Friday, January 30, 2009

Is It Safe To Report or Too Early to Proclaim?

As of this moment, I have four on-going projects at Elance that will repeat weekly for at least 4-6 months. Some are blogs, others are articles, and still others are other things, but what it all adds up to is... I might have to QUIT the job I just started last week (taking notes at a college for a college student one hour a day) if I can't take that precious time off and still stay current with all my Elance projects! And next week I'll start another long-term article writing project with a local business via Elance.

WAHOO!!! I'm so freakin' busy suddenly that it's bordering on SCARY! It's such a great feeling to be doing what I love and working from home while doing it. NO commute, no office politics, no pressure (!?!) except for what I put on myself (which I seem to be doing by taking on all of these wonderful projects).

If I were any happier, someone would stick me in a looney bin. My niece and Jackie keep commenting on it... my sorta permanent smile and twinkle. When you do what you love, what God called you to do seemingly forever, it SHOWS, in the product, in the step, in the smile...

I am so blessed! And now I'm being a blessing to others, helping them string words together than bless others.

To those of you who have a lifelong dream, don't give it up. Keep at it. I'm almost 58 years old and it's finally happening for me because I started believing in my gifts and not sitting against the wall hoping someone would take the initiative to discover them.
Ya gotta show off a little to make it in the world these days. Don't hide your light under a bushel. SHINE!

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Holy Bazoley! WOO HOO!

A few weeks ago I started looking for part time work just to be sure I had something "stable" to count on while I'm growing my Elance business. So on Monday Clover Park Technical College called to see if I was still interested in working as a note taker for a student with a disability five days a week for an hour a day, plus 90 minutes twice a week between 10:30 and noon. I said sure, even though I was hoping for more hours than that. (But it's probably a God thing that this is all I got, as the Elance business is growing like Topsy.)

The five day a week class (Medical Terminology) is in the middle of the day (from 1-2), so it's a nice time to get away from my desk for an hour and do something else to allow my creative batteries time to recharge. And it's blessing someone, a kind of ministry. As Writer's Edge is, every three weeks. As Habitat for Humanity sometimes is. So it feels good.

Today I went for the first two sessions (a.m. and p.m) but the student didn't show up either time. My instructions are not to take notes unless the student is in class (because they wouldn't be taking notes for themselves when absent, if they were capable of taking notes) and to leave after 30 minutes if the student doesn't show up.

So I did that... twice... over a four hour period... Came home in between and made some more $$$ via Elance.

The Medical Terminology class is intense. I have never been in a class like that before and don't have the course book, so medical terms were zinging by me like arrows. After the live review, the class was shown a video about what happens in a person's body when he has a heart attack caused by the rupture of a cholesterol plaque. Oh joy. Before March comes around I'll probably be a freakin' hypochondriac! (I have low blood pressure and low cholesterol and walk two miles almost daily and so am probably not a candidate or a heart attack or stroke, but still... seeing all the stuff that can go wrong in peoples' innards is... disconcerting, to say the least!)

Today I received word that the four blogs I wrote (as a test) for a website have been accepted, which means I probably have that gig for 4-6 months twice a week. I was asked if they could give me a byline. I said, "Sure! In fact, if you want, hyperlink my name to my Elance profile!" The more often my name gets out there in cyberspace, the better my chances of filling out my "dance card" as a service provider at Elance. Don't be shy! Make It So!

Tonight Jackie and I drive about a quarter mile to a school to watch Casey play basketball for 45 minutes. We go twice a week.

Casey is the tallest kid on the court by quite a lot (and it's a co-ed kid court). I think she's self-conscious about it. She's going to be Michelle Obama tall, if not taller. We tell her to be proud of her height. But it's hard on her to be so "out there,"I think.

She's at a gawky stage -- hasn't quite coordinated her moves to her new height yet. But she's gung ho whenever she's out there, running back and forth, making baskets, blocking throws... getting the job done she's supposed to be doing.

I remember her dad Phil going through the same thing at about the same age. He'd climb into Grandma Dorothea's camper and hit the top of his head against the top of the door, or smack his elbow against the side, and look so surprised! It took him quite a few times during the summer of his growth spurt to remember to allow room for his larger frame.

Casey's at that stage now; just turned eight. She's within a smidgen of five feet tall, and still shooting up like a weed. She's delightful. We just need to find a really big brick to put on her head so she stays shorter than we are for at least a little longer! (Jackie and I are 5'7; Wendy is 5'8". Phil is 6'2, I think...)

