Friday, April 29, 2011

See That Radar, I'm Likely Off It

Not that I've been the blogging king for the last several weeks -- mostly thanks to a life that has decided to parade tons of work along with a rather unwanted sprinkling of family emergencies, along with my own need to actually have a life -- but it's looking like I'll be doing another of those marvelous weekend disappearing acts. I might pop in, but its probably best for us all to just assume I won't (then you can head over here on Monday and moan about how I threw out seven posts while you were off counting stamps and licking sheep). But don't worry about me, because this weekend has potential to be about as awesome as awesome can be. I might even get a new title out of it. I'm pitching for Lord Spicer, but I'm assuming everyone is sort of on nobility overload after today.

Just for the record, no I did not watch the wedding. Though I almost ended up staying up late enough for it due to writing pay copy, but I opted for the going to bed rather than the stay up for several more hours and become useless for all of Friday. I think, it was the right choice because A) I had lots of work to attend to today and B) I really couldn't have possible cared less about it. I told Emily a few days ago that the only reason I'd ever consider watching the wedding was if someone paid me to write about it, but no one from the Royal Family called me, so I went to bed (maybe they phoned the wrong number?) I think, I made the right choice.

I'm sure some of you ended up watching it and I hope you liked it just fine. You know what else I hope is fine? Your weekend. So, you go enjoy yourself some of that, and I'll be back here for you on Monday. Unless my weekend events happen to lead me to write something on here -- but as I said, no point holding your breath on such a nice day.

Yeah, I realize I still haven't posted that promised piece, and I do intend to still put it up here. I want to say you'll see it for Tuesday, but I also want to say I'm a millionaire. So, it isn't like the things I say actually correlate with reality. Maybe don't hold your breath for that either.

But seriously, I'm leaving now. Please turn out the lights before you go. And make sure you get on top of that whole having a great weekend thing. You won't regret it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

When Weather Threatens My Productivity

So, the countdown is officially over and my soul is firmly secure inside me (or at least whatever is left of it). Today is supposed to be a full day where I can concentrate on a Mount Everest load of client work, some which actually needs to be sent out by the end of the day. Normally, I'd be excited by the prospect of several hours of uninterrupted writing and being able to create content that continues my whole goal of getting money for my written words. And I am excited. Honest. But there is also a rather large and scary storm slamming against my window and shaking everything that dares to be outside (at one point, it looked like my fence was going to do a whole 'TIMBER!' routine). So, I can't help being taken over with the fear that my entire house is going to be lifted from its foundation and I'll be transported off to Oz. Normally, I'd be excited about a vacation to Oz, except I don't know what their internet capabilities are like over there. The whole e-mail thing is crucial to sending out work. Plus I don't even remember if that place has electricity. In case I'm overestimating the strength of this wind, there is still the chance the power might go bye bye. And that my dear friends, is probably even scarier (and involves far less cute little people who eat too many sweets).

So, I should stop hanging out here and try to get as much done as possible before the power pulls a disappearing act.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dear 'Dying' Patient Who Hung Up On Me

I empathize with your plight of having trouble breathing. I realize when you're in rough medical shape, that you have the strong need to be seen immediately. After all, you're the one experiencing the misery and pain and no one else can tell you how unbearable or bearable your predicament is. I realize that waiting until Monday or being on a cancellation list is not the most optimal thing. Especially if your ailment is one that means your being left unattended will result in your untimely demise. Untimely demises are not very fun things. You know what else is not very fun? Being yelled at by someone you're trying to help. Actually, you have a whole lot of air pouring out of that mouth for someone who can't breathe. You'd think you'd conserve that stuff when your days are oh-so-numbered and you can't wait to be seen until the start of next week. So my advice, try to stop yelling and huffing because then you might breathe better. Also, maybe listen to the person that is talking to you on the phone before you rant and hang up. Sometimes, those words actually have helpful advice and would have alerted you to a place you could go for actual help. On the plus side, you gave me a very helpful reminder of exactly why I am now actively pursuing my writing business full time. Thank you so much for that, and I wish I could have been as helpful for you.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

And For The People Who Prefer Cats. . .

I've got a jam packed day today, and already know the likelihood of blogging is hovering around 'not a chance.' So, it is time to resort to the ol' pet pictures. Since Summit got the photo love yesterday, here is some Crosby shots.











Oh wait, that last one wasn't a cat. How did that one get in there? Oh yeah, because I am a sucker for Summit. I don't play favourites, honest.

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's Monday. . . Let's Make Up For That Fact With Doggie Pictures

Yes, it is the start of the work week and sometimes, that fact isn't all pretty scenery and happy doggies. But the following pictures are exactly that. So, here are some pictures of great scenery and an even greater dog.













