Category Archives: News

Napping Your Way To Better Writing

Credit/TheAwkwardYeti

Credit/TheAwkwardYeti

It’s okay to do nothing.

No, really. Sometimes you just need to give your brain a little rest.

I was spending a quiet Friday with my wife the other week, and I decided I should probably catch up on a little sleep. I readily admit that I’m a night owl and I am also, by necessity, an early riser. At times, this doesn’t bode well for my productivity.

I really enjoyed this article by Daphne Gray-Grant of Publication Coach. Ms. Gray-Grant has endured a number of sleep problems at various times in her life, and she came to the conclusion that among the extremely valuable health benefits of getting enough sleep, it does a great deal for your creativity as well.

You’ll come across articles all over the internet that say a staggered sleep schedule is best, and that Tesla slept for only tow hours a night. There’s absolutely no reason to burden yourself by employing an eccentric sleeping pattern just because it happened to work for someone else. Remember what happened to Kramer.

Whatever you do, whether it’s writing, answering phones or chopping trees for a living (especially then!), you need your sleep. 7-9 hours will really do your body a lot of good.

Going back to my quiet Friday, I dozed off on the couch and kept a notebook nearby in case I had any ideas when I woke. Not only did I wake up feeling recharged, but I had a bit of inspiration to work on a side project to boot. Even if you can’t sleep, I’d really encourage you to find some time in the day to simply rest and do nothing. Ideas tend to creep up on me in the quiet times.

Giving your body rest is crucial to creative success. Fuelled by a constant need to improve himself (and God love the man for it), best selling author Jim Collins once told the New York Times that he studied his sleeping habits over a period of time and found that if he didn’t get 70-75 hours a week, he could go about his daily routine, but creativity simply can’t happen.

If I don’t get enough sleep or am without the opportunity to catch up on much-needed rest, I’m not focused on my writing; I’m focused on nodding off.

While the image of a writer typing the next great American novel into the wee hours of the morning is romanticized, I don’t find it to be particularly true and agree with Mr. Collins and Ms. Gray-Grant both: the best way to sleep and maintain creativity and inspiration is to get a good, full night’s sleep. You may not be up and awake for as many hours as before, but the productivity you’ll achieve by being fully rested will more than make up for the difference.

What are your thoughts on sleeping and creativity? Discuss in the comments below!

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here

My freelancing e-book, Dip Into the Ink Pot, is now available on Amazon by clicking here!
Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see, and I’ll talk to you next week!

– Adam

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Butterflies in the Sky…brary! A Reading Rainbow update

Reading rainbow logo I can go anywhere I can be anything butterflies in the sky yeah!

Credit/Reading Rainbow

Hello, my dear readers!

As those of you who have checked out my blog in the past may know, I’m a fan of the old show Reading Rainbow and promoted their Kickstarter last year.

Here’s a brief recap before the latest development. The campaign’s initial goal was to bring the series back online and deliver it for free to schools across the US.

The initial financial goal for the project was to raise $1 million. One year and 100,000-plus backers and more than $5 million raised later, Reading Rainbow introduces the Skybrary!

The Skybrary features hundreds of digital books for children ages 2 to 9 along with more than 150 video field trips to inspire children to go anywhere and be anything!

LeVar Burton, the show’s host, narrates each book. When a child opens one of the books, they have the option to listen to the story, to read along or to read by themselves, depending on their skill levels. Each book features interactive animations, hearkening back to the days of the CD-ROM books of the ’90s.

The site, much to my delight, offers old episodes of the show’s initial run as well.

Users of the Skybrary can sign up for an initial 14-day trial, and there are three subscription packages starting at $9.99 per month.

By the way, The $9.99 package is called the Voyager. I see what you did there, Mr. Burton.

Anyway, it’s so cool to see this site up and online. To me, it grows more and more important each day to keep kids engaged in reading. Reading opens whole new worlds to children, broadens their horizons and exercises their minds.

An expanded imagination and a hunger to learn are invaluable resources to a child, and there’s no telling what could come just by giving them the chance to read.

If you’re a parent yourself, based on what the show’s done for me and who knows how many others, I’d really recommend giving it a go. Give your kids a passport to the world of the Reading Rainbow!

“I was overwhelmed; I did not expect that sort of outpouring. In retrospect, people have said, ‘Are you kidding? There are so many adults who grew up with the show.’ But I never tried to quantify the size or the generosity of that generation. I underestimated the power, the strength of the brand. My takeaway has been, I’m grateful, absolutely, beyond measure, and really proud.”

– LeVar Burton, Host of Reading Rainbow for 25 years.

