Closing Down Shop & Relocating

Hello to all – I am writing to day with the sad news that I’ll be shutting this blog down shortly… but not to end my blogging career (even though it’s been almost a year since my last post) but rather to combine this blog (or the best of this blog anyway) with my official website blog. I’m still in the process of developing the direction and format and whatnot for that site, but as it stands, any new posts I make will be available there… not here. Here is scheduled for demolition.

Which makes me kind of said, because it’s my “whisper”… the first voice I had online (officially… since Facebook and Hotmail site things don’t really count in my books).

I may change my mind. If I do, I will delete this post and continue as if this post never existed. But, for right now, in this moment, at 3:40am on a Tuesday night (or Wednesday morning, depending on how you look at things), this is the beginning of the end.

Thank you all for reading my whispers! I hope you will continue to enjoy the semi-ranting, semi-informative and hopefully-entertaining ramblings that I call mine over on my website.

Oh, my website is:

(you’ll notice I haven’t posted much there recently either… don’t worry – I intend to fix that). 

UPDATE: My Life in a Nut Shell

Well, looks like I left everyone on a bit of a cliffhanger way back in November. Oops. My bad guys!

I “won” NaNoWriMo, in the sense that I wrote 50K in 30 days. In fact, I wrote 26K of that in the last three days of the month, but that’s neither here nor there.


Remember in September when I told you about my Part-Time status? And back in March when I talked about how I was trying to keep myself organized while working full time and completing freelance projects on the side?? Well, this update is an extension of those posts. It’s a step forward. A movement in the “right” direction. It’s a scary, exciting, tumultuous and frightening time in my life, because my friends…

I’ve gone full freelance.

*does happy dance*

In the month and a bit since I started, I’ve picked up two little nuggets of wisdom that I’d like to share with everyone, especially anyone who’s trying to change their life in a drastic way:

Take it One Thing At A Time

The first week of my full freelance status, I was freaking out. I kept thinking of the infinite amount of things I hadn’t sorted out before I went full freelance, and all of the things I’d said I’d do when I was full freelance. In no specific order, the things I stressed about the first week were:

  • Health Insurance
  • The unfinished projects at my previous job
  • Adding workouts to my morning routine
  • Adding “work on my NaNo Novel” to my daily schedule
  • Adding more clients to my client list
  • Going for coffee with friends I haven’t seen in ages
  • Having evenings and weekends to myself again for the first time in years

Here’s what I actually did that week:

  • Sorted out my freelance status with my previous job
  • Slept in
  • Stressed
  • Played Minecraft (oh yeah, I do that now…)

By the second week, the above stresses were calmed, but they were followed immediately by the financial freakout and guilt that I hadn’t done any of the things I’d said I wanted to do. By the third week, I’d found a nice schedule that wasn’t perfect, but would work as a building block. Now, on week five (six?), my goal is to keep to that less-than-perfect schedule, then gradually add more… ease myself into this new life.

So, if you’re planning a big life change, don’t expect to make everything you want to happen, happen at once. You’ve got to ease into it. Get yourself adjusted to the big change, then add one new, smaller change to your schedule. Then another. Eventually you’ll get there – after all, “there” is where you want to be!

Financial Security is not the same thing as Success

I said the above to a friend of mine (who has been freelance for a year) because:

  1. It’s true and
  2. I needed to hear it, too.

Financial Security and Success generally go hand in hand, which is why a lot of people consider them one and the same thing. But frankly, they’re not.

Success = the favourable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavours; the accomplishment of one’s goals.
Financial Security = having the resources to support a standard of living now and in the foreseeable future

My ultimate goal is to become a freelance writer and editor. I’m there. I have succeeded. Being a successful writer is not going to make me rich. It might not even give me the resources to support a standard of living now and in the foreseeable future. This is something I’ll deal with when I run out of money (which hopefully won’t be soon… hopefully *crosses fingers*).

The biggest problem that I think I’ll run into, that other freelancers I’ve spoken to have mentioned, is that “others” will try to tell me that I should get a job of some sort to cover the bills. They’ll worry about my finances for me. But, here’s the kicker: for the first time in my life, I can honestly say I am in the career that I love, and I love doing what I do.

I also have contingency plans …. seriously, I’ve thought all of this out more than you could ever know. I’ve totally got this!

The End is Nigh

Word Count: 36,164
Words written from Friday, 6:30pm – Saturday, 4am: 10,265
Hours Remaining: 44

So, I thought I’d given up on NaNoWriMo half way through the month. That’s roughly 10 days in which I wasn’t writing. I’d caught up on Day 8, stayed level until Day 10, wrote my butt off on Day 16 and then… and then…

Nothing happened.

I procrastinated. I focused on work and life (which every NaNoer knows you’re supposed to avoid like the plague in November) and suddenly it was day 26 and I hadn’t even hit 25K.