I got some extra work from a regular client in the form of a press release today, so that was another $75 I wasn't expecting. And this weekend I did something extra for another client and appended it to our agreement, so that brought in $30 more than I expected. Little by little, it's happening. Thank You, Jesus!

It's so great to be able to make a living as a writer. By summertime, God willing, I think I'll have enough "regulars" to put me in the black monthly and enough time left over in the day to take on some quick turnaround projects.

I never expected this to happen as fast as it has. It's fabulous!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

During a Lull... I'll Blog!

I expected to have some work to do this weekend, but the documents I need weren't emailed, so I finished off one that's due on the 27th and sent it off for review this morning. If it's accepted without edits, I'll be without any work to do the rest of the weekend. Grrr... Would love to be able to start one of the new projects this weekend, but.... it is what it is! (Maybe God is freeing me up to be able to take on something I'm NOT expecting this weekend. We'll see!)

Jackie and I will go out and get groceries sometime this morning, I reckon. Then I'll walk. Right now it's too freaking cold.

I've been tuning in just long enough (an hour or so a day) to see how Obama has been doing in his first few days of office. I'm impressed. (Obviously I haven't been watching FOX or I'd probably be much less impressed! LOL!) (That's just a guess... but I doubt they've been converted this soon, if that's even possible.) I know the progressives want him to do a lot more, but hey... getting the country together just talking to each other again is miraculous, so let's not push an envelope until people are ready. If they ever are.

I've wanted to slap Joe Biden silly once already, bless his heart. His sense of humor can trip him up. He shouldn't have made a joke about Chief Justice Roberts' goof while he was administering the oath of office to Obama on the 20th when they came together to re-do the oath on the 21st. Biden's humor was almost Shatneresque in scope -- he doesn't know when to let sleeping dogs lie, either.

Oh, well... Joe will always be Joe. He has a good heart -- he just has a loose tongue! I bet he's a hoot in person and as a person. Probably a lot more fun than Obama, in fact! But they're both lots of fun. To watch. And pray for.

I find it much easier to pray for this President and VP than it was to pray for Bush-Cheney. I was always praying for Bush-Cheney to "get a clue!" Isn't that awful? Shame on me. But God knows my heart, so I couldn't lie!

What else? Not a whole lot. I was telling the young'uns (Jackie's grandkids) about baby guinea pigs... about how they're born looking just like a fully-grown guinea pig, but only an inch or so long (they even lose their baby teeth while in utero!) ... and so of course now they want me to get a girl guinea pig so we can have babies. I said, "Not now. Not till I'm sure you are reliably taking care of the two we already have without being asked on the weekends."

I also told them that if we have a litter of guinea pig babies (probably two will be born) that they will fall in love with them and not want to get rid of them... so their costs will double. They'll have to earn more money to take care of the larger population... or they'll have to give away or sell the little ones or give away or sell the larger ones.

That gave them pause. They still want baby guinea pigs but I promised them that their hearts will be broken one way or the other if I agree to it. They'll have to find homes for the ones they currently love, or find homes for the babies (which will be easier) that are born.

So they're noodling that. It's hard. I know. I was a guinea pig owner as a kid, too.

It's a fact of life: guinea pigs are cute as buttons as wee ones, and as adults, and it's hard to part with them. And they live eight years. So wise decisions have to be made.

Kids aren't into making wise decisions. That's why adults were created. We sometimes make the right decisions when it comes to pets.

Sometimes. Not always.

But I'm trying to make the right decision this time. It isn't easy. But I can already see and hear the tears if I say yes to a female guinea pig and she has babies.

"OK, gang... which two of all these guinea pigs get a new home?"


"I told you if we did this, this would happen."


I don't even wanna go there. I hate to make kids cry.

And I don't like crying myself...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Gasp! I May Be Slammed With Projects Next Week!

Such good news for me. Elance business is picking up. It's almost breath-taking, all of a sudden. In fact, I may find myself making a living full-time if this keeps up the way it has all month. It's lovely. Lovely. Lovely.

It's also a little scary. I've been bidding and expecting to get about 4 to 5% of what I bid on, but suddenly the percentage has jumped up by quite a bit... so it becomes a balancing act: How many bids are too many for one month? Suppose everyone accepts me as their service provider on a particular day and I've said I can deliver in a week? ACK!!!

