Category Archives: Inspiration

Nailed it!


One of my birthday gifts was a nail appointment. So Tuesday the Diva and I headed to the salon to get our nails done.

Now, I like getting my nails done. I like how they look when they’re done. But considering I spend hours pounding keys, working with wire and metal and tools, to say I’m rough on a set of acrylics would be an understatement. But again, I like how they look so get them done once in a while.

I was at a loss as to what to get on them. I knew my desired length and shape and I knew the color.But what to get on them…

Then it hit me. They should serve as a reminder of what I do. So..

 

So, I havea question mark on my thumb, an exclamation point on my index finger, a semi-colon on my middle finger, a colon on my ring finger and a comma on my pinky. Yes, I picked each one for each finger for a reason. No, I won’t tell you, but feel free to post your guesses in the comments. ūüôā

 

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Why I Detest “All Lives Matter”


When the #BlackLivesMatter movement first gained momentum, it was quickly followed by the response, “All Lives Matter.” For the longest time, that response bugged me, but I couldn’t figure out why.

Then it dawned on me.

It was like telling someone who had just lost their home to a fire, “Yeah, well so-and-so lost their house last month and such-and-such lost their house two days ago. Why are you special?”

Well you’re special because right there…at that very moment, it was happening to YOU. You wanted someone to reach out and help YOU in your moment of pain. You wanted someone to put an arm around you and say, “It will be okay. We’ll figure it out.”

THAT is why “All lives matter” is the LAST thing you should say in response to “____ Lives Matter.” Doesn’t matter which lives we’re talking about. It’s dismissive to any and all of them. So quit saying it.

So, what can you say instead? Let me help you out:

#Black Lives Matter

Response: You’re right, they should but to some they don’t. We’re going to figure out a way to make it so they do.

#Women’s Lives Matter

Response: You’re right, they should but to some they don’t. We’re going to figure out a way to make it so they do.

#LGBT Lives Matter

Response: You’re right, they should but to some they don’t. We’re going to figure out a way to make it so they do.

Get it? From now on, every time someone trots out All Lives Matter, I’m linking them to this post. Because I’m like my father, I don’t like to repeat myself, and I’ve been beating this drum for far too long.

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I’m still up….


and therefore the day isn’t over for me and this post is not late. ūüôā

I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire right now, from working on the new book and trying to get my book signing set up, to regular client work and helping someone get their business idea off the ground. ¬†And in the middle of all that, I’m working on my taxes.

I was looking at my bank statement and I noticed a direct deposit that I could not identify. It wasn’t a huge deposit, but it was enough to make me wonder where it came from. I looked through my client list, my mystery shopping clients and my one-off work list…no match. I had no idea where the money came from.

I let it go, figuring the mystery would solve itself. I was taking notes on an essay I’m writing for the book, and it hit me; I hadn’t checked my book sales recently. So, I hopped over to Create Space to look. As I was looking at the sales, I saw the “earnings earned” field. Lo and behold, the amount in the box was the same as the direct deposit.

I earned royalties on my book?

Holy crap, I EARNED ROYALTIES ON MY BOOK!

I wish I would have realized it sooner, I would have spent the money on something more fun. To be honest I think it became grocery money. However I spent it, my book created income for me. And that’s totally cool!

One of my goals is to write books that people enjoy and that will pay my bills. I feel like I just placed the cornerstone. I’ve got something to build on. And that is awesome!

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Channeling My Inner Peter Gibbons


For a while now I’ve not been happy with my career trajectory.

And by “awhile,” I mean several years. Heading into a decade actually.

Now technically, I am a writer. I write words. I get paid. I write more words…

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The problem: I don’t like the words I’m writing.

The other problem: I don’t like what I’m getting paid for the words I write.

The third problem: I don’t like the crap I have to deal with while writing the words I write.

Not liking what I write + Not liking the pay for what I write + Dealing with crap while I write =

A PETER GIBBONS MOMENT

I hope that most of you get the reference to the guy who was the hero of all cubicle dwellers in the early ’00. But for those of you who are not familiar with the guy or the movie in which he appeared, check this out:

This is the attitude that greeted me this morning. It’s not the first time, but this go around it was accompanied with a declarative statement:

I’m done.

I’m done working for peanuts.

I’m done writing about stuff I don’t give a crap about.

I’m done with being too tired to work on writing I WANT to do because I have to work on so much of the crap to make ends meet.

