Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Write What You Know

These are words to live by when freelancing. You shouldn’t only stick to what you know, though. You should also write what you’re passionate about. If you’re passionate about a subject you’ll do it justice in your articles.

I know this because I know domestic abuse. I lived it for over fifteen years. When I read Listen Magazine I knew I found a home for my passion…teaching teens how to recognize the signs of abuse. Educating teens was the best place to start. For five years I wrote various articles and quizzes on abuse for them.

I wrote on other subjects, like drugs. My ex, who was not only abusive, he was addicted to drugs. His drug of choice? Marijuana. I wrote articles on Huffing, Dusting, Bath Salts, Cocaine and Pain Pill addiction. It’s surprising to see the statistics on teen drug abuse.

I’m passionate about these subjects because I had teens at the time. I didn’t want them or others to fall victim to a life I’d lived or witnessed. I’m still writing on these subjects.

I now consider myself an expert on these subjects which helps when querying magazines. I have lots of clips.

Ten plus years ago I took a freelancing class. The instructor asked us to write down things we know.

As she stood in front of the class, the students looked at her dumbfounded.

Most grumbled, “I don’t know much.”

She laughed and asked a few questions to get us started.

Are you married?



Where have you worked?

Do you have hobbies?

Do you see where I’m going with this? When you start answering these questions you can find an array of article ideas.

Being a divorced mother of three at the time, I wrote articles on how to cope with divorce. I wrote articles about how to manage the holidays, which weren’t easy in the beginning for me. I wrote an article on certain items you should duplicate at your home and your ex’s.  I’m sure you get the idea.

In the end I had a lot of subjects I could write about. I haven’t stuck to writing only what I know, but if you’re starting out…this is a great way to do so.


Friday, March 22, 2013


It’s my middle name.

Sure I’ve met every deadline every assigned to me, but procrastination is in my blood. My family will tell you, my motto is: Why do today what you can put off 'til tomorrow.

You know the deal. You have an article to write and suddenly the laundry looks more appealing or the sink full of dishes. Oh and don’t forget the closet needs to be cleaned out for spring. Whatever the excuse, I normally find it.

Lately I’ve been doing better. I’m getting things accomplished. This week I’m recuperating from surgery I had on Tuesday. I had plans. I had a to-do list while bed ridden. I haven’t done any of it. Though, I’ve done something better this time. I’m doing what the doctor’s told me to. I’m not procrastinating.

Instead of working, I’m sleeping, reading, and watching some horrible television. I have no deadlines right now, so that helps.  

How do you deal with procrastination?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Sharon

Today should be the birthday of one of my best friends. Sadly she passed away in August. Her passing has weighed heavily on me all these months. Yes, I knew she was suffering from liver disease and toward the end she had pneumonia. I’m not sure what claimed her life and I’ll never know.

What saddens me the most is she called me the Friday before she died. I was on a conference call and couldn’t answer the phone. Because my husband and I were leaving the following Tuesday I figured I’d call Sharon back on Monday when things settled down.

I didn’t have until Monday. Sharon died on Sunday. Her niece called me on Monday morning with the news. I’ve regretted not calling her back on Friday since. I also heard from a few other friends she’d called them on Friday and Saturday, almost as if she knew her time was near.

Sharon was always my biggest cheerleader. She constantly told me how much she idolized me for being such a strong woman. Sharon was strong in her own right. She had a lot of family issues, not marriage, more her brother’s and sister’s. She battled them and held strong to her beliefs.

A week ago I had a dream. In the dream was a slip of paper with Sharon’s full name on it, next to it are words that haunt me – Not My Time.

Today I want to wish friend a Happy Birthday. I love and miss you every day.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Love What You Do

The other day I read an article that touched me. The bottom line of the article – love what you’re doing.

This has stuck with me because frankly I don’t love what I’m doing. Yes, I love writing. What I’m struggling with is my day job. Back about ten years ago I left the world of accounting and entered the IT business. I love my accounting job. I’m great with numbers, but in all honesty, it didn’t pay well.

When you’re raising kids as a single mom, money trumps happy job. Up until about a year ago I hadn’t regretted the decision I made. I’ve enjoyed the work I’ve done. So what happened? I lost my co-worker. She was subjected to the dreaded work force reduction. Now two jobs are my responsibility. I’m super stressed all the time. I really dislike my job. I cringe every morning when I have to boot up my work laptop. I’m moody and often depressed.

The only ray of sunshine I get is from my writing. I’d love to do it full time, but the truth is it doesn’t pay enough as my IT job. So, until I come close to what I make in my day job, I’ll have to continue working.

What I don’t have to do is stay in this rut. I’m no longer a single mom. Those days of being stuck in a job I don’t like are over. I’m in the process of looking for a new job. Hopefully one will be right around the corner.

Do you love what you do?  

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Waiting Room - Flipside

So yesterday I discussed the fees doctor's charge for being late. Today, I discussing why we might be waiting. This gave me a new perspective on doctor's. Now I don't get so angry while waiting.
   Have you ever sat in the waiting room of your doctor’s office, fingertips tapping on the magazine you’re trying to concentrate on, but can’t? Your foot stomping, you’re frustrated. You arrived early for your appointment so why can’t your doctor be on time?

