Friday, October 31, 2008

Warped sense of humor

My mother sent me a link to this video--the subject line of her email was "turn up the sound, you can hear her head hit the pole!"

If you share our warped sense of humor, crank up the volume before watching this!

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

He just doesn't get it

Hubby: So you're working at [Client A] until when today?
Me: One o'clock.
Hubby: Oh, so you have the afternoon off!

Um, no . . .

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What do you do?

I hate being asked that question--or rather, I hate answering it. I always hesitate before answering, and I always trip on the answer. I LOVE LOVE LOVE what I do. I love being in business for myself. But I struggle every time somebody asks me what I do.

It should be a simple question to answer--I'm a freelance writer and editor. But that answer always spawns more questions, or a quizzical look on the face of the person I'm talking to. Inevitably, that nice little 6-word answer becomes a lot more complicated. Often, I have to explain what I don't do: I'm not a journalist, I don't write for magazines, and they've likely not seen anything I've written. Next, I have to explain who my clients are: I write for businesses, and for ad agencies. And what kinds of things do I write and edit? I write brochures, ad copy, PowerPoints, proposals, posters, flyers, web copy, and pretty much anything else people are willing to pay me to write. Same goes for editing. Do I have an office? I work from home or from my clients' offices, whichever is more suited to the project.

Usually their attention has waned by that point, and they leave me alone to contemplate how I can better answer the question next time I get asked.

What do you think--is there a better way?

Monday, October 27, 2008


They say everybody has at least an occasional obsessive-compulsive tendency, but I think I'm a little more OCD than most. My tendencies manifest themselves in two ways:
  • I'm fairly anal-retentive
  • I'm prone to "earworms"
While being anal serves me well from time to time, having an almost constant medley of mental music is just plain annoying.

The DJ at WOCD (the call letters for the "radio" in my head) sometimes provides me with musical variations on a theme. Today's theme is songs featuring authors, writing or reading. For example:
  • "Every Day I Write the Book" by Elvis Costello
  • "Don't Stand So Close to Me" by The Police
  • "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield
  • "My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors" by Moxy Fruvous
Because I know you wouldn't want me to suffer alone, here's a video for that last one:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Coveting thy neighbor's stuff

The feast-or-famine nature of this week's copy editing gig forced me to find creative ways to kill time. When I ran out of lists to make, I decided to spend some time exploring my environment.

To ensure that I was available if and when any editorial work came my way, I limited my explorations to the copy editor's office which has been my home base all week. Even in this small space, I found many wonderful treasures to covet:
  • a license plate which reads "META4S"
  • a vast library of reference books, including 4 dictionaries, 2 thesauruses and a wide variety of style guides
  • all my favorite software, and a hard drive big enough to run it all without slowing to a crawl
  • Post-it notes galore, including multicolor flags, minis, traditional squares and 4x6 ruled
  • a "Word of the Day" calendar (Thursday's word: philippic, meaning a discourse or declamation full of bitter condemnation)
  • an entire wall of cork board
  • a giant ampersand paperweight
Hmm. I may have just written my Christmas list!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

There was an old woman . . .

When I was a young girl, I often wondered about the kind of old woman I would become. In these musings, Elderly Me usually had long, white hair that I would wear in a braid. She was the author of several best-selling novels, and lived comfortably off the royalties. Healthy well into her 90's, she would die peacefully in her bed, and her life would be celebrated by hundreds of people.

The Me of today has a more realistic view of the aging process. Currently in my 30's, I have back pain, poor eyesight and tinnitus, and I cut my hair short years ago because it was too much of a bother to wear it long. Now when I think about the Me of retirement age and beyond, I wonder if I'll even make it to old age. And if I do, I'll more than likely be the cranky old lady who gets arrested for stealing balls from the neighborhood kids.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I make lists. Shopping lists. Packing lists. To-do lists. Christmas lists. Random lists of random things. And there are few things more satisfying to me than crossing something off a list. It's concrete proof that I accomplished something, no matter how trivial it may be.

I found myself with a lot of free time on Monday, and rather than sit around doing nothing while I waited for somebody to bring me something to edit, I made the following lists:
  • ideas for blog posts (this post was #2)
  • outfits to wear for the rest of the week, including shoes and accessories
  • dinner ideas for the rest of the week
  • deliverables for my current projects
  • an outline for the database I'll be developing for my workers comp client (an outline counts as a list, right?)
As I typed the bullets above, it dawned on me that I was making a list of lists. Guess I just added a new variety of list to my repertoire!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Circus freak

Awhile back I posted an entry about a Halloween Party I would be attending. The theme was "Circus Freaks." Several of you provided good--and very elaborate--costume ideas, but I went with something fairly easy and cheap instead. I designed the following t-shirts for my husband and myself (the graphic with the starbursts was on the back of both shirts):

Sadly, I wasn't the only one with the "World's Tallest Midget" idea--and because the other partygoer was taller than I, my shirt got amended to read "World's 2nd Tallest Midget."

