Peril mag submission

Screen-Shot-2013-06-05-at-4.55.41-PMI’m happy to report that I’ve just submitted my Connected/Disconnected piece to Peril Magazine. Click on the link to find out more about the call for submissions. Binaries are always so fascinating (hot/cold, dark/light, good/evil) and it’ll be really interesting to read what gets published.

There’s still time to submit – the deadline is November 1st!

I really enjoyed this piece, Passing As An Asian. The author made me chuckle at several points, and I loved how she drew her piece to a close. The peaceful, funny and reflective note made me think about my own life and where I am today. There’s some real gems in Peril Magazine, so trawl through and enjoy!

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Daily Science Fiction – my story made it to the second round!

logo-highlightRaidah,

We have good news and we have bad news. The good news is that your story has made our second round, rarified company that more than 90% of submissions do not reach. While half or more of our second round stories will not ultimately see publication under the DSF rocket, this story has reached the final go/no-go before launch.

The bad news–and I promised you some bad news–is that it will take us time to make that final decision. Expect an additional two weeks or so, but don’t be surprised if it’s a month from today. Thanks for your continued patience, and thanks for sending us this worthy submission.

 – Jonathan & Michele, Daily Science Fiction

I’m hopeful that my flash fiction urban fantasy story will get published, but if not – hey, it made it 90% of the way. If there’s something I’ve learned through my freelance career as a writer, it’s this – celebrate every milestone! In something as amorphous as a writing career, it’s easy to feel disheartened by rejection, or the very long response times from editors. Keep at it, and live in hope that your stories will meet the light of day.

Assessment time!

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As I write this, I’m finishing up two workbooks due tomorrow and preparing to review my notes for an all-day prac on Friday. I also completed a proof-reading project earlier in the week. Suffice to say, this week has been stressful.

In the midst of my writing and editing work, I’m completing a diploma of counselling via correspondence. I’ve discovered the importance of having a timetable – and sticking to it. One of the challenges of a freelance writer/editor/student who works and studies from home is, well, staying at home. It’s so cosy, with so many distractions…like my Xbox 360. Ha. I’ve recently discovered the epic Mass Effect trilogy, and I’m really glad that I’m waiting for the arrival of my Mass Effect 3 game from eBay :p It helps to space things out a bit. Once I’m done with this trilogy, I’m aiming to write another gaming article.

In the spirit of not caving into study stress and indulging in Indo Mi, my vice, I’ve whipped out my exercise mat. Each time I feel stress levels or sleepiness rising, I do a few push-ups, squats, crunches, and I’m a lot more awake by the time I’m done. Try it out! Sitting for hours is really bad for your posture anyway.

Check out this article by Huffington Post: Food And Stress: 7 Healthy Picks That Can Help You Relax.

How much should emerging writers be paid?

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I’ve come across this really useful website- Get Money, Get Paid – pay rates for emerging writers. This is accurate as of May 2012. I think that if you’re a newbie freelance writer, it helps to have some kind of ballpark figure of what’s out there, instead of working yourself to the bone for peanuts.

From my experience, the budget and types of projects on Elance vary widely. Personally, the thought of churning out regular blog posts for peanuts doesn’t appeal to me. On the other hand, bidding for writing projects that pay better (sometimes, ridiculously better) is very hit-and-miss. It’s all a balancing act, and the ingredient for success is persistence, persistence, persistence.

I’m a firm believer in not selling yourself short. This is why I really enjoyed and recommend that you read 3 Excuses That Are Keeping You From A Successful Freelance Writing Career. The Renegade Writer talks about how it’s our self-limiting beliefs that prevent writers from reaching our full writerly potential, and this includes financial success.

Like many things in the world, it all starts from within. Do you believe in yourself, and your writing?

Being a video game journalist

While I was searching for more writing/editing projects on elance.com, a thought occurred to me – what’s it like being a video game journalist? Imagine being paid to play and write about video games! Inspired by the thought, I did a quick google search and came across this handy article – How To Become A Video Game Journalist.

