Malware spammer strikes again!

Just a few days ago, I posted about a spam that I received, with a link to a site that probably would have downloaded malware onto my computer. Amusingly, I received another spam like that today. I know it's the same deal because the email is the same as the other one, word for word, just with a different website address.

Here's the thing. The email claims it's from PostcardsFrom.com, which appears to be a real site. However, the links don't go to PostcardsFrom.com -- instead, there is an IP address in the link. I have no doubt that this is another attempt to download malware onto people's computers.

The thing that makes me laugh is that the email is exactly the same, right down to the "your family member" part. Either the spammers are really dumb, or they think everyone else is.

Don't click on links in emails from people you don't know! If you get an email from a website you visit frequently, just go directly to the site. It's simply not worth the risk!

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By Katharine Swan On Friday, June 29, 2007 At 11:29 AM 2 comments

The presidency according to Bush: A political rant

I try to keep this blog mostly writing-related, but every once in a while I see something in the news that I just have to comment about. Today that is Bush's flagrant dismissal of our country's justice system: Instead of providing subpeonaed information, Bush is taking advantage of the "executive privilege," which I'm sure was never put into place to allow a president to break the law without consequences.

Apparently, the White House was subpeonaed earlier this month to provide information regarding the firing of several lawyers. There's reason to believe the firings were motivated by "improper political considerations." So Bush is now demonstrating his administration's right not only to ignore the law, but also to ignore the legal repercussions of their actions.

They are making this really ridiculous statement that they aren't going to obey the subpeona, but that they are perfectly willing to provide non-subpeonaed information. There's a catch, though. According to the article in the Washington Post,

The White House has said it would allow current or former White House officials to speak to the committee only under strict limitations. Specifically, Bush has insisted that the officials not be compelled to testify under oath, that their testimony not be recorded or transcribed and they speak to a limited number of lawmakers in private.

In other words, sure you can talk to them, but you can't use anything they tell you.

With this in mind, I wonder how Bush is going to deal with the other subpeona -- the one regarding the investigation into Bush's illegal wiretapping program. Methinks he'll sidestep that one, too. It is so infuriating how he seems to think he is above the law. He is not king or dictator, he is president, answerable to the people who (theoretically) put him there!

Someone please remove Bush from office before he makes an even bigger mess out of this country!!!!

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By Katharine Swan On Thursday, June 28, 2007 At 10:35 AM 0 comments

GoFreelance.com: Still a scam?

Please see the bottom of this post for an update.

Quite recently, I blogged about an email I received from Rob Palmer, the president of GoFreelance.com (formerly Freelance Work Exchange or FreelanceWorkExchange.com). He wanted to discuss posts that I have previously published on my blog in regards to writers' complaints about his company. The complaints primarily concern signing up for the trial membership and then not being able to log in and/or cancel.

Rather than debate the situation with him (no point — I'm not going to take anything down off my blog, as I think the complaints deserve their fair share of air time) I asked if I could publish his email address: One of the most common complaints about FWE was that members could never get a hold of anyone in order to resolve their complaints. Rob agreed to let me post his email address, so I added it as an update at the bottom of this post. If you have a complaint about GoFreelance.com, email Rob Palmer at the email address I posted, and let me know what happens!

This afternoon, though, I was playing around on Google (yes, I do that when I'm procrastinating), and I randomly decided to search for GoFreelance.com. Searching for "Freelance Work Exchange" brings up a myriad of complaints, which is I'm sure why the name was changed; I was wondering if any of the complaints had caught up with the elusive Rob Palmer yet.

Given Mr. Palmer's seeming concern to clear his company's name, I was shocked to find this: a rip-off report on GoFreelance.com, filed only a week ago. This is exactly the same kind of thing that was happening last summer with Freelance Work Exchange. Obviously Rob has not learned his lesson, not at all.