So far projects have been coming in almost perfectly -- just as I finish one, another one or two come my way. I try to bid on "short" jobs -- things that take at most a full day to complete. That way I can be sure to not overwhelm myself or get behind. So far this strategy has worked.

But there are times when a buyer decides he or she wants me to do another project, too, and that one may be shorter or longer. It's not something I figured on, so it's a surprise project. Or someone sees my profile and portfolio and asks me to bid on their project when I already have a lot of bids out there...

As I say, so far it hasn't been a problem. It has all fallen into place nicely. No one has been inconvenienced or had a project deadline delayed (at least, not as a result of any malingering at my end). Any project deadlines that have been extended have been the result of the buyer's decision and response time, or because the project was added to by the buyer.

It's kinda exciting! It's also a little nerve-wracking, because I want to keep my 100% positive rating at Elance and so I am a little nervous, now that it looks like projects are falling to me a lot more often. But this is a good problem to have! I am certainly not complaining. BRING 'EM ON! I'll deal with them as they come.

A couple of buyers are trying me on short projects to see if they can use me weekly on other projects. If those happen, I'll have a stable, predictable weekly income for at least half a day's work every day. That would be terrific, because I can invest the rest of the time on other short-term, fast turnaround projects.

Perhaps my primary USP (Unique Selling Point) is how fast I can turn a project around. I was so good at doing that at my last job a year ago that the owner of the business and his wife were "flabbergasted" and wanted me to teach it to the other two copywriters. (We never got around to it; too busy.) And he was an ad exec who had written for radio for nearly 25 years. He had never seen anything like it.

Call me a deadline slayer. I have never missed a deadline yet. I usually beat them by an astonishing number of days! This kid is not a procrastinator when it comes to writing. I love it! I'm never happier than when writing something.

I walk twice daily, too, for about 40 minutes each time. I take an ipod shuffle along.

On the ipod is a bunch of music, but my Treks in Sci Fi podcast interview with Rick Dostie from 2006 or 2007 is on there, too. (Here's a link to it, in case you never heard it, or want to hear it again)

Up until yesterday, every time the interview came around, I just scanned past it to the next song, but yesterday I decided to listen to it for the first time since it aired in September, 2006 or 2007. I was only halfway home at that point and figured I had enough time to hear most of it before getting to the front door. And I was feeling nostalgic for De and brave enough to hear myself talk. (That takes guts, lemme tell ya!)

I expected to be embarrassed by it because I remembered an awful lot of "talking over each other" during the interview. But when I listened to it, I found that there was really not much of that. In fact, I hardly remembered most of the interview, so it was interesting to revisit it and hear it more or less as a radio listener would. It turned out pretty nice. I actually got home and then sat on the front porch steps and listened to the rest of it. I'm no longer embarrassed by the thought of it. It turned out better than I remember.

In fact, I ought to place the link on my Facebook page. It might sell some books! Ya just never know!

Yeah, I'll go do that now.

I've talked your ear off long enough for one night.

Blessings galore to y'all!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

MLK Jr National Day of Service Memories...

Photo Courtesy of Kate Fritz,
Volunteer Coordinator
Habitat for Humanity and Americorps
I'm the fifth from the left in the first row (white hardhat)
Yesterday thirteen volunteers showed up at a quarter to eight in the morning to spend more than half a day shoveling heavy, rocky substrate into wheelbarrows and then pushing the wheelbarrows into the interior of a new home that Habitat for Humanity is building for a very deserving family (information on the family follows my report).
The reason the substrate had to be transported via wheelbarrows rather than by a conveyor belt is that conveyor belts are extremely expensive to rent and because the type of home being built had to have the sides put up completely before the substrate went in. I forget the type of building it is, but the walls are all concrete inside (for soundproofing). They had to be in and stable before the substrate went in.
It was a very cold morning, with fog shrouding the work site until just before 2 p.m. when the sun came out just long enough to get the above photo. (Thank you, Jesus!) I haven't worked that hard on that sustained a basis for decades, so it was invigorating... exhausting... blood-churning, pulse-raising. I have one of those nifty mio sports watches and kept checking my pulse to be sure I wasn't working past 90% of my heart rate. A couple times I found my pulse at 148 beats per minute, so I'd stop and take a brief breather whenever I saw that happening. I have a healthy heart, so my heart rate plummets quickly as soon as I back off a little.
I spent about half of the time pushing a wheelbarrow, until my pusher muscles gave out after about two hours. (There was a ramp going into the structure that was at about a 45 degree angle, and inside the structure the downward angle was even more precipitous, so getting a wheelbarrow up and down was not an easy task.) After that, I took up a shovel and started putting the substrate into wheelbarrows for others to push in.
We got through the first mound of dirt (several yards of it) in a bit over an hour, but then the trucking company brought in another four loads of the stuff. What you see in the photo is what we DIDN'T get inside the building. But we raised the level inside the building quite a lot by the time they called a halt at 2. (Because we were all really pooped by then!) We got a 45 minute lunch around noon and then I helped another crew chief lift and load some concrete forms (wooden forms used as walls for concrete pours) and other boards at another house being built by Habitat for another family.
It was a hard-working, heart-warming day. I look forward to doing it again. If I do this kind of thing often enough, I'd work off my excess weight in half a year, I'll bet!
And now... here's the rest of the story... written by someone else. This is the story of the family we're building the home for.
Nguyen Duong Family Story
2008 - 8 - 26
by Jerry Lejeune, Family Partner

