Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Low Tech Writing

I find it hard to deviate from old-fashioned writing rituals. I try hard to compose directly on a computer, but my mind blanks out most of the time. I cannot focus. When I use the yellow pad and pencil, it's as if my hand can think on its own, mining all the thoughts in my head, writing away the words inside. I even use an old-style thesaurus. You know, in actual book form, not the online one that you search for in the internet.

Personally, I find the computer a distraction to my writing process. Since it contains most of my work and personal data, I cannot resist clicking on things I'm not currently working on. I love browsing through old photo albums! Once I get connected to the internet, it's hard to disconnect. Email, Facebook, Twitter. In that order. All the information available that might not be important and urgent, but you would like to know at once anyway.

So when faced with deadlines, I don't connect to the computer until after I've written a major draft of a current writing project. That's when I type the document and editing comes in and I use grammar check and spell check and word count.

I know some people might say that the computer offers more convenience to the writer. I say it really depends on your personal style. For me, low tech writing still works.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Sweet Smell of Coffee

Would any kind of coffee keep you awake when you need to be awake?

I've had to stay up late a lot these past few weeks because of online work (and trying to find online work). But because I work at home, and I work on the bed at night, of course I get sleepy most of the time. If I do get very sleepy, I just give in. Before going to sleep, I set up the alarm on my cellphone to wake me up in the very early morning, around 2am. That way, I could resume my work after a few hours of shuteye. At 2am though, the same battle for wakefulness begins. It's so hard to fight your own body clock.

I'm not much of a coffee drinker but I'm wondering if coffee would help me stay awake late at night and very early morning.

At times that I do drink coffee at home, it would mostly be the instant kind (that would almost always be Nescafe). Outside the house, it's a choice between Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, depending on where I am although Starbucks usually wins as they have more branches. And having a sweet tooth, I would prefer coffee varieties to be on the sweet side. But these never help in keeping me awake and alert. On the contrary, these make me sleepy. Maybe because I would usually order iced coffee, with a slice of cake or pastry to go with it. Haha!

Espresso is supposed to be strong, right? Well, I read in the Starbucks website that my usual drink there, the Caramel Macchiato, is espresso-based. So why doesn't it have the effect of keeping me awake?

Maybe drinking the right coffee variety would help. What are those strong coffee flavors? Maybe just plain coffee would do the trick, without the cream and the sugar and all those sweet, aromatic, oh so delicious flavorings? Good luck to me on that! I can't drink coffee without sugar!

Anyways, Starbucks would not solve my present problem because I now work at home, where the nearest Starbucks is in a mall that is a 30-minute ride away. I would have to do research on the available instant coffee varities in the supermarkets. I also would have to learn about coffee, espresso, coffee beans, etc. to know which might help me on this keeping awake problem. Suggestions are most welcome!

Confused over coffee or espresso? Here's a link that tells you the difference between coffee and espresso.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How To Use Backupify

If you'd like to back-up your online data, you can use Backupify (www.backupify.com) to do this. You never know when you might need to retrieve previous status posts, emails, photos and tweets. I personally use Backupify because it is easy to use, plus there's an option for a free account. I'm currently using this to backup my data in Blogger, Google, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Of course, you have the choice to upgrade to a paid account with many more features.

Here's a tutorial on how to use Backupify:

How to Use Backupify

Friday, March 4, 2011

Got an oDesk Gig!

Guess what?! I got an oDesk gig! The day after my last blog post, I got a message from oDesk saying I got hired for a writing project. It's a small, fixed price job, but it's a good start. Talk about timing! I was feeling depressed the previous day, ending the month still with no work. Mightily trying to stay positive, but sadly disappointed. And what do you know? The very next day, the start of the month, I get to start a new job. Now I can proudly say, "I'm a freelance online writer!" Amazing!

But just because I badly want to work at home doesn't mean I'll sign up with the first employer who will hire me. I got offers from a couple of employers, both for writing projects, which I turned down. One was for a technology blog, the other for a make-up samples blog. I didn't pursue those projects because I don't know much about those subjects. I'm not a techie and I don't think there are make-up samples here in the Philippines. It would be hard for me to write about things I'm not very much interested in. It's only a blog, you may say, but I don't like reading anything where the writer clearly doesn't know much about the topic. So I won't impose my uninformed knowledge or opinion on others.

That said, I'm excited about my first online work. I'm now working on the first batch of the project. And I'll celebrate this good start with an ice cream treat for myself this weekend.