I'm leaving my post with his email up so that people can try to contact Mr. Palmer with any complaints, but let it be known that I've rescinded my original good-natured skepticism. I'm now back to thinking GoFreelance.com is nothing but a low-down, dirty scam. I hope everyone will take note of all the complaints online, and stay far, far away from Rob Palmer and his membership job board, regardless of what he calls it next.

Update — September 25, 2007:

This morning I received an email notifying me of some problems with ripoffreport.com, the source of the report I linked to above. I will quote from the email:

I am writing to warn you about ripoffreport.com - the guy who runs it apparently writes some of the complaints, and contacts the companies to extort money from them (so that they can get their company names off ripoffreport.com). He (Ed - I don't remember his last name) is a long-time criminal, and has been indicted by the FBI on rackateering charges for what he is doing with ripoffreport.com. Last I read, he is on the lam, and nowhere to be found.

Despite the gravity of these accusations, I am leaving the link for the simple reason that all of the report's claims have been made by other writers, too. Even if Ed did write this report, the fact of the matter is that I regularly hear the same complaints regarding GoFreelance.com.

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By Katharine Swan On Wednesday, June 27, 2007 At 4:04 PM 27 comments

My all-nighter and a new favorite author

Well, I just pulled an all-nighter -- and read an entire book in five and a half hours straight. It's very possibly a record for me -- I think I put the book down once all night, and that was to check my blood sugar. Even I haven't read a full-length novel all in one sitting before... All in one day, yes, but all in one sitting, no -- until now.

The book is My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, my new favorite author. I read two of her books while I was visiting my grandfather recently, the first I'd read of her work, and I fell instantly in love. She writes with a depth of human emotion that few authors can lay claim to; she addresses controversial issues with grace, somehow managing to always put a human face on both sides of the debate...at the same time, no less. Picoult is, in short, the writer I hope to be someday, and she is now tied with Judy Blume for the position of my favorite contemporary author.

I blogged more about My Sister's Keeper and my discovery of Picoult on my book blog, Livre du Jour, which I am updating again. I hope you'll stop by there and read what else I have to say about this riveting novel.

Anyway, I'm pretty tired right now, as can be expected, but it comes in waves. I'm thinking I should take advantage of the fact that I'm up and work a little bit before I go to bed. Hopefully I can keep from sleeping all day long and throwing off my sleep schedule even more!

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By Katharine Swan On At 5:59 AM 0 comments

Blog update: Comments link

Good news! I figured out how to add the comments link at the end of my posts. Before, you had to click on my post titles in order to leave a comment, but no longer -- now the comment link is where it should be, right at the end of the post! Hooray!!

Now, everyone... Comment away!

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By Katharine Swan On Tuesday, June 26, 2007 At 5:20 PM 0 comments

Spamorama

A few days ago I warned about some interesting -- but no doubt malicious -- spam I got, which encouraged me to go to a suspicious site. I thought I should add to that warning a comment that I have had a lot of spammy messages come through on my contact forms lately (thank goodness I don't post my email address anymore!). These messages usually say something completely inane like "Nice site!" or nothing at all. I have no doubt that they are hoping I'll email them back saying "Who are you?" ... and then they'll add my email address to their list for spam mailings.

If you have a contact form like mine, beware -- these jerks seem particularly active lately. (Summer rush for them too, maybe?) If you don't have a contact form on your site, making your email address available instead, I suggest that you reconsider your "contact" options. At the very least, make sure that your email address doesn't include the @ symbol, as spammers use it to find and harvest email addresses online. Instead, you can insert the word "at" where the symbol would normally go (with spaces around it, of course, so that the whole thing is readable). You can also make the link say something totally different, such as "Email Me."

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By Katharine Swan On Monday, June 25, 2007 At 11:59 PM 0 comments

Busyness

I've been really busy lately, and I'm suddenly remembering last summer's insane work schedule. I'm trying to catch up a little on blogging, writing posts that I've had in mind but haven't had a chance to write yet, because I'd like to launch a new blog in the fall (more on that later). It's difficult, though, with so much other (read: paying) work to do.