In the summer of 2006 Hung Nguyen, his wife Nga, and their 13 year old son Hao left Saigon Vietnam and headed for Tacoma. Nga's mother was already living in Tacoma with one of her nine children. She had come to live here to help with her grandchildren.
As soon as the Nguyens arrived they all went to Richards' farm in Puyallup and got jobs picking raspberries. This was the first sign of their constant effort to work and better themselves.
In Saigon Hung had been a successful veterinarian. He loves his profession but his lack of English has prevented him from taking the necessary tests here to get his veterinarian's license.
Hung didn't let that stop him from searching for employment. Less than a month after arriving in Tacoma he found full time work in a bag factory. He also took ESL classes at Tacoma Community College.
His wife, Nga had been a sewing teacher in Saigon. It took her almost a full year but she eventually found a job in a nail shop. It is only part time and she must travel to Bremerton but you will hear no complaints from this family.
Their son, Hao, is bright, cheerful and respectful. While in Saigon he took English in school and his parents also got him a tutor to help learn the language. In the fall of 2006 he enrolled in Keithly Middle School.
During his first year at Keithly Hao played soccer, football and tennis. He has also found time to volunteer with metro parks and enjoyed working with the young children. His smile is infectious and it's not hard to imagine that he was welcomed warmly by both teachers and his peers. Hao is now 15 and this fall he will be a sophomore at Washington High School. He looks forward to playing sports but he also has a goal to go to college and study to be a veterinarian. His dad's eyes light up when Hao talks about this.
This is a family that puts a high value on education and hard work. It is also a family that genuinely likes each other. It's easy to see this when you are around them.
Presently Hung, Nga, Hao and Nga's mother Thu are all living in a very small apartment. In October 2007 they applied to Habitat for a home. They have met almost all of their "sweat equity hours" (500 hours each) and are anxiously awaiting news of a house. Working with a family like the Nguyens is a real reminder of why we believe in Habitat. These are good, industrious, proud people who are willing to work to make their dream come true.

I Wish DeForest Kelley Had Lived to See This Birthday...

De kept a folded excerpt from a magazine article in his wallet for years. I found it in his wallet after he passed away. He had shown it to me before. It was beyond precious to him.

The excerpt was from an interview with actor Paul Winfield (who played Captain Terrell in a TREK movie, but also lots of other great roles). In the interview, Winfield related that DeForest Kelley was the only Southerner of his generation in Winfield's life who had "not one shred of racism in him."

And since De considered himself a liberal (certainly in relationship to his very conservative upbringing), I know we would have both been in tears today -- with joy, pride and delightful surprise -- as Barack Obama was administered the oath of office for the highest office in our land.

De's father used to preach in black churches every four weeks when De was growing up. And one of his best friends was a black lad about his same age.

I'm glad De missed seeing 9/11 and much of what followed, but I would give a lot to know he is, for sure, looking down from heaven today and grinning and weeping with joy at what America has done today (or did on November 4th, 2008).

Happy Birthday, De... and happy re-birthday, America!

The new millennium is starting eight years late, but we're off on the right foot now.

I can't wait to see what the next eight years brings.

I'm praying for a hedge of protection around the new administration and their families and around our country and the world. With a smart, brave, conciliatory new leader who wants to throw a spotlight on the many areas in which we can all agree, I think we have a better chance than we have ever had before to get it right this time.