I’m done dealing with clients who do not appreciate what I do for them.

I’m done feeling guilty for crocheting, chainmailling or just watching a tv show and not working at the same time.

I don’t like working for peanuts, for people who don’t appreciate what I do for them anyway so I’m just not going to do it anymore.

I’m. Done.

So here is my plan:

By the end of next month, I will have my book completed (“From the Minds of my Family” is the tentative title. I also like “Words with Skip and Mary,” but that might be limiting.) and a solid first draft for my online dating book. No idea what I’m going to call it.

I have two clients that I will continue to work with because I actually enjoy working with them. I will seek new clients, but I’m going to be picky.

I’m going to go back to my first love, which is feature writing.

And finally, I’m going to crochet and chainmaille more, hang out with my granddaughter and watch tv….without feeling guilty about any of it.

Life is about to get more interesting because I’m finally going to, you know, LIVE IT!

ūüôā

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46(?)/46/46 – Day #4: When I die…


As usual, I’m sitting here, working. I always have music or a show playing in the background, and today’s selection is my “Wicked” soundtrack. My love for this musical cannot really be measured. Which is why it still¬†sticks in my craw that I have yet to see it on Broadway. It’s certainly high on my bucket list.

Hum…you know if it’s on your bucket list, then obviously it’s important to you, so how do you decide which thing on your bucket list is the most important? I have a bucket list but I don’t know how much progress I’ve made. Obviously “see Wicked on Broadway” remains unchecked…

This also makes me think of what my final wishes are. A few days ago I told one of my friends that when I pass I don’t want a stuffy, formal funeral. I want a party. I’m flattered that there could be people who will weep at my passing, I’d much prefer my dearest celebrate my passing with a party. Share memories, laugh a lot, enjoy that I was once there¬†instead of mourning the fact I am now gone.

I also have an interesting request for my remains. Here’s the step-by-step request:

1. Cremate me. If you just HAVE to have a viewing, rent the casket, do it for a day and move on.

2. Throw the party I mentioned above.

3. When you get my remains back from the crematorium, get on a plane to Jamaica.

(Some of you know what’s coming, lol)

4. Fly to Ochos Rios.

5. Pick a waterfall, doesn’t matter which one.

6.¬†Let’s back up a second. When you get off the plane and hop in a taxi, you will be offered something. Take it, you’ll need it later. Later, (and still before the waterfall) use what you were offered in the taxi (or the airport, or by the guy who carries your bag through the airport). Add those ashes to¬†my ashes. Now, go to the waterfall.

7. Dump my ashes into the water.

8. As for financing this adventure, that’s why I have life insurance. ūüôā

Okay, now that I have that off my chest, I’m going back to work. Broadway tickets and trips to NYC aren’t free.

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A Sad Anniversary


I’ve spent the day working and looking up at a picture on my wall. It’s of my dog, Harley. Harley crossed the Rainbow Bridge a year and a day ago, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him. He was a special dog, and I loved him dearly.

He was the kind of dog that waited until all the other dogs were done begging for attention, and then he’s tug on your shirt for his turn. He never wanted to play fetch, but enjoyed taking long lazy walks. And he rarely barked. When he did, it was a shockingly deep bark, especially for a dog his size. He was just starting to really grow before he became ill. I often wonder how big he would be now.

His place on the bed was either in the small of my back with his head on my hip, or with his head flopped over my shoulder, nose almost poking me in the ear. His hot dog breath used to drive me bonkers. I’d shrug him away, only to awaken several hours later with him in the same spot.

He was pretty much a loner. When all the other dogs would be snuggled up against each other, or playing together, Harley would often be off to himself. Or curled up in a ball under my desk. I think that’s why I had such an affinity for him, he marched to the beat of his own drummer, just like me. If he followed any of the people in the house, it was me he followed. If he was in one of his stubborn moods, I was the only one who could get him to behave. I was his people.

One of the biggest regrets of my life was not being with him during his final moments. I had gone out to get him more meds, and by the time I got back, he was gone. From the looks of things, I think I missed his passing by mere seconds. I scooped him up, told him I loved him and cried over him for what seemed like forever, but was really maybe 15 minutes. Saying goodbye to him was agonizing. Before we removed him from the house, I snipped some of his fur. It sits on the mantel, in a small vase.

