Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New link in sidebar - and fancy NaNoWriMo meter!

Please check out my sidebar changes! I've added a link to my NaNoWriMo page, as well as a meter that will keep track of my total words written throughout November. Should make it easier for you to check up on me! :o)

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow!

This is it - the last day of calm before the storm. The test of my dedication is about to begin. Am I up for it?

I guess I should mention that I've come up with a title for my novel: "What Dreams May Come." I've always felt that that should be the title, as the Shakespearian passage it comes from suits the novel so perfectly, but I really struggled with the fact that there are already books and movies out there with that name. However, I've decided I don't really care, as right now I am doing this for me. I can always change the title later (or an editor can, I suppose) if my working title doesn't suit.

I need to polish up my outline before tomorrow. Thinking about it in bed last night, I decided I needed a little more "oomph" in places. I hope to work on it later tonight, but right now I have a lot else that needs doing.

Monday, October 30, 2006

'Stay the Course' video

Website update

I updated my website to reflect my new ebook venture - I now have an ebooks page in my portfolio! Check it out!

Katharine Swan, ebook author

Thanks to a Success Story article on Writers Weekly about selling ebooks, I got started thinking last week about getting into the ebook business. Screw getting paid a crummy $100 or so (which is what many ebook publishers are offering their writers) to write an entire book. I can write the books myself and sell them on ebay.

I decided to test the waters with a doll stringing instructions booklet I had written for my technical writing class a year and a half ago. I started a free trial account with Adobe online, converted the file to a pdf (after a little touch-ups, of course), and listed my ebook on ebay.

I didn't know what to expect, so I priced my ebooks quite low. That means I only get a couple of bucks out of each one after the ebay fees are assessed, but at the same time, I'm hoping the low price will attract more buyers. It's a lot easier to take a chance on a $2.99 ebook than a $9.99 ebook (as I saw a similar ebook priced at).

So far I've sold 4 ebooks - and it's only been 4 days! I'm hoping to sell more by the time the listings end on Thursday. In any case, I think the ebook has proven itself worth listing again.

As soon as I have a chance, I'm going to start working on another ebook - one about restyling dolls' hair to copy the original set. I might also consider setting up an alternate ebay seller's account under my pen name, Katharine Swan.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


I had a rough weekend, and the last thing that I feel like doing right now is working. Unfortunately, I have a lot of work piled up, so I can hardly afford to take another night off.

I started feeling kind of sick Thursday night. I didn't pay it much attention, just noticed I was having a hard time working. Friday was worse - I felt queasy all day. By Friday evening, I felt so bad that I couldn't work at all. I went to bed early, and slept late on Saturday, too. And then I was tired much earlier than usual Saturday night, as well. I got a little work done Saturday, but then my wrist started hurting Saturday night (I get symptoms of either carpal tunnel or repetitive strain injury sometimes), which kept me from working as well.

Today I felt better, but I had a toy show to go to, for an article I'm writing. As a result of being sick and having other stuff to do today, I just haven't gotten much work done in the past few days. It's pathetic.

As always after being away from work for a few days, I have the feeling of not wanting to work, combined with the unfortunate reality of having a lot of work built up that I really need to get done; and as a result I want to work even less.

Well, I guess I had better suck it up and see how much I can get done tonight before I get tired again. Since my body's first reaction whenever I'm sick (or getting over being sick) is always to sleep a lot, I will probably not last much longer tonight.

Don't forget to vote!

Thomas Jefferson once said:

"We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate."

Please be part of those who participate this election! We need every vote we can get if we are to oust the conservatives!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

NaNoWriMo: What am I getting myself into?

I'm not actually reconsidering my commitment to NaNoWriMo, but Will Write For Chocolate had an amusing comic about the pressures of making time for an average of 1,666 words of fiction a day. (Actually, 1,667, since you should round up.) It sounds rather like my take on it, except for me it's reading and watching movies with Michael that I'm not willing to give up. Everything else can go, but...

I have a feeling Eliza is in for a rocky month. It'll be fun to see how it goes for her...and for me!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Calling all voters!

Last night I spent some time researching all the issues on this year's ballot. It takes time to wade through all the crap and get to the real issues, but it's important to do so, so I put aside my work for a couple of hours. I hope all of you are doing the same. These smaller elections so often lose voters, because there's not a big controversial presidential election involved, but they are equally as important. This election could either support the president you voted for...or hamstring the president you didn't vote for (but won anyway).

With the election coming up fast, I decided a political post on my writer's blog wasn't misplaced. I want to share with you an interesting article I found, which describes Bush & Co.'s new tactic of cutting and running, even while Bush's mantra of "Stay the course!" still rings in our ears.

