Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The year's going great so far

Now, I do know that I've changed this blog's photo for a new ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE one.  But it's a good picture!  I don't know how to resize it for the blog.  Some people have nice long, narrow photos that fit absolutely perfectly.  They know something about photo-trickery that I don't.  I've not the patience to try and find out, so you're stuck with a massive photo.  Hey, it's it good one though :D

So, as I said, the year's going great so far.  I'm not watching any TV at all really, unless I happen to accidentally go downstairs for something and notice that Kev's watching 'Have I Got News For You' and get sucked into the telly.  But mostly I am sitting in my 'office' and reading and doing a little bit of writing.  I am just enjoying the productive vibe that's going on.  I have lots to do, and not enough time to do it all.  That's okay though, I'm just doing which bits I can.  I've got very lovely business cards now, which I need to distribute properly.  So far I have only sent some to Preston Uni via my friend Sara, and I have posted some on the Whale Tail noticeboard - this is clearly not going to make me rich.  I must do more.  I had intended to go to the Guardian office and give them one of my cards, but I've chickened out so far - this is exactly the wrong thing to do.  See, what I've done there, is I've imagined that I'll make a tit of myself, and I've made the Guardian office a scary place to go.  Now, it's very unlikely that I will actually make a tit of myself, because all I have to do is ask if they have any vacancies for a proofreader.  They will either say no, or they will say maybe.  It's very unlikely that they'll just say yes, and give me a job.  But all I want to do is give them my card and let them see that I'm enterprising.  Then I have to go to the university and distribute some cards there - that's also easy, but I've allowed it to grow into a task of Herculean proportions simply by putting it off.  All I have to do there is go into the library and ask if I can put my card on the noticeboard.  It's not difficult.  I've no need to fear rejection, because I already know what that feels like.

My pretty little business cards.  Apologies if you think they're a bit trite (I said 'trite'), but they're very me,
and I'm not about to pretend to be someone I'm not :)

I'll try to do these things on Friday morning - that is my only window, and I must use it wisely.

I have been writing, as I said.  Writing my mammoth Faerie novel - that is, my novel-of-mammoth-proportions that is entitled 'Faerie', not a novel about mammoth Faeries, or Faerie mammoths.  It was very nice to get back into it, and to move the story along a good bit.  I'm getting right into the action now, and it's starting to become exciting again.  And writing that stuff also inspired some ideas for hubs.  Hubs are great, and I've missed writing them - I did see them as a bit of a procrastination exercise, but actually, they're not, because they keep me writing and keep that creative bit of my brain in shape.  I've neglected the hubs, and probably as a consequence, I've neglected all of my writing for the past few months.  It's refreshing to be writing just anything again.  I hope I don't have another break like that for a very long time.  Writing makes me feel like I'm on holiday.

So, I have much to say, and lots of places and platforms to say it on and in and at.  Wednesday morning feels like just exactly the right morning to make some headway - if I don't get ill again.

Honestly (just a little moan) - has anyone else been ill for the past month?  This year's coldy-fluey thing is a horrible one, that just doesn't seem to want to eff off.  That's all I'm saying about that - people have worse things than colds!


Addendum 1:  I'm so brainless.  I've already written about some of the things I've just mentioned here.  How is it that I can completely forget that I've written in this blog since New Year?  What is bloody wrong with me?  I think I need to go back to Barbados for a week.

Addendum 2:  I have just been looking at my statistics for this blog, and it hardly gets read at all!  Lots of posts have been read less than once.  Less.  Than.  Once.  Hmph!  But I did notice that posts that were tagged with a famous person, or a topical issue, got a lot more views than other ordinary posts.  So I've tagged this post with a handful of famous people to see what effect that has.  Just a little game, you understand.  No doubt the people who drop by to see what I'm writing about Rhod Gilbert will pop right off again once they realise they've been had.  (I love Rhod Gilbert though - he's a very sexy man.)

