You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2010.

I know it’s a bit late in coming, but this was supposed to be Friday’s blog, so here it is.

It’s getting into summer where I live now and that means it’s getting hot.  Considering how I live in northern (well, north part of central) Canada, you’d think that I wouldn’t have this problem.  After all, Hollywood has us pegged as either raining or snowing year round.  Well, it’s not true.  During the summer it gets hot.  Ridiculously hot.  +40 degrees F hot sometimes.

Heat is bad if you’re a freelance writer.  Certainly the image of languishing on a lawn chair, languidly typing about some random subject seems appealing, but the reality is that heat kills the creative juices (not to mention the computer) needed to do this job with a smile.  There are a few reasons why Mr. Sun equals a sudden drop in work turnaround.

You like the sun.  You adore it.  You’re one of those insane people who dream about +36 weather year round and when it finally comes, you hit the beach, the bars, the outdoor cafes, the parties, and the parks.  Whoops!  There went your work.  Ah well; surely your clients are doing the same?

You hate the sun.  You think that the best days are ones where there is no sun.  When the sun comes, you have no energy, no motivation, and you’re in a bad temper from not sleeping at night.  Try writing when you want to kill the sunshine and possibly gouge your eyes out. 

So how can you beat the summer writer’s block?  Well, unless you’re rich enough to follow any of the other seasons around, it’s time for discipline and some easy tricks.

1.  Drink plenty of water/juice.  Keep your fluid intake level high during the summer months.  Not only will this prevent dehydration, but water and juice will also help to perk you up again and give you something quick to do in between paragraphs.  Keep your brain (and the rest of you) hydrated!

2.  Work somewhere cool.  Work in the basement, work in the room facing the north, work in front of a fan; just get somewhere cool.  If this means totally redesigning your workspace, so be it.  You won’t be able to work if you’re sweating, sticky, and have  heatstroke. 

3.  Work at night.  Evenings are cooler than the day, no matter how bad it gets during the day.  If you can take advantage of this, do so.  Working at night will also free up your day for lounging and prevent you from barhopping every few nights. 

4. Read while you’re out lounging.  Do any work that involves doing easier things for you.  Start off with easy things and work your way to the difficult topics and you’ll find your writer’s block is much easier to get rid of then when you started off with the hard stuff. 

5.  Work naked.  Hell, why not?  One of the advantages to working at home that’s always being advertised is working in your pyjamas.  Take it one step further and wear nothing.  Just don’t put a hot laptop on your lap!

6.  Remember that your computer is sweating too.  If you decide to take off for an hour or two, remember to put your computer in hibernation mode or turn it off altogether or else you could end up frying something.  Your computer is your livelihood; take care of it.

7.  Finally, try to get enough sleep and to eat.  Being poorly rested is sometimes a reality of summer, especially if you dont do well in the heat, but exacerbating the situation by not sleeping at all will make your work turnaround halt.  If you decide to work at night, sleep during the day; or, have a nap during the hottest part of the day-just make sure to do what you can to stay rested.

And with that, this Quill is off to sweat her way through some more articles.  Counting down the days til Autumn already!

Ahhhh, the eternal quest for working at home… building your own hours…charging your own fees…answering to no one… be your own boss….

Yeah, this is what those ‘work from home’ advertisements will try to sell you; humanity’s dream job, all from home.  It sounds wonderful on paper.  But then, most things sound wonderful on paper; hell, I bet I could make a root canal sound wonderful on paper (Have teeth that you just can’t bear to part with?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to eat whatever you want again?  Well, dentistry has come far enough to let you save your teeth no matter how bad you think they are through the magic of the root canal!)  Ok, that was terrible, but the point is there-working from home as anything from a writer to a website designer sounds like a dream come true.

However, dreams only happen when you’re asleep and you always wake up before the good part.  I am one of those work at home, make my own hours, bill my own bills, work for myself people and let me tell you, those ads are bologna.

First of all, I don’t make my own hours.  Actually, my son makes my hours because I can only work when he’s asleep or very distracted wtih something else (and then I feel guilty).  So, I end up working about 2 hours during the day and from 8pm-11pm.  That’s not a lot of time to do any real work and then I feel a little bad.  sigh….  Before having my son I had more flexibility, but I was also making a NAME for myself which meant working every day at lightning speeds. 

Second, I can’t bill whatever I want.  First of all, many of my clients can’t afford to pay tons of money (at least not for longer than a week or two) and second of all, competition is strangely fierce and stupid.  You get bids (I’m not joking here) as low as $10.00 for like 20 articles  Puh-leeze; I can’t live on that and frankly I don’t see how they do.  (I suspect a lot of copy/paste jobs, but maybe someone can verify that for me).  Then again, some clients begrudge every dollar spent and try to only pay .5/article or less which is hogswash.  These articles take time and effort to do correctly!  But, you still get many employers going the cheapest possible route which leaves less for us.  Plus, you only get paid when there’s work and if there’s no work, no one’s paying you; it’s kind of like working in a resource job like lumber or mining; you work when there’s work and then you stew.  I wish I could get EI for those times, ha ha!

What is true is the working for myself and that’s part of what makes this job worthwhile.  I can choose who I work for from day one, from choosing which projects to bid on  to choosing who to keep working for and choosing who to dump.  I’ve dumped 2 clients in my career thus far, one who was stingy, persnickety and annoying and another who sexually harrassed me and dumping both felt very good!  The clients I keep longterm are not only friendly, understanding and generous, but also become friends; people I can yack with outside of The Office and who ask after my family and wish me Happy Birthday.  They’re not my bosses, they’re my partners and my clients and that difference (when combined with my love of writing and research) is what makes this job really nice, especially when compared to those minimum wage paying Macdonalds jobs.  Sure, I don’t make tons of money, (or really very much money) but I am respected and liked and that counts for quite a bit.

Plus I get to stay with my son which in this day and age is pretty rare.  I don’t know how people afford daycare nowadays, but I’m glad we don’t have to worry about it! 

Well, that’s all for today’s blog post.  I hope you enjoyed it and I’ll see you fine folks on Wednesday.

You’ve likely come here by accident and that’s ok!  In my line of work, I’ve learned that a lot of hunting for something online ends up leading you off in a totally different and wonderful direction.  So what is my line of work?  Well, I’m a freelance writer and editor and that’s what Quill for Hire is all about.  Right now unfortunately, the only Quill for Hire is me, but that’s ok. 

A freelance writer and editor can be both a boon and a weird employee for any online business (or regular business) big and small.  Freelance writers occupy an odd employment space-we are both very necessary in the world of online business, but we are also very underappreciated in that there are so many of us fighting for work that we very often undercut ourselves (and each other), meaning that we are necessary, but we are paid little!  You certainly don’t get into this business for the cash flow because it’s more like a cash <i>dribble</i>. 

That’s all right.  This business also lets me work at home, somewhat set my rates, and do what I love: write and research and do some editing work too.

So what the heck is Quill for Hire?  Well, this is the place where you can learn more about freelance writing and editing if you’re interested in the job, where you can hire this Quill of course, and where you can learn more about me and what I’ve learned in working in this industry for almost two years.   I hope if nothing else, you’ll enjoy my roughly weekly blogs and if you ever need a writer or editor, hey, you now know who to call (er, email).

So that’s it.  Comment at will and be sure to subscribe and check back regularly.  You never know what’s going on here!

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