What educational shows did you watch as a kid? Discuss in the comments below! 

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here

My freelancing e-book, Dip Into the Ink Pot, is now available on Amazon by clicking here!
Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see, and I’ll talk to you next week!

– Adam

 

Freelancing In The News: Top 5 things NOT to do as a freelancer (that I’m probably guilty of)

Good morning, my fellow freelancers!

I recently stumbled upon an article from The Huffington Post detailing 69 things not to do as a freelancer. If you want to read the whole article, here is the link.

For today’s post, though, I’ll go over a few of the points that really stood out to me. And by stood out to me, I mean I’m guilty of and should probably be sent to Freelancer Jail or something.

1. Don’t Work Around The Clock


Well, Harrison Ford, then you’re doing it wrong.

I admit I’m guilty of this. One of my biggest clients is a transcription company and transcription is a very time-consuming process. As such, I have a tendency to get over-eager and take on more work than I should. This doesn’t do much for my already-slim social life, and really, we need that. I know sometimes I get burnt out and since I’m more or less in charge of my own schedule at this point, it’s kind of my own fault.

You need a life, too!

2. Ask Yourself If You’re Good Enough

I think I’ve mentioned this before on the site, but I’m a textbook overthinker. I sometimes overanalyze a job and make it seem bigger than it really is. My wife, God bless her, is always quick to tell me I can do it, and we as freelancers need to remember to tell ourselves that, too, from time to time.

Credit: Memecrunch.com

Credit: Memecrunch.com

3. Hit a Plateau

While I make enough to cover my bills and sometimes have a little extra, I do struggle with this. I really should strive for bigger and higher-paying clients more than I do and encourage you all to do the same. Never stop growing!

4. Say Yes to Everything

Oh, crap, as I’m going down this list I’m finding more and more things I’m guilty of.

I do tend to be a bit of a “yes man” in the different sense of the term…

Credit: Wikimedia.org

Credit: Wikimedia.org

Yeah, kinda like that. Not every project is going to bring you satisfaction and you may not have the skillset, client-freelancer patience or time to complete a certain job. For whatever reason, learn when to say no to work. I might have to cover this one in more depth later on.

5. Worry

I struggle with this a lot. I happen to be a Christian and a big part of my faith is relying on God’s providence as He is the one in control of all things. I’ve come to the recent conclusion that I’m something of a control freak, and it takes nothing short of contsant reminders that there’s really no point in worrying about something you can’t change.

Credit/gauraw.com (I feel like this should be embroidered, by the way)

Credit/gauraw.com
(I feel like this should be embroidered, by the way)

Those are but a few things I’m guilty of on this particular list. I’m glad I read it and called myself out on a few things. I’m hoping this helps in the future and hope it was just as useful to you as it was to me.

What are some bad freelancing habits you’ve picked up and how are you working to fix them? Discuss in the comments below! 

Be sure to check out my portfolio and professional site here!  Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the blog if you like what you see. 

Happy freelancing and we’ll talk again next week!

– Adam

Freelancing in The News: A growing trend

credit: doughayassoc.com

credit: doughayassoc.com

Periodically on this blog, I planned to post about news in the freelancing job sector. I haven’t done this since my first post; unlike my first post, though, this news appears to be more on the positive side.

Romina Maurino of The Canadian Press recently reported self-employed and contract workers now make up 15 percent of the workforce, according to American figures, and it’s expected to climb even higher by the year 2020.

As far as my new home in Canada is concerned, nearly 2 million Canadians worked at least some kind of temporary job; this means contract workers made up 12.5 percent of paid employment in the country that year. In June 2014, Canadian self employment grew by 23,400 workers.

Maurino features Lise Cartwright (You can visit her online here), who was successful enough to quit her full time office job after 18 months and founded a full-on freelancing company.

Ivey Business School at Western University professor Ann Frost told The Canadian Press that it’s not only the freelancers’ desire for the freedom of self-employment that drove the trend, but companies around the world are turning more toward outsourcing to specialists.

My situation is a bit more complicated when it comes to entering the freelance sector – not bad, really, just different – but I tend to believe that most freelancers are where they are by their own volition. They want to be their own boss; to make it for themselves.

ON the other hand, companies have always asked for freelance help, which is just fine with me. Sometimes it’s cost, sometimes it’s deadline, sometimes it’s a particular expertise that calls for outsourcing. Whatever the case is, there is an element of job security for specialized freelancers. The trick, however, is for freelancers to land those ever-important contracts. Income can vary from month to month, depending on the contracts and clients landed, which seems to be the most common trade-off for the freedom freelancing offers.

