The Struggling Writer

The chronicles of a freelance writer as he tries to make a living.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I paid my mortgage!

Just a quick update because I'm tired. I just finished my last article for February and I managed to make enough from writing to pay my mortgage! By three whole dollars no less. Quite a milestone.

I've been fighting a vicious cold for a week and haven't been sleeping so I'm going to go drug myself up and hope I can get some sleep tonight. I'll do a better update later (yeah, I know I keep saying that).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Busy busy

I've been pretty busy catching up and got my first chance to take a breath today.

My over-caffinated laptop had to go through a full reformat and reinstall, so it's usable but everything's gone. Since I'm suspicious of ever trusting it again, it will become just a play laptop. I ordered a new writing laptop because heaven knows I need to own four computers (two desktops, two laptops). Since this will be a dedicated work laptop, at least I can claim depreciation on my taxes. My new laptop shipped but has been stuck in "clearance delay" in Indianapolis for nearly a week since it shipped from China.

I was able to (sort of) finish that big project. My disaster was complicated by the fact that I had misinterpreted what the client wanted. I was writing meaty technical articles; she wanted light advertising copy. No only was I putting WAY too much effort into each article, I had to put in WAY too much effort a second time to rewrite them. She was getting restless with how long they were taking, but once she saw them and corrected me I was able to put out most of the remainder by the deadline. She had to write a few herself, but her client is happy, so she's happy, and all is right with the world. She's given me a lot of work since then so it looks like she still trusts me :)

I continue to meet my "make more money than last month" goal. January beat December as well, plus meeting my "make more from writing than anything else". This month I had already beaten January's income by the 11th! I haven't had any work for several days and I know I should be doing the self-promotion thing but as long as my income keeps growing it's hard to get motivated to do that.

I keep having ideas of more informative lesson-type blog entries. I need to write them down since I forget them quickly. I hope to start updating a bit more often.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Small mistake, big disaster

Several months ago I was shopping for a desk for my home office. Since I write on a laptop, normal desks or even computer desks don't work because they are too high. Eventually I found desks that allowed you to adjust the height. I got it narrowed down to two: a desk and a table. They were exactly the same except for one difference. There was a support bar running from one side to the other underneath. On the table, this bar was in the middle (looking front to back). On the desk, it was shifted toward the back. But the desk was about $20 more so I figured I'd get the table instead.

The table arrived, I set it up, sat down and my knees hit the support bar. Not a big problem, but a little irritating. I should have spend the extra $20 on the desk but no harm done.

Monday I got a good-sized project that I've been working on this week. Thursday I started my workday by turning on the laptop and setting my mug of coffee down next to it. I sat down, scooted in, and my knees slammed against that support bar. Did I mention the coffee mug was one of those with a narrow bottom and a wide top? You know, there's a special place in Hell for people who design cups like that. The table wobbled, the mug wobbled, and in slow motion it tipped over and deposited its contents into my laptop. Poof. All gone.

Insert your own stream of profanity here.

No problem - I backup my documents every day. Every single freaking day. Except since I started this project.

I should also mention that this is a subcontract. It's the first project from a new and lucrative client for my client, so I not only screwed up my end, but I make her look stupid to her new (and hopefully not ex-) client.

I think of all the things that had to come together to make this happen. This was my third cup of coffee and I almost never drink more than two. Heck, I don't even work on Thursdays! Normally that's a day I take care of my niece, but her father had the day off so I figured I get a day of writing in instead. I didn't even own that particular coffee cup six weeks ago (Christmas present).

The laptop dried out overnight but wouldn't boot up this morning. I took it to a computer shop, but I don't expect them to be able to do anything with it. Even if they do, I would be reluctant to trust it. I did my taxes this week (the day before in fact) and I'm getting a substantial refund; guess where that is going. Every single time I get a windfall, some disaster happens within days that eats it up.

My weekend will be trying to recreate the articles I lost. Some types articles can be rewritten in a heartbeat, but not these. They were very technical articles with lots of screwy acronyms and such. All of my research and links was on that computer too so I'm really back at square one. My client appreciates my efforts and understands that these things happen so I haven't shot myself in the foot too badly.

But I really wish I'd spent the extra $20 on the desk.