Now the real challenge begins! Which is why I’m not going to write much more in the blog, but I AM going to share a scene that I’ve fairly happy with (and for which you don’t need the whole backstory… not really anyway).

Enjoy the snippet of my story while I write until my fingers bleed!

(This scene occurs near the middle. The first part is the end of the previous scene but the gist of everything is there; also, please remember that this is crazy rough since it was written in the span of 20 minutes and only lightly edited… there’s a reason why National Novel Editing Month – NaNoEdMo – exists… and that’s not until March.)

“Sure, go consult with your little cult,” Audrey snipped. A small part of her regretted treating Misha this way, but her anger needed it, needed to be released and maintained. It was either this or sobbing on the road and she’d done that already. He looked down at her, alarmed, wary. He nodded once and walked off. His long strides ate up the ground, so that he was half way to his group of friends before she realized she needed him near her to keep the anger going. She turned, fear and panic warring with her anger, to face the empty stores, no longer wanting to meet the eyes of these secretive people who may or may not have caused the death of several people, people she knew, by their inaction. The stores were just as empty as they were the first time she’d looked at them. The road was littered with debris – glass, plastic bags, a random shoe that had blood on it. Her eyes shifted away from the last one as quickly as they’d landed on it.

She spun around and walked to her car, rolling her shoulders to ease the pain. Her reflection shone back at her from the glinting surface of the window. Her pale face was tight, as if the skin were pulling itself off her skull. Her hair flew in all directions, messy in an unattractive way. She had dirt, she hoped it was dirt, smeared on her face. Sighing, she reached up to rub it off.

Something moved in the reflection. A shape pulled itself away from the roof of the building behind her and scurried down. She spun, looking at the spot where the shape had been, only to see a grey leg disappear behind the corner of the roof. She took a step forward, eyes searching the darkness between the two buildings. Nothing moved.

Within seconds she was at the mouth of the alley. The darkness was too thick, too black for the time of day. She saw the outline of boxes and a dumpster. There were some shapes in the middle, bulky but not big enough to be anything that could threaten her. She stepped further into the alley. Absently, she noted someone calling her name, but the pull of the mysterious shape made the call for her seem distant and unimportant. She took another step further. This shape. This thing. It was familiar. She’d seen it before. Even from the glimpse of the limb, she knew it. She took another step, now fully in the alley. Nothing moved, not even the air. She held her breath, feeling on the verge of some sort of revelation. Just over there, deep in the shadows, that’s where she needed to go. She took another step. Anticipation bubbled up in her mind, blocking out even the anger she’d been using to sustain her calm. Something was happening right here, right now. Something that would make everything better. She took another step. Her arm brushed against the first box. It was large, big enough to hold a refrigerator. It swayed at the touch, leaning back and rocking forward, a slight movement that broke the stillness.

A shape broke away from the wall she’d been staring at. It move silently, creeping around the dumpster that separated her from it. Red eyes glared out in the darkness. She recoiled with a gasp. The shadow moved toward her, one creeping step after another. She waited, for once not afraid. For the first time in 48 hours, she felt certain that this was where she was supposed to be.

I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.

The thought was at once hers and not hers. It came from outside of her, but she felt at the core of her being that she had been waiting for this moment, for this creature with it’s red eyes.

The shadow took another creeping step toward her. She reached a hand toward it, wanting to touch the shadow, wanting to know. To know everything.

The red eyes narrowed. The shadow hissed, a sound filled with frustration and annoyance. The eyes blinked.

“Audrey!” Misha called from the mouth of the alley. She jumped, spinning to face him. He stood in the sunlight, a strong silhouette of a man.

“What?” she asked, annoyed. She looked behind her. The shadow was gone.

Choose your own adventure… Plot Problems

Current Word Count: 17,419
Today’s “Goal”: 25,000

It’s November 15th and that means I am half-way through NaNoWriMo. Last week I’d hit a major snag – my characters had all decided to do things I didn’t plan for.

And yes, I realize how weird that sounds.

I have a plot, which I’d spent a significant time in October ironing out. For all the non-writers, this process means that you think of different scenes and twists to get you from Point A to Point Z. In order to make it a good story, each scene needs to serve a specific purpose, from getting your Main Character (MC) out of bed and into the kitchen, to revealing that the MC’s nemesis is really his father (Luke *p-sssshhh* I am your Father). This takes time and no little creativity because, honestly, some of the scenes are just plain boring (she walked down the street). And writers have to think of a way to make it INTERESTING.

ANYWAY, my characters had literally (haha, funny… cuz.. literature) taken my story in a different direction and so far all of my plans have had to be changed (which is why flexibility is a valuable asset in any writer). Which is when I had a revelation:

Writing is very much like a choose your own adventure book, except that if you pick the wrong one, when you flip to the designated page… it’s blank.

