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I’ve Become a Lazy Writer

Microsoft WindowsI started to write a blog post about Microsoft Security Essentials. Why? Well, as a writer using a PC I’ve got to do what it takes to protect the half written masterpieces on my computer. For years I renewed my annual McAfee subscription to keep the household computers protected. It wasn’t until a year or so ago that I discovered Microsoft Security Essential.

Looking through My Memory Banks

Recently Microsoft Security Essentials prevented an attack and it made me wonder if I had shared this free gem with my readers. I did a Google search for “No Job for Mom Microsoft Security Essentials.” The search told me I didn’t write a post on the subject here, but instead wrote about it on my Tidbits & Stuff site.

Enter the Lazy WriterLazy

After skimming through the article on Tidbits and Stuff I thought “Wow, I’ve really blurred the lines between writing an article and blogging.” The first person blog/article is the result of relaxing my article writing standards. That piece is not an article but a blog post thinly disguised as an article. It’s somewhat informative but most definitely not an article

Time to Raise the Bar

I guess the downside to only writing articles/posts on sites that you own is you can set the rules. It’s obvious to me that I’ve relaxed the rules to the point where I need to give myself a swift kick.

As a writing challenge, I think it’s time for me to write a few formal (yet still personable) articles. Part of the joy in writing was taking really difficult topics and explaining them in a user-friendly fashion. It seems that I’ve evolved to a full-time blog writer even when the pieces shouldn’t have the blog flavor.

Old Typewriter KeysI remember back when I first started writing for Suite 101 we weren’t allowed to write in the first or second person. I liked that challenge. My first few articles were horrible (if I must say so myself), but eventually, I was able to write in the third person and still make it personable.

It’s time for me to challenge myself again. Life becomes boring when we set all the rules. It’s time to raise the bar.

How about you? What’s your writing challenge?

Oh, by the way, if you use a PC and haven’t tried Microsoft Security Essentials, you should give it a try (it’s free).

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Crystal August 23, 2012, 11:02 am

    I’ve been using MS Security Essentials for a couple of years and we’ve switched to it on all our computers now, I believe. It does the job well and you sure can’t beat the price!

    As for my writing challenge – I’d say it’s to just get it done and quit over-thinking and making things harder than they are. I’ve got a couple of ebooks in the works but get bogged down with editing and formatting. Well, enough already! But the good news is that I’m nearly done polishing and adding illustrations to my MIL’s fairy tale for kids, which will publish through CreateSpace. So at least I’m moving forward…

    • Felicia August 23, 2012, 11:20 am

      Crystal, you need to find a Crystal in your life. You see, I don’t have to worry about editing, proofing and stuff like that because I’ve got you! 🙂

  • Ignatius August 23, 2012, 12:16 pm

    I’m with Crystal in the over-thinking group. I’m constantly slowing myself down and talking myself out of things I could easily do. I’ve been working on that.

    On the topic of article style vs. blog style, I have seen theories that first person can hurt a website’s placement in search engine results. The funny thing about that is that the people who are real experts are going to be rated down right along with the folks who are just being chatty.

    • Felicia August 24, 2012, 9:02 am

      I hear what you’re saying, Ignatius, but I’ve given up on search engine results. I’ve watched my placement bounce around quite a bit over the past 5 years. Now, I’ll write and challenge myself from an internal directive.

      Don’t get me wrong, top billing is nice, but the cost to stay there is too steep for me.

  • Grandma August 23, 2012, 4:51 pm

    It’s always a challenge when you hit the slump months, like August and around the December holidays. Another challenge to writers is this – you find a really nice place to write and make money, but pretty soon so do all the other writers out there and before you know it, you can’t get hold of an assignment, and they rave on the forums how great that website company is…blah blah blah. Or, the website “grows” – this usually means an end to what you liked about it in the first place. So the search keeps on evolving.

    • Felicia August 24, 2012, 9:05 am

      Grandma, you’re headed in the right direction by writing your own books and decreasing your reliance on those sites. The one thing we can be sure of online is that a good thing doesn’t always remain a good thing. I remember writing for eHow. That turned out to be extremely lucrative, but that ship has sailed too.

      The resilient writers, like you and a lot of others here on NJFM, keep reinventing themselves no matter how the online rules change.

  • Christina Crowe August 25, 2012, 6:10 pm

    I love Microsoft Security Essentials. It’s the best free anti-virus program in my opinion. I’ve used it for months and have downloaded it onto my brother’s computer after it was hit with a number of viruses.

    As for writing, it’s been a slow ride. After getting discouraged from work-extensive writing projects with very little returns and finally saying “no” to a few clients who consistently requested reduced rates (even after the original discount), I’m gradually trying to schedule in the time to start writing for myself again.

    I originally started my freelance writing business as an experiment to test how I’d enjoy trading my hours for income writing for clients in need of a skilled hand. After several months of selling my services as a writer, I realized that I enjoyed writing most when I wrote for myself (particularly blogging). I hated the tight deadlines, never-satisfied clients, rush jobs, and 14-hour days I spent scrambling to get a project finished (skipping sleep in the process). Often, I would under price my work when business went slow and that forced me to work even harder. When all was said and done, I was left disheartened and energy depleted. I had no energy left to get in the writing I enjoyed the most – the blog articles I loved to write and the fiction I loved to create.