I think a more appropriate circus act to describe me this week would be "juggler." As regular readers know, I am taking the week off from my not-a-part-time-job agency gig to fill in full-time for the copy editor of another agency (and doing a little work for the former agency after I get home). I'm also working on 2 RFPs for my workers comp client and designing some promotional materials for my neighborhood business association's "shop locally" holiday open house. Whew!

Monday, October 20, 2008

DON'T postresumehere

According to my statistics, nearly a quarter of my blog hits are to a post I wrote in August about my consternation with Craigslist ads that direct unsuspecting people to So I thought I might take a moment to delve a little deeper into the mystery of that website in order to enlighten the masses:
  • is a site that proposes to aid you in finding a job by matching your resume to job openings. Unlike other job search sites, PostResumeHere uses nefarious tactics like posting misleading "job opportunities" to Craigslist.
  • PostResumeHere has no "about us" page like you find on other job search sites.
  • Also unlike other sites, you must register before you can even view any opportunities--and the registration links send you either to the registration page at or (though nothing else on the home or security pages mentions any connection to these sites).
As if three strikes isn't enough . . .
  • In addition to an overabundance of ads by Yahoo, the site pimps a resume-writing book called Resume Magic.
  • Several other "links" on the site either aren't functional or are big blocks of text (instead of individual links) that don't link to anything but that registration page.
Bottom line: unless you're looking for advice on improving your resume, stay away from this site. Beyond any value it might offer in that capacity, it doesn't appear to be anything other than a back-door to other job search sites.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I got a lovely complement from the Art Director of the agency where I'm doing the 4-hours-a-day-not-a-part-time-job-I-swear gig. I was writing a sentence he needed to incorporate into a web page, and he said "I love having you here--you can answer questions we'd ordinarily deliberate over for hours. It's great having an expert within shouting distance."

Awww, and I love being there.

Which reminds me, I will be taking next week off from that particular project to fill in for the copy editor over at another agency. I will try to post at least a few times throughout the week, but please don't think less of me if I don't!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


As a writer, I sometimes get a little too attached to my copy. I start to think of the words as my babies, born from my brain and nurtured onto the page with loving fingers. It can be painful, then, to remember that they're . . . just . . . words.

I'm writing the copy for a direct mail piece that one of my clients will be sending this month. Because of the timing, the mailer has a Halloween theme. My client liked the first draft, but felt there was "too much punchline" and not enough of a selling message to the copy. Going back to my baby analogy, I was faced with the difficult task of deciding which babies to keep, and which had to left at the orphanage.

Two of the lines that didn't make the cut:
  • Self-sabotage is the monster in the closet.
  • The status quo is the creature under the bed.


I'll miss the little guys.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I wanted to say thank you to Angie over at Gumbo Writer for spotlighting me in her blog over the weekend. She said some very nice things about me, and I will try to live up to them.

As a result of her post and the plea that inspired it, I now have a lovely handful of followers. So thank you to all of you who bothered to click that link, too.

An unintended (but nevertheless positive) consequence of all this has been that I now have a lot of new blogs and sites to visit! I added myself as a follower to those whose pages offered that option . . . several others I added to my bookmarks so I can find them when I do my daily surfing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Most likely to . . .

I spent a few hours this weekend catching up with a friend of mine from high school. When I got home, I continued to wax nostalgic by hauling out my yearbook and the "senior supplement" that went with it. The senior supplement is basically a book of lists reflecting the fads and favorites of our graduating class, and a "most/best/worst" list.

I wanted so badly to be voted most likely to write a book no one would understand, but my best friend won that honor. I, on the other hand, was voted:
  • most unique
  • most likely to change the world
  • most liberal
  • most likely to argue or question authority
  • most likely to overthrow a country
  • most likely to be a groupie
What image do these superlatives conjure in your head? Well, unless you knew me in high school, your mental picture is probably wrong.

I went to a parochial school. I was considered unique because I wore combat boots with my maroon polyester uniform. I was considered liberal, world-changing, anti-authority and revolutionary because I had opinions of my own, wasn't into sports and didn't generally cave in to peer pressure. I was considered potential groupie material because I quoted song lyrics on my notebook covers.