I guess I'm not the only freelancer that experiences a "summer rush," as I've noticed a lot of my favorite blogs have suffered the same neglect lately as mine has. I used to daydream about being able to have vacation-like summers as a freelancer. What happened to that flexible schedule that I love so much?

I suppose by the end of summer, I'll be reaping the benefits of being so busy now. But is it really worth it?

I'll let you know when the payments start rolling in. ;o)

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By Katharine Swan On At 10:42 PM 0 comments

Writing in the moment

How do you tend to handle strokes of genius? When I get a good idea for a story or an essay, I'll jot it down on a scratch pad until I have a chance to outline it in a new Word file. Unfortunately, that means I have a whole bunch of outlines that I've never gone back to.

While visiting my grandpa, I learned the value of "writing in the moment" -- when the idea is fresh. Looking at one of the old photographs (a baby picture of my real grandmother, who died in 1990) in his study, I suddenly got an idea for a personal essay. For a little while, I debated on whether to just take some notes, but eventually I decided to take the plunge and write it then and there. And I was so glad I did! I finished the essay after only a couple of hours' work, and it was some of the most enjoyable time I've spent writing in a long time.

It's difficult to do sometimes, but I've decided that as frequently as possible, I need to write my ideas as I think of them -- especially because I've had so many ideas lately. The last thing I want is for them to molder away as forgotten outlines on my hard drive!

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By Katharine Swan On At 4:33 PM 0 comments

Bloggers Beware: Spam and comment malware

I just received a spam that I thought everyone should be aware of. The spam claims that I have received an e-card from "a family member," but doesn't give my name or the senders name, so I'm sure it's spam. Also, the website sounds suspicious: yivisit.hk.

I didn't click on any of the links or go to the site; instead, I Googled the site, and I'm glad I did. Here's what I discovered:

1) A couple of discussion forums included this site in a thread about malware. I have no doubt that the malware will be downloaded simply by visiting this website. Either that, or they'll try getting your credit card info from you. Either way, it's not even worth the click to find out.

2) Many, many bloggerss have been getting post comments that leave this website. They have the same basic information: You've received an e-card. Now, come on. Who is going to believe that a friend or family member sent an e-card to their blog?!

In any case, this site obviously has some kind of malicious intent, and the spams and comments are apparently going around. Please, everyone, keep an eye out. Never click on a link in an email. If the sender is unfamiliar, don't do anything (except maybe Google it and warn your friends, like I am); if the sender is familiar but not a friend (perhaps PayPal or eBay), go directly to the site rather than clicking on the link, just in case it's a spoof. And, finally, even if the sender is a friend, you need to make sure that the link really takes you where it says it will, because some malware will take over your friends' email and send out messages to everyone in the address book!

I hate these people because they create the need to be cautious about even your best friends' emails!!!

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By Katharine Swan On Friday, June 22, 2007 At 2:14 PM 5 comments

A visit with my grandfather

Some of you may remember me mentioning some weeks ago that my step grandmother had died. Afterward, my mom and I made plans to visit my grandfather for 8 days (a big deal because when she was alive, she would only let us come for a few days at a time). I just got back last night.

Nothing was quite what I expected. First of all, thinking of how quiet my grandpa had been last time I saw him (September 2005), I was expecting him to be even frailer now. I was planning on spending afternoons and evenings working, because I figured my grandpa would be pretty tired most of the time. I was also expecting to have plenty of opportunities to go down to the computer room in the main lodge of the retirement center, and hook in to their DSL connection.

The truth of it was, my grandpa turned out to be doing better than any of us expected. With my step grandmother no longer around to snap at him, he is not tuning out conversations as much anymore, and surprises you by joining in when you least expect it. He's still rather forgetful, but even that isn't as bad. He hears better, talks more, remembers more. I guess that's how much of a difference one person -- plus or minus -- can make in someone's life.