Just for the record, no we do not have any snow occupying our grounds right now. Those pictures were taken back in January, when we did have such a thing. Also for the record, Summit misses it very much. I'm not in total agreement with that view though, and just fine with the currently much greener surroundings.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

And That Is How You Do A Long Weekend

Yeppers, that is exactly how you do it. My weekend was just the fabulousness, thank you very much. The only sad part is it had to go and end on me. That is okay, because as I said previously, I kind of dig this whole writing for money thing. But right now, I am going to do some of that sleeping for free thing --- because I like that too. Though if any clients want to pay me to sleep, I'm cool with that. Just saying.

So, how was your Easter weekend?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hey Look! I Just Stumbled Upon A Long Weekend

And I knew exactly what do with it too. I put together a big Easter egg hunt for my lovely wife, I went for a wonderful stroll with my buddy Summit, and I had a magnificent feast with beloved family members. And it is only the very start of this long weekend, so I've got much more joyfulness and revelry to be had. Though, I am not saying you had to do any of those things with your start of long weekend. There is many options you can choose from. Maybe you can start that bronzed ladybug collection or begin work on that interpretive dance of the Industrial Revolution. Really, I promise not to judge you. My activities are not the only way to go, but I am pretty happy with my choices. Whatever you do, makes sure you take advantage of this long weekend and have yourself some grandness and magnificence.

Anyway, I've got lots of long weekending to attend to, so I'll likely be incognito on this blog for the rest of it. So, you go take advantage of my absence and go enjoy yourself with some non bloggy things.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blog From Holiday's Past, "Good Friday: Does It Hold Value For All?"

Tomorrow is a holiday, just in case you didn't notice. It is actually a holiday that is a very big deal for a pretty big portion of this continent and beyond. But the question I posed a year ago was, can it be a significant and valuable day for everyone no matter their religion and beliefs? I think I summed up my views on that fairly well a year ago, and I'd say I believe basically the same thing now. So, here is a little flashback to some deep and profound reflections on a rather important day.
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Good Friday: Does It Hold Value For All?

Tomorrow is Good Friday, which happens to be a day that holds a lot of significance and power to a certain portion of the world's population, the Christians. But what if your religion or belief system does not fall under the Christian category? Is it just another day? Well of course, most have the privilege of being able to stay away from work for the entire day, which obviously is great value for many. Any day that I can leave the scanner by itself, is a very great day for me. But if your non Christian, does this day hold any more value than just a simple holiday? For any person who does not consider themselves a follower of Christ, would this just be a simple holiday that holds no other significance other than a reprieve from work like some other holidays (Labour Day and Civic Day, I am looking at you).

I did a little reflection upon this holiday, which is a day that holds so much significance for a specific religious group. I started realizing that the power of this day can be shared by people who do not consider themselves to be Christians. Yes, the main point of the day is to honour and reflect upon Jesus sacrificing himself on the cross in order for the entire world to be freed from sin. And yes, someone who isn't a Christian would not be able to share the same thankfulness and blessings as a Christian would. But I do think they can still appreciate the deeper message and do some of their own reflection.

If you cut out the religious subtext, the overall meaning is one of sacrifice. It is about a man (deity) who put the well being of others before himself, and made the ultimate selfless act of giving his life for a greater good. I know, that is a notion that almost anyone can appreciate and be moved by.

For a non Christian, this can be a day that they reflect upon those who made crucial sacrifices in order to help others. It can be honouring people who they personally know, such as showing respect for a single mother who puts her heart and soul into her children's well being. This is also a day that one can reflect upon other great men and women who who put their own lives on the line in order to push a noble cause they believed in. It can be a time to appreciate amazing people like Gandhi or Martin Luther King who put a great cause way above their own well being, and who ultimately sacrificed their own lives because they refused to back away from what they believed in.

It can also be a time of self reflection. How can we bring out greatness and hope for others? What do we need to sacrifice in order to help and love others? It can be a time to realize that there are things that are more important than ourselves. It is a time to think and brainstorm how those important issues can be addressed. I am sure there are many problems or dilemmas in your very own area. They may be personal and relate to your own family or friends. Or it may be bigger issues that involve your community. The big question is, what will you sacrifice or do to make sure a good cause is fulfilled?

I ask this question without knowing an answer myself. I do look to the past and see the ultimate love shown by men like Jesus and Gandhi and Martin Luther King. I hope, one day that I can show just a small fraction of the love, courage and strength they demonstrated. So, on this Good Friday, I will use this day to reflect upon sacrifice and love. Most importantly, I will think of what I can do to demonstrate that type of love myself.

Freelancing: One Massive Day Off?

