May by the numbers

Sunday, April 30, 2006

As I bid the month of April - my first thirty days of freelancing since 2004 - I look forward to a May filled with...stuff. Time for a list:

New assignments/articles: 3
Regular articles: 4
Article ideas to query: 8
Holidays to Bermuda: 1
INXS concerts: 1
Stress level: 2.75
Excitement meter: 8

And then there's that pesky WIP that has been quite the challenging adolescent with scene-stealing characters and plot twists that come out of left field (that should really stay there). As much as I admire people who take their WIPs with them on holidays, I'd rather not sit on a Bermudian beach with a laptop. It'll ruin my tan line.

So I guess I just need to work on the WIP now. Like right now.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:37 PM 0 comments

Failure to lunch

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

This has been an insane week so far, and it's only Tuesday. Being busy is fine, especially when the net result is earned income.

For the past two days, I've been proofreading Grade 9 mathematic assessment tests. I know what you're thinking: "How does she get all the cool work?" Yeah, it's hard being me.

So I'm proofing, and realizing that if I had to take any of these tests, I would bring the class average to a sub-negative level. What the hell is a rhombus? I thought it was one of those new hybrid vehicles.

Now, if they had a Grade 9 lunch assessment test, I think I'd do okay. As long as there weren't any fries or chocolate cream donuts around. Hmm, donuts.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 9:07 PM 2 comments

The not-so-quick getaway

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Seems that people only want work from me when I'm not around :)

It all started with our plans for a trip to see my out-of-town relatives. Instead of going up Easter weekend, we decided to go this weekend to avoid traffic and the whole mayhem that usually surrounds a holiday with my family.

Then the requests for my time started with the phone call at 5:30 pm on Thursday from a placement agency:

"Can you do a few hours of proofreading in the morning?" they asked.

"I plan on leaving town at noon."

Seemed that they only wanted someone for a maximum of 4 hours anyway, and I could always use the cash. So I packed the night before, knowing that my husband would be picking me up and then hitting the highway - hopefully by 1:00 pm.

Then I received an email from an editor: could I do a last-minute article by Saturday?

A friend who also works as a freelance writer called at about 8:00 pm. Could I take on some overflow work for her this weekend?

Now this is where it gets freaky people, I actually TURNED DOWN some work in order to go see the relatives. Of course, I felt that by saying no, the world would end.

Oddly enough, it didn't. And there was another assignment waiting in my inbox upon my return. Life is good.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 8:35 PM 0 comments

Easter chocolate on sale

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Now there's a title that will stop any diet in its tracks (sorry Michelle). When chocolate that I've been coveting for weeks is now half price, I must cave.

It's all about getting value for your money. Especially on my less dependable income.

Which reminds me, there have been no new sales for me this week. Rats. I'll have to work on that tomorrow.

For now, I'll do a little happy dance for getting past 16K on the WIP. Yippee!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:46 PM 1 comments

Top of mind

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

As I was leaving the house today to meet with a prospective client, a bird crapped on my head. A chubby little robin actually.

So I went back inside to assess the damage - and it was quite apparent that a bird did indeed crap on my head - so a shampoo was necessary.

Of course, I had to phone my client to inform her that I would be late for my meeting. And instead of blaming traffic, terrorism or the weather, I told her the truth.

By the time I reached her office, she had informed some of her colleagues about my situation. The receptionist even asked me to touch her lottery ticket for luck. Go figure.

Let's see how the rest of the week turns out.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:58 PM 2 comments


Monday, April 17, 2006

Please note that my original title idea for this post was going to be "Too much information", but then I read a few pages in The Quoteable Slayer. No big.

My reason for the title? I was doing research for my article - that was actually due on the 15th but was extended to the 18th due to the long weekend - when I came across way too much information on the web. Actual overload did occur.

Instead of a neat and tidy article, I ended up with an mass of ideas all vying for my attention. And we all know where that leads: Dr. Phil.

So I put all the ideas down in one document and walked away for a bit to let them fight it out amongst themselves. With a round of five card stud.

"You're bluffing," said my idea about female film festivals. "I'll raise you three reference checks."

My Sharon Stone quote left the table, hanging her head in unverified shame. The Mary Pickford filmography giggled as she dealt the next hand.

Oddly enough, when I returned to the article, some items did pale in comparison to others. You can see how it all worked out next month on

Now back to the WIP...

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:13 PM 0 comments

Cracking 15K

The muse is happy...or at least here.

Of course, everything I've written this weekend for my WIP could be complete and utter crap, but that's not important right now. This is the time to just get it all on paper. As quickly as possible before more shiny new ideas break my concentration.

Okay, keeping it short so I can get back to it!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:02 AM 0 comments

Clutter busting

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Okay, I admit it: I'm a pack rat. And my biggest clutter habit has to be with papers, magazines and books. I hang on to everything forever, and it tends to creep into every corner of the house somehow.

So now that I'm working from home, I thought it might be a good idea to take on some of the piles: the kitchen table, the top of the stairs...the entire living room.

Trouble is, this is when I start reading everything, and then fall into that "there are enough writers out there, who needs material from me" syndrome. Which is exactly what I don't need at the moment.

So I try to put as much into the recycling bin as I can. We all know there will be more stuff arriving tomorrow.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 12:46 PM 0 comments

Hurry up and leave

Thursday, April 13, 2006

So I did things a little differently today. Okay, I still rolled out of bed when I felt like it and slipped into my can't-leave-the-house-in-this outfit, but the difference came when I sat in the chair. And forced myself to write two queries before I could get back to the WIP.