I want to believe that Harley knew how much I loved him. He was special. He was unique. He was beautiful. He was mine.

But not for long enough.

I hope you’re frolicking, happy and free on the other side of the Bridge, Harley, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t wish for just one more day with you. Just one more chance to shrug you off my shoulders. Just to feel you tug on my shirt one more time…

RIP, my friend. Until we meet again…

 

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Running Away From Home


Working from home definitely has its advantages. First of all, you can’t beat the commute. It takes me all of five minutes to get to work, and that includes a stop at the bathroom and the coffee maker. 10 if one of my dogs is tap dancing at the back door.

Then there’s the dress code. I do typically get up and get dressed (I usually take a shower before bed), but instead of dress slacks and a blouse, it’s sweats or shorts and a t-shirt, usually with a cartoon character emblazoned on the front. And no dress shoes — flip flops or cow slippers. I know the Fly Lady is frowning about that, but hey, slippers ARE shoes, and yes, sometimes I actually do wear them outside the house.

And let’s not forget about the hours. Wait, I actually work more hours now than I did at my last brick and mortar, but I LIKE what I do now, so it counts, yet it doesn’t. But then again, I can work pretty much when I want, so it’s still one more item in the “plus” column.

So, overall, working for myself from home is pretty awesome.

But sometimes…you just need to run away.

The last few weeks, my productivity has slowed, and not because of a lack of work. With each passing day, I’ve spent more and more time staring at a blank screen. Or I’ve been playing Hidden Chronicles. Or playing on Facebook. Anything but writing. I had deadlines looming, but I couldn’t get any real work done to save my life. I was facing having to do something I usually don’t have to do — ask for extensions.

So, yesterday, I decided that I was going to run away. I packed up my laptop, and headed for a new location. I was hoping a change of scenery would help.

And it did. I got more done yesterday than I have in weeks. And it carried over. When I finally came home last night, my productivity continued. I’m now pretty much caught up, and with tonight’s work, I’ll actually be ahead of my deadlines. Feels good. So good, I just might do it again tomorrow!

So, the next time you’re just staring at a blank screen, try moving that screen to another location. Try a coffee shop or McDonalds. Or the patio, weather permitting. Even moving to a different room in the house might be enough to get you going.

So, lesson learned: Exercise some flexibility. Remember that you can work anywhere. Staying chained to your desk flies in the face of working for yourself. Enjoy the opportunity.

 

 

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An Introduction of Sorts…


Over the last couple of days, I’ve been called quite a few things. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Feminazi
  • Witty
  • Bleeding-heart liberal
  • Opinionated
  • Unfair
  • Eloquent
  • Unbalanced
  • Brilliant
  • Hateful
  • Sarcastic
  • Big-mouthed
  • Bitchy
  • Smart

I’m shocked “stupid” wasn’t bandied about, but hey, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. ūüôā

Just for fun, and by way of an introduction to my new followers (Hello and Welcome!), I’m going to offer my opinion on each of these descriptions. Cuz, y’know, why not.

Feminazi –¬†If refusing to remain silent while men wage war against women’s rights, shouting down loud-mouthed blowhards, and demanding that women have not equal but the majority say over what goes into and comes out of their bodies makes me a feminazi, then by God, I’ll carry the scepter, and wear the¬†tiara¬†and sash proudly while I take care of my family, build my career and have sex when and with whom I choose, thank-you-very-much!

Witty –¬†Well, thank you. I’d say I try, but honestly, I have to try harder NOT to be humorous. That’s not meant to be conceited, I really have a hard time not letting some sort of humor leak into everything I write. When you write dry, boring copy for a living, fighting the urge to be (or attempt to be) funny is hard. That’s part of the reason for why I blog. *I* need an outlet. ūüôā Imagine a bowl of bran flakes….with a fruit loop in thrown in. Finish that joke however you wish.

Bleeding-heart Liberal –¬† Not really a fair assessment, and I will explain why later.

Opinionated –¬†Gee…me? Nah, I don’t have an opinion on¬†anything.¬†And even if I did, I would never, ever deign to share it.

Unfair –¬†I think that assessment is unfair. I try to show all facets of an issue before offering my opinion, unless the issue is so ridiculous that there is really no other facet to show other than the ridiculousness of the issue.

Eloquent –¬†Thanks…I try! Not very eloquent, but heartfelt!