Now it's 15 years later, and neither I nor my friend have written a book (understandable or otherwise). I still haven't changed the world or run off with a band. My political and world views, while certainly liberal, are not by any means radical or revolutionary. I still voice my opinions, but I recognize that they are just that--my opinions. I guess some would call me unique, but aren't we all unique in some way or another? And is there such a thing as "most" unique?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Where's the fire?

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: I am, by nature, a procrastinator.

Usually I try to keep this part of my personality strictly within the realm of "personal life." But I'm beginning to see that when applied to business, procrastination can be parlayed into a useful skill.

No really, hear me out. By definition, a procrastinator puts things off until the last minute. A really skilled procrastinator will still deliver quality work on time. A really, really skilled procrastinator will let others do the procrastinating, and then when the project finally lands on his/her plate at the last minute, will save the day by delivering quality work on time.

I am a really, really skilled procrastinator. I put out other people's fires. It's not my preferred way of working, but when push comes to shove, and you absolutely, positively must have something done in an inconceivably short time frame, I'm your gal.

And there's another way being an executive-level procrastinator has helped me in my business. My current on-site gig has me working at the client's office from 1-5 every day (sounds suspiciously like a part-time job, but they assure me it isn't). I'm not an early riser. This means I have 3-3.5 hours each morning to work on my other projects before I have to leave for my afternoon gig. I apply my superior procrastination skills to make the most of that time--I give myself a 1:00 deadline every day, so from the minute I start working in the morning until that deadline, I am in quality, on-time fire extinguishing mode.

In the hands of a less-skilled procrastinator, this method would be a disaster. But I've never been more productive.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Don't make me beg

Okay, help a sister out. I recently added the "Follow This Blog" gadget to my page, and now it's taunting me with its lack of followers.

If you read my blog on a regular basis, please click the link to the left (right below my profile) and let the world know! Or if you're more the shy, silent type, choose to follow it privately. I'm just tired of seeing that big ol' zero.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Customer service

Did you know this is National Customer Service Week? Well, you do now--so start celebrating!

Give yourself a big ol' pat on the back for providing good customer service. If you have employees, thank them. If you get good customer service from your dry cleaner, fast food worker, store clerk, waiter, etc., acknowledge it!

You don't have to do anything extravagant. Smile. Say thank you. Tell someone they're doing a good job. Tell yourself you're doing a good job. It makes people happy to be appreciated, and that happiness shows in their work. Acknowledging good customer service is the gift that keeps on giving!

On the other side of the coin, this is a good opportunity to check in with your customers, too. Ask them how you're doing, and take to heart any feedback you get from them. And be sure to let them know how much you appreciate them trusting you with their business.

On that note, I'd like to say thank you to those of you who read my blog. I may never meet you, may never get to work with you, but I appreciate you. There are probably dozens of other things you could be doing, but you take a few moments out of your day to visit me here. That makes me smile, and hopefully I can return the favor.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Resume rant

This weekend, I helped one of my aunts write her resume. I helped her because she is family, not because I enjoy writing resumes. In fact, I really despise writing resumes. I hate them so much that I have, in the past, turned down paid work that involved resume writing.

Why do I dislike them so? Let me count the ways . . .
  • The spin factor: Resumes are supposed to play up your strengths and downplay your weaknesses. But people often walk a fine line between truth and fiction in their resumes.
  • So much to say, so little space to say it: It can be a real challenge to distill years of work into a few bullet points.
  • So little to say . . .: Conversely, not everybody has a good or lengthy work history, and yet their resume is their first impression upon prospective employers. This brings us back to the spin factor.
  • One man's trash is another man's resume: This one really sticks in my craw, because it contradicts almost everything I've already written. The success of a resume is arbitrary. Even if you have a horrible resume, chock full of typos and half-truths, there's still a good chance you'll get hired. In my cubefarm days, I used to have to comb through my fellow employees' resumes to write their bios for the company website, proposals, etc. They were, generally speaking, atrocious. And the higher paid the employee, the worse their resume was likely to be. In what world is that fair?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

At least I don't pack heat

What I find funniest about this clip is that the punctuation police officer (how politically correct of me!) breaks his own rules. I guess that's like a real cop speeding without the lights and siren on.

Monday, October 6, 2008

CSI: Editorial Department

I recently wrote a letter to the Editor of one of our community newspapers. It was a response to another letter they had printed the week before.

