Category Archives: Writer

46(?)/46/46 – Day..um…


Okay so I’ve been sick and therefore I have no idea what day this is supposed to be. I’ll figure it out tomorrow and adjust accordingly.

Today..ahem…this morning I want to talk about caving to the collective. But before I do that, a confession:

Hi, my name is Kim. I’m a writer who doesn’t like word games.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

I know that as a writer, games such as Scrabble(tm) and Boggle should be my favorite games ever…

Yeah, not so much.

But when you have 800+ Facebook friends, and 700 of them are writers, you get a lot of game requests.

A lot.

Most of the requests are for word games. For the most part, I ignore the requests. But after a while, it begins to feel impolite, and if Mary Belle taught me anything, it’s that you should never be intentionally rude.

So, I caved and added a word game….

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It’s really the only game I can tolerate…don’t know why and it’s probably best if I don’t try to figure it out.

I used to play this quite often, but then I quit. Not sure why, probably another candidate for “don’t ponder too much.” It seems many of you were waiting for me to take my turn.

My bad.

Anyway, I’m now playing a word game again. You can can stop with the disapproving stares and take down the petition to have my writer card revoked. Mea culpa…I am officially one of you again.

You’re welcome.

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**Tap tap** Is this thing on?


Bet you guys thought I fell off the planet, eh?

Nope. I have simply been too busy to blog. Even my friends on Facebook have noticed I’ve been less vocal of late. But I’ve got a few minutes of downtime, so I thought I would catch you all up with what’s been going on.

I’m Working…A LOT

I have several clients which are keeping me very busy. This is a good thing, since for the most part, they all pay a fair wage, and I enjoy the topics. It’s not all moonlight and roses, but it’s not thunderstorm and daisies, either.

Okay, I actually like thunderstorms and daisies, so that wasn’t a fair assessment, but you get my point.

I’m Working on the house…A LOT

We’ve ripped up five rooms of carpet, stained five floors and now we’re laying time. Eventually I am going to tackle the upside down fruit wall paper in my kitchen…just as soon as I can bring myself to look at it long enough and measure.

Yes, I said upside down fruit wallpaper. And not just any fruits…we’re talking pineapples. mangoes. Grapes.

Yeah, it’s bad!

But it’s starting to come together. Slowly, but surely.

I Went back to school. Again.

I bit the bullet and started my PhD program. I’m studying E-learning and Instructional Design. I think I’ve lost my mind.

Check that, I know I’ve lost my mind. But it’s a means to an end, and I’m sure once it’s all over, I’ll be glad I did it.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

This Area Is Intentionally Left Blank

I might have some good news to post here, but I don’t want to jinx myself, so I won’t say what it is about.

And that, ladies and gents, is what I have been up to. But I do want to leave you with one pearl of wisdom before I delve back into work. Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and blog posts on how to become a writer. The information has been interesting, but frankly, unnecessary. You don’t need a 2,000 word blog post to tell someone how to be a writer.  I can do it in less that 100 words.

Ready? Here goes:

How To Become a Writer 

By: The Classic Quill

Step 1: Write.

Step 2: Write some more.

Step 3: Submit what you write to people who need what you write.

Step 4: Keep writing.

Step 5: Ignore those who ask if they have possibly read what you’ve written. They probably aren’t your intended audience anyway.

Step 6: Read. Read for fun. Read to see what to do and not to do. Read those whose work you love a respect.

Step 7: Did I mention WRITE?

Step 8: After a few months, look back at the first three things you wrote. Cringe and laugh. Tweak if as necessary.

Repeat Steps 1 through 8 for the rest of your life.

And there you have it. The only way to become a writer, is to write and submit what you’ve written. It’s not rocket science. Yes, there is a bit more to it, such as learning to research markets and determine a publications needs and tone, but those things don’t matter if you don’t write.

And with that, I’m off to practice what I just preached. 😀

 

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Yeah and Meh…


The last few weeks have been challenging, and I’m not sure why.

I’ve pared down my client list to three clients I love, so work isn’t really a chore at the moment.

I’m making progress on my “Quest for National Publication,” so that’s good.

I don’t have any pressing issues, obligations or major things to worry about…so yay to that.

And yet…here I sit, uneasy about it all.

Maybe things are too easy…they’re going too smoothly.

I’m not used to smooth. I’m used to craziness, chaos, bedlam.

That I can do — I thrive on that.

But this…this is foreign to me.

Now, I know some of you are thinking, “Be glad it’s going smoothly, and enjoy it.” And, I know you’re right — I should be…

But I can’t. And I don’t know why.

And that bugs me.

But not enough to make me feel better.

And if you followed that, well, I don’t know whether to apologize to you or applaud you.

What does it say about someone who can’t be happy when things are going well?

Ok – that’s a bit of a reach. I’m happy…just uneasy about the happiness.

That doesn’t really make it sound better, does it?

I’m just more comfortable with chaos. I know what to expect with chaos.

I’d like to get comfortable with things going well…

I guess it will take practice.

Until then, I’ll just stress out about not being stressed out. That always makes me feel better.

Again — apologies and applause. 🙂

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New Directions


For the last few days, I’ve been contemplating my career and where I want it to go. As a writer, there are many avenues available to you — provided you are willing to do the work and learn that particular part of the craft. In my almost 20 years in this biz, I’ve tried my hand at fiction, journalism, article writing, column writing, copywriting, general writing (business plans, marketing plans, grants, white papers, etc.), content mills and web writing.  In other words, I’ve pretty much been there, done that.

Except for plays, movies and television scripts. But it’s on my list.

I’ve published a book, I’ve written an award-winning column and I’ve written things that brought me praise and criticism galore. I’ve written some things that make me cringe, and I’ve written things of which I am extremely proud. I have enjoyed almost every minute of my writing career.