     What’s taking him so long? Doesn’t he know you have other things you could be doing at home? How unprofessional of him or her to leave you waiting so long.

     I know I’ve been that person on many occasions. A recent stay in the hospital shed a different light on my doctor and his time.

     I was hospitalized for a severe case of pneumonia.  My doctor showed up in my room every morning around seven am to check on me. Like clockwork he checked my condition faithfully. And if he couldn’t be there his partner came. Sometimes he would stop back at night to see if I was progressing. These are doctors that I want to continue caring for me. They were both very concerned with my health.

     I wasn’t the only person they visited in the hospital. There were other patients they had to check on.

     I learned that he not only made rounds at the hospital every day, but two days a week he also started his morning doing minor surgery. So when I go to his office and he’s running late it could be because he got caught up with a very sick patient at the hospital or a procedure took a little longer than planned, either way he started his day much earlier than his office hours and he’ll still be going long after the office has closed.

     After a sixteen day stay in the hospital I have a new respect for my doctors. Next time I’m sitting in the waiting room wondering why he can’t be punctual I will remember that he is caring for others.  And they deserve his time just as much as I do.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Fee for Being Late? Really?

   Doctors are starting to impose fees for being late for your appointments and for missed appointments. But what about when your doctor keeps you waiting? Should you be able to collect a fee for him or her being late fifteen minutes?

   Sitting in the waiting room of my doctor’s office the other day I was bored and began reading the different signs they had posted along the walls.

   One sign indicated there would be a twenty-five dollar fee imposed for a missed appointment. Okay, I can understand if you don’t call to cancel your appointment, the doctor should charge you. Someone else could have taken that slot and might have really needed to see the doctor, so that fee seems reasonable.

   The one sign that really caught my eye was the one stating if you were fifteen minutes late you would not be seen and it would be considered a missed appointment. Charge twenty-five dollars. And the doctor would not see you again until this fee was paid in full.

   Okay this may be a bit extreme. How many times have you sat in the waiting room of your doctor’s office waiting for longer than fifteen minutes? Every time a nurse walks out you’re hoping they’re going to call your name, only to be let down. Or better yet you get called into the examining room only to wait even longer.

   I did on this day. In fact I sat for thirty minutes in the waiting room. I showed up on time for my one o’clock appointment, actually I was five minutes early hoping to be taken in quicker! Ha! Was I wrong.

   On my way out of my appointment I asked if I was entitled to the twenty-five dollar fee as he made me wait for half an hour. It wasn’t my fault that a baby decided to come into this world at the same time as my appointment. They didn’t find the humor in my question.

   It all goes back to fair charges. Should doctors be able to charge you for being late when they consistently make us wait?

What’s your opinion?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Working From Home, con't

Continuing with my conversation about working from home, today I’m going to highlight the CON’s.

1.       People don’t believe you’re working. This is my number one pet peeve. People think that because you’re home you’re free to talk on the phone, chat on email or go out and do things. When you try to explain they get upset. Just because I’m working from home doesn’t mean I’m free to goof off all day long. Sure I’d love to have lunch with you once in a while, but don’t drop by unannounced and think we’re going to hang out and have tea.

2.       The job never leaves you. This is my second peeve. Because I’m home and my office is here, the job never leaves me. If I leave my laptop up, I can sit at my desk at any hour and work. I sometimes miss being able to clock out at five, walk out the door and leave it behind me until the next morning.

3.       Isolation. This is another problem for me, especially in the winter. The time you spend alone. Sure I’m on a ton of conference calls during the day, but it’s not the same as hanging out at a friend’s desk and talking about the latest office gossip. The other thing is in the winter there are times when I don’t go out of the house for days. Not healthy.

In the end the pro’s outweigh the con’s for me. Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing this for seven years.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Work From Home

Seven years ago I accepted a job that required me to work from home. I hadn’t really given all the pro’s and con’s a thought when I agreed.

Working from home has its advantages and disadvantages. Today I’d like to look at the PRO’s.

Work in your Jammies…if you don’t want to get dressed you don’t have to. You can roll out of bed and head to your desk with your coffee in hand. No one will see you. That’s a benefit I enjoy. The added bonus is you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on work attire.

No Traffic – when I accepted this position I drove an hour one way to work. Sometimes it was longer due to traffic jams. My commute is now only a few moments. I’ve regained two hours a day I’m not in the car.

Less Gas – because I’m not commuting I’m not spending as much on gas. The rising costs have made it almost impossible to commute fifty plus miles a day. That’s money in my pocket.

Time for the Kids – the one thing that appealed to me most when I started this job was the flexibility to be there for my children. If they had a recital, sporting or school event, I could be there. When I was an hour away it was very difficult to be there. There’s nothing worse than telling your child you can’t come see them.

Schedule – most times you can set your own schedule. While my working hours are eight to five, if I need to work nine to six or ten to seven, I can. As long as my performance doesn’t suffer and all my work is completed on time my boss is okay with it.
My last PRO, for me anyway...I get to spend more time on my writing which is what I love to do.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about the CON’s.