by Lisa Kleypas
St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 2013
My role: Proofreader
Category Archives: Uncategorized
I feel odd writing this, because I haven’t written in so long. But since it’s the New Year, and I like to think about change/self-improvement at the turn of the calendar, I figured I’d write a quick few lines. (The self-improvement here being: write a blog more often in 2012!) And anyway, I need to write, and there’s no time like the present.
This originally was meant to be a New Year’s Eve post, but New Year’s Eve I was slightly under the weather, and that was followed by two more days of ill health. Head cold compounded by two-day stomach virus. Ugh. Today, I’m slightly better (taking antibiotics) and preparing to head back to work after a week off.
I intended for this blog to be about working, unemployment and editing, but as soon as I actually started working a few months ago (while still doing freelance projects), the blog went by the wayside. I have about three drafts in progress that I may or may not return to–but haven’t published any.
I’m busy and my commute is, once again, eating into a lot of my time. I have a novel that I’m proofreading now, too, which is fabulous. I’m so happy that since I started my freelance business this year, I’ve had fairly regular work. I hope it continues in the New Year. My temp job, at a medical marketing/education company, is also continuing in 2012, so I have some steady income for a little while longer.
It’s uncertain where things will go this year, but then again, isn’t it always uncertain? I am not worrying, and will try not to. My husband, thankfully, remains in the same job he’s held for over 20 years. I’m in the same field, which is at least something. Publishing has been changing for a while and I don’t know what my future will be with that.
I admit to a bit of nervousness about returning to the temp job. It’s always odd, being the temp. I want to be friendly and get to know people, but I don’t know how long I will be there and I really just need to focus on my work.
I don’t know yet if I can survive as a freelance editor. Unemployment has carried me through when I wasn’t working earlier in 2011. Now the temp job is carrying me. I’d love to just do the copy editing and proofreading … obviously staying at home and working is preferable to paying $50/week and wasting over 2 hours a day commuting. We’ll see.
The New Year feels reasonably positive. Last year wasn’t that bad; it just gave me a few setbacks and challenges.
Not to make this weekend’s storm all about me or anything, but one good thing about being out of work is that I didn’t have to worry about this morning’s commute into the city. I offered to drive my husband into the city if it turned out to be an issue.
He usually takes the MTA Express Bus from our corner; in Manhattan he transfers to the 1 Train south to Houston Street. He had planned to walk south if the trains weren’t running; his office is about a half-hour walk from the bus stop. But he told me that the trains were back in service when he got into town.
The subways had been shut down at noon on Saturday in anticipation of the storm. Some anonymous MTA employees called it a massive overreaction, but considering how lack of preparation has led to horrible devastation during other storms and natural disasters, maybe it was the best thing they could do. The trains were running this morning, and a lot of people apparently chose not to go to work, so the commute was not the hellish scenario my husband had anticipated.
The ever-helpful MTA announced that riders who prepaid for unlimited Metro cards will not get refunds on the two days they lost. I hope they change their minds on that one. It really is nasty to stick it to people like that, especially those who may already have lost money by not being able to get to work this weekend.
The worst of my problems, as I finally emerged from the apartment after two days, was that I could not get to Michael’s Art & Crafts because roads were closed, either by downed trees or downed wires. Reports were that over 4 millions homes and businesses lost power, and I’m guessing that Michael’s and other stores along Northern Boulevard were affected, because employees were not answering the phone. I ended up at my local Staples instead, a veritable nightmare of parents and kids swarming the aisles, hunting and gathering school supplies. I escaped as soon as I could claw my way through to the door. The last weekend in August doesn’t mean that much to you when you don’t have kids–until you encounter a whole congress of them in one place.
A little excursion around my neighborhood found the downed tree pictured above, just a few blocks away. It was a pretty large tree and was completely across the street — but it appears it did not damage anything except the sidewalk. A good example of what could have happened, but didn’t, during Hurricane Irene.
I never noticed this before (maybe it’s a new feature)–WordPress is offering writing prompts for bloggers. This prompt popped up after I posted my last blog: “Are there any skills you’ve picked up in the last year?”
I haven’t thought about this in a while, but actually, I have. Even before I got laid off, I’d started working on WordPress.org websites. I customized and created one site for a small organization run by friends, and then I started two of my own new websites (this one and my health blog, which is in limbo at the moment but may be revisited shortly).
So I learned all about using FTP, and how to create custom headers, and how to make a template more personalized. It was a pain in the butt and my husband witnessed me nearly breaking down on several occasions when I couldn’t figure something out–but I finally accomplished what I wanted to do.
My husband Paul is a wiz at internet research and he’s taught me so much about how to find out how to do something. He claims I am better at “languages” (ie, HTML and CSS) than he is. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do think that being an editor–used to scrutinizing a document for typos and misspellings–lends itself to the details involved in using CSS.
Also in the last year, I’ve increased my use and knowledge of social media–Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. I just joined Google+, and I’ve yet to see how it’s an advantage over Facebook, but time will tell. I learned some techniques for increasing followers, which certainly helps if I’m going to publicize my business. I had no clue how to attract followers and yet since July I’ve added 800 followers to my Twitter account.
As an aside, the numbers help but I don’t see it as being just about the numbers. I have to use Twitter and the other social media sites; I have to add something personal and hopefully unique. I use them for both marketing and personal use. There are followers I really enjoy and I frequently respond to them. I like posting comments about my own life, when something in real life amuses or interests me. And I’m always retweeting others’s posts when they amuse or interest me, or if I think someone might be helped by the info. Of course, when I write a new blog, it automatically is announced on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
I’m always trying to learn new crafts and fun ways to be creative. Last year I learned how to make stencils for custom hand-painted t-shirts. That’s been a lot of fun, and I’ve even sold some of them. There’s a lot of crap for sale out there and if I create something unique that looks good, why shouldn’t I try to sell it? (I may eventually feature some of my designs on my blog.)
I discovered a shareware program called InkScape (similar to Adobe Illustrator). I’ve been learning that program; it’s a lot of fun and it’s helped me create more artwork. Being out of work means I’m constantly thinking of new ways to make money, but since I love making stuff as well as writing, this is a nice diversion for me. It’s not all about the money.