Of course, my step grandmother passing away didn't cure my grandpa of old age. He still is fairly frail: He needs the walker even for short distances, and a wheelchair for long distances because he gets too tired walking it on his own. He has full-time help now, because he's fallen so many times (my step grandmother refused to let him have any help while she was alive); they help him do things that are becoming difficult for him now, such as showering, getting dressed, making breakfast, etc., and they make sure he doesn't fall and hurt himself. However, all in all I'd say he's doing remarkably well for almost 95 years old!

Anyway, as it turned out I didn't end up having as much time to work as I'd hoped. (Why do I always go into vacations thinking I can get work done?) The first few days I did, but that was only because we saved all of the things we had planned for the last half of the vacation: We scanned family pictures that my grandpa and my mom's cousin have, made dinner plans with relatives, celebrated Father's Day with the family, and played Bingo at the retirement center (my grandpa loves Bingo night). As busy as the last four or five days were, I didn't even get much time to make the trip to the computer lab and get online. I checked email and blogged a couple of times, and that was really about it.

Even our return trip didn't leave much time for working. We ate lunch with my grandpa and my uncle downtown, and then took the bus out to the airport. I'm not much for pulling out my laptop on the bus, unless I know it's going to be a really long ride, so I didn't work there. And I didn't work while we waited at the gate, because I couldn't find a plug, and wanted to make sure I had enough battery power to use my laptop the entire flight. Unfortunately, the person who sat in front of me leaned her seat all the way back, making it impossible to have my laptop out with her already taking up most of my lap. (And, no, I'm not the kind of person to make a scene about something like that.)

I didn't get home until nearly 11pm last night, since we had to stop on the way home to get dinner (it had been 10 hours since I'd eaten lunch). By then, I was exhausted and had a splitting headache, so needless to say I didn't do any work then, either.

Waking up at home this morning after being gone for just over a week was really something. Everything is so familiar and cozy, and it's so nice to be back to my usual schedule -- more or less, that is. I'm going to make a noble effort to get organized today: I'll contact all my clients (most of whom knew there was a chance I wouldn't be able to work while I was gone), figure out what I need to get caught up on and by when, etc. Most of playing catch-up I'll leave for next week, however. There's just no way I can get it all done today!

Happy Friday, everyone. It's good to be back!

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By Katharine Swan On At 11:29 AM 0 comments

A note from Rob Palmer

Please scroll down for an update on this post.

My posts on Freelance Work Exchange (now GoFreelance.com) have always attracted a lot of hits -- I think at least one visitor every day comes via that post. Rob Palmer, the president of the company, has taken note of this in the past, as you can see in the comments from last year.

Apparently it's not working, as he has tried a different approach: Emailing me directly. I know exactly what he wants, and that is to talk me into removing my posts, which I'm not going to do because I feel the complaints are valid and that other writers deserve to have access to them. However, I am going to post his note here, voice my opinions, and give my readers new information with which to make their own opinions.

Hi Katherine

I noticed you published a blog entry regarding GoFreelance. I would appreciate the chance to discuss this with you, and to help clear up any issues regarding our site.

The issues we experienced with Craig's List were due to a rogue affiliate who was terminated as soon as we realized the problem. Any issues with cancellations can be dealt with by contact me directly - I will be happy to refund anyone who has had a less than satisfactory experience with our site.

Assuring you of our best intentions.


Rob Palmer
GoFreelance


Well, first off, I couldn't help but notice that he misspelled my name. It's Katharine, not Katherine. While this happens a lot and I'm usually pretty understanding, when someone is making an appeal to me they had better mind their p's and q's -- or a's and e's, as the case may be!

It is also noteworthy that Rob claims anyone with cancellation issues should contact him directly -- but if you've read my previous posts and the complaints posted elsewhere on the internet, you'll know that a common problem is trying to figure out how to contact him directly. Other writers tell stories of getting the run-around from the help desk and being unable to pin down any direct contact information. For this reason, I responded to Rob with one simple question:

May I post your email address on my blog so that any of my readers with cancellation issues may contact you directly?