The connection between clients and freelancers is an interesting chicken-or-the-egg-which-came-first relationship. Clients are businesses who depend on other businesses to help satisfy their own clients. It’s a fascinating cycle that spans so many industries and supports so many independent businessmen and businesswomen all around the world.

You can find the original Canadian Press article here for further reading.

Happy writing and contract hunting, my dear readers! We’ll talk again next week.

What are your thoughts on the rise in freelance businesses? Discuss in the comments below and feel free to leave suggestions for future blog posts!

Visit me online here!

 

 

Take a look, it’s in a book!

I won’t write a second post in a single week very often, but I think something like this warrants it.

There’s a Kickstarter campaign that’s really taken off, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. LeVar Burton has launched a campaign to bring back “Reading Rainbow” as an online series.

levar burton reading rainbow

For those of you not familiar, “Reading Rainbow” was a TV series on American public television series that ran from 1983 to 2006, picking up multiple Emmys and a Peabody award. It was a show for kids exploring the wonderful world of reading. I really enjoyed the show as a kid, and maybe it’s because I’m looking through nostalgia goggles that are strapped on a bit too tight, but I couldn’t be more excited for this undertaking.

According to the campaign, 1 in 4 kids will grow up illiterate in the States, which contributes to a high high-school dropout rate, and that really limits opportunities for the generation to come. I won’t pretend I know the long-term consequences beyond that, but needless to say, it could be quite problematic.

The good news is, despite being off the air, “Reading Rainbow” still seems to be doing great work for kids. The campaign says the iPad app has seen nearly 15 million books read and videos watched. The crew behind the show and the app, though, aren’t ready to stop there.

ipad app reading rainbow

What the campaign is trying to do is bring the series online and deliver it for free to the classrooms of 1,500 schools in need across the nation. As of this writing, the Kickstarter has 37,883 backers and has far exceeded its $1 million goal with $1.7 million in support. And I think that’s absolutely fantastic.

every child everywhere reading rainbow every classroom home

I taught myself to read as a kid, and I loved to learn. I still do, and I think “Reading Rainbow” deserves some credit for that. It helped me and countless other kids to see what reading could do. It made books come to life and spurred us all on to explore the worlds and possibilities the written word could open up.

There’s little that makes me happier than seeing kids get into books. It creates in them a thirst for knowledge and a zeal to educate themselves, see it as something that’s fun to do. They’ll find a subject or series of books that really sparks their interest., and when that takes off, who knows what could come of it? Maybe that child picking up a book at their library is the next great inventor. Maybe they’ll grow up to save lives, write history, make history. There’s no limit to what literacy can do for children; it gives them the keys to the world and all the knowledge within.

You can follow the campaign here, and if you’re feeling led to, I’d really encourage you to become a backer.

Thanks for reading, folks, and I’ll talk to you next week.

– Adam

Photo credits: Kickstarter

DDoS attacks bog down Elance

technical difficulties for Elance

Uh oh.

I didn’t want to start this blog off on an ominous note, but I’m not the one who makes the news.

Yesterday morning, Elance experienced a denial-of-service (DDoS, as it’s sometimes known) attack on their servers. Digital Attack Map states a DDoS attack renders a website unusable by overwhelming it with traffic, which makes information retrieval and publishing a major challenge.

The site stated in an email this is the first attack of its kind to the freelancing giant and worked to assure its freelancers and clients that no sensitive information was compromised.

“We recognize that the outage is highly disruptive and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this might cause,” the email reads. “We are working with the appropriate law enforcement agencies to find and prosecute the criminals responsible for this attack.”

As of this post, Elance released no further information via email.

My primary source of projects so far is Elance, and while it didn’t affect my deadlines or projects with various clients, I should note Elance has contacted clients to make them aware of the site’s continuing issues as they work to solve the problem. Hopefully this keeps my fellow freelancers out of any unearned trouble.

That said, I am still having issues with the site as of this post. Attachments aren’t working within the WorkStream and the job listings seem to be frozen; time-sensitive information (how long ago it was posted, how long the job is open, etc) and the number of proposals don’t appear to have changed.

Frozen proposal

It says there are zero proposals right now….

not fixed yet

…but in reality, there are 11.

I’m not saying this is anyone’s fault, save for the attackers themselves. However, I do hope Elance resolves the issues very soon.

Until next week, happy writing!

– Adam

Does the attack on Elance affect your business? Whether you’re a client, freelancer or outside the site, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

(Photo Credits: GManReviews.com and Adam Louis)