I was heading out of the office last night, and mumbling about how late it had gotten and how much work I still have haunting me, when a well meaning and wonderful person said, "Well, at least you have the day off tomorrow and can take a nap." Because you see, I wasn't going to venture into the factory of soul sucking today. Now, this person knows that I am starting up a freelance writing business and realizes when I am not at the office, I am likely pounding away on the keyboard at home. Yet, somehow this meant that Thursday was going to be a 'day off.' Now, this is far from a criticism or jab at this particular person, because in the past year, I've had several people insinuate that the days out of the office are not days of actual work. They say things like, "Oh, I wish I was a writer," or "It must be nice to be at home" or "You have ketchup all over your shirt." Well, being a freelance writer isn't all about ketchup stained shirts, trust me.

Lets look at today's apparent 'day off.' I've got two assignments about subjects I know nothing about, and thus need to extensively research the topics, then have the articles written and polished by the end of the day. I've got three other articles that don't need to be finished today, but my life would be much better if they are. I've got two other much bigger articles that need to have an outline written and the research gathered by the end of today. I've got a special secret assignment that I'm still negotiating on and part of that discussion needs to be today. Then, I've got lots of other work that is due next week, but they probably should at least get an ounce of attention today as well. This may be the busiest day off ever.

I am honestly not saying all this to get a pat on the back and a cookie in my mouth. I realize this is the career that I've been working towards for the last year. I also realize that not having to put on a suit or worrying about an awful commute is a pretty sweet deal. It is also nice having a job where the boss is actually you and you don't have to make it a 9 to 5 day if you don't want to. There are far worse jobs than being a freelance writer. I'd even admit that it is pretty close to a dream job, unless of course you get panic attacks when you think about the word 'writing.'

Of course, it isn't hard labour like construction or a factory job, and for the most part, it pretty dang comfortable (I really like my chair and easy access to the coffee machine at all hours). It doesn't mean I don't have to work hard. Well, I guess I don't have to, if I decide I am okay with being evicted from my house and having my wife hate me forever. I am not actually okay with those things. I want to have a steady stream of clients and make a pretty decent living. In order to do those things, then most days I've got to work at least 8 hours and churn out a great deal of copy. So yeah, I am my own boss and I can work my own hours, but that usually still means 8 plus on certain days and working really hard at producing the best I can.

Again, I am not complaining. I really love the act of writing. Yes, there is certain jobs that can be tedious or dull, but it sure beats answering phone calls from self entitled ass hats or having to lift really heavy stones in the hot sun for 8 hours. For the most part, I really love my writing assignments, and I especially love the variety you get from different clients. It's a good job. But it is definitely still work.

There seems to be this belief among those that actually have to drive away from home to their jobs that stay at home work isn't that real. I think, that is especially true if they see freelance work that is mostly done at the computer such as writing. This is even more true if the person knows someone who sets hours different than the usual 9 to 5. There seems to be this vision of the freelance writer popping out about 30 minutes of copy and then sipping cappuccinos and scarfing down croissants with his other freelance pals for the rest of the day. They believe this freelancer should be available for free babysitting and the neighbourhood hyena patrol, because the freelancer has nothing but oodles of free time. After all, what they do isn't that hard and deep down the person believes freelancing is another word for 'unemployed.'

I can't speak for any other freelancers, but I don't consider myself unemployed. I do work really hard. It is a lot of work to be able to not only create high quality content that causes the client to want to do return business with you, but also doing it quick enough so that you have enough work to make a decent wage (especially when you're first starting out and don't have any type of name that commands strong rates). On top of all that, it can be pretty stressful because you don't have the steady income like a 'regular' job. You only get paid for what you produce. This means, you actually spend far less time at the coffee shop than the stereotypical vision of a writer. Unless of course, you like the idea of eating nothing but ramen noodles and staying warm beside a burning trash can. It's a lot of work to make a real wage at writing.

I need to say that it is also the best damn job I've ever had. I hope this ends up being my career for the rest of my life. I am not a freelance writer with hopes of eventually getting hired on with a magazine or newspaper. I actually want to remain a freelance writer. I have already turned down two offers this year for steady salaried work with benefits. I want to be my own boss and grow my own freelance writing business. I like having a variety of different work from ghost writing to ad copy to marketing consulting to editorials to columns (hopefully, eventually fiction and books). I have dreams and hope to expand what I write about. I believe that freelance writing is the best route to realize those dreams and land those projects that I hope for. Of course, this all means that I need to be really proactive at managing my time and money, I need to start acquiring some skills that weren't as necessary when I had a boss and a secure job. I am confident that I can grow and improve in those things, and that this business is going to continue to grow.