Friday, 13 January 2012


It's hard work looking for jobs online, there's so much rubbish.  I have actually got an actual headache, and my eyes hurt, and I think I will have to take something evil to get rid of these little afflictions.

At the beginning of the week I thought I was going to find some jobs by the end of the week.  Now I think I might never find any.  All I need is one person to give me a good break, and then I'll be able to get more jobs.  I've applied for lots, but I'm competing with people who say they have decades of experience - of course, they could be lying; I'm not going to lie.

I've still got to take my business cards to the University and the college though, and to the Guardian office.  But, you never know, the lady that received my CV at the beginning of the week might suddenly come through with a job that I could do.  I might really impress her and she might send me work regularly.  Or the test that I mucked up a couple of weeks ago might not have bothered the person who was doing the hiring, and he might hire me anyway.  (If I hadn't mucked up that test I would probably be up to my neck in jobs by now!  What a golden opportunity to throw away!  Maybe I should write to that bloke and tell him that I've got my final mark back - he might be impressed and give me a chance.)


I just got phoned by a man claiming to be from Facebook.  He wanted me to give him £99 to pay for a month's advertising!  I hung up on him when it became clear that he wasn't going to shut up - god, I'd hate his job.

So, plodding on, plodding on.  Looking for jobs, looking for jobs.  Hope I can find some, hope I can find some.  It's hard to find jobs when you don't know where you're supposed to be looking though.  Maybe I'll just go and work in the Spar.

Or maybe I'll stop moaning, and get on and finish my bestselling novel.  Aha!  That's a good plan.

Oh, that oDesk job did not turn out to be the start of anything amazing.  The jobs on there are all rubbish, and the pay is stupid.  I'm not going to waste my time on it.  That is not the place to find good proofreading jobs.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

oDesk - could this be the start of a bit of cash coming my way, or is it a waste of time?

oDesk.  I've started using this huge virtual office type of network.  People advertise jobs that contractors can do online, or just on their computer; contractors bid for the jobs, and someone gets hired.  Pay ranges from virtually nothing, to quite a decent hourly rate, depending on experience and skills.  I'm a beginner, so the first job I've been hired for pays pretty much nothing.  I'm writing articles - 150-170 words is all - on a topic that this woman sends me.  I'm a BMR writer this week!  I write articles for her, and her ratings are boosted!  Whatever that means.  I don't really want to be doing it, but I discovered that it's actually quite good writing practice - she tells me to write, say ten articles on the same topic, and I have to come up with new ways of writing about the same thing over and over again.  It's sort of boring, but it's sort of interesting at the same time.  The way I seem to be doing this is by hearing different voices, different characters talking about the topic from their point of view; so I'm a lady of 60, new to the internet, finding out that it's not as scary as it seems; I'm a man of 24 who thought he'd decided to do one thing with his life, but has found that he's taken a completely different path; and so on.  It's very bizarre, because I'm essentially writing about absolutely nothing, and yet I have to include very specific keywords.  The keywords have to be in the right sort of place in the text, and the subject of the article has to be loosely related to the keyword.  I don't really understand what it's all about at all, but I can make a miniscule amount of money from it, so it's worth a go.  I suppose I will continue to work with this lady until I find another job on oDesk that pays properly, and that is more interesting.  That could be tomorrow, or it could be next week, I don't really know.  Actually, I don't think I'm allowed to just tell this lady that I've found another job and abandon her - I think I have to do a certain amount of work for her (I think she mentioned a hundred of these little pieces) before I can move on.  That's absolutely fine - it's boring, but at least it's getting my brain to work.  It's actually a lot easier than I thought it would be when I looked at the topics and had an initial panic!  Always pay to have a go, you see.

I could see how this sort of work could become completely soul destroying if a person did it for too long though.  I wouldn't want to do this for the rest of the year - I'd go mad.   Although, having said that, I suppose if you intersperse it with your own writing it might be more bearable.