Unbalanced –¬†Now see, I don’t know if the person who said this meant “unbalanced” as in only showing one side of the story, or “unbalanced” as in I need to be fitted for a straight jacket and prepped for a frontal¬†lobotomy. Then again, it could mean both. But to quote Sheldon (from The Big Bang Theory), “I’m not crazy. My mother had me tested.”

Brilliant –¬†Really smart? According to the tests, yes. Am I capable of moments of brilliance? Of course. We all are. But brilliant? Nah…I just know what my gifts are and try to use them to their fullest as much as possible. But thank you for the compliment!

Hateful –¬†Nope. I’m not a hateful person. I don’t hate anyone or anything. Hate is a wasted emotion. You spend all this time hating someone, but you never tell that person why you hate them. So, they’re off living their life, smelling flowers and whistling a happy tune, and you’re curled up in the fetal position on your bed, suffering from migraines, ulcers and for the life if it, cannot understand why you’re leading a miserable life. What’s wrong with that picture?

Sarcastic –¬†You must be new here. Cuz I can hide my sarcasm for about five whole seconds. It’s harder to control than my humor. Don’t believe me? Check out practically any other post on this blog — sarcasm enters around word 50 (sometimes earlier) and doesn’t leave until I end the post. But I really think I’m more snarky than sarcastic, but oh well, po-tay-to, po-tah-to. It was still a swing and a miss in the insult department.

Big-mouhted –¬†I think this one is a bit off the mark, and really doesn’t make much sense considering this is prose and not spoken word. If I wanted to be a big mouth on screen, I’d have to¬†TYPE EVERYTHING IN CAPS AND BOLD IT SO I’D BE SURE YOU SAW IT. I’D ALSO ADD SEVERAL COLORS SO EVERYTHING STOOD OUT, AND USE LOTS OF “!!!!” TO MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTOOD MY POINT!!!¬†

But that’s not how I roll, so nah, wrong again.

Bitchy – Yeah, I can be. I don’t argue that. Matter of fact, I embrace my inner bitch. I wish more people would do that, there would be much less heartache in the world. ¬†But I really believe I’m bitchy only when justified, and I don’t think I’ve been particularly bitchy in this blog. But I have had my moments. LOL

Smart –¬†Yeah, okay. Thanks. ūüôā

So, that’s what others think of me and how I feel about what others think of me. Now, here’s who I know I am:

I’m a woman with an opinion who is not afraid to express it. If I read, see or hear of an injustice, an act of stupidity or other uncalled for occurrence, I will drag it out of the dark corner where it is trying to hide and expose it for what it really is. I will defend the things I believe in until I’m hoarse and my fingers bleed. If you come at me, take your best shot, cuz when I fire back, I. Won’t. Miss.

I’m a liberal who believes that those in the position to help others, should. I also believe that once you’ve been helped, you need to move to the other side of the column and become a helper yourself. If you don’t — if you continue to seek help when you could do for yourself, or you refuse to help others as you were helped, you’ll have to answer to me. And you’d better have a damn good excuse.

I believe that if you don’t vote, you don’t get to bitch. Spare me the “my one vote isn’t going to make a difference”, “the whole political process is rigged” and “our voices aren’t heard anyway” mumbo jumbo. Even if any and all of that is true, our forefathers died so we could vote. If we end up in a situation you don’t like and you did nothing about it, other than¬†complain¬†that the system is broken, I don’t want to hear it. Move on.

I believe everyone should have the right to love who they want, and if they want to get married, they’re crazy more power to them. (Did I mention I’m divorced? lol)

I’m a writer, a designer, a mother, a daughter a sister and a friend. I love deeply and am loyal to a fault. I’m kind to furry woodland creatures, share my toys and color inside the lines (usually).

But most of all, I love being here. It’s beats the hell out of the alternative. I’d rather smell the daisies than push them up from the other side.

And that, ladies and gents, is who I am, or at least a brief synopsis. And that’s who writes this blog. I hope you’ll stick around and see what I have to say. I’m sure it will only get more¬†interesting¬†as the months progress.

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How To Make Money Writing for Content Sites


We’ve all heard the complaints — content sites (or content mills) are screwing up the industry. Content sites provide poor content. There’s no money to be made writing for content sites. Google all but killed content sites.

Blah blah blah…yadda yadda yadda.

