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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Still Alive :)

I'm still alive! Things have been super hectic around here, between regular work and training for a new non-writing client, blogging has been pushed to the background. Now I have some serious catching up to do! As always, I have a lot to say, but with only a few days left to say it, I don't think I will complete the challenges. :(

Easter was fun around here although I neglected to take more than a few pictures this year. We had way to many places to be and not enough time to be at all of them, so we chose to spend the day before with my husbands brother and mom. My brother in law is in the Army, and he is being deployed once again. :( He and his wife are expecting a baby any day now, and after his birth he will be sent back to Afghanistan. While I am very proud of him, and I do support our troops 100 percent, I am so saddened that he will miss so much of his son's life. It just doesn't seem right to me, is all this war and fighting more important than fathers being with their children? Or mothers, for that matter. Families should be together, especially during the first year of a child's life. My sister in law is a much stronger woman than I am, I don't think I could handle it.

We spent Easter day with the other side of my husbands family and had a great time hunting eggs and just enjoying the day, I adore my in laws on this side of the family, they are such laid back, easy to love people. There is always plenty of joking around and good cooking, and we always leave full of food and exhausted! It was a truly wonderful day.

I will be trying to post several times a day from now on. It won't help me to complete the challenges, but it will give me an outlet for all these ideas floating around in my head! That is if the storms that have hit us today will calm down a bit, my internet service is in and out which is making doing anything difficult!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

J is for Just Keep Going!!



That's right....Just keep going! This clip from the movie Facing the Giants has always inspired me and this week I particularly needed to watch it again. It doesn't matter if what you are facing has to do with your freelance career or your personal life. You just keep going. No matter what life throws at you, no matter what stumbling blocks get thrown in your path, you persevere and keep driving right through it.

If you want something badly enough, and you let a set back or road block stop you from achieving it, you will be left with nothing but regret and broken dreams. But if you just keep on going, no matter how tired you are, or how many things get in your way, you WILL achieve your goals. So, just keep going!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Updates on Life as I Know It :)

I often feel that I share to much of my personal life and opinions on this blog and that I am risking boring my readers. But after reading one of my favorite blogs, The Self Employed Writer, today I have decided to continue sharing what is going on in my life as well as pertinent information for freelancing parents.

First of all, the dogs at animal control that I posted about on Tuesday. I brought two dogs home with me that day. One of them is a little brindle boy who is just terrified of everything! I don't know what his past was like, or why he is like this, but the slightest movement or noise spooks him. I was told he was a bad bet by the guy who followed me around the place, that no one could get close to him. But he was on the list to be put down and I knew no one else would take him home since he was so skittish and because he has a prolapsed gland in his eye. It took time to catch him in his little, dirty pen but with the help of a friend we got him. Now we are slowly showing him that he is safe and can trust us. My four year old son is my secret weapon in this quest, he has a natural affinity with any animal and his smaller size makes him less of a threat. Bracken will come to him when he will run from the rest of us.

Our second rescue was a little cutie pie who had no name, the same four year old has named him Boxer. He is a friendly guy with helicopter ears that make him look like he is going to launch into space at any moment! His ribs are sticking out and he has worms, but he is a happy guy now. Food twice a day instead of a few times a week and a good worm medication will have him ready for a new home in no time.

The other major thing going on around here is the blog challenges, and as of this post I am three days behind. But, I will catch up and I will complete both challenges.

I am struggling with making the changes to this blog that I want to, because I cannot find a way to do it with blogger. The other sections of this blog are just crappy, to put it politely. I want the information I put in these sections to be separated by date like these blog posts are, but instead they post as one long post and I cannot figure out how to change that! It is frustrating but I don't want to change hosts at this point in time. If anyone has any advice, I would love to hear it!

Independence of Freelancing

One of the things I love the most about freelancing is the independence it allows me. If there is a party at school, I can be there. If one of my babies is sick, I don't have to scramble around trying to take a day off and worry about my job. I just get them settled in on the couch and work while taking care of them. Or, like yesterday, I can just say the heck with it and go sit beside a pond with a fishing pole and enjoy the pure joy on my youngest child's face when he pulls in a fish. :)

Independence can also be a bad thing for a freelancer. It is to easy to say you will do it later, or catch up tomorrow because you would rather do something else. Then you end up behind on deadlines or not making your financial goal for the week because other things got in the way. Speaking for myself, not making what I need to make for the week frustrates me and makes it even harder for me to buckle down and get it done.

