you are doing a makeover and judging from the vibe – please excuse the cliche – you sound great;)

    • Thanks! Yes, lots of changes and feeling great. How’s things on your end?

      • Me, personally, making it through. If you read my blog lately it is about as depressing as it gets except for the pup and my boys. And I have written quite a bit about the film boy – turns in the big project tomorrow. He is exhausted but I know he is loving every minute of what he is doing.

      • Sorry to hear that about the depressing part. I’m behind on everyone’s blogs so I need to catch up. Glad to hear your son is enjoying film school. Is he on twitter? If so, tell him to follow me. Last night I tweeted the director’s commentary from the film Blue Valentine. Some nuggets in there! 🙂

      • Not sure, but I will find out. I do not know how he would even have the time. He just sent pics of his “editing beard”. He hasn’t shave in 2 weeks. He did set up a YouTube channel for his projects.

      • Ha, love the editing beard! That’s funny and sounds about right. What’s his youtube channel? I’ll check it out.

      • It is Jordan Russell. There are quite a few – he is the boy with a big microphone in front of him. The pic was taken during a presentation. He has 4 movies downloaded. Pollution has been entered in the school’s student film festival. Water was the theme this year for all mass communication students, so their big team projects had to do something with water. Jordan came up with the music and the idea of using the Native American Indian. His Typing video is pretty cool. I never knew he knew who Edith Piaf was.

      • I’ll check him out. He sounds like he’s doing so well. You must be so proud!!

  2. Glad to see you’re doing well! I’ve started freelance writing recently and had to develop a routine and it really seems to help. It’s funny, though I’ve been hired for work, every time I pitch something, I still feel that newness feeling. Good luck to you and keep up the awesome growth/changes that you’re making! 🙂

    • That’s great! Who are you writing for? Yes, pitching is scary but also fun. How awesome that you are getting hired. I just sent out the first pitches so am yet to be hired. Fingers crossed! 🙂

      • I write for a wearable technology site, doing blog posts are the latest gear, and I also write for a company doing random articles/advertisements for other blogs. Not necessarily creative genius, but it pays the bills ;-). It also gives me time to write my own stuff, which I have yet to do lol. Good luck on your pitches, I’ve got my fingers crossed as well! 🙂

      • If writing (of any kind) pays your bills, my hat is off to you!! Good luck writing your own stuff too. It will make everything else make sense. 🙂

  3. Lot’s of new things here, Niva! Thank goodness you still have Ruby 🙂
    Of course, I’m just teasing about that. Good for you for making some positive changes in your life.
    I look forward to hearing more!

    • Ha! Yes, Ruby is my touchstone through all the changes I keep going through. 🙂 Did you notice the new wheels? More about that later. Hope you’re well!!

  4. Congrats!! I’ve made some of those same changes myself, though with varying degrees of success.

    You and Ruby Rock On!

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