Category Archives: Society

46(?)/46/46 – Day #8: Drama Llamas…the only animal that needs to become extinct


I have nothing to say.

Actually, I have plenty to say, I just can’t say any of it at the moment.

Why? Because I have “friends” who are posers and are attempting to cause issues for me. FYI, I know who you are, and you will be dealt with when the time is right. Until then, certain subjects are off the table.

You know, you’d think that people would have the guts to confront a person to her face if there’s a problem. But, obviously some people don’t have the guts to do that, so they go behind a person’s back and whisper crap in other’s ears. The only thing worse are those who believe what they are being told and never bother to verify anything.

Anyone who knows me realizes I am about as transparent as you can get. I don’t hide my emotions. First off, my face gives me away every time, and second, I don’t see the point in hiding them anyway. If I don’t like something, I don’t like it. If I love something, I love it. If I have no opinion, I have no opinion.

Oh hush, it has too happened. LOL

Anyway, I’m pretty incapable of hiding my feelings, which means unless you’re completely clueless, you know how I feel about things about ten seconds (if I’m distracted) after you mention it. So, there is NO REASON to make up or guess how I feel about an issue. Ask me. You’ll know while the question is still hanging in the air. There’s no reason to speculate or guess.

But some people just like to cause issues. They like drama. It’s more fun to spread rumors. I don’t know if these people realized the problems they were causing, but thanks to them, I’ve a mess to clean up and I don’t really appreciate it.

But anyway, that’s all I’m going to say about things. As soon as things are straightened out, I’ll go back to my regularly scheduled zany posts. Until then, this blog is probably going to be a whole lot of nothing about nothing. Sorry y’all, blame the idiots with too much time on their hands.

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What I learned in logic class…


When I was an undergrad, I took a philosophy/logic class. On one of the professor’s first exams, he asked this question:

“Why?”

No one got the answer right.

As we went through the semester, the answer he was looking for became more clear. When the professor posed the question on the final exam, we all got it right.

The answer: Because

Many of us are still reeling over the events of Friday. Many are angry. Many are gut-wrenchingly sad. Many are asking “why?” What would make a person do such a heinous thing?

These are fair questions, but in the overall scheme of things, the concrete answers don’t matter, and more to the point, we will never know, since the only one who could provide the answers is no longer here.

So we are forced to live with the fact we will not get the answers we want. Notice I said want, not need. We already know what we need to know, we just aren’t willing to accept it.

We know 20 families are not tucking in little ones tonight.

We know 27 families are making funeral arrangements tonight.

We know several dozen parents are living with the agony of outliving their child

We know children have lost their parents.

We know too many people died on Friday.

We know all this, yet we still ask why.

Well…

Because there has always been craziness on the planet.

Because there has always been evil in this world.

Because it is human nature for a person in pain to strike out at others, to not only inflict pain, but as a desperate attempt to lesson his own.

I don’t know if Adam Lanza was crazy, evil, in pain or a combination of the above. What I do know is that we are wringing our hands and banging our heads against the wall, trying to figure the “whys,” when the answer is simple. Painfully simple:

Because he wanted to

Because he could

Because he did

Because

The Great American Debates have already started. Both sides of the gun issue will be bantering back and forth for several weeks, both pointing fingers and sharing pearls of wisdom such as “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” and “If guns were banned, this would have never happened.” The religion debate will heat up, with school prayer being trotted out again (Yeah, I know, already happened.) Others, I’m sure, will find a way to make this tragedy work for their niche political agenda.

But if these are the only takeaways we get from this horrific event, then we’re doomed. Because even in our darkest hours, there are still rays of light and hope. Platform people can demand changes until they are blue, but those changes won’t make the crazy sane or the evil disappear. You can’t legislate it,  you can’t will it out of existence, but no one wants to talk about what could be done about it.Sure people want change, but the proposals are cosmetic. (I’m avoiding the political aspects right now…)

So, the best we can do (for now) is realize that these things exist and live our lives knowing that at any given moment, crazy and evil can land on our doorstep. That does not mean we are to go trough our lives in fear. It actually means the opposite. We should embrace every day and everyone we care about. None of us knows when we will speak our final words to someone, kiss our last kiss or give our last hug to those we love.

Because none of us are promised a tomorrow.

Because bad things happen

Because we’re all human

Because

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I Struck Down the Soup Nazi!


Well, I helped, anyway.

I’m going to keep this short — I’ll probably post more about it tomorrow.