Setting goals is helpful for some, while other freelancers set strict office hours and do not do anything but work during those hours. Software such as Focus Booster helps to keep track of the time you work, and holds you accountable for the amount of time you are working.

How to you keep yourself motivated to get everything done despite the independence of your work? This seems to be what most freelancers see as their biggest problem, so sharing advice might help someone else! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Help These Pups!

I realize that this blog is about freelancing and parenting, but today it is about dogs. Because these dogs are the reason I have not posted in a few days, and are weighing heavy on my heart.

The so called Animal Control in Lyons,GA recently euthanized 77 dogs at one time. The entire shelter full of animals was murdered. Half of the animals that were killed that day were scheduled to be picked up the very next morning by SOAPS, a local rescue group. The dogs were not sick, they were not aggressive and they would have been in loving homes in less than 24 hours if they had not been senselessly murdered! Many people in the area have said they heard gunshots the day this happened but the government officials refuse to exhume the mass grave that was dug to investigate.

The dogs in Lyon's Animal Control are not properly cared for. The so called shelter is not staffed, there is no one there on a daily basis. The dogs are not even fed on a daily basis. Pens are not properly cleaned, the area behind the pens is regularly filled with feces that has been sprayed out of the pens. SOAPS tries to help by going to the shelter to clean the pens and feed the animals, and pulls as many as possible. But the shelter will not cooperate with them at all. They have stopped them from coming in to help anymore, and dogs that they have scheduled to pull have mysteriously disappeared. They will not adopt out any dogs that are believed to be pits or pit mixes, just putting them down because of their breed, not taking in to account their temperament or health.

We managed to get one dog out yesterday. The family who took him was going for a different dog who is scheduled to be euthanized Thursday, but were told he had a hold on him. They were not told why a hold was in place. When they brought the dog they did adopt to me, he had a big sore on his head that had not been treated and he has worms. The poor guy was starving, emptying his food bowl in a few quick gulps. I treated the sore on his head, and provided more medication for them to keep treating it. He will be going to the vet today as well.

I will be going myself later today to pull as many dogs as I can hold. Unfortunately, the most I will be able to hold is three. Two is a more likely number. That still leaves many that will be killed Thursday. I am asking all of you to help, in any way you can. Even if you can't take a dog, you can write an email or make a phone call to let people know that this has to stop! Here are some people who need to hear about it:

Mr. Doug Eaves, County Manager
P.O. Box 112
Lyons, Georgia 30436-0112
Phone: 912-526-3311
deaves.toombsco@bellsouth.net

Magistrate Court of Toombs County
Chief Magistrate John “Chip” Matheson
147 Jerry Avenue
Lyons, GA, 30436
Phone: 912 -526- 8984
Fax: 912-526-8985
Email: chipmatheson@yahoo.com

Lyons City Mayor’s Office

257 North State Street
Lyons, GA 30436-1364
Phone: (912) 526-8606 ‎

If you think you can help one of the dogs, SOAPS is excellent at finding transports to just about anywhere. The dogs can be viewed at Petfinder or on my Facebook page. You can reach Holly from SOAPS at 912-539-9840.

Now, I am off to catch up on some of the writing and blogging I have missed in the last few days before I go to bring more furbabies home. :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Goals

Without goals, we wouldn't accomplish anything. Or at least I wouldn't! :)

I have plenty of them, some related to this blog, others related to writing or my personal life. Since being held accountable is a huge help in helping force myself to do what needs to be done, I thought I would share some of my goals today.

For this blog, I want to achieve a decent following and make improvements such as a domain name and larger recipe, craft and book review sections. There are quite a few changes that I want to make in the design of it, but first I have to figure out how! Anyone know a good blogger tutorial?

For my writing, I want to expand my career so that I am doing more work for private clients as opposed to content companies. I want to write more about the things that are important to me. And I want to see my name in print.