    Never again. This time I’m going to write for myself. Somehow during my frantic writing frenzy, I managed to start up a blog (dedicated to a long-term hobby of mine)and increase traffic to 400+ visitors per day from search engines alone (I ruthlessly completed a free Internet marketing course known as The Challenge – formally the 30-day Challenge). It took over four months, but finally I managed to snag the second position in Google for my primary keyword phrase (as well as a few secondary keywords). I also discovered a new passion and have been working on my very first e-commerce store selling my own handmade products.

    I don’t regret the initial freelance experiment. I learned a ton during the journey, and my writing has improved enormously. But I’m happy to make this new transition and start working for myself again, doing something I enjoy a bit more and freeing up time to work on my new hobby.

    • Felicia August 26, 2012, 9:30 am

      Good for you, Christina!

      Sometimes we have to try it the “traditional way” only to come to the conclusion that we are not traditionalists. I’m so happy you discovered that trading your time and talent for a mere pittance and a lot of aggravation wasn’t worth it.

      You’re bright, talented and adventurous. Whether you earn money through your writing or your new venture, I’m sure you’ll be a success. It’s the inner spirit that drives you. I think your most recent experience has taught you to listen to that inner spirit more often and to ignore a lot of what “they say.”

      I can’t tell you how happy I am to see that you’re following your gut.

      Wishing you all the best! 🙂

      • Christina Crowe August 27, 2012, 5:18 pm

        Oh wow – thank you Felicia! Reading this comment really brightened up my morning. You’ve always been so helpful and supportive. I will never forget the moment I first started reading this blog; you had helped me craft my resume for Suite101 and afterwards supported me when I received my first acceptance letter!

        That time seems so long ago, but you were always there to help others succeed. And it was that genuine willingness to help and the support you gave that inspired and motivated me to make the giant leap and start my writing career in the first place. I attribute so much of my success to you, and I very much appreciate your kind words.

        So thank you. This comment truly means a lot to me. 🙂

    • Grandma August 26, 2012, 12:17 pm

      “tight deadlines, never-satisfied clients, rush jobs, and 14-hour days I spent scrambling to get a project finished”

      I had the same/similar experience and am determined now the best way is to work direct with clients that somehow can be vetted to be reliable and workable. No more rush jobs without double pay, either! Not worth it, especially when your contact comes back with a bunch of lies about how they had to rewrite everything when you know it was fine as it was. Live and learn, for sure! Good luck!

      • Christina Crowe August 27, 2012, 5:35 pm

        Well said! I very much agree – it’s just not worth the stress.

        Just last month I accepted a job to write two blog articles for a client who, after receiving both of them in a timely manner, decided that the articles needed to be completely rewritten with a whole new point of view. This was after she requested that I reduce my rates to better fit her budget. So, again, I wrote two new articles and submitted them to her the next day (I prefer to complete rewrites a day or two after they’re requested). She again wanted more corrections (though luckily not a whole rewrite). I submitted the revisions and again she wanted even more corrections. I had to cancel the job and request payment for the work already done.

        Strangely, I’ve found that the lower prices tend to attract more unsatisfied clients. It’s better to work for the rates you deserve than to sell yourself short – too much hassle!

        • Grandma August 27, 2012, 10:42 pm

          Wow, you are lucky if you got paid for work already done on a job that you returned like that. I am afraid I am or have been taken by a wolf in lamb’s clothing…I even looked into collection agencies today. They don’t take as much as I thought after all (only 25%). That client seems to have taken advantage of you. Asking for a completely different point of view? That should have been explained right in the first place. It’s touchy and no one wants to lose work, but there is a time to put your foot down.

  • Willi September 15, 2012, 1:40 pm

    I have yet to convince my geeky fiancé and his brother that Windows Essentials is simpler and legit. They are still stuck on Avast, and I’m hating it a little more each day LOL. I am slowly re-entering blogging after a long hiatus of professional writing. I must say, it’s tough to get back on the horse. I am so overwhelmed by the blogs out there, I don’t have a lot of confidence yet! Really enjoying your blogging e-book!

    • Felicia September 28, 2012, 6:12 pm

      Oh my, I apologize, Willi.

      I’ve neglected this blog and that’s the only reason why your comment wasn’t approved. I’ve got to check here more often and maybe even write a new post. 🙂

  • Danyelle Franciosa October 1, 2012, 7:08 pm

    Sounds like we have the same experienced in writing. MS Security Essentials is great according to it’s specifications and uses but I did not try it because I am using Ubuntu and it is not applicable to it.

  • Jeff B October 7, 2012, 5:19 am

    Hey guys. It’s been a long time since I posted here. I was just checking out Textbroker again after receiving an email about all the work available. Haven’t written anything for them in a very long time.

    Anyhow, I don’t do much article writing anymore. Turns out I have a skill for a certain type of domain and now I earn most of my income online as a domain researcher.

    I also make some spare change (about $400/mth) with easy copy/paste delivery gigs on Fiverr.

    Moved to the Philippines from Oklahoma in December to be with my gf.

    Really sorry to read about the income losses, Felicia. I’m thinking you could kick butt as high rate specialist for Insurance companies (that’s your specialty, yes?)

    Well, hang in there all! Tc.

    • Felicia October 7, 2012, 8:28 am

      Congrats, Jeff.

      Sounds like things are going well for you. Oklahoma to Philippines move. That’s not one I hear off too often.

      Insurance, ugh. I could earn a pretty penny in that industry but at a creative cost that I’m not willing to pay anymore. I’ve decided to follow my passion and the money will come. I may have to pull in the belt a bit until the money comes, but at least I’ll be happy. Besides, I could stand to lose a couple of pounds anyway. 🙂

      Wishing you the best.

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