Hallelujah! May God direct their paths... and each of ours.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I'll Be Building a House with Habitat for Humanity Tomorrow

I've just signed up to build a house with Habitat for Humanity tomorrow during the National Day of Service. I have the perfect t-shirt to wear (over my sweatshirt!). Haven't worn it yet. I bought a black t-shirt with Dr. King, Barack Obama and JFK and RFK on it a few months ago. This is the perfect opportunity to debut it publicly.

If any of you who are reading this are in Tacoma, and want to join me tomorrow, follow this link and sign up:

If you aren't in Tacoma but are anywhere in the U.S., you can find a link at the above URL for an event near you. Just go to "Find an Event Near You" and type in your zip code.

Let me know what you did on the National Day of Service, have someone take a photo of you with your digital camera, and send it to me in an email as a jpeg. I'll publish it here next week if you give me permission!

Let's get 'er started... the "Rebuilding of the American Dream" kickoff begins tomorrow!

...and continues all day January 20th, 2009 when Barack Obama becomes the next President of the United States.

This is something to sit your kids down in front of the television set for, because in future years they WILL be asked, "Where were you the day Barack Obama became President?"

This is American history that we can be SO proud of!

He and VP Biden have a big hill to climb to get us out of the ditch we're in, but I feel very excited that they're the two we've chosen to lead out onward and upward.

Thanks again, America!

We have work to do.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sorry I've Been AWOL

Busy girl here. This past week I've been inundated with Elance projects. Since last Sunday I've earned lotsa moolah. (Go to my profile at Elance and look into the feedback section to see the $$ column.) This is a good thing, but it cuts down on my ability to stay connected to this blog as often as I usually am, for sure! If this keeps up, I can stop looking for another job and just work from home (my goal, but not anything I truly expected this soon in my fledgling career as an Elancer). Hallelujah!

Today Writer's Edge folks met at my church again for the first time since November 1st. It was terrific because it seemed we haven't missed a beat since our last meeting. From now on until summer we'll meet every three weeks, like clockwork, and keep moving toward our goals: publication for everyone in the ministry! We've also been invited to bring some of our best writing to the upcoming Women's Conference on May 1st at CFAN. The ladies are hosting a concert for everyone, not just ladies, that night. The theme of the conference this year is healing and restoration and we have two great offerings for those topics already (and we've only met three times). We have a great group and I feel certain you'll be hearing their names and experiencing their hearts and gifts in the future if you follow any of the major Christian publications.

After the meeting, I went to lunch with a friend I've known for 22 years, Melody Adams. We worked together when I was an office manager for a continuing education school for real estate, insurance and securities agents and brokers. Melody has always been one of my most ardent supporters and encouragers. We don't get together often enough these days. That has to stop. She is a true blessing.

I'm very much looking forward to Tuesday when Barack Obama becomes President of the United States. Even those who didn't vote for him want him to succeed, because we need to get ourselves out of the ditch we're in. This is perhaps the first time in my life when I think everyone is praying for and hoping for a new administration to really hit the ground running and make changes that will resurrect our greatness as a nation and as a people. It's not going to be easy, but with so many people willing to do what we can to "make it so," we probably have as good a chance as at any time in my lifetime. It's going to take all of us. It's not going to happen overnight. It's not going to be easy. But the American spirit has never let us down yet when we've really needed it. I have every expectation that we'll be better off four years from now than we are now, and even better than that eight years from now. If we stop fighting about where we disagree and work on the things we all agree on, we can get America back on track.

I'm all for that!

My prayers and best wishes go out to the incoming Obama-Biden administration. We need you!

Whoever Did This was AMAZING!!!!!

All of our Presidents, Washington through Obama, via morphing...

Utterly fascinating!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tara and Bella -- True Friends...

If they can do it, as different as they are, why not we?

What Will You Be Doing January 19th and 20th?

I'll be volunteering somewhere locally on the 19th and "attending" the Inauguration and Inauguration Ball on Tuesday (virtually).

I actually was invited to the Inauguration and Ball in Washington DC because I volunteered for the Obama-Biden campaign but alas, no can do. Funds are too tight... (The invitation is framed and on the wall in my hallway, though, next to a terrific poster of our next President, you may be sure!!!)

But I'll be there in spirit.

A new day is dawning in America and I want to be part of it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reputation Management Solutions For Online Businesses

At last! There's a solution to annoying online "trash talk reviews": Online Reputation Management. Hallelujah!