As for my personal goals, I want to develop a more positive attitude. People see me as an upbeat person, and I am. But I am also my own worst enemy, always finding fault in my appearance, writing and everything else about myself. I also want to continue the home improvements we started several months ago, and finish our extra bedroom.

Now, you know what I hope to achieve in the future so tell me about your goals. What do you want to achieve? How to you plan to make it happen?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Education

My grandmother, who raised me for the majority of my childhood, considered education the most important thing. I think she began teaching me the moment I emerged from the womb! :) When I was three, she delighted in telling her friends that I could read and proving them wrong when they denied that it was possible. Teaching me to read at such a young age often backfired on her though, since we had to drive daily down Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando. The area abounds with adult businesses and I was determined to read every sign we passed!

As I grew older, she continued to push me when it came to my education. When I began misbehaving in school, she determined that I was bored and placed me in a small private school that allowed me to work at my pace rather than the pace my grade determined. I know she had to struggle to pay the tuition, but it was important to her. And to me, because I flourished in the new environment! The school was very laid back, teachers were called by their first names and each class had no more than five students. I would often finish my work before lunch and spend the rest of the day in the small library, reading everything in sight.

Because of her influence, education is one of the few things I am very strict about with my own children. I am a laid back parent, but school is one area where there is little leniency. Recently, my six year old son began acting up in class, not paying attention and playing instead of doing his work. His teachers rave about how smart he is, so I immediately starting thinking of ways to challenge him at school to battle the behavior problems. Apparently his main teacher was thinking along the same lines, because I received a letter from the school telling me that he has been nominated for the gifted education program for academic and creative excellence!

Yes, I am bragging. Sorry, but I can't resist! :) I am so proud of my little man! Bragging is a right that we gain with motherhood, right?

How important is education to you? What lengths are you willing to go to in order to ensure your children receive the best education possible?

Fatigue

To say I am tired would be putting it lightly. Due to my unbelievably crappy internet provider, I have been battling to stay online. Not being able to stay online makes it difficult to blog, work or even check my bank balance! It also results in my losing what little sleep I get because I spend that time trying to catch up.

I gave in today, and decided to just take a day off and relax. I even took a short nap earlier, but not long enough to make me feel truly rested. Now it is 2 AM and my baby boy is wide awake, which of course means I am too. And in just 3 short hours and a few measly minutes it will be time to wake up and start the day. I am thinking I will continue to be fatigued for quite a while!

I am also two days behind with the Ultimate Blog Challenge, so I will be posting again later today to begin catching up! Hopefully by the time I hit all my article deadlines and catch up on blogging, I can get at least one full nights sleep!

What are your tips for dealing with fatigue? I would love to hear them!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Expectations

All freelancers have different expectations for their business. Some just want extra income in order to provide extras for their family or themselves. Others want, or need, to have the ability to support themselves with the income completely. Sometimes, expectations change because your life changes.

When I first began freelancing, it was for extra income to help with the bills and take care of the extra things such as school clothes and holiday shopping. Then the economy went to hell and my hubby no longer had any work for his electrical business. Thankfully, I was able to step it up and keep everything paid for a year while he searched for work and finally went back to school to change careers. Now that he is again out of work because of the wreck, I am able to again keep everything going until his income is back. It is a real blessing to have that ability, while still being right here when my kids need me, make it to school functions, and serve a good meal every night.

I write because I have to, even if I wasn't doing it for a living I would still write. I have written for as long as I can remember! But I freelance because it allows me to adjust my work schedule around my family and put their needs first. I worked 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week outside of the home when my older children were young. I never want to do that again!

What are your expectations for your business? And what do you intend to do to make sure those expectations happen?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dependability

If a pipe burst in your home and the plumber you called to fix it promised to be there by 6, you would be pretty upset if you were still waiting around at 7. Clients feel the same way about the work you do for them. If they expect articles to be delivered by 9 pm on Friday and you send them in at 8 am on Saturday, they will most likely find another writer for their needs.