So what I did was, I spent an hour on my Faerie book this morning.  I moved the plot along just a nudge and introduced another character, and felt quite good about myself.  Actually, I just generally feel quite good about myself today, because I have successfully ignored the stinking cold I've got :)  It has not prevented me from doing anything - although I think I'm a bit feverish this evening, and might be struck down tomorrow!  But it's just a cold - I know people who have worse things than a cold today :(

So, all in all, a good start to the year.  I may have seriously messed up my chance of getting a lovely little proofreading job, because I'm an idiot and should not have done the test piece when I was tired.  But at least I'm being productive, and at least I haven't curled up in a corner and cried and said something like 'oh nooooooo, I'm so stupid, how could I be so stupid?' and 'I'll never be a proofreader now!'  Because I still will be a proofreader; I just won't have my first job with the very nice and patient Liam Bennett.

Well, and that's all for now.  I'm going to get Lord of the Rings, and I'm going to start reading it, because I need to find out how to write battles - I'll be coming up to a small skirmish in my book soon, and I need some ideas on how to put down the right words for that.

Eragon, by Christopher Paolini, as you can see.
Another book with really good battles in it - battles with dragons: stupendous!

Monday, 2 January 2012

New stuff, as per tradition

I suppose it might seem that there are New Year things going on around here, but I do new things all the time, at any time of year, so it's just coincidence.  But, right, there are some new things that I'll just quickly share with you.

I've finished my proofreading course, and I'm looking for jobs *smiley face*!  Fancy me, looking for jobs.  It's very exciting.  I hope I find some - because it might eventually become less exciting if I don't.  To this end I have applied for work with an academic proofreading company, and am waiting to find out if I passed their test.  It was a bit tricky, because it was using Word track changes facility, which I haven't used before.  But once I got into it - i.e. once I'd made roughly ... two corrections - it was easy to use.  I hope I get one of those jobs - the company is looking for a few proofreaders for the coming year - because it seems to be a lovely way of working.  Editing on the efile is very nice; I'm surprised a little, as I thought I would have an aversion to it, having just done my course on hard copies.  But it was great, and I think I could be very good at it.

I've also registered with oDesk, which seems to be a virtual huge office.  There are all kinds of online jobs to apply for there and it seems a very professional place.  I don't know how easy it will be to find jobs without experience, but there are a lot to rake through.  Most of them require more specialist knowledge and experience than I have, but there are plenty of writing jobs to have a look at and apply for.  There are skills tests to take to demonstrate what kind of knowledge you have before you've managed to get any jobs.  Anyway, I'll see what comes of that.  I've applied for one job already, but so have quite a few other people!

Something else is new, but I've temporarily forgotten what it is.  Gah!  My brain just doesn't work properly at the moment, it's very frustrating.  I can't remember what I had for my tea.  But long-forgotten childhood memories are not coming back to me yet, so that's a good sign.

So I might be working soon.  And then all kinds of things might change and be new.  Don't know what, but I think it'll be an exciting year for me *another smiley face*.

I'm doing well to feel positive today, because I have a head full of snot, and there's often a feeling that if we don't start off the very first bit of a new year in a positive and productive way that the rest of the year might be a disaster.  Well, I say that, but I never feel that way!  I'm always excited in January, always looking forward to the spring, and finding out what I'm going to be up to in the next year.  But seriously, I think this will be a good year - it'll have some bad stuff in it, as all years do, but let's not despair, eh?  Let's look at the good stuff a bit more gratefully, eh?  There's a lot more of it about than many people realise.

A picture ... a picture should be inserted here.  But what of?  I've nothing new - I seem to have forgotten that I own a camera this year.  Ooh, ooh, perhaps with my earnings - if I earn enough - I might buy a new camera, a DSLR!

But a picture.  I'll just find one ...

This is my oDesk profile picture; perhaps a tad too informal, but at least it's presentable, and at least my writing is professional. 

Right then, I'll be off to bed.  Got to make sure the kids have uniform ready for Wednesday - I've put away not a single piece of clean laundry over Christmas!  Shock, horror, what a terrible, lazy woman!