If you're a writer like me, or if you have any other online business, probably the most irksome thing about your "virtual" status is that anyone can log on and try to trash your reputation with just a few well-oiled, vitriolic phrases. For example, at Amazon if you search on my book "DeForest Kelley: A Harvest of Memories" you'll see an almost unending line of rave reviews extolling its many virtues . Most of the reviews are 5-star (highest possible rating) blessings to me, but you'll also notice the rare, occasional 1-star "thumping" by a reviewer.

It wouldn't be so bad if Amazon would "play it as it lays" and let prospective buyers stumble upon the occasional bad-mouthing, but Amazon places "the most helpful" lousy review prominently on the main page, right alongside an example of one or two of "the most helpful" rave reviews. Result: People get a mental impression, "Uh-oh. Buyer beware!"

Even though every one of the published "trash" reviews are addressed and heartily disdained by other readers who have jumped in (without prompting) to "defend" me against the tirades, unless a curious reader clicks on the feedback links and reads them, the damage is done. I'm sure I lose a percentage of potential readers anyway, which is a real shame, if they loved De Kelley. It's a loss for them every bit as much as it is for me.

So I'm going to contact Internet Reputation Management and see what they can do to get Amazon to take down the offending reviews, since Amazon seems to have turned a deaf ear to my "report violation" efforts.

Although there was one less-than-stellar review (early on) that I totally understood and would not want to have erased (I'm all for fair-and-balanced reviews!), there are three others (written by cohorts) which are completely baseless. One of them even accuses me of being "delusional" with regard to my 30 year association with DeForest and Carolyn Kelley! That's libel! If you google "Kristine+M+Smith," the first thing that pops up is an extensive interview that Billie Rae Walker and I did for STAR TREK MAGAZINE detailing my association with the Kelleys. And there's the podcast that Rico and I did for his Treks in Sci Fi listeners :

For gosh sakes, I'm even invited to speak at STAR TREK conventions about my association with the Kelleys and am writing a second book about De, due out this year. So, the "delusion" appelation in that one review is tantamount to defamation of character! It ticks me off... waaaaay more than just a little... every time I think about it, which is every time I logon to see if additional reviews have come in.

If you're having the same kind of Reputation Management issues, give Internet Reputation Management a try. I'm going to look into what the costs are. For me, the fees may be too steep to make it worth my while, but for those of you with significant on-line businesses, if you're getting bad reviews that teach you nothing (because they're baseless), IRM may be just the ticket for you. It's worth a look-see!

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New federal regulations require that all paid endorsements, even in blogs, be disclosed as such. I was paid $10 to write and publish this entry, but would not have done so had I considered the company less than reputable.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

One of DeForest Kelley's Finest Roles --

URL to one of De's finest roles! (No, it ain't McCoy)

The title of this Virginian show was "Man of Violence" and De was FABULOUS in it.

Thanks to Mary Doman for this link.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sometimes... I Surprise Myself... in a Good Way!

Yesterday I received an email from a gentleman who wanted me to bid on a "rush" job at Elance that I really was afraid to do. The project was to edit a long-form ad (24 pages in length!) into a four or five page document. making it a much shorter long-form ad.

First of all, I loathe (underscore loathe) long form advertising... even to just read it. I know it's often necessary when someone is trying to sell a high-priced service or item (to help potential buyers overcome "sticker shock"), but I despise being trapped inside a sales pitch myself (no matter how masterfully presented) for thirty freaking minutes or more.

And this was a RUSH job, to top it off. I have never done long form advertising, so I was skeptical that I had the skill set to do an exemplary job. I wasn't even certain I wanted to learn how to do this kind of sales project. Did I want to risk my 100% positive rating at Elance on a RUSH job where there is so little room (time-wise) for error? Not really!

Even though I was feeling very insecure about the whole thing, the buyer was absolutely convinced (based on my portfolio at Elance) that I was the person he wanted tackling the job. So, hesitant but purposeful, I spent about forty minutes on a "spec" page, editing and rewriting the ad the way I would want it presented to me if I were its recipient. What I came up with was very different from the original, which was written in a kind of working man's slang ("stupid meetings that go nowhere," and the like).

I sent off the "spec" beginning to the prospective buyer and was almost immediately reassured that what I had started was exactly what he was looking for (structure and tone), so I said a prayer, accepted the project and set out to finish it, feeling encouraged and much better about the whole thing.