Every Sunday for the last year and a half, a friend of mine and his wife have been making soup for the local freeze shelter (that’s a shelter that takes in homeless people when the weather is cold). Well, this past week, my friend was told by the Health Department that he could no longer provide soup to the shelter because he didn’t have a commercial kitchen or a permit.

This upset my friend, and as people often do, he posted about it on Facebook. And we were rather annoyed for him.

After doing some research, my friend discovered that although he couldn’t take a whole pot of soup down to the shelter, there was nothing illegal about an individual taking a single serving of soup to another individual.

See where I’m going with this?

So, tonight, I participated in some civil disobedience. Yes, it was technically still not legal for him to serve the soup, but since individuals delivered it, it was okay.

Sorta.

Well to me, and the rest of us who pitched in, it was perfectly okay. Matter of fact, a good time was had by all.

Anyway, that was my first act of rebellion since college. Felt good. Might have to see what else I can get myself into…

🙂

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A Day in Pictures


This was my day…

I think we can all relate to this kind of day.

I could rehash it, but honestly, I don’t wanna, and there’s no sense in dragging all of you down with me, so I won’t.

Let’s just hope tomorrow is more like this:

Cute and furry and full of fun. Cuz I can’t take another picture #1 kinda day.

Of course, I wouldn’t turn down this kind of day:

I’m not choosy — clients could pay me, I could win the lottery, whatever. But even if that doesn’t happen, I will HAPPILY settle for this:

Here’s hoping tomorrow is a better day!

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Yet Another Lesson Learned


I received several comments and private messages regarding my post yesterday. Although you were kind enough to not say it directly — the message was received. Yes, I was whining. LOL

I didn’t accomplish what I *thought* I should, but I didn’t exactly sit around and eat bon bons all day, either. I did do a lot. And I really really need to remind myself that, had this been this time two years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I did accomplish yesterday. [I’ll fill you in on that some other time.]

So, thanks for calling me on my crap. I appreciate it. The next time I have a day that didn’t go as planned, I will just refer to it as that. I didn’t do what I intended to do, but it wasn’t a total waste.

Today has been a much more productive day writing-wise. I’m just about caught up with everything, so things look good for the week. I’m plotting planning what I’m going to write about here — not sure if it will be more conversational or educational but I hope it will be interesting for you.

So, I’d love to stay and chat longer, but deadlines await. Ah — the life of a writer — it doesn’t get much better! 🙂

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It’s Not Supposed To Be Easy


Today has been an interesting day. It seems like every other conversation, every other tweet, every other Facebook status has been someone complaining about a situation — they don’t like their jobs. They don’t have enough money. They can’t get x,y, or z. The gist of it all is: Life is hard.

Well, no s&*^, Sherlock. Yeah, life IS hard. If it wasn’t would you appreciate those brief fleeting moments when it isn’t?

If you had a truly easy life: all the money you ever needed, all the friends in the world, a job you loved…would you appreciate it?

No, you wouldn’t. You would grow to expect it. If you can’t be honest about it, then I’ll have to be honest for both of us, because I know I’d take it for granted.

That’s why, even though it bugs the hell out of me at times, I’m glad I have to work for what I have. Every new skill I gain, every new client I land, every check I cash — I know I worked for it, and I worked damn hard to get it. Nothing has been handed to me…ever.

And if I had to choose between working for it and having it handed to me, I’ll take the work. I don’t want to live on Easy St. Easy makes you complacent; it takes away your motivation and your drive. And when you are no longer motivated or driven, that’s when the rug can get pulled out from under you. Don’t believe me? Reread this.

So, to those who are complaining that life is hard — yep, it is. Accept it and keep pushin’. If it gets easier, find out what else you can do. Cuz, as soon as it gets easy, it can all slip away.

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And We’re Back!


And what did we learn?

Were you inconvenienced by the Blackouts today? Cranky that you couldn’t access Wikipedia to answer that burning question, who played Sgt. Howie in The Wicker Man?(Edward Woodward in the original, Nicholas Cage in the remake.) Couldn’t get your Redditt fix? Were some of your favorite Flickr pics unavailable?

If any of this bothered you, if you had to change the way you did one thing today, then you can begin to understand why SOPA and PIPA need to be stopped. Now, I agree that piracy is a pox that needs a vaccination — I’ve had my fair share of articles, essays, columns, etc. pilfered. But not at the expense of losing everything. Just because one idiot opts to steal software, music or someone else’s work does not mean all the sites on the ISP he happens to use should be wiped off the planet, nor should it mean an ISP or DNS should be blacklisted as a pirate.

So, now that things are back to normal, what will you do now? I hope you contact your congressman and tell him/her that there must be a better way than to give in to some lobbyists. Lobbyists who aren’t looking out for the public good — just their own bottom lines. There has to be a better way.

