Good with words

Fear... distractions.... the efforts of a self-employed writer to pay the mortgage.... all that jazz.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Slowly getting there

Starting a business is like learning to ride a bike.

The image returns to me time and time again. I'm on the bike without my support wheels, unwilling to take my feet off the ground and put them on the pedals. After a while I'd pluck up the courage to start pushing along the ground with my feet, occasionally lifting them up and onto the pedals for a few seconds before wobbling and putting them back on the ground to push again.

The constant loss of balance captures very well how it feels to be trying to get a business of the ground. The concerted effort represents the continual strain to market myself and obtain business.

I have been trying and wobbling for about 18 months. At times, when work got busy, I would neglect the self-marketing at my peril - wobble - and descend into stress and poverty for a fortnight.

A sense of security has been out of my grasp, and it's a pretty terrifying place to be. At least when I was learning to cycle, I could cry and get my Dad to take me home when the stress finally got too much.

But in the last few months, things have slowly started to change. And for the last two months, I have found the business becoming self-sustainable. Through a combination of referrals, regular clients, and web advertising, Copyqueen is generating its own business while I get on with writing. It means I am finally pedalling. I am moving!

I am still having terrible days, awful clients, and money troubles, but the business exists, and it keeps going, and for that I am hugely grateful - and incredibly proud.

So I guess I wanted to tell people to follow a dream, and not expect it to be easy for a second, and get plenty of headache pills, and prepare for sleepless night after sleepless night, no matter how tough you are. But do it, because - one day - it might just work out.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Forget the spoons, call Killers-R-Us

If you've ever wanted to eat your own head rather than listen to your boss rant for one more minute, you might find this useful:

Q.scary but rather brilliantly written website. I can't decide if it is real or not - suspect you'd have to send a deposit to find out (they accept PayPal).

Inspirational copy:

"Instead of fiddling around with amateur killing techniques and messing up crime scenes just pick up the phone and give us a call. "

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Using Mainly Spoons....

Late at night, in nextdoor's rabbit hutch, the white rabbit is prodding the brown rabbit to wake up. "Listen!" says white rabbit, eyes wide. "I've got it!"
"When they put in the wire foundations beneath the hutch, they didn't do the bit by the hutch doorway, did they?"
"Eh?" (Brown rabbit never quite knows which end is tail and which is nose, let alone remembering stuff like dinnertime or wire locations.)
"No. They must have thought we wouldn't be able to dig there." White rabbit pauses, rubbing his pink nose. "That's our way out!"
Brown rabbit looks sleepy.
"Using mainly spoons, we will dig our way down... under... and out... to freedom!"
Brown rabbit takes the spoon White Rabbit hands to him. They set to work.

Next morning, nextdoor neighbour arrives to feed rabbits. But they're nowhere to be seen...

(To be continued)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Working Late

Steve is slaving away, unpaid, at the hospital, where some poorly person is having implants put into his mouth while Nurse Steve stirs pink plastic at his bedside.

Or at least that's what I assume happens. I know he is in surgery. (You are not allowed to phone people who are In Surgery, in case you ever felt tempted to do this.)

So I am supposedly working late too. But I am really pushing my endurance now, quite frankly. There is only so much copy I can write, especially when it's going to come back covered in green revisions tomorrow. Green revisions are not very encouraging and sure to make the next batch even worse.

Still, some good will come of it. I am sitting in the front room, where the neighbours can clearly see me tapping away at the laptop through the window. Poor martyr, they will say. So devoted to her work.

Oh, bums to it. I am going to go and wash the dishes. Perhaps I will send some more emails first. I do like to make sure everyone knows that I am slaving.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Lovely Flowers

I have some test copy to write for a well-known gardening company, which I am very excited about. But they want it asap, which is a slight worry as I already have 2 websites to write this week. No, make that 3.

Our garden is looking blooming lovely, too - wonderful cosmos all around. Steve thinks it looks messy but I think it is curly, and wild, and romantic. And you can cut it and cut it and it keeps coming back for more.

Indoors, I have turned the stupid-why-did-we-buy-a-3-bedroom-house spare room into a greenhouse. We have a selection of herbs growing very nicely indeed, and so far Charlie has not mistaken them for her litter tray.

Pink gardening gloves are on my Christmas List (which is already rather long, featuring Circaroma Rose Oil and Fingerless Silk Gloves). I think these could prove hard to find. I could be the only 27-year-old gardening geek in the world. This is good for the gardening company, who probably will appreciate the youthful enthusiasm. I expect they are all old and use those shoulder-height weeders and weed-suppressing plastic, and drink tea from covered tea cups.

But what's boring about gardening? I will become the Nigella Lawson of horticulture. If they pay me enough, I am going to send myself on a gardening course. I even love weeding. As Steve says, his gardening role is now mainly on the maintenance side. (Mowing the lawn, in man-talk.)

I mainly wanted to write this post so I could put a nice picture in. I can stop rambling now, because it has uploaded.

Brain Freeze

I have sludged through Bulgarian copy all day, dissecting history