By the end of yesterday, over a period of five hours, I had edited the 24 page behemoth down to six pages (not including lots of lengthy testimonials) and had the skeletal structure of a good piece. I created the document in two different formats (the first using testimonials along the way, the second leaving all testimonials for another page) and sent it to the buyer.

He wrote back within an hour with glowing comments and a little more direction, saying that now he could see where "we" have three perfectly good, perfectly useful (in different venues) documents if I could adapt one of the two documents into an ad letter for executives!

So this morning I got up at 3 a.m. and set to work on that one. It came together so well that I felt compelled to go over to Jackie's half of the abode as soon as she got up and burble all over the place, telling her how surprising and wonderful it is to do a truly exemplary job "by the seat of my pants," feeling that the stretching I have done on this project has "grown" me as a writer in a number of ways.

She said, "You're an awesome writer, Kris," as though nothing I was telling her was a surprising revelation to her. But she did understand that I was treading new territory and that "getting it right the first time" was a surprise to me and had made me utterly giddy!

I wasn't sure, when I began as a freelance copywriter, that I would have what it takes... that I would measure up... that I would even enjoy what I was doing. But over the course of the past year, I've completed more than 30 projects at Elance and have 100% positive reviews from buyers to show for it. I have fallen in love with copywriting. I "adopt" every client as if they're family members and "catch" their enthusiasm for their product or service. I "capture" their voice and vision and find ways to put all of it into a document so it can be disseminated via email, letter, or website to prospective buyers.

I have never been happier in a job than I am in this one. And every time positive new feedback comes in at the conclusion of a project, I get giddy all over again. It confirms to me, "You can do this. And you do it very, very well!"

It has taken me years to finally "own" my premier skill set. I could kick myself for not having the courage to get to this point a long time ago.

And in 2009 and beyond I hope to get even better! It's the nature of the "beast" in me to believe that I'm not finished "growing" as a copywriter... or as a person.

I would be so bored and uninspired if I believed that I have reached the pinnacle of growth as a writer or as a soul and need learn no more. But it's great to know that I'm "good enough" just as I am.

We all want to feel that way, don't we?

Here it is. It's official:You are good enough, just as you are. But keep going and keep growing so you never get bored or prideful.

It ain't over till there's a gravestone over your head or your ashes are sitting in an urn or scattered somewhere -- and then it ain't over, "over there"!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Not Very High But Relatively Dry!

MSNBC COVERAGE of the storms up here in my neck of the woods:

There's a stream (where there was no stream before!) running all around our property. The endless rains have really caused a mess all over town but Jackie and I remain "not very high, but dry enough" and expect to remain this way...

It's pretty nerve-wracking to walk into the back yard and see a brook burbling out of our French drain and a sizable brook emanating from the field behind us (which is on higher ground). The neighbors and we are separated by streams on both sides! It's pretty amazing.

In addition to receiving an astonishing eight inches of rain in the past 24 hours, the mountains around us are being rained on as well and the snow is melting and adding to the runoff. The towns of Orting to the east (6-8 miles away) and Fife ( 3 miles away) to the north, plus some of Puyallup (just a mile away) to the northeast, are partially under water. If you're watching the cable stations, you may be seeing some of the coverage.

Laurel's town, Rochester, is partially underwater; lots of people are heading for (or already in) shelters around the area. This is NOT what the Pacific Northwest is usually like, but the past several years have been pretty dicey... so yes, I believe there is something to global warming! We should be in a deep freeze this time of year, not going through this kind of weather.

Please keep everyone here in the Pacific North Wet in your prayers. A lot of people are in dire straits right now.

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If you have the ability, and would like, to help neighbors who are experiemcimg flooding all around me, please donate to the local (Mt Rainier) chapter of the Red Cross at this URL:

Every dollar helps. Thanks!


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Why Not Us? Live in Harmony....

Pretty cool! I had a cat and a rat at one time. They were best buddies and took turns chasing each other for fun.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Hey, Get to Know My "Followers," Too! Fascinating Folks!

By clicking on the "Followers" names (scroll to the bottom of the page), you can find out more about some of the other folks following this blog. Several of them have their own blogs, and THEY ARE TERRIFIC!

One of my followers (Selena Rogers in Australia) is going through chemo (fighting leukemia), so let's all keep her in our prayers. Another delightful "follower" named Moss is a former Christian who has been following the Jewish faith for some time now. (I came real close to doing that myself as a teenager, too.) And she has some Leonard Nimoy articles to share on her blog about his upbringing as one of very few Jews in a Massachusetts community and about his parents' devout faith and their escape from Russia in a pile of hay. Fascinating stuff. (Ooohhhh... did I use that Spockian term?) I knew about it -- I followed Leonard for years, too -- but not all of you may know about it. So go find out on the blog!)

