Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Add this name to your black list!

Writing communities and blogs are an important resource for freelancers, as they allow us to keep up on what's going on with the market. Especially important are the warnings we get from other writers about the publishers who don't pay their writers.

Just the other day, I ran across this warning about a company called Pre-Press Company, Inc. - a company that works as an intermediary between publishers and writers. Apparently they are refusing to pay this particular writer on the grounds that the client hasn't paid them, therefore they don't have to pay her. The writer quotes the contract, showing quite clearly how Pre-Press Company, Inc. is in breach of contrach, and explaining why she believes that their excuses are contrived. After the initial post, this writer posted again to give an update: apparently Pre-Press Company, Inc. took offense to the fact that she was telling people about what they were trying to pull on her, and tried to threaten her with a lawsuit.

Thankfully, the writer wasn't intimidated. Quite the contrary - she posted all of their threats online for the entire world to read! Stay far, far away from publishers or employers with this type of reputation - they are not worth risking countless hours of unpaid work!

Thank you, Irreverant Freelancer!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Content Done Better Blog: Another good writer's blog

Here's another blog I found via Deb's freelance job list: Content Done Better Blog. This one is also controversial (I love controversy!). I especially love his post, "Will Write Articles for Links...When Exposure Matters and When It Doesn't". He challenges all of us who have been griping about the prevalence of unpaid writing gigs to consider when writing for "free" might be worthwhile. His point: if you're donating articles that will be printed and reprinted throughout the Internet, with a backlink to your site each time, then you're not really writing for free - you're getting valuable exposure. However, if you write for these stupid obscure sites that try to use exposure instead of payment, there's really no advantage, because they're taking all rights (usually) and only providing you with the one backlink to your site. Not very useful.

In essense, Carson is saying about the same thing I always say (along with many other professionals in the field): don't write for those gigs that only offer exposure. If you want to write for exposure, check out his post for some better ideas.

A controversial new writer's blog!

Thanks to Deb's freelance job list, I've started reading a new blog: An Unpopular Opinion. Written by a fellow writer, this blog rails against things like paid forum posting (I can't believe people call that being a writer!), underpaying writing gigs, and cliquish writer's forums. Actually, that's all the blog contains yet, because it's fairly new - but judging by these three posts, it's guaranteed to be a good one!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Back in the game

After a long absence, I am back in the game! For the last week or so, I've been really struggling with my blood sugar (for those of you who don't know or don't remember, I am a type 1 diabetic). Also, for the last few days, I've been feeling a little sick on and off. I don't know if the two problems are related, but I think I've finally settled on a new insulin dose to stabilize my blood sugar, and I've lost a few pounds as well (probably because my appetite suffers every time I don't feel well!).

At any rate, I am now buckling down again and focusing on the work that I rather ignored when I wasn't feeling well...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Keeping your life private when your words are public

A couple of weeks ago, Writers Weekly ran the article, "Writers Should Be Cautious of What Information Is Put Online," by Diane Craver. The article discusses the precautions that writers should take in order to avoid unwanted intrusions into their personal life: keeping contact information (such as address and phone number) off your website, making sure to say on your website that you don't live alone, using a private registration or using false information in your website registration, and using a fake signature for book signings.

This article really hit home for me, because I have had my own reasons for keeping my contact information off of my site. I have always been careful not to mention where I live; when I post pictures on my blogs, I even edit out any identifying details. It's a lot of work to always have to consider what information you don't want the creeps and loonies getting a hold of, but after a while it becomes instinctive.

Of course, for a writer's website to be truly effective, it must contain some sort of contact information. Prospective clients have to be able to get a hold of you! Some website hosting services allow you to post an email contact form, which I have done on my Services page. If you don't have this option, I suggest posting an email address that is dedicated to work use only. Email addresses can be canceled and changed at any time, and therefore offer a relative amount of security. Some email accounts even allow you the option of blocking a person from contacting you.

The bottom line is that even as a writer, you need to protect your identity in order to stay safe.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Labor Day weekend

For Labor Day weekend, Michael, my sister Laura, and I all visited Michael's family. While we were there, I got to spend a good amount of time with my horse, Panama, and we also found a venue for our wedding. (You can read more about that on my wedding blog.) It was the first time anyone from my family has met anyone from Michael's family, so it was a momentous occasion. I am happy to say that my sister got along well with everyone, and we had a great time - although she tells me she is definitely not a "country girl."

Panama has definitely grown a little more since I last saw him! He has finally filled out, too (when we first got him he was quite underfed). Unfortunately, he has also started displaying stallion characteristics - biting, kicking, rearing, and in general reluctant to be worked with - which means he will need to be gelded pronto. Perhaps in a different environment - one where I could work with him every day and train him better - I could have held off for a little while longer, but running wild in the pasture with very little training is only exacerbating the situation.

Catching Panama is probably the toughest part. In these pictures, he did pretty well, other than a little head tossing; but the next day, when I caught him, he pulled me about fifteen or twenty feet on the lead rope before he submitted to being led around. I had to use all my weight to brace myself as he backed up, tossing his head like a wild horse. In a final attempt to lose me, he reared up; I just barely hung on, but when he saw that didn't work, either, he finally gave up. It was a tense few moments, when I had no time to do anything but hang on for dear life and wonder if I was nuts for attempting to train an ungelded colt.

Once Panama stopped fighting me, I petted and talked softly to him for a long time, and then walked him around until he calmed down. Only then did I risk leading him from the pasture to brush him, as I didn't want a repeat of the 4th of July incident, when Panama spooked and got loose. He let me brush him, but was still fairly tense; one of his rear hooves kept cocking to kick me, if need be, so I didn't attempt to comb his tail.

Despite some of the weekend's hangups, I had a great time. It doesn't look like we'll be moving out there right away, though, so most likely we will bring Panama out here next spring or early summer. I very much want him close to me, so that I can work with him every day and develop a better relationship with him.


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