The paper printed my letter in their last issue, which is exciting.

What was not exciting was that the letter was edited. Badly. The Editor well and truly butchered my pronouns. Take a look (the 2nd paragraph is the bloodiest):
To the Editor:

I'm writing in response to Sue Ulry's letter (The Booster, Sept. 24) regarding her frustration about the recent power outage that affected Central Ohio.

First, some practical advice for Sue: contact your insurance company. She may find that they are quite willing to cut her a check for the $200 in groceries you lost, with no impact on her deductible.

Second, if all she lost is some food, she should consider herself lucky. Unlike others in our area (not to mention the unfortunate individuals in places like Texas, Cuba, Turks and Caicos, and Haiti), she didn't lose her home, her livelihood or her life. She was merely inconvenienced.

I hope this gives her -- and other Central Ohioans who feel the need to complain -- some much-needed perspective. It could have been worse.
I hope none of my prospective clients read The Booster . . .

Friday, October 3, 2008

Support system

My spray tanning web copy went live last week. I emailed a link to my mother and husband so they could see it. My mom's reply arrived within an hour, and was full of motherly praise and pride. My husband's reply came yesterday, and said this:
"i know a guy who owns tanning beds around town.
shall i pass along your info?"
My husband, on occasion, puts his excellent schmoozing skills to work on my behalf. He has opened doors for me with a few prospective clients, and for that I am thankful. But he is not 100% supportive of my freelancing career.

Part of him is jealous that I love my job, while he does not love his. As a result, he feels the need to occasionally make snide remarks like "did you have a rough day today?" and "if you get a spare minute, can you do some laundry?" Because I work from home, he assumes I sleep late and then watch TV all day. Today, via email, he said "you're up early" when in reality I just happened to be checking personal email earlier than usual. And unless I have absolutely nothing else to do (or am avoiding doing the requested laundry or other household chores, heh heh), I don't generally turn on the TV until I take a break for lunch. Yes, I have been known to work in my pajamas . . . the point is, I am working.

Another part of him worries about stability. I can't fault him for this--I too worry about not having enough work, but my business is growing and I would rather focus my energy on being a success than on not being a success. A former coworker gave me a copy of The Secret when I left the cubefarm job. While I don't believe that the universe is just waiting for me to ask before fulfilling my wildest dreams, I do believe that you reap what you sow. And when it comes to my livelihood, I'm sure as heck going to sow the best seeds I can get my hands on.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Paperclips shaped like feet!

When I reported for duty with my agency client yesterday, they showed me to my desk and apologized for the bare-bones quality of the space. "We didn't know your tastes," they said. No worries, I'm sure I can find some stuff at home to bring in.

They did, however, provide me with an assortment of basic office supplies--pens, pencils, highlighters, Post-it notes, stapler, tape and a little variety pack of colorful paperclips. I exclaimed over the latter, and told them how much I love fun office supplies.

Over the course of the next few hours, additional supplies showed up: another pack of novelty paper clips, including ones shaped like feet (I took a picture, but again, technical difficulties prevent me from being able to upload it), some colorful notepads, a bulletin/dry erase board, and a pen that the Art Director swears is the best ever.

I already knew that I liked these people, but being showered with office supplies makes me like them even more. I'm really looking forward to working with them this month!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

For the love of bacon

I have a pretty short attention span when it comes to advertising. Most ads, commercials and radio spots are just white noise or white space to me. Even earworm-inducing jingles usually backfire--I find myself humming or singing the tune, with no idea what product it was intended to pimp.

But yesterday, as I was thumbing through the latest issue of one of my city's alternative papers (cleverly-titled The Other Paper), an ad gave me pause. Actually, that's an understatement. You know that old Hollywood convention of a needle being scratched across a record that signifies an action coming to an abrupt halt? If anybody else had been present in my home at the moment my eyes fell on that ad, they may have heard that sound.

The ad was for a product called Bacon Salt.

I'm not even sure what about the ad affected me so strongly. Maybe it was the amount of text (a prolific 100+ in a half-page ad). Maybe the phrase "free sample" jumped out at me as my eyes skimmed the page. Most likely, though, it was the irresistible lure of fatty meat. The siren song of fried pork. The stirring of a less-evolved part of my brain, crying out to the universe that yes--oh, yes indeed--everything should taste like bacon.

Due to some technical difficulties, I cannot upload a picture of the actual ad that so captivated me, and I can't find it online either. But the sheer number of Google hits for the product tell me that I'm not the only one who sat up and took notice.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to run to the store for some Bacon Salt.