Sincerely,
Katharine S. Leppert
www.katharineswan.com

I'll update this post when (or if) I receive a response.

Update (6/20/2007):

Rob did indeed give me permission to post his email address. GoFreelance.com membership complaints can be forwarded directly to rob (at) gofreelance (dot) com.

If you contact him about a problem with your membership, I'd like to know how it turns out. Please comment on this post by clicking on the post title and scrolling down to the bottom of the post page, or email me directly.

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By Katharine Swan On Tuesday, June 19, 2007 At 11:55 AM 23 comments

Why is burglary a bigger crime than sexual molestation?

I clicked on this headline because it was something about a fashion writer, but as it turns out the article has little to do with writing, except for the fact that it makes male fashion writers look like creeps: The former fashion writer Peter Braunstein has been sentenced for sexually molesting a former colleague.

Apparently Braunstein posed as a firefighter, entered his colleague's apartment, drugged her, tied her up, drugged her some more, and then sexually molested her for hours while videotaping the whole thing.

For this crime, the judge gave him five years. For the crime of burglarizing his victim's apartment, Braunstein got fifteen years.

Now, I know that the point is supposed to be that it all adds up to twenty years. But would someone please tell me why the burglary is viewed as comprising three-quarters of this crime?

The judge didn't give the maximum sentence, and in his defense, he claims, "I have seen enough sentencings with victim impact statements delivered by grieving mothers to know the type of case that truly deserves a maximum sentence."

Excuse me? So, because the victim's mother didn't come in and cry, the sexual molestation -- which lasted for hours, I might remind you -- only deserved five years, while breaking in earned him fifteen?

Personally, the only reason I can imagine a grieving mother's statement being considered relevant evidence is if the victim has been maimed or killed -- which gets a whole different range of minimum and maximum sentences. And regardless, why should it require a tearful mother's testimony to determine that the victim had been impacted by being tied up to her bed and sexually abused? Who the he!l wouldn't that impact??!!

In the end, this really has very little to do with writing, except that it pissed me off and made me want to write about it. According to a book I recently read, Are Men Necessary? by Maureen Dowd, feminists are a dying breed. Does this judge's sentence reflect society's values when it claims violating someone's property is three times worse than violating a woman's body? If so, Dowd is wrong: Women's rights, and not just feminism, is on the verge of extinction.

Does anyone else feel, as I do, that making a premeditated attack on a woman, tying her up, and spending hours sexually abusing her deserves more than just a five-year sentence -- at least as much time as he got for merely breaking in? If so, I hope you'll speak up, online as well as offline. Society obviously needs to be reminded that even if the women's movement is no longer moving, that does not mean we want to lose all the ground we've already gained.

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By Katharine Swan On Monday, June 18, 2007 At 5:46 PM 3 comments

A good quote about wannabe writers

I ranted a little while back about wannabe writers. This week's Writers Weekly feature, "Write Through the Crisis: Finish the Novel First" by Alice J. Wisler, contained a line that I thought was a perfect summary of my entire diatribe:

"But what separates the writers who actually complete something and those who are just wannabes, is nothing less than sheer hard work."

Yep. That pretty much says it all.

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By Katharine Swan On Thursday, June 14, 2007 At 12:25 PM 0 comments

Suggested reading: Being successful, choosing a computer

As a follow-up to my last post on writing rates, I want to recommend a very good article on becoming a successful freelancer: "Success Made Simple: An Interview with Wendy Burt," by Jennifer Brown Banks. The article is part of Dan Case's "Writing for DOLLARS!" newsletter (you have to scroll down to get to the article). Although the article doesn't address the problem of low-paying clients, it does talk about what is necessary to become a financially successful writer -- and it debunks the stereotype of the "starving artist" that trips up so many writer-hopefuls.

