Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Jan 30

How to Imitate My Signature

It has just dawned on me that I put absolutely no effort into my signature. It doesn’t look like cursive. I don’t even try, honestly. It’s been this way for a while, though, so I doubt anything will change.

The plus side? Anyone who actually forges my signature as a name is going to be painfully obvious.

In case you wanted to try it for yourself, here’s the 411 straight from the horse’s mouth.

Don’t write my name in cursive. Don’t you dare.

I would never do this. Try this, instead.

  • Draw a hump (or two, there’s room for creative license) to create that first N.
  • Follow it up with some squiggly lines.
  • Break up the first and last name with a space
  • Draw another hump or two for that M.
  • Finish up with some squigglies that end, more or less, in a straight line.
  • Pull it all together with a superscript dot somewhere over the first “word.” Alternatively, you can throw a cross (stem) somewhere over one of the squiggles in the second name. You must never under any circumstance do both. Got it?!

 


Apr 12

5 Years Self Employed!

In April 2010, my marriage was falling apart. I hadn’t worked since we’d returned stateside, and I was terrified of having to work yet another dead-end retail job. I hated them all, perhaps because I still thought I was better than the job and the people that I worked with and definitely because I am not good working under people who aren’t as smart as I am.

There were many naysayers, including my ex-husband and even good friends, who were sure I wasn’t going to make it. But I sat at my computer and I typed and typed and typed. I was making less than I am now per word and the type of work I qualified for was pretty mediocre, so I had to work harder and longer at work that I cared about far less than my current work.

But I guess it paid off. I moved up in rank. I was able to work less. This has led to my amazing schedule, which allows me to spend lots of time with friends and family. And I’m now working with a client who I really enjoy, about a topic that is right up my alley — sex — for a goodly amount of money. I am even considering buying a house.. next year. It’s exciting.

For years, I attributed this success to luck or timing. It wasn’t determination intelligence or talent on my own part. But, I think after five years, I should take some of that credit. I’m not sure this will last forever, but this little era has already been pretty awesome.

Some time this month I hope to celebrate with people.


Apr 22

On #BloggerExhaustion and Words, Words, Words!

blogger-exhaustion

I’ve stolen this hashtag and image from Nicole who runs BloggerPR. Her vent was a little different than mine will be, but it was a tag that I could immediately relate to. I run four blogs, three of which you might know about this: Her Realm, Reviews by Cole and Lyrical Musings. For the most part, my personal blogs are just that: personal. I write in them when I have time and when I am inspired or impassioned. This has become less and less common lately.

You see, I write for a living. Every day, I pump out between 1,000 and 3,000 words depending on the price I’m paying. Sometimes it’s boring as fuck. Other times it’s just repetitive. I deal with unclear clients, finicky editors, slow Internet connections and requirements that are just absurd for how little people want to pay me. I do this not because I like to but because I need to pay rent. I really don’t hate it. In fact, I’ve gotten some compliments lately on my work ethic and my ability to write. I love this, but I do feel a little jaded about the whole thing because I do it so much.

On top of those thousands of words, I try to write at least one post on Reviews by Cole every day; although, it’s often more like 2. Not all of the content is 100% my words. However, I do write an extra 500 words or so a day. Add on taking, editing and uploading pictures, social media promotion, sending pitches, commenting in blogger groups and everything else I do, and this is a hobby that’s a labor of love. Sure, there’s a little money in it,  but it started because I like to talk basically. However, to keep up with others, I have to talk more than I’d like. It’s just how it works.

This leaves little time or inspiration for writing poetry or patience enough to write words to come up with a humorous post about my life or a tutorial about WordPress here. I don’t want to type words. I don’t want to see words. I don’t want to think words. I pretty much have stopped reading for fun. I can’t even read blogs anymore. It’s all words, words, words. And I can’t do it.

Even on the one day a week I give myself off from work, I have to blog. That’s where my exhaustion comes in. It doesn’t end. Because even if I am not working, there’s something to be blogged. Even if I am caught up with Reviews by Cole, I have ideas here that I really do want to write, but they all feel like a task.

I guess I need to take a good vacation from it all, but this means I’ll have to write and schedule posts for Reviews by Cole and catch up on work to give me that time off. If I could do all that, I wouldn’t be feeling this way, now would I?

I suppose this is part of the reason that I never wanted to make hobbies into a career. I also suppose this is just part of being a working adult. The working part is exhausting and steals time and energy that we’d like to devote to the things we like to do, instead. At least I am in good company, then.


Jan 23

What I Do

Most people don’t know what I do for a living. Many people have a hazy idea, but the idea that someone writes everything that find online is just foreign to people who don’t use the Internet, understand SEO or visit websites other than Facebook. Apparently, nearly everyone I know falls into those categories.

So, yes, I write. I write content that winds up on websites. More often than not, these are linkbait articles that exist pretty much solely for SEO purposes. If that makes no sense to you, that’s okay. I rarely get a byline and almost never know what sites my written content writes up with. I don’t follow up after I get paid.  Sometimes, I write product descriptions. The reviews that I write on Reviews by Cole are a hobby and are in no way related to my job.

I prefer to write about tech topics. SEO is okay, but it does get old quickly. I hate having to be repetitive, which is why I feel drained when I have to write 800 words or more about a specific topic. In the beginning, I wrote many articles for DMS about smartphones, tablets, iPod and website maintenance. These are probably among my favorites. When I enjoy a topic, writing comes so much more easily. However, I don’t always get the choice.

In the past week, I have written about these topics:

  • WordPress and SEO
  • Kitchen and bathroom remodeling
  • Fashion that flatters your figure
  • Roofing
  • Pedispas
  • Urgent care facilities
  • Used Dell servers
  • Online Casinos
  • Mobile slot games
  • Sciatica
  • Concussions
  • Comic inspired movies
  • Interview mistakes
  • Day trader computers
  • Lingerie
  • Sex toys
  • Dressing in business casual
  • Rebuilding a relationship/trust after an affair
  • Acid reflux disease
  •  Pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • Jennifer Lawrence’s awards show fashion
  • Live music in Torontio
  • Legionnaire’s disease
  • Maplestory hair styles

As I finish this post, I will head to work on a program review/description.

So, you know. I do what they pay for. It’s at times pretty unglamorous. The reason why I write articles (people want to manipulate search engines) is sometimes disheartening, and I often fear that this content is just created for robots and not human consumption. However, I do sometimes have fun and learn something along the way.


Jun 20

Write On

Even though I’ve been a “writer” for the past three years, I always put that word into quotations. I assume that the reason I got the job and have been able to maintain it was luck. I tell myself — and others — that it was a fluke. The fact that I’ve generally been able to increase my prices and work less while remaining afloat? I ignore. When people ask me what it is that I do for a living, I avoid the subject or downplay it as much as possible.

I think it’s time for me to stop that.

For three years, I’ve been a freelance writer. I’ve paid my bills and my taxes. I’ve had steady work. I even had some business cards printed up; although, I haven’t had much of a chance to work them. I’ve improved my writing skills, and that shows on all my blogs. I’ve become more familiar with AP styles, I’ve juggled HTML and I’ve dealt with ever-changing rules, cranky clients and incredible editors.

I guess that I’ve more or less persevered, and I should take credit for that. I got a job. I’ve kept it. I’ve gotten better at it and expanded my horizons when need be. I’m not just playing pretend. This isn’t just a hobby, and maybe I can do even more with it than I already have. I don’t know what, but for the first time I finally think that the option exists. It’s liberating, really.

 


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