Then I did something even crazier: after sending the articles, I went offline. And after I wrote a bunch for the WIP, I left the house. After changing clothes, of course.

Normally I would sit at the desk and hit the "send/Receive" button for my email as if I were the current high bidder in an eBay auction. But today I wanted to do things differently; I decided to get some stuff done instead of waiting.

When I returned home, I had crossed five things off of my "to do" list, including getting a bunch of gourmet frozen pizzas at an awesome sale price. Better still, when I went back online, I had an offer for one of the articles (exploring a slightly different angle, mind you, but an offer is an offer).

This new "hurry up and leave" tactic just might work out for me after all.

Happy Easter everyone!

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:22 PM 2 comments

The business of writing

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ech. This is the part of staying at home, living my dream that I try not to think about. Yet, truth be told, the better I do at the business part, the better I'll be at expanding my network, finding new markets, actually making money...yadda yadda yadda.

Only trouble is, that means being serious about what I do. Yeah, the funny girl has to get serious and travel to that ugly place where bill collecting and finding new work are part of each and every day. Luckily pajamas and slippers are allowed.

I know I can do it, but that's a muscle I haven't had to use in a long time. Kind of like my abs.

Which reminds me, I have an article due on the 15th that I've completely forgotten about. Oops.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:50 AM 1 comments

Where does the time go?

Sunday, April 9, 2006

I don't get it.

Now that I have freed up roughly 40 or so hours per week - no, make that 50 including the dreaded commuting time, I should be able to accomplish everything my little heart desires in no time flat, right?

Then why am I spending a glorious Sunday afternoon catching up on emails and following up on article queries? Shouldn't I have been able to do that during "working hours"?

There has to be a way that I can organize things so that my "work" happens during "business hours". Please note that when I say "work", I don't mean writing; that can happen anytime for me. "Work" is the networking, sending out queries, searching for new know, the stuff that I really don't want to do.

Yeah, it can totally wait until tomorrow. ;)

posted by Bonnie Staring at 4:13 PM 0 comments

A day without deadlines

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Imagine my surprise when I awoke to discover that I had nothing due today. Sure, there was the usual "working on the WIP" and "come up with some ideas to query", but nothing on my never-ending to-do list had to be done precisely on this very day.

Odd thing is, I had planned to have this type of day on Monday. :)

I had a day of leisurely puttering and pondering, which was enjoyable at first, but then the weasels started their taunts:

"Better not get too used to this honey, you'll be back at a day job in no time."

"Yeah, you're just not cut out for this working from home stuff. You like schedules and routines."

"Don't forget a regular paycheque."

Then they all start to cackle and circle around me while doing strange pilates-type moves.

Feeling cornered, I quickly remembered who was in control and headed straight to the computer to work on my novel. After a few minutes, inspiration struck and something absolutely awesome happened with my main character. The words are flowing in full force again - hooray!

Speaking of which, I must get back to it so that I have a better word count for tomorrow's Write-Ons check-in.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:16 PM 2 comments

Cover story in Elevate Magazine

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Okay, my life has changed. For the better. The neighbourhood Chapters finally put the Spring issue of Elevate Magazine on the shelves, so I raced over to pick up a few copies. Why? Because I have an article in it!

So, I'm there, grabbing as many copies as I can hold, when I spot the articles listed on the cover. OMG - MY STORY IS A COVER STORY!!! Can you believe it? Of course, in order to read the article, you have to buy the magazine - it's listed in the "People and Places" section on the website, but the full article only appears in print. Rats! But still, I have a cover story.

:::dances with glee:::

The three articles due today were written and submitted, yahoo! One was not as timely as I would have liked, but the research on it was sheer torture. Scratch that, it was opaque torture...with a hint of despair in the wee hours this morning. The other two should be appearing mid-month on Love Your Place. Be sure to check 'em out.

Tomorrow will be dedicated to my Write-Ons WIP. Right on, right on.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:25 PM 0 comments


Tuesday, April 4, 2006

So I take the big leap of faith and decide to work from home. It's been two whole days and I've discovered some pretty nifty things about myself:

1. I will do just about anything to avoid writing
2. I can eat an entire box of Girl Guide cookies without realizing it
3. I still freak out over deadlines, even when I have oodles of time

Oh yeah, it's party central over here in the T-dot. My three articles are due TOMORROW and all need significant work on them before they can be released into the world.

At least I can wear my pajamas through it all. There is hope.

No numbers today, can't take the pressure.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 8:47 PM 1 comments

The Long Goodbye

Sunday, April 2, 2006

I have been a bad blogger, but with good reason. The last week at the never-ending contract job was spent being treated to lunches and receiving absolutely awesome parting gifts. (Seriously, I scored big time. I should have quit more often.) There were some tears and one fabulous freakout next to the main black and white printer, but it made some of my colleagues start being honest with each other. So I guess the total lack of professionalism on my part was worth it.

Of course, this meant that nothing was accomplished for my Write-Ons novel. :::hangs head in shame::: Yet April brings hope, and more spare time than ever before, as long as I can keep the headhunters at bay.

Seriously, I have to learn to say "no" in a way that makes people realize I'm saying no. There have been a couple situations this past week where well-meaning people have referred me to jobs that are about as suitable for me as a size 4 gown by Versace. Looks nice on the hanger, but there's no way it'll fit.

Here's this week at a glance:

Stress level: 2.5
Articles due: 3
Interviews: 3
Write-Ons book goal: 5,000 words

Oh, and I want to try at least one slow cooker recipe too. Anything is possible as long as I turn off the TV.

posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:26 PM 0 comments