Now, I’m not a fan of content sites, but I also don’t believe in biting the hand that fed me, and for several years, that’s exactly what they did. If it weren’t for some of the articles I wrote for content sites, (And I wrote some damn fine articles, I might add!), I would not be in the position I’m in now.

(Yes, it’s a good position, more about that in a future post.)

Even though the Google Panda has stripped much of the leaves from the content mill eucalyptus tree, you can still make money writing for content sites. Here are a couple of tips to help you out.

1. Focus on what you know. Choose topics you can write about in your sleep. Take full advantage of the search feature each site has, and find titles that are easy for you. It will take less time to write the article and since it’s a topic with which you are familiar, you’ll enjoy it more. If you run into a bunch of articles on the same topic, grab as many as you can. [There is an art to doing several articles on the same subject without tripping the plagiarism flag. I’ll come back to that.]

2. Branch away from your comfort zone. This may seem to counter what I said above, but it doesn’t. While writing what you know will bring in the bulk of your writing income, picking up one or two titles out of your comfort zone will help you in the long term. I mean, you weren’t always an expert in your main topic, were you? Of course not. So pick a title or two that you are interested in learning about more, and do the research and write about it. After a few articles, your comfort level with the topic will increase (and if you’re like me, you’ll read about it every time you get a chance). Before you know it, you’ll have TWO topics that fit the “Focus on what you know” category.

3. Share your work. Some people who write for content sites don’t like to admit they write for content sites. Sometimes it’s because of the reputation of the site, or maybe an editor screwed up an article and the writer doesn’t want to be associated with it. Well, that’s nonsense. Here’s the thing about the writing/publishing industry: Everyone knows that writers are edited, and everyone knows not every editor should be an editor. A few bad articles are not worth burying your byline and losing the exposure, especially when you’re starting out. So share your articles with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Post links to them on your blog. But if you’re that concerned about the quality of your articles, write a post explaining that the errors were introduced through an “editing oversight”. Of course, my solution would be to not write for the content site, which leads me to…

4. Choose your sites carefully. I know that when the economy is bad, you have to do things you normally wouldn’t do to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head and clothes on your back. However, you have to think long-term here. If you plan to build a career as a writer, you want your clips to be respected, and sometimes you have to consider the source. Some sites have better reputations than others, and some sites have NO reputation. Before you agree to lend a site your byline, take a careful look at the content that is already there. Is it stuff you would read, or did you cringe during the first sentence? Does the site present itself well? Take these factors into consideration before you publish with them.

5. Take your work seriously. You might “just write for a content mill,” but you never know when an article will attract someone’s attention. I have landed several well-paying gigs because someone was surfing through eHow or BrightHub and happened across one of my articles. I’ve also had people contact me for work because a friend of a friend of a friend saw an article I wrote shared on Facebook. Don’t devalue your work by just throwing up crappy content. Take pride in it. Do your best, because you never know who’s watching.

Now, about that plag flag. Here’s how I used to write 10 different articles on the same subject, using the same sources and never NEVER got a plag flag:

1. Write article #1. Save as a draft.

2. Write articles #2 – #10, saving each as a draft.

3. Submit each article, one at a time, an hour or two apart. If you’re writing for a site with quick approvals (such as how DMS used to be and how Textbroker can be), wait for the approval before submitting the next one.

Or if you have the time to spare, submit one or two a day over several days.

So, there you have it — how to make money writing for content sites. Do you have anything to add? Questions? Comments? Let me have ’em.

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My Path…


is being laid out in front of me. I have felt like I has headed toward someplace for the last several years, and being that I’m a rather Zen person, I allowed myself to just go with the flow (for the most part). But I think my path as led me to the door I am supposed to open and walk through. It might mean the closing other other doors, but I really think I am where I am supposed to be, doing the things I’m supposed to do.

I’ve picked up skills that I really had no reason to learn, considering my career path, but they were of interest to me, and the opportunity was there, so I took it. Those skills led me to other interesting avenues and now I find I spend a lot of time using those skills, which I didn’t even think I needed at first. More to the point, no only do I use them, I enjoy using them. And since I made a point of stating here¬†that my goal is to work smarter and be an expert, I believe it is time for me to practice what I preach.

I know this all sounds cryptic, but for those of you who have been around awhile, you know how I am. When everything is ready to be revealed, I’ll reveal it. I’m really only writing this because…well…because. LOL

As soon as I am ready to make the big reveal, you all will be the first people I tell.

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