But now I feel as if I’m at a crossroads. I love writing for a living, I really do…

But I don’t want to do it anymore. At least not how I’ve been doing it recently.

A friend gave me The Renegade Writer as a gift this past Christmas. I’m not a huge fan of how-to or self-help books — I’m a firm believer that the only way to learn to do something is by doing it. No book can replace the knowledge you gain from the “Nike” approach. The book has been sitting on the corner of my desk since the day I unwrapped it — but for some reason I picked it up and starting thumbing through it yesterday.

In each chapter, there are sections called “Break this rule.” I started reading those because, well, I am a rule-breaker.

It turns out that a lot of what they advise I’ve been doing instinctively for years.

Now, you’d think this would make me feel better. Make me feel like I’ve been on the right path.

Nope. It really made me sick to my stomach.

Cuz, the last few years, I’ve been ignoring my instincts in exchange for making a decent living. And now I wonder — if I had stuck to my path all those years ago, where would I be now? Would my byline be in Forbes, or Women’s Day or Inc.? It’s not even about the bragging rights — it just made me realize that as a writer, I could be so much further along than I am, and it’s hurts like hell that I’m the reason I’m not where I could be.

But that all changes tomorrow. I’ve still got a couple of steady clients that keep food on the table and a roof over my head, but I’m done chasing after more of their ilk. If I’m going to do this, I either need to go big or get the hell out of the game.  The publication studying and query writing starts tomorrow. My goal is to make it into a National magazine before the end of the year, if not sooner.

I’m going for the big time, folks. Wish me luck.

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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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This Ain’t a Date — Pay Me!


Do I have you attention?

Good. 🙂

So, I got an email from one of my clients, one of the few content mills I still write for occasionally. They are revamping their site, and part of the overhaul includes writers updating their profiles. Okay, I can understand needing me to re-size a picture and explain my writing background. So, last week, I did that.

Today I get a followup email. They want me to “flesh out” my profile “so they can better match me to clients.” Oh, and they want sample articles for each area in which I write.

Um…I have three major areas of expertise, and  countless other areas where I can write with some level of authority (I think I counted 20 or so areas on their site). And you want me to complete a mini-profile for each other them.

Guys…it’s so Not Happening.

I’m not sure when this happened, but suddenly, sites want to know everything about you. I’m not willing to do that. This ain’t a dating site. I’m not trying to woo you, and I don’t want you to woo me, past giving me gigs and paying me. That’s really the extent of our relationship.

Want to know what you need to know about me? Here ya go:

My Name

My Resume

A couple of writing samples.

My PayPal email address so you can pay me.

This is what I need to know about you:

Do you pay?

How do you pay?

Do you pay on time?

Do you have work?

That’s it. This could be one of the least-complicated relationships either of us has ever had, and you want to go and ruin it by getting to know me. I’m afraid that if you insist on taking our relationship to the next level, I might have to rethink it.

I know you’re disappointed. But, it’s not you, it’s me.

Okay, it really is you.

 

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Revisions and Deadlines and Edits…Oh Crap!


Sorry I’ve been away for a few days, but I’ve been slammed with, well, the title to this post. It’s the by-product of having almost too much work. And it’s an even bigger factor when you’re dealing with clients with whom you have never worked. One new client relationship is a challenge.

I’ve got five.

Yep. Five new clients, which means five new relationships to tweak, guidelines to learn, deadlines to get used to, yadda yadda…

January was a rewarding and challenging month. But I muddled through and here we are in February, and although I’m past the muddle stage, I’m still trying to adjust. Part of that adjustment means figuring out where this blog fits into it all.

I really enjoy writing this blog. I like talking about my life, writing, and anything else that falls from my gray matter to my laptop keys. But there’s only one of me and 24 hours in a day, so sometimes things have to get pushed aside, and since this blog is a labor of love and not an actual income stream, sadly, it gets bumped.

But unlike previous blogging attempts, (and there have been several), I missed blogging this time. They say it takes 21 days to create or break a habit. Well, I blogged 31 consecutive days last month, so it’s a habit, plus 10 at this point, and I don’t see myself ever going 21 days without blogging again, so it’s safe to say, even if I don’t blog every day, I will blog often.

But for now, I need to get my clients are straight and comfy and in love with me, and I need to do the same for them. Because I’ve decided that if I don’t love the gig, I’m not going to keep it. Life is too short and there is way too much work out there for me to suffer through work I don’t enjoy. But I will save that conversation for another post.

OK — just wanted to check in before you decided I had fallen out of the blogosphere. I’m still here and I’ll be back.

Oh, and if there is something in particular you’d like me to talk about, explain, or offer my opinion about, hit me up in comments or Email me.

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The End of the Month


The first month of what some think is the last year of our lives is coming to an end. I spent the day invoicing and finishing up some last minute work for clients. And I thought about some of the goals I made for this year.

So far, not bad.

I’ve retained my better clients and dropped the dead weight. I still need to gain some new clients, but that’s always going to be an ongoing process. For the first time since I started my writing career, I had work for at least one client every day of the month. That’s pretty cool.

My goal for next month is pretty much the same as my goal for January. Keep looking for the meat and the lobster, avoid the peanuts and smaller potatoes. I feel like I’m on the verge of something great — for the first time I’m on the path I’m supposed to be. I’m excited about the future, which is a really good feeling.

I’ve also kinda got addicted to this blogging thing, so I think I’ll keep doing that, too. Hope you guys stick around for the ride. Should be interesting.

Oh, and as for the end of the world stuff — my theory about the Mayans: Their calendar stopped at 12/21/2012 because they ran out of room on the wheel.

See ya next month!

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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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