The article makes the good point that to be a video game journalist, you still have to be a good writer. This gives me hope. I’m writing almost every day, whether it be opinion pieces, fiction, or my blog, and I’m a firm believer in Malcolm Gladwell’s ten thousand hour rule. To achieve mastery in anything, you you to put in ten thousand hours of practice.

From what I’ve read, Bitmob sounds like a great place to start writing about video games. They have this great series: The Skyrim Collection. I’ve only just gotten back into playing Skyrim after almost a year away, so I’m planning to write and pitch a Skyrim article to the Bitmob crew. Stay tuned!

A bit about my gaming: I use the XBox 360, and am currently playing Skyrim, the latest in the Elder Scroll series. In my previous games, I had bought a house in Whiterun, at least two horses (my previous one leapt to its death over some jagged cliff – this made me sad), I was the Harbinger of the Companions (oh, and also a werewolf). What’s not to love?

Fun fact: The peak of my Skyrim experience happened in the lead-up to my wedding, early this year. There’s nothing like taking down fire-breathing dragons when it comes to reducing wedding planning stress.

Another fun fact: My husband isn’t a gamer. But I’m sure he’ll be more partial to my video games once I start getting paid to write about it. lol.

On Multi-Tasking and Charles de Lint

“The major work of the world is not done by geniuses. It is done by ordinary people, with balance in their lives, who have learned to work in an extraordinary manner.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley

Today, my desk looks slightly more organized. I have a glass of water to my right, Craisins to my left. Paper… everywhere. 🙂 It’s been a rough and rewarding past week, with my completion of my first project. Editing transcripts is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Getting my first payment? Now that was a good feeling. I’ve signed up to another freelance website, http://www.elance.com, and I’m working on another project; I’ll be writing a 20-page report, this time. While I edit my latest piece for Daily Life. And work on my counselling workbook. And – not to mention – juggle the various roles of wife, daughter, sister, and friend.  Eep. I have lots to do. Balance is key!

On another note, check out this beautiful post on the difference between a short story and a novel. As much as I love reading a satisfying novel, there’s something incredibly special about a superbly-crafted short story. One of my favourite short-story collections has to be Charles de Lint’s Dreams Underfoot: The Newford Collection. Charles de Lint has crafted the mythical town of Newford somewhere in Canada, and created an unforgettable cast of characters. I need many, many more blog posts to cover how much I love his work. My first exposure to his genius was actually through audiobooks, from Audible.com – Memory and Dream was my first Charles de Lint experience. And certainly not the last! There is something so magical about how he’s weaved these stories together. His stand-alone novels are fantastic enough, but his short story collection felt like an absolute treat. The appetiser, so to speak, before the main course. Each so very exquisite, and leaving you wanting more.

Freelancing

On Wednesday, I looked up ‘freelance writing’ on YouTube, and came across a fantastic introduction by expertvillage. Intrigued, I googled ‘freelance’ and clicked on the Freelancer website. I figured I had nothing to lose, so I signed up, and started working on my profile. Then I searched for writing projects.

THERE WERE SO MANY. From ghostwriting, to editing, to copywriting, to article writing – I was astounded! Ripe for the plucking! Once my excitement wore off, I realised that the tricky part for me was to actually get selected by an employer, being a newbie and all. I had to start from scratch and build up a reputation as being a freelancer with high quality work. Sure, at this point, I have my portfolio and my qualifications, but the world of freelancing, as in any industry, requires experience. By this stage, I was all freelanced out, so I called it a day.

On Thursday morning, I took the next step in my budding career as a freelancer. I placed a bid for a project! The project that interested me required me to edit mistakes in transcripts that were done by a computer. So to place my bid, I wrote a polite message to the potential employer, saying how I have transcribing experience and how pedantic I am when it comes to picking grammatical mistakes. There were other far more experienced freelancers bidding for the same project, but lo and behold, I was picked! I was delighted, and by Thursday afternoon, I was typing away on my first project. I actually have a JOB! Whee! For all those similarly inclined to this lifestyle, go for it. Take a leap of faith and put yourself out there. And when you do get the job 1) Take regular stretching breaks 2) Drink lots of water 3) Don’t forget to eat.

It’s now Friday afternoon, and I’m still typing away. lol. Wish me luck on meeting my Sunday deadline!