Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I got up this morning intending to wish everyone a Happy New Year on New Year's Eve and guess what? Yahoo was kind enough to tell me that New Zealanders are already enjoying 2011. I know there are time zones ahead of mine but geez . . . I feel so left in the dust!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Aren't grandkids just the cutest?
Merry Christmas to all - may you experience the magic and wonder of Christmas today and throughout the coming year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wear Out or Rust Out - Which Do You Choose?

The Body in the Library: A Miss Marple Mystery
I'm reading The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie and ran across an interesting line that really hit home. One of the key characters is an older gentleman confined to a wheelchair due to a tragic accident in which he lost his wife and both children. He was a friend of the murder victim and during the investigation, the police superintendent is questioning his doctor. Here's an excerpt with emphasis added by me:
"Yes, Mr. Jefferson's health is in a precarious state. For several years now the man has been driving himself ruthlessly. In his determination to live like other men he has lived at a far greater pace than the normal man of his age. He has refused to rest, to take things easy, to go slow, or any of the other phrases with which I and  his other medical advisers have tendered our opinion. The result is that the man is an overworked engine. Heart, lungs, blood pressure - they're all overstrained."
"You say Mr. Jefferson has resolutely refused to listen?"
"Yes. I don't know that I blame him. It's not what I say to my patients, superintendent, but a man may as well wear out as rust out. A lot of my colleagues do that, and take it from me, it's not a bad way. In a place like Danemouth one sees most of the other thing. Invalids clinging to life, terrified of overexerting themselves, terrified of a breath of drafty air, of a stray germ, of an injudicious meal."
Think about that for just a minute. Wear out or rust out - which do you choose? Now don't get me wrong - I'm not advocating being hard on your body or ignoring your doctor's advice. Quite the opposite, in fact - I firmly believe everyone has a personal responsibility to take care of their health. But as we age, it is easy to allow our fears to separate us from people, places and activities that would enhance our lives and the lives of others. So make a commitment to go forth and really live your life. Do what you can while you can - and don't let that rust start building up!

Please note: The image above is an Amazon affilitate link but please, go to your library and borrow this book if you want to read it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Back Up Your Data to Avoid Disaster

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk 2 TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive STAC2000100 (Black)
I recently experienced a near disaster. My computer crashed - and I mean really crashed - and for a brief time it looked like everything on my hard drive was lost. How could this happen? Why didn't I have a back up? Both good questions for which I do not have an adequate answer. It is just so easy to procrastinate, isn't it?

Anyway, it was a total wake-up call and I now have a beautiful 2TB external hard drive (just like the one in the picture) that automatically backs everything up as I go. So if you're not backing up your data, stop procrastinating! Spend the money to get some sort of back up system in place so that you don't see all your hard work (or worse yet, digital photos!) vanish into thin air.

Data Backup is Simple and Affordable

I understand that there are services that can often recover your data even after a catastrophic crash but it comes at a high cost - like $1,400 was the quote I heard. I think $100 or so is a better price, don't you? And the peace of mind I now have is priceless. Although the image and link above are for Amazon, I actually got my Seagate 2TB external hard drive on sale at Costco.

In looking at the product on Amazon, I see that there are a few negative reviews. Thankfully I did not experience any of the problems mentioned. We just hooked the thing up and it went to work. About 15 hours later, I was all backed up. Now I've got it unhooked. I could leave it on all the time but for my purposes that isn't necessary. My plan is to just hook it back up periodically or when I'm working on something really important. So please, please, please - do yourself a favor and get a backup system in place. This is an instance where redundancy is a very good thing!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Writing for Dollars Review - Another Great Resource for Writers

I’m taking my first ever online class, Writing for Fun and Profit, through KSurf. A resource given in lesson one is What a great site! In addition to a weekly newsletter and some other cool stuff, Writing for Dollars has a guidelines database (link below) that is searchable in several ways. You can find a market by name, subject, rate of pay, etc. Some are well known, such as AARP or Good Housekeeping (what do these examples say about my age group and gender?), but many I’d never heard of. Regardless, there’s a short synopsis and an online guidelines link for each.

As I’m actually a quilter/sewer/crafter first and a writer second, I searched for quilting, sewing and craft related markets. To my most pleasant surprise, there are about two dozen matches. Some are specific to subjects about which I have no interest, such as homebuilt aircraft, but many show promise. Even the lowest paying market I found beats what I made per how-to article writing for Demand Media Studios.

As I move forward toward a new year, I’m taking stock of where I am, how far I’ve come, and where I want to be next year at this time. I spent a lot of time and energy writing for up-front pay in 2010. This was good for me on several levels, including financial. In 2011, however, rather than writing so much for up-front pay, I want to redirect my energies toward accomplishing some long-term goals that took a backseat while I indulged myself with the instant gratification of immediate money. It appears that the Writing for Dollars Guidelines Database may provide leads to more lucrative gigs to satisfy my cash flow needs without sucking me dry.