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Get Involved!


In case you haven’t heard, tomorrow is going to be a big day for the Internet. Wikipedia, Readdit, and other pretty popular sites are gonna go black for 24 hours to protest SOPA/PIPA.

Don’t know what that is? Read about it here and here.

(Hope you did that quickly, since they were Wikipedia pages. Ha ha.)

Seriously — read about it here. And check out a video about it here.

I don’t do censorship in ANY sense — when the KKK wanted to protest in my hometown, I was all for it, because it meant I could stand across the street and heckle them.  Westboro Baptist Church? Let ’em protest and hope a house or one of those frozen blocks of airplane waste fall on their heads. If they are allowed to say what they want, then that means I’m still allowed to as well, and you all know how I love to express myself.

In short (yeah, I know too late, but stay with me!), SOPA and PIPA are censorship and blacklisting. I’m not for either of those things. And you shouldn’t be either!

So, thanks to WordPress, who is also a participant in the Blackout, The Classic Quill will be taking part in the formal protest. From 8am to 8pm tomorrow, you will be greeted with a message instead of some snarky remark from me. You’ll live, and I promise to come back with some extra snarky goodness tomorrow night!

Til then, if you can find a way to participate, you should, because this involves all of us, and we should all stand up for our Internet freedoms.

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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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It Wasn’t Always Like This — the Exciting Conclusion


Sorry about the derailment yesterday from what was supposed to be the original topic, but sometimes you just have to say things when they need to be said. I appreciate the outpouring of support in the comments here, my Facebook page and through Twitter. It was wonderful to see that many agreed with my stance.

Now, back to the topic at hand: Why are we paid such crummy wages? Well, I’ve mentioned it here, but that was really just one side of the coin. I’m going to break it down completely now.

Reason #1: We let others devalue our work. With the proliferation of computers, word processing software with spell and grammar checkers and websites that publish anything, becoming a “writer” is as easy as throwing some words in a template and clicking “Send.” Technically, if the only thing I ever wrote was this blog, in many circles, I could call myself a writer. And since “anyone can do it,” the value of writing suffers as a result.

Reason #2: Writers don’t know the value of their craft. Now, this I can really understand, because there are times when I really struggle with determining what I should charge. When you can write a 400-word article in 15 minutes, you might feel like an heel charging $25 for it. But let’s look at the reasoning: You weren’t always capable of writing that article in 15 minutes. At one point in time, you had to do the research on the topic or you took a class; you had to learn how to string words together coherently, you purchased software to use to write articles, and a computer on which to install the software. So, it’s not that you only need 15 minutes to write it, it’s WHY you only need 15 minutes to write it that makes the article worthy of $25.

Reason #3: Writing for low-pay is better than writing for no-pay. Three words: No, it’s not. Accepting low pay gigs as the norm (check out my YMBOC page for some examples), sets a dangerous precedent. Sometimes it is unintentional — a client might not have any idea what to charge, and so he puts out a bid for the smallest amount he thinks he can get away with. Lo and behold, someone responds to his bid. So now, this client thinks, well if Writer A. will work for this rate, then surely Writers B-Z will as well. Sometimes, this client will come up against a writer who knows his worth and refuses to work for such a low wage. It might be Writer B or it might take til Writer W before this happens.

We all need to be Writer Bs and nip these low wages in the bud. Clients wouldn’t offer these wages if they knew writers weren’t willing to work for them. There are always going to be Writer As in the world — we just have to make sure they are outnumbered.

And if you need further proof as to why you want to strive for better pay, consider this: If you had could choose to either write for 15 clients and make $300, or write for 5 clients and make $300, which would you choose? Remember the mantra: Work Smart, Not Hard. Which one seems smarter to you?

As for Writing for free — that’s what hobbyists  do. Professional writers don’t write for free, unless it’s as a favor to a friend or some other worthy cause. In other words, it doesn’t count.

Reason #4: The Global Marketplace. This is the one reason that is pretty much out of our control. If you’re competing with someone for whom $50 is enough to live on for a month, your  $350 bid is going to seem high. But that is NO REASON to lower the amount you need or devalue your work. There will always be clients who go for the lowest price. But in many cases, it’s a “you get what you pay for” situation. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve lost a job to the lowest bidder, just for the client to approach me later to “fix things.” Your mother was right — the cream rises to the top. Stick to your guns.

So those are my reasons for why we aren’t paid what we’re worth. What do you think? Do you agree? Do you have your own reasons? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to know what you think.

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