I also wanted to suggest a couple of articles on choosing a computer. The first article addresses the pros and cons of a laptop versus a desktop, which is a crucial concern for many writers. A lot of writers like the idea of being able to take their work with them wherever they go, but others value having the most powerful machines on the market (which laptops are typically not). This article is a concise summary of the pros and cons of each, and may help you make a decision if you haven't already.

(Of course, I have to take this opportunity to remind everyone again how much I love my little Averatec. At about 3 1/2 pounds, it's probably one of the smallest fully-functional laptops on the market, and well under half the price of Sony's competitor, the 2.8-pound Vaio. You just don't get the same level of mobility with one of those 8-pound Dell honkers.)

The final article talks about what to look for in a laptop. It's an at-a-glance comprehensive guide on the different kinds of laptops, and the advantages of each. Personally, because my priority is mobility, I prefer the lightweight laptops. (I don't get the whole gaming thing. It seems like such a money- and time-sink, and all pretty pointless. Certainly not worth carrying an extra 4 pounds on my shoulder.) Although the article is correct that many ultra-small laptops are pretty expensive, Averatec machines are pretty affordable. I've been using mine for almost two years now, and I couldn't be happier!

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By Katharine Swan On Tuesday, June 12, 2007 At 2:28 PM 0 comments

Why I talk about rates in general, not MY rates

I had a comment to moderate that seems to have disappeared, but I want to respond to it anyway. The comment was in reference to a post where I mentioned last year's rates -- my post on pruning, I'm guessing it was. The anonymous commenter was asking what rates I charge, because s/he said I am a role model to other freelancers, and a little bit of extra guidance would be much appreciated.

Well, first of all, many thanks to Anonymous for saying I am a role model. Although admittedly I dream of filling such a lofty position, the truth is I am fairly new at the freelancing, compared to some of the other writers' whose blogs I read. However, I'd like to think that the fact that I've made it more than a year and a half means that I'll be in it for the long haul -- and perhaps in ten years, I'll be a role model to more than just my few readers. :o)

(However, I also realize that a freelancer who has been doing her thing for a year and a half is probably more accessible a role model for other beginning freelancers. When you're just starting out, super-successful writers such as Anne Rice and Stephen King are still nothing less than demi gods, and I think beginning writers much prefer looking up to other freelancers that have made it to a more attainable level of success.)

But my ego is not the subject of this post. I actually would like to address the request that I post my rates. The fact that I have never posted an exact figure is not an accident -- I have been hesitant to "say too much," as it were. My reasoning is that everyone is different -- we all live in different areas, with different expenses, and different ideas of what a living wage is for us. I don't want to okay a certain dollar amount, for fear that I'll be leading some writers to underprice themselves, while others overprice themselves.
Does this seem hypocritical? I'm not sure, myself. I've ranted and raved about low-paying writing jobs, but I've also said that I don't think a minimum wage for writers is applicable. Ultimately, I think the rate that each writer chooses to write for is a personal decision -- but that all freelancers need to first understand the scams that exist currently.

I can safely say that I think $1 per article is too low. I've also stated that I feel writers should be getting at least the minimum wage in their area, whatever that may be. However, it's also worth noting that many writers boast hourly rates of $50 and up. While yours may not be that great (mine isn't), it shouldn't be rock-bottom, either.

So how do you know if you've hit rock-bottom? Well, I think if you take your hours worked and wages earned, and your hourly rate comes up less than what the average retail clerk makes in your area, you need to seriously rethink your rates.

On that note, I think it really helps to think about what jobs pay in your area. In some areas, full-time writing jobs are pretty hard to come by, and only pay $15 an hour for entry level work. A freelance writer just starting out in an area like this might consider $15 per hour a minimum rate, but would realistically need to strive for $20 or more per hour, since freelancers inevitably have to focus a good part of their day on searching for work and marketing.

