Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sickness Abounds

I'm officially sick of cold and flu season. First, my son and I had a cough/cold that turned into a chest infection. We're on antibiotics and officially clearing up. This past weekend, my daughter spiked a fever that had me fearing that dreaded "F" word. Or is that "H" word? We headed into the doctor yesterday and it looks like strep. So now she's on antibiotics and home from school for day two. Grandma is visiting from Texas tomorrow and I have much to do to the house and work to catch up on.
Did I mention I'm sick of cold and flu season? On a happier note, the purge is almost completed and now we just have oodles of paperwork to either file or destroy. The house is much more streamlined and we've gotten rid of so much clutter after a yard sale and three trips to Goodwill!
I came across an interesting blog post about blog topic possibilities. They really are endless. I never seem to run short of things to blog about, but I will visit this list often for fresh ideas. Enjoy, and stay well!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Total Chaos

So how does a writer with assignments on her desk get them completed in a timely fashion?
She decides to completely purge her home this week and cross her fingers for decent yard sale weather this weekend.
Yes, you read that right. Christmas is looming and I'm getting more and more nervous as my 6-year-old daughter carries her clipboard around the house while she composes gift checklists for both her and her 3-year-old brother.
Meanwhile every closet in the house is bursting at the seams and I trip over a toy every five minutes. I'm one of those people who gets a little claustrophobic in the wintertime and can't focus on my work knowing chaos looms right around the corner. I'm trying to preempt the wintertime madness by getting organized before the cold weather sets in this year.
Did I mention we have way too much stuff? We're talking shoeboxes and shoeboxes stuffed full of receipts from up to 10 years back. Textbooks from college that I will never pick up again. In my laundry room today I found a stack of dirty (yes, baby food and all) baby bibs. My son will be four in February. You do the math.
So I'm trying to chip away at this a little at a time, hauling items for the yard sale out to the garage, which we cleaned up this weekend. I've already been to Goodwill twice for the stuff I've never been able to get rid of at previous yard sales. Even the kiddos are being cooperative. I told them Santa may not stop by the house if it looks like we don't need any more toys. Terrible, I know, but it worked!
So wish me luck. In between piles of old clothes and magazines I'll be composing away on my computer so I can hopefully still meet my deadlines while working my way toward a clean, clutter-free home.
Is it really possible? I hope so!

Friday, November 6, 2009


You know what I love about my job? I love that it revolves around my life, and not the other way around. For example, this morning I got to drop both my kids off at school and spend 30 minutes volunteering in my daughter's classroom. I'm now in the public library with my laptop, where I can check e-mail, blog, and browse through any mainstream magazines that could be prospective markets. Then I get to pick my son up from preschool and take him to lunch and speech therapy.
Working a traditional day job never allowed me to do this.
Sure, there are drawbacks. I worked a lot of evenings this week, but unfortunately I know a lot of my peers with full-time day jobs who also have to do the same, without getting paid for it. There's also the lack of a steady paycheck. It's been a nerve-wracking past few weeks waiting for checks to come in, but I finally felt a little relief from that this week. And because I have small children, I have to squeeze in work where I can to make up for days when they are sick or not in school (my son has had a day off from his preschool once a week for election day, Veteran's Day, etc. the past month) which has thrown a small wrench in my productivity!
But I feel that I've accomplished a lot this week. I finished an article two weeks before deadline. I polished up my non-fiction book proposal, sent it to an agent and got an encouraging rejection within four hours. I've researched other agents. I've sent out a call for experts for another article due at the beginning of December. I submitted an essay to a parenting magazine. I cleaned out my e-mail inbox. It's been a good week! How has yours been?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Did You Hear the One About . . .?

I'm sorry I've been out of commission the past week. I've had that pesky chest cold that it seems everyone has this year -- the one where you cough for at least a month. I finally organized my e-mail last night and will finish that correspondence this evening, hopefully. I'm pretty sure I lost one of my long-standing clients yesterday, due to the state of the economy and restructuring within the company, but I was expecting it and luckily picked up a new publication with the exact same pay scale a few months ago. The ebb and flow of freelancing!
I really enjoyed this post about how to head off freelance disasters yesterday. Yes, I have experienced all of these and more:
  • I've had sources hound me to be experts in articles and then, during the interview, pretty much say my article topic isn't really relevant to their expertise.
  • I've interviewed sources who then wanted to change all their quotes to medical mumbo jumbo when I provided quotes to them for fact-checking before turning in an article.
  • I had a PR rep recently contact me so her client could be an expert for an article. Then she proceeded to reschedule the time and day of the interview no less than seven times over the next week. Luckily, I had learned from my previous freelance disasters and found a few other sources to cover myself off. I finally had to tell the rep that obviously her client had a very busy schedule, and I would just proceed with the sources I had already interviewed. This resulted in one last, frantic e-mail and phone call on her part, but I had moved on by then.
Do you have any crazy freelance-writing disasters to share? How did you deal with them?