It's no secret that the falling gas prices are a "bribe" from the Republicans to get us to vote for them, but it appears their methods of convincing the public have not been very successful. Polls are still showing a major lack of votes going to the Republicans. I, for one, am very proud of my fellow Americans for not being "bought" by their little gas prices scheme. We'll show the Republicans that we're not those "little people" they like to think of us as. We are intelligent, informed, and our voices count.

Please get out there and vote. It's not too late to request an absentee ballot if you don't want to deal with polling place lines (or risk your vote being "miscounted" by the voting machines - which, by the way, are controlled by the Republicans...and they are so unsecure that a few years back, a 12-year-old was able to hack into them). Make your voice heard this election, and help turn the tide of the current presidential term.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A year ago today

A year ago today, I was just starting my career as a full-time freelance writer. My last day at my technical writing job was October 21, 2005.

A lot has happened in one year of freelancing. I believe I've come a long way. A year ago, I had never:

* earned more than about $25 for an article
* published any fiction
* been published in a magazine or a newspaper
* interviewed anyone for an article
* written a press release
* written test questions
* ghostwritten anything
* kept a personal blog
* introduced myself as a freelance writer

Now, I can proudly say that I have done all those things! I've achieved more in the past year than I had dreamed I would - I thought it would take longer to find any degree of success, let alone a steady income. In fact, I may have already found my way back to my original writing dream - to be a novelist - depending on how NaNoWriMo pans out.

Thinking back on the past year, I'm very, very, pleased. To all those people who thought I couldn't do this - I've proved otherwise.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I'm officially signed up for NaNoWriMo!

I just signed up for NaNoWriMo! Please feel free to view my profile and check up on my progress periodically throughout November. I intend to not only keep my NaNoWriMo page updated, but blog abot my progress on both Swan's Blog and my MySpace Blog. (Is there such a thing as too many blogs?)

NaNoWriMo plans

I'm still thinking about participating in NaNoWriMo. I was thinking about writing a young adult novel from a short story I wrote back in high school, but I already wrote the prologue to it a couple of years ago, and I'd want to keep that. Since that's against the rules, I think I'll do a different novel.

The novel I'm thinking of writing is also young adult. Again, I came up with the story idea several years ago, and even wrote a few pages. However, if I don't reference them at all it's not breaking the rules. I think that's what I'll do. I didn't even get very far on the outline way-back-then, so I'm going to flesh that out while I decide if that's what I want to do.

I'm getting really excited about this NaNoWriMo thing. I'll have to register on the site once I make up my mind for sure.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The NaNoWriMo challenge

Honestly, who knew there was a National Novel Writing Month? But there is, as I found out from yesterday's post on Debbie Ridpath Ohi's Will Write For Chocolate. (Be sure to check out the comic, too!)

Basically, it's a challenge to write a novel in one month. It only has to be 50,000 words (which is pretty short, as novels go), and you can do research and outline the novel before November 1st, but all the writing has to be done between the 1st and the 30th.

I'm tempted to try it, although I'm not sure how I'll be able to juggle novel-writing with all my regular paying gigs. However, I think it just might be what I need to jump-start my writing again - although I've picked up some speed, I still feel I'm working slower than I did before my burn-out during the summer. Also, at the end of the month I'll have a novel to start sending around to the publishing houses, which isn't a bad thing.

In any case, if I decide to take the challenge, I'll be sure to blog about it regularly. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to check it out for themselves - November is almost here!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Why a badly written ad isn't a sign that they really need a writer!

We've all seen them: those ads that contained misspelled words, bad grammar, and no capital letters or punctuation. A writer's first instinct may be, "Wow, they really need me!" That thought couldn't be more off-base.

The problem with these employers is that they wouldn't know good writing if it did the Macarena across their computer screen. That might be a good thing if you are a really bad writer yourself - they won't have a clue. But if you're actually a good writer, you are wasting your time - as well as possibly putting yourself in danger of getting screwed. It's my guess that the "employers" that write these ads are more likely to be scammers.

So, watch out for those ads that make you want to get out your red pen!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hiatus and updates

My last post was about a writer's warnings concerning Pre-Press Company, Inc. Since then, she has posted again on her blog to say that she was able to work out an agreement with Pre-Press Company. She's supposed to let us know whether they follow through and pay her as they've promised. I was hoping that she'd post an update by now, but I trust that no news is good news.

In any case, after a long hiatus, I am back and blogging again. I've been very busy, but it seems I've caught sight of the light at the end of the tunnel - the workload should return to normal levels again shortly. Also, I am happy to report that my extended writer's block seems to be improving - I'm writing at a faster pace again. Yesterday I was able to immerse myself in my work, not coming up for air until my goals for the day were accomplished...and I loved every minute of it.


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