Write. Edit. Share. Repeat.

About writing, editing, publishing & getting it out there

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On growing a side gig

From “What It Really Takes to Grow a Side Gig,” by from Alexis Grant, The Traveling Writer.

How on earth are you supposed to launch a business when you’re already working a full-time job …? 

Question from reader to Alexis Grant: “The thing I struggle most with is having to do my work in very short time frames. I have maybe two hours in the morning during the week before I go to my full-time job, and the evenings are often spent unwinding or hanging out with my boyfriend. I’m not willing to sacrifice my quality of life to start a business – especially when the business is supposed to be about a better quality of life!”

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The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

The Icarus Deception coverRecently I’ve been following Seth Godin’s blog and twitter feed (He’s the founder of Squidoo, among other things, and always has interesting things to say about business, marketing and writing). He recently posted about his new book, which I wanted to share about because I liked the description’s call to creative people.

“Everyone knows that Icarus’s father made him wings and told him not to fly too close to the sun; he ignored the warning and plunged to his doom. The lesson: Play it safe. Listen to the experts. It was the perfect propaganda for the industrial economy. What boss wouldn’t want employees to believe that obedience and conformity are the keys to success?

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Letting myself be imperfect

Mosaic clownSome people have called me courageous because in my life, I’ve gone and lived in a variety of places, I’ve taken the plunge and tried things I never even considered when I was younger, let alone thought I could do. I lived in New Mexico for a summer, in Wyoming for a year, Delaware, Indiana, a few other places. I went rock climbing. I went to folk festivals. I wrote poems and performed them at coffee shops. I learned how to play guitar, write songs and sing them in front of people. And I had a lot of fun doing it. My achievement was not playing brilliantly but in getting over an incredible fear and letting go of my imperfections.

I never felt all that brave about any of these things. I just wanted to do something or go somewhere enough that my desire was stronger than my fear. The fear was still hovering under the surface. Read More

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Irrational fears, meandering thoughts

I wrote earlier about procrastination and getting distracted, and these are two big issues that I need to get a handle on. It’s not so easy. A big part of it is fear and negativity—if I sit down to write, I am not making money, and I should be doing something very specific toward making money, since I am not permanently employed right now—I’m doing freelance and temp work. So sitting down to write generates a fear that I’m doing the wrong thing.

My blog does not feel like as much a waste of time as fiction writing does, though, because it is linked to my website and I may, potentially, get freelance clients who need an editor or blogger or some other editorial service. But what about Twitter and Facebook—is spending time there productive? Are any of these things more or less productive than sitting down to write fiction, or an essay potentially for publication? Read More

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I sit down to write a blog…

I do admit I get distracted and procrastinate a lot. Just now, about to sit down and write a blog, I thought it would be better to have pictures with it. I was going to write about my new laptop, and my frustration about being told by Microsoft that my computer was not eligible for an upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8. The Staples salespeople (there were several trying to convince me that day) had told me that they offered a rebate on upgrades to Windows 8 on all new laptop purchases, since it was coming out in October and this was the end of September. I emailed Staples and got details on how to order the upgrade and then apply for the rebate. I’ve gotten rebates from Staples before; you can do them online and there’s never been an issue beyond having to wait a few weeks for a check. So I started the process, confident that even without my computer-savvy husband Paul around I could do it myself. He had braved the roads to drive into work.

Because Hurricane Sandy has put NYC public transportation out of commission (the subways are flooded and I’ve just heard the wonderful news that a bunch of MTA buses in the yard at Jamaica were flooded and damaged, too (seriously? That couldn’t have been avoided?), my company is closed again today and I’m losing another day’s pay. Again, I have work to do here, but because I was home and had time, I thought it might be good to get the upgrade out of the way before I forgot about it and lost the paperwork and/or the offer expired. Knowing my past history, either one of those could easily happen.

But when I got the email from Microsoft that I was not eligible, before I let myself get upset (either I’ve been screwed or I’ve made some mistake in the process–hopefully the latter), I grabbed a pen and dialed the customer service number. There was no email address., naturally. I steeled myself and promised to be patient with the barely understandable customer service rep who would inevitably pick up. Oh, yes, I could get lucky and get someone from the U.S. In the past that’s been someone from Texas calling me Honey. Is that better than the overseas call centers? It’s a toss-up — sometimes I do understand the Indian accents better than the ones from the deep South. 

Anyway, it was all a moot point, because the call didn’t go through. Damn. Oh, yeah, we just had a massive hurricane!

Grumble grumble.

Anyway, my point is that I sat down to write the blog and decided I needed a picture of my laptop as illustration. The laptop didn’t look good against the ugly flowery tablecloth we currently have on our dining room table, so I moved it to the coffee table, where it looked better. Then I decided that if I were really going to illustrate “working on my laptop,” I’d need a prop — a coffee mug, which I frequently have next to me. I didn’t have one just then, though, because I’d already had two cups of coffee. OK, I thought, I’ll get the mug and pose it (and I can show off the pretty new handmade cup I got on my trip to Ireland). The mug was obviously empty so I decided to fill it with coffee I wasn’t planning on drinking. I debated with myself briefly, but felt that heating it in the microwave to try to capture some steam rising was a bit obsessive.

On my way to the kitchen, I saw that my cat, Pip, had shoved himself into the bag containing all the service and refund information that Staples had given me when I bought my laptop. Obviously, Pip had ennui due to being stuck with us in the house for two days straight, and he was attempting suicide. Of course I took his picture (being an impartial journalist) before talking him back out of the bag.

So. I do not have Windows 8 yet. A guy (girl) from Staples customer service with a name I have never seen before in my life said that it would be easier to discuss the issue over the phone, if I would call customer service. Suuuuure it will be easier, H——— uhh ….. Sir (Ma’am?). I didn’t attempt to make the call just yet; without actually trying again, I just told them my phone was out due to the storm. I will deal with this later. I have more important things to do. Like catching up on some editing, and … no, not playing with the cat–editing.

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Temporary state of being

Some days I don’t mind being a temp, because there’s a certain freedom to not being in charge of projects or of much planning. (I do a lot of the “grunt work”; other people, mostly permanent employees, plan and organize and track progress.)

But other days it’s a source of worry. Am I doing enough? Should I be more ambitious and ask my supervisors if they want me to take more responsibility? If I did so, would I be considered a candidate for permanent employment? Or would I simply be taking on more responsibilities with little reward? Do I want to be employed there permanently? Read More