Some catching up is required!

So I’m failing a little bit at the social media aspect of freelancing. This whole endeavor has been quite a learning curve for me, and I’m still trying to find a balance between creative writing, writing for work, looking for new work/clients, keeping up on the house/errands/etc., watching my niece, and my part-time job.

It’s a lot of balls in the air. Throw in fertility struggles and everything that goes along with it on top of all those other things, and well… keeping up a blog and writing insightful tweets naturally fell by the wayside.

But I’m back, with lots to discuss!

Let’s get started.

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My first publication!

It’s thrilling to see your own name staring back at you from a published article – and today I was granted that thrill as I published my first article for AFA’s Humane Eating Project!

This article is specifically geared toward people who want to get involved with the cause and urge their favorite restaurants to “go humane” – by either offering menu items labeled as “Humanely Raised,” or by offering a significant array of vegan or vegetarian options.

You can find the article here, at AFA’s Humane Eating Project page. I hope this will be merely the first in a string of published pieces!

Week 3: OrgSpring and AFA

Picking up from last week, I have also volunteered my writing skills to another nonprofit: OrgSpringOrgSpring. They provide free websites and web support for other nonprofits. Not only that, but they feature profiles of several nonprofits, and they have gotten in more requests for profiles than they can handle. So I am stepping in to help them catch up on their backlog of profile requests.

I am also excited to say that this could segue into some paid work for me! More info on that soon. (Not to sound cryptic, but I’m not entirely sure how much I can divulge about the project anyway.)

So while I wait for some of the profile requesters to get back to me, I am forging ahead with my work for AFA (America For Animals). This week I intended to start blogging onhep the Humane Eating Project, but noticed during this process that some of the source material was in need of polishing. So I’ve gotten to dust off my editing cap for the past couple days, and recently sent off my edits to the developers. I hope to start on the blog entry over the weekend, or early next week.

Outside my life as a wordsmith, my barista gig is still going strong – I am actually more skilled at being in charge of all the café items than I am working on the drinks. Right now about 75% of my shifts are café food, and the other 25% are barista. I’m still having fun, and since my training ended last week, I’ve also been able to get cash tips, which amounts to almost $2 extra per hour. So despite there being no real urgent “need” for me to work, that extra bit of scratch helps our savings account for sure!

The cleanup effort at the house is still ongoing, but I’ve already managed to check a couple of bigger items off the list – one of them was this week, with the closet in the master bedroom. It’s been a general disaster area since we moved in 3 years ago and I finally cleaned it out. It’s a walk-in, but not exactly a spacious one, and the general design of it leaves a lot to be desired (seriously, so many design aspects of our townhouse still have me scratching my head 3 years later). So while the closet is cleaned up, I will be gathering ideas for a “re-do” that will hopefully give us some better options for keeping things tidy.

This is where I will leave you wonderful folks, as my email is pinging with some more writerly duties I must attend to. Until next week!

Week 2: Pro Bono

In my second week as a freelancer, it would appear I already have a couple prospects! Early last week, I signed up with VolunteerMatch.org, which matches volunteers from various trades with a multitude of nonprofit organizations.

I volunteered my writing skills to three organizations and have already heard back from two – I had a phone consultation tonight and will have another tomorrow with each of the organizations that responded to my query.

AFATonight’s call was with AFA – America For Animals, which focuses on spreading awareness about, and preventing, animal cruelty. Currently they need people to update their blog, as well as write newsletters geared toward their donors.

As a huge proponent of animal welfare, this will be a tremendous opportunity for me. At the same time, this will pose quite a challenge – some of the information I’ll be reporting will require research into factory farming and other forms of animal cruelty. And as someone who sobs uncontrollably every time that Sarah McLachlan animal shelter commercial comes on… that’s gonna be tough. But maybe it’s an opportunity for me to develop a thicker skin with these issues.

Either way, I am looking forward to starting on this new project. Volunteer/pro bono work will allow me to build my portfolio and get some experience on the way to paying gigs!

Week 1: Cleanup Effort

With my old job behind me and my barista side gig just beginning, I have a lot of free time on my hands. And while my preference would be to just write and write until my keyboard ceases to work, I have found that I first must spend a great deal of time getting my house in order.

When my husband and I were both working 8-hour high-stress jobs, there wasn’t a lot of time for keeping up with things. It’s not an excuse, it’s just the nature of the beast. And so there are definite areas of our house that could stand to see improvement.

So for this first week, I will be investing some time in housework just to get things “caught up.” I wouldn’t feel right diving head-first into this writing thing while ignoring the state of my house. Obviously, the housework part will never go away – but the daily tasks will be much more manageable if I just spend some quality time getting things up to snuff.

I’m not abandoning the writing completely for this first week, either. I am making sure to get my name out there (business cards go wherever I go, just in case), and I already have a friend or two willing to help me out and get me started on some technical writing jobs.

When I do have time for the freelancing stuff this week, I intend to focus my efforts on devising a “rate structure” for myself. I’m currently looking at the benefits of a value-based price model vs. hourly – it’s a lot of numbers, so wish me luck on staying awake!

My first rejection!

For a site with only 40% applicant success, I was completely expecting this.

On a whim, I decided to apply for Copify, which is the leading website copywriting service. I went into it well aware of the 40% success rate and knew that I would have very little chance of being accepted. I took a stab at it anyway.

Here’s the basic process:twitter_logo_400x400

  1. Register for the site
  2. Fill out your profile (experience, specialties, etc.)
  3. Upload your resumé
  4. Submit a 200-word sample copy

When it comes time to submit your copy, they provide the prompt and you have exactly one hour to write and submit your 200 words. If your application is accepted, you will be expected to sign up for and complete assignments regularly in order to maintain your status. If your application is rejected, you are required to wait 90 days before submitting another application.

So the countdown begins! I have until mid-October to become a copywriting maven.

Let’s Begin, Shall We?

Let’s just dive right in, no introductions needed! (Or, if you feel like getting to know me first, head to my About page.)

My two-week notice went in yesterday and the announcement to the staff was made today. For a brief bit of background info, this is a mid-size credit union in the Twin Cities with roughly 180 employees. It’s like a great big family with literally some of the best people on the planet. When someone leaves, it’s tradition (or I suppose you could call it “protocol”) to notify everyone of the departure via email.

So shortly after the announcement was made, my email started blowing up and the phone calls started pouring in. Everybody has been so sweet and so wonderful – I’m feeling nostalgic already.

My last day is Friday, July 31. The final countdown has begun. (Does anyone else hear that song by Europe in their head? Maybe with a little bit of GOB Bluth magic thrown in? …Just me? That’s fine.)

This is right about the point that I figured “the fear” would start to settle in. That sort of crippling “DEAR GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE?!” gnawing at the gut. Instead, I feel… happy.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a “thank God I’m getting out of here” kind of happy, not at all. I love this place and these people dearly, and I will miss them.

But the regret and the fear I was expecting to feel is nowhere to be found. I feel at peace with the decision I’ve made, to make a go of this writing thing. And I feel like I have a realistic expectation of the road ahead.

Let’s do this, I’m ready.