Being dependable is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Just as you do not want to use a business that you can't depend on, clients will not want to use your talents if they aren't assured work will be done on time. And since word of mouth is an important part of advertising, people will start hearing bad things about your business and be less likely to choose you.

Being well organized is one way to ensure you meet deadlines on time. Knowing what work you have to do and when it needs to be done will enable you to get work done in the correct order to get it turned in on time.

Time management is another important factor in dependability. It is also one that I struggle with regularly. A fellow blogger has been doing a series on time management that I have found inspiring. You can find her at The Self Employed Writer. Her posts have inspired me and helped with managing my own time. It is well worth the read.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Content Companies

Having multiple places to write content for is very important, since work is sometimes scarce. With multiple eggs, you aren't completely dependent on one company to provide your income. I have done a list of content companies before, but things have changed, with companies closing or changing and new companies starting. So it is time for a new, updated list.

Break Studios places articles on sites such as Mademan.com. Articles pay $8 each and payment is made through paypal on the 1st and the 15th of every month.

Bright Hub ranges in pay from revenue share to $10 per article.

Demand Studios pays from $7.50 to $25 for articles, depending on the site you are writing for. Pay is twice a week and is made through paypal.

Emerging Cast
has an average pay of $2 per article and pays once a month through paypal or bank transfer.

Internet Brands pays from $4 to $10 per article and payment is made once a month through paypal.

Need An Article pays weekly through paypal and articles start at $5.

Textbroker pays twice a month through paypal. Article rates vary widely according to the level of the writer and the word count.

Writer Access also varies according to levels and word count. Pay is once a month by paypal.

Word Gigs pays between $1 and $4 for articles and pays once a month through paypal.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is For Blogging ;)

Yes, blogging. My newest obsession! I was suffering this morning, because instead of being able to grab my coffee and sit down to blog, we had to make the long drive to get the stuff out of hubby's truck. Seeing that truck in person, rather than in pics, did not make my morning. It did make me want to hug that man of mine a little tighter though!

I started this blog originally because there are many people out there who have a talent and want to use it to make a living from home. And the majority of people like this are parents as well. Not to mention, my children and my freelancing career are my two biggest loves and I have a lot to say about them both!

I have big dreams for this blog, starting with getting a real domain name and expanding the site to have larger and searchable craft and recipe sections. The blog will remain the main focus, but the rest of it will be a great resource for both freelancers and parents alike. And a section for book reviews as well, since reading is another love of mine. Of course, none of this is going to happen immediately. It will take hard work and time. But if a dream isn't worth hard work, it isn't much of a dream! Until then, I will keep on blogging. :)

What I want to know is, why do you blog? What made you start your blog originally and what keeps you blogging now? I can't wait to hear everyone's responses!

As for the blog challenges, this is only day two but things are going great. And I have found many new blogs to follow written by awesome writers! I am actually considering having a guest blogger or two for this blog. What do you think?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Accountability

I don't know about the rest of you, but I need accountability to accomplish everything I need to do in a day! Being held accountable for bills and having extra money to make sure my little munchkins enjoy their childhood keeps me writing everyday.

This month, I have joined two different blog challenges in order to help myself stay accountable for blogging each day. The first one, Ultimate Blog Challenge, requires me to post 30 times in the month of April. I can choose to do it by posting once per day, or do several posts in one day. I have done this challenge before, but fell slightly short of the quota.

The second challenge, A to Z Challenge, requires 26 posts. That is one post for each letter of the alphabet, hence today's post which is brought to you by the letter A. Excuse the Sesame Street flashbacks, I do have five children! ;)

I am hoping for two things from both of these challenges. My main priority is to develop a habit of posting daily that will stick with me after the challenge is over. I have a lot to say, I just don't always find the time to sit down and say it!

My second goal is to bring more readers to this blog, since there is little sense in saying what I have to say if no one is listening! And in the process, I will find many other blogs to feed my daily reading addiction. My favorite part of blogging is definitely checking out the blogs that my readers have!

Hopefully, by the end of the month I will have spectacular results to report. And if not, I will have fun trying! Anyone care to join me?






About Me

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I am a freelance writer who specializes in website content as well as print media. I offer fast, professional service and competitive rates.