Wednesday, July 30, 2008

You're Only Human

I read an interesting post today by Jodee at Freelance Writing Jobs. She talks about the best way to handle a situation where you hand in work to a client that is less than stellar. I've had it happen. You've probably had it happen. We're all human. It's going to happen at one time or another. I used to take it really personal and feel like I let a client down in the worst way, which can be good and bad. Bad because it puts undue (and most of the time, unnecessary) stress on me. Good because it causes me to get my rear in gear and fix the problem, pronto! Most of the time, it turns out well. I've been fortunate and most of my editors have been really understanding and continue to send work my way. And those who don't? Well, maybe they aren't clients I want to work for if they are that inflexible and unforgiving of one honest mistake.

I think Jodee is right in her advice that you do the best job you can and handle the situation with grace. Turning in shoddy work and then disappearing off the face of the earth is probably not in your best interest. Do you agree or disagree, or does it depend on the circumstances? For me, I can't beat myself up too much if I don't turn in fantastic work in a two-day turnaround time, especially when interviewing sources is required!

Monday, July 28, 2008

She Makes It Look So Easy

I deliberately set aside the latest issue of Writer's Digest when it arrived in the mail a few weeks ago, as I wanted to have some reading material for the ride to the coast. Most importantly, I relished the thought of learning more about Diablo Cody, the featured WD interview of the month. I learned a few things I hadn't heard yet about Cody, such as how she started out her career typing copy at a Minnesota ad agency. I too started out in the biz humbly, I was an administrative assistant at a small ad agency in North Carolina right out of college. I did everything from make coffee to type up insertion orders to answer the phones. (I also met my hubby there, but I digress).

Fed up with not writing, Cody took a job as a stripper to have something to write about. Hey, whatever works, right? Now she's an Academy-award winning screenwriter with a plate full of projects. If only . . .

I like that Cody is so down-to-earth and matter of fact when she discusses writing. She basically looks at a blank page as the most fun in the world, because to her writing isn't work, but play. I'll have to remember that once I get back to writing my novel that always seems to get pushed aside.

Writer's Digest has also revamped their site, and I highly encourage you to take a new look at it. Honestly, I've been kind of afraid to because I already have way to many online diversions! But seriously, you can find writing prompts, blogs, informative articles, interviews, writing competitions, and even an online community. Very nice.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Back From Vacation . . .

And back to reality! We just returned from a nice, relaxing, sun-filled week at the North Carolina coast. It truly was wonderful, and I even finished two novels in one week, which is unheard of these days. I did have to log in a few days and check e-mail periodically, as the week before vacation found me turning in three different articles and I had to make sure my editors didn't have any burning questions. Hey -- I tried my best to be unavailable, but I just can't seem to do it!

The past few summers have found me scrambling to find reliable childcare so I could still get my regular work done without the help of of the wonderful preschool down the street. It's hard to toil away at the computer when I can hear the sounds of neighborhood kids splashing in in the pool down the street as I make my daily trek out to the mailbox to look for checks. I try to make it fun for the kids, because it is summer vacation after all, but inevitably, I find myself checking my e-mail every five minutes and frantically typing during my son's naptime.

I came across a great article on writing during the summer courtesy of the Writer Mama e-zine. You should really subscribe if you get a chance. I get excited when it hits my inbox, and they even gave this blog a shout-out recently (hi to all the new visitors who found Renee's Pages via the Writer Mama zine)!

Mary Andonian has been around the summertime block a few times, and I enjoyed her suggestions for "how to spend summer vacation." Just a few of the useful tips I gleaned from the article:

  • Organize your workspace and materials -- with your children by your side! I know my daughter loves playing the role of office "assistant" so I'll be sure to have her help me get my desk cleaned off later this week.
  • Arrange a child swap with a fellow writer mama. I have a few friends I need to call to arrange this very thing before summer's end.
  • Send your children to summer camp! My daughter has been enjoying several this summer. The problem? My son wasn't old enough to go yet, so I had to find additional childcare for him while she attended camp. End result? Drop in profits! Next summer they'll both be able to go!
  • My personal favorite: rejuvenate! I'm pleased with what I've been able to accomplish this year and look forward to planning the rest of the year out, when both kids will be in school and I'll have more time to block out strictly for work.
Hope you're enjoying your summer! I can't believe it's almost August already.