All this to say, today is not a day off. But it is still a very good day.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Should Have Looked At What I Was Leaping Into

I'll blog again. I promise. Just trying to manage all the new client work that came marching into my office and did a wonderful tap dance number on my head. I am not complaining (just in case you felt the need to call it that), because I am rather happy with an army of writing work barging into my life, because such an army comes equipped with money. Money has a funny way of paying for mortgages and soda pops. I sort of planned and hoped that having a writing business would have actual writing work to keep me occupied. So, I am very, very, very, very happy with this current occurrence. But I'm also busy. I am also really hoping that I'll eventually feel like I have a handle on this new life of mine (one that I think will be 'easier' when I officially work my last day at the factory of soul sucking). Right now, I feel I'm trapped in the middle of a tornado and just waiting to be tossed out the other end. Though hopefully, the tossing will be on some plush pillows that happened to be left out by the neighbours -- because if you can't trust neighbours to toss out pillows than who can you trust? So yeah, please excuse this rather neglected blog, but I'm hoping that this will become a very active place again, real soon. Because I like it here, especially when you come and visit.

Plus I still plan on posting that very special piece that I mentioned in my past post. You'll want to come for that and revel in its specialness. Or something.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Taking A Leap Of Faith

I know, I know, I'm bordering on 2007 level of blogging frequency. I'll give you a half-hearted apology for that. I've not seen much of this thing some call 'free time' lately due to loads of writing work, marketing work (to get more writing work), my office job, and some rather urgent family/personal issues. It has just been those sort of days lately, even though I've had lots I wanted to blog about; I haven't had the time to squeeze it in. I really don't have that time now, but I thought almost a week long disappearing act was long enough. Consider me reappeared and alive, and hopefully, I won't be drifting back into the darkness for too long.

I did want to mention one things on here, though. It is something I am pretty excited about. Hopefully, it is something that I won't be regretting in a month's time. Do you remember my blog from a while back called Don't Quit Your Day Job? Well, I still stand by and believe everything I wrote in that article. And I haven't quit my office job. BUT I've decided to quit a certain aspect of my 'day job', and it is the portion that gave me the most hours and pay. The problem was, it also happened to be the most rigid and scheduled, and took up entire days that could have been devoted to writing. This is all fine and dandy when I don't have a lot of writing work, but as of these past 5 days, I've landed several long term clients. This is a good thing, because clients is what will make this a real job that pays for things like my mortgage or a pop tart statue. It also means that my already shrinking time has shrunk much more, and with a rather time consuming office job in the way, I would have to start turning down clients. From what I've been told, turning down clients is a really bad way to grow a business.

I've made the decision to take a rather giant leap of faith, and now make my writing business the largest part of my work week and thus the job I will rely on the most to bring home the bacon (though, I'd rather my clients not actually pay with bacon, please). It is scary and I've second guessed it a few times, but it is also really exciting, because after all, this has been the goal for the last year or so. Things may be a little more tight and a lot more stressful in the coming weeks (because I haven't had enough of that lately), but I really think this will be an exciting time of growth for my company. On the plus side for you, I am sure my stress inducing state will cause for far more crazy rants of fury for your entertainment.

Speaking of my writing business, I've got some work right now that one client would like done, thank you very much. So, I am going to go do what it takes to make it 'done'. But I've actually got a rather important (to me) blog piece that I plan posting here very soon, and so you have that to look forward to. Hope your day is all bananas and koalas.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

About That Plan. . .

Didn't seem to work yesterday either. At least, I'm now done Monday's work. Sigh. I've got to go get a piece of my soul sucked now. Have a lovely Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Honestly, I Didn't Fall Into A Vortex

I returned safe and sound Sunday night, and I avoided any dark and swirling holes of despair. I even returned with the noble plan of brewing up a nice big helping of blog on Monday. The thing is, plans are the type of things that look great on paper or seem really nice when nestled in your mind, but sometimes the actual implementation are far less successful. I had laid out all the things I wanted to do yesterday, and I realized my list of work was rather ambitious, but I was unaware that it was completely impossible to do in one day. Or at least, it was because my cloning machine was stuck in the shop. So, I only got to about 40% of my planned Monday writing work and it meant the poor blog was left in the corner to stick his thumb into a plum pudding pie. But I heard the pie was delicious, so I wouldn't feel too bad for him.

I just wanted to alert you that indeed my current status is of the non vortex variety. I should pop on here a little later with some more delicious and nutritious words, but we all know how plans can go. I'm off to finish the rest of Monday and try to start Tuesday.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Don't Worry I Haven't Fallen Into A Vortex

But I'll likely not be posting anything here over the weekend (or if I do, it will be more of the recent very short updates). I've got a work afternoon ahead of me, and this weekend I'll be off doing some rather important family like things. Part of which will be in regards to the family emergency I mentioned earlier, but the rest of it will be more of the warm and fuzzy family time, which is far more delightful, obviously. I've also got some of the oh-so-wonderful creation of sentences and paragraphs work that turns into money to fit in this weekend as well. All in all, that makes for an unattended blog, but I'm sure there is something on the internet you can find to entertain you while I'm gone.

Have a splendid weekend and get some of that sun and fresh air I've been hearing about.