I once wrote a rather long post on determining your writing rates according to what you need to make each month in order to pay your bills. I'll sum up here and say that you need to figure out how much you need to earn per hour, keeping in mind that you likely won't clock 8 billable hours every day. Most clients like per-article or per-project rates, so before you offer a quote, make sure you know enough about the article or project to estimate how long it will take you to complete.

I hope this helps. Anyone who has further questions is welcome to ask, either via commenting (click on the title) or by contacting me directly.

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By Katharine Swan On Monday, June 11, 2007 At 3:46 PM 2 comments

A more integrated blog look!

I decided that my blog needed a new makeover. Now my blog is easier to get to from my website, and appears more integrated with the rest of the site! If you check out the nav bar, you'll notice that it has the same looks as the one on my site. The logo is also the same, and the header looks very similar.

I would love to hear your opinions on the new look. What do you think of the integrated blog? Please click on the post title and leave me a comment!

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By Katharine Swan On Sunday, June 03, 2007 At 1:23 AM 2 comments

Pruning

I spent several hours this morning and afternoon pruning the lilac bushes that surround our yard. They create a really great privacy screen, especially on the south border of our yard, where the fence is just a low picket fence. However, the bushes on that side are probably thirty years old (at least), and have rarely been pruned, if ever. The result is a tangled mass of overgrown lilacs -- pretty in summer, because they leaf out so thickly, but quite ugly for the rest of the year.

I meant to prune the lilacs last year, but I didn't get around to it early on, except for one lone bush. Naturally, that bush looks the prettiest and bore the most flowers this year. So I'm trying to be a good little gardener this year and take care of our pretty lilacs. The trick is to prune them around the right time -- lilacs need to be pruned right after the flowers bloom, because the plant starts making next years blooms almost right away. Our lilacs finished blooming only a week or two ago, so it's now or never.

As I was pruning (with gusto, I might add -- I was never big on working in the yard, but oddly enough, I enjoyed this), I started thinking about my work. I've been really dragging lately, and it seems I have more ideas for books (fiction and nonfiction) than ever. Since I started freelancing, I've been saying to myself, "When I have more time I'll work on my stories," or other promises along those lines. Of course, I never seem to have enough time, and except for NaNoWriMo last November, I haven't made time, either.

The last couple of days, I've been kind of toying with the idea of cutting back some of my freelance work and devoting more time to writing stories, novels, and nonfiction books. And of course, as an avid reader and writer who thinks in metaphors (don't we all?), I started thinking about how pruning the lilacs was kind of like what I want to do with my business. I'd like to move on to higher-paying work, so that I can spend less time doing it and devote the extra time to other types of writing. I have a few regular clients that I'm not going to give up at this point, even though they pay me at "last year's rates," but I'm not going to take on any more at those levels.

I've also thought about how to work a little fiction- or book-writing into my regular work day. The usual idea -- making myself do the paying work first, and doing the fun stuff if I have time at the end of the day -- isn't going to work for me, because it's just likely to make me start staying up later and later every night. Instead, I think I'm going to give myself a certain block of time every morning to work on my current story or book project. The reason I think this will work better is because I tend to diddle around for an hour or two, blogging or checking up on my favorite blogs to "warm up" before I get to work. My idea is to replace that time with writing the stuff that really gets my fingers flying -- it should be a more effective way to warm up, anyway.

Of course, I don't feel I'm quite ready to start that schedule. Right now I have a few projects that I need to get out pronto -- I've had a hard time being productive since we got back from the honeymoon, and a few things have piled up. Besides, the very first thing I want to do is to revise my NaNo novel, and I want to take Stephen King's advice and read over it all in one day.

Once I get going with the new schedule, I have a few projects in mind. One is an ebook, another a chick lit type of novel, not to mention a handful or so of other ideas in the works. I'll announce my little projects as I start on each.

Wish me luck with my "pruning" and rejuvenation!

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By Katharine Swan On Saturday, June 02, 2007 At 3:01 PM 0 comments

Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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