We are all connected. Would love to find Muslim, Buddhist and other faith followers, too...
and even some atheists! C'mon, I know you're out there. Stand up and be counted!

The only rule for this blog is this one: We have to be kind to those with whom we may disagree in any area: religion, politics, society, you name it. We call ourselves members of a "civilization," and I do insist on civility in order to publish comments that come in to me for this blog.

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. IDIC. It's the only way we can survive on such a small planet with such big weapons of mass destruction.


Uh vey... I feel very much like a lame horse at the moment.

Got up bright and early to take my usual two mile walk. I carried four pounds of weights in each hand and five pounds of weights around each ankle, and away I went, iPod nibs (or whatever you call them) jammed into each ear canal, "pumping iron" for 32 blocks.

Since that's my usual routine, that alone didn't "get" me. Here's what "got" me:

All four of Jackie's grandkids stayed overnight, as did Phil and Wendy (Casey's and Jamie's mom and dad; they're Jackie's son and his wife -- but most of you know this already.) It's our tradition to play games until midnight on New Year's Eve (along with Wendy's mom and dad, George and Sue) and then Grammie Jackie gets out pots, pans and metal and wooden spoons and everyone goes out into the night, stands on the lawn, and awaits the final countdown. On the very first second of each new year, our neighbors get "serenaded" -- er, more like "violated" -- (and remember, we're new in this neck of the woods this year) by what probably sounds like an old jalopy dragging tin cans down the road accompanied by yells and shouts. Naturally, all dogs within a mile radius start barking. Isn't this a lovely way to ring in the New Year?? (I'd wager right now that you're giving thanks you don't live next door to us! Would I be right about that???)

Some of the adults drink hot buttered rum, spiked eggnog, hot toddies or other concoctions (I don't drink at all), and as they do this, they get louder and more boisterous with their game playing. We played Racko last night. I played three or four hands (won one) but then I retired to the couch to read another Chris Tiegreen book called "Creative Prayer" as we awaited the Noisy Neighbor Moment. (I didn't go out at midnight. I know, I'm a party pooper, but I love my neighbors and prefer to "do unto others..." you know the rest....)

Anyway, back to my lameness... before this blog entry becomes lame all by itself...

About an hour after I got back from my 32 block walk this morning I thought I might take in a matinee movie, but Wendy told me that the movie I planned to see (Marley and Me) is on their agenda on Saturday as a family outing, so I decided to wait to go with them. Finding myself at loose ends, I asked the three biggest wee ones (Elizabeth, 10, Casey, 8, and Isabella, 6) if they'd like to go for a walk. YUP! YOU BET'CHA! BOY HOWDY!

So they bundled up and we went around again (32 blocks), stopping at the playground for some swinging and silliness about three quarters of the way around. By this time, my left heel (which has been bothering me so much that I got orthotics for Christmas, which help, but I'm not supposed to wear them more than an hour a day to start, so I didn't wear them the second time around) was "talkin' to me" pretty seriously, but I managed to limp home and get inside the house and sit down... at which time precious Jamie, age 4, sidled up to me and said, "Will you take me for a walk now?" (because she's too little to go two miles, she didn't get to go with the older girls and me earlier).


At first I said no, but hey, she's too cute and too sweet to say no to for more than six seconds, so I said, "OK, I will, but it can't be for very long, okay, because my heel is starting to hurt." (Understatement!) She beamed and said, "OK!" and bundled up and away WE went for probably another half mile. Along the way I became more and more lame.

By the time we got back to the house, I was on my last legs, but I had done my duty as a grand aunt, by golly!!!

I put hot water and Epsom salts into the tub and stepped in (ouch! because of my heel, not the water) and soaked for a good half hour. It felt better.

But every time I step on it anew it requires a "breaking in period" before it stops hurting like the dickens. I think I have plantar fascitis again (except that I don't know how to spell fascitis...). That's when the tendons and sinews in the bottom of your foot scream bloody murder for the first minute or more every time you step on it after sitting or lying idle for a while.

It could be worse. I'm not complaining. I could just use some sympathy and a "well done" from all of you who know what sacrifice is.


I love those kidlets. They're worth every bit of this heel pain...