Here’s why:

  1. You know the beginning of your book – the setting, the characters, the purpose. So you can write that much.
  2. Then your MC gets to a crossroads – one you planned for maybe or one you didn’t. At this point you have gotten to know your MC a bit better and maybe, just maybe, the original plan you had for them doesn’t fit in their personality.
    For me, it was that my MC wasn’t as immune to panic and fear as I had originally planned (ie. I realized that no sane person would watch her fiance get mauled and kidnapped by giant monsters and then CHASE after the monsters without first having a massive panic attack and getting help).
  3. So you pick the choice that fits with your MC’s personality. It may or may not have been the one that you’d originally planned.
    • If it IS, then the “page” you turn to has text on it that you get to fill out and make your own;
    • If it ISN’T then, more often then not, the “page” you turn to has a vague idea of where you want to go… but nothing more helpful than that.

The blank page comes when you’ve picked “the path less travelled” three or four times in a row… then you’re stuck trying to re-imagine the whole story. And while that would be fine in normal circumstances, when you HAVE to write 1,667 words a day but have a blank page looming in front of you, it’s less than awesome.

For me, it was the fact that my MC wasn’t a heroine in a fantasy tale, which is sort of how I’d pictured her – strong, capable, competent, selfless and courageous. I realized at around scene 4 that my MC is actually just a regular woman – strong in some ways but physically weak and a bit stubborn, capable and competent in her chosen field but subject to panic attacks in social situations, selfish (because who isn’t?) and a complete and utter scaredy-cat. Also, I realized she had to crack before I could move forward with my story. So that’s where I am, cracking my MC like an egg and seeing what kind of omelet I can make. Nom nom nom. 

NaNoWriMo Begins Again


Today marks the start of a new NaNoWriMo. It’s an exciting day, filled with anticipation, wonder and the need to do everything but write the novel I’m supposed to be writing. I won’t bore anyone with my strategy or try to make it through another month of blogging-while-writing, because I’ve already done all of that – you can read all of my previous posts on NaNoWriMo here.

Instead, this year I’m going to try to take my own advice my previous years. I mean, I gave some pretty good advice, so I’d be a bit of a moron not to heed it.

Today is also my mom’s birthday. I have exactly 20 minutes before I need to stop writing and start celebrating my mom’s birth. Therefore, I will stop wasting words on my blog and get back to my story.

Current Word Count: 397
Today’s Goal: 1,000 

Part-Time & Lovin’ It

Salut tout le monde!

It’s September…. and I realize I’m about 15 days late on that announcement, sorry about that. But really, if you’re relying on me to tell you what month it is, maybe you should invest in a calendar.

I’m writing for two reasons: 1) because I can and 2) to give an update on that whole “hectic life” blog I’d last posted in March (holy cow batman, was that ever a long time ago).

Freelance continued being busy, busy enough that I requested a change to part-time status at my work so that I could “really” pursue this Freelance thing. And I got it…. part-time that is. On August 1st, I went from working five days a week in the office (with evenings and weekends spent on Freelance/soccer/social life) to working three days in the office with Mondays, Fridays, evenings and weekends for Freelance/soccer/social life… in that order.

There are challenges though. TONS of challenges. The first and foremost being that it’s easy to get lost in the feeling that I have just a long weekend every weekend. I don’t. I shouldn’t. But the temptation is there to just…. chill. The second challenge is that my couch is SUPER comfy (my office chair is an old swivel chair that has lost all padding… I currently have a pillow under my butt in an effort to make it more comfortable… it’s only sort of working). Working from my couch is only a good idea if I cut all power to the TV…. because – that’s challenge number three – reminding myself that, though Netflix can run continuously in the background… it shouldn’t. Challenge number four – not becoming a hermit. Spending four days at home consecutively sounds like a great idea (and it is) but the fifth day, when I have to leave to go to the office, becomes that much more torturous. Natural light is very bright my friends. Very bright. *insert vampire-like hiss here*

But with all those challenges, there are successes – I’ve caught up on my work, I’m finally developing a solid schedule/pattern so that I can continue getting my work done. And I’m hoping that by the end of September I’ll be ready to take on more work.

I’m also really looking forward to November – I’m going to rock the socks off of NANOWRIMO.

Well, that is all for now. More blog posts to come in the coming weeks!! Providing I can turn Netflix off.

Organizing a Hectic Schedule

It’s 1:47 am as I type this… and that’s an early night for me. I’ll probably have my head on my pillow by 2:30 and maybe, just maybe – if I can turn off my ever-twirling brain, I’ll be asleep by 2:45.


Life has been crazy these last few months. It all really took off in July of last year, but now.. Now I’m wondering what I did to get myself where I am. And where is that, you might ask (after all, my veiled comments about a hectic lifestyle could, quite literally, mean anything… except of course that I’m sitting on my butt doing nothing all day. Because that is the opposite of hectic and pretty much what I’d like to do.)

Well, I’m working. My freelance business is keeping me busy and on my toes… well, at the very least awake, until nearly 3am every night. Granted, that’s partially due to my quasi-inadequate time management skills and the procrastination I learned from my mother, but mostly it’s because I’ve just got so much work.

And it’s amazing.

Keeping on top of the projects is proving to be a test of my organization skills. I have a system and it’s working for the time being. It’ll change – evolve if you will – as my project load increases… but for now it is what it is. And I want to share it with you in the hopes that it’ll help you keep on top of all the projects you have in your life.

Keep a list

I have a list of every project for each client that I write out and tape to the front of a folder. I update this list every time I pick up the folder to work for that client. The physical action of writing a project down and then crossing it off when it’s complete is indescribable… I realize that there is a virtual and more environmentally friendly way of doing this, but for me… writing my list by hand and crossing off projects really drives home the progress (or lack thereof) that I’m making.

You might find that your computer folders are adequate for your purposes; if that’s the case, here is how I suggest going about this list-thing:

  1. Create a folder for each of your clients.
  2. Create sub-folders for each project.
  3. Create a “list” file – this can be a word document, excel document or even a note pad file; the key is to ensure it is the only free floating file in your client folder. \
  4. Every time you get a new project from the client, open the document and add it to the list, complete with due date and any notes you need to remember.
  5. Every time you do work for that client, open the file and review your list.
  6. Every time you complete a project, cross it off the list by using the strike-through option, adding a “submitted” or “completed” date or just deleting it from the list.

This might seem like a lot of extra work but you might already be doing something like this. It’s just another method of keeping your ducks in a row.

Keep a Calendar

Next step, after you’ve organized all of your projects into neat lists, is to plug everything into a calendar. Again, I’m a hard-copy kinda gal, so I have an agenda I bought at Bureau en Gros (that’s Staples to everyone else in North America). I tried to use an electronic calendar – Google Calendars is actually quite good for this, except you have to enter each project as an “event” rather than a “task”. My problem was that the Google Calendar requires internet access… and for my computer to be open… and for me to have the program up and running while I work. Plus, you can’t scratch things off. And I can being to explain how satisfying I find it to actually scratch things off. The sound. The feeling. The texture. Oh man.

However, oddly enough the Google Calendar system works really well for me at my 9 – 5 job, where I have a ton more projects on the go than I do at home.

Anyway, here’s how I keep my calendar:

  1. At the beginning of every month – create initial schedule
    1. Review previous month’s projects and move forward any outstanding projects
    2. Review the project lists for each client, adding all important due dates and assigning days to work on the projects
  2. On Monday of each week – update schedule and assess project load
    1. Review previous week’s projects and move forward any outstanding projects to early in the current week.
    2. Review the project lists for each client, plugging in any new due dates and adjusting the workload for the week depending on availability and responsibilities.
  3. On the completion of a project – scratch that sucker out… scratch it hard.

So far, this method has aided in keeping me on track… at least for those projects with hard, solid deadlines. It also helps me quote a time frame for new projects because it clearly shows how much work I have in a week. Which brings me to my next tip for staying organized….

Keep deadlines reasonable

If you’re just starting out in the Freelance world, it may take a while for you to accurately quote time-frames to clients… because sometimes you just don’t know how long it will take. The key, I’ve found, is to always give yourself enough time… in fact, give yourself more than enough time to complete a project. Why? Well…

  1. You never know what’s going to come up – family obligations, social engagements, rush projects, the common cold – all of these things come out of the blue and could prevent you from meeting the 48-hour turn over you’d promised that new client. You don’t want to miss the deadline but you also can’t afford to be up for 48 hours straight.
  2. It’s far better to overestimate how long something will take, than to underestimate. If you consistently deliver projects before a deadline you set for yourself, you will impress the client and show them that you’re reliable.

In conjunction with this – learn to ask for more time or to say that you’re not available at the moment. Keep the lines of communication open. If you don’t think you can have something to the client by the time they’re asking, give them a time frame that will work for you. That shows that, though you’re busy, you’re still available and willing to work on the project. Most clients will accept the revised timeline… just be sure to deliver!

There are a few other organizational tools – such as emptying your inbox of all emails except those that apply to incomplete projects and keeping those same emails marked unread on your smartphone – that may help. The trick is to try out different things until you find one that works the best for you, personally.

On that note, if I’m going to meet my 2:30 head-on-pillow deadline, I’ll need to sign off right now!

Do you have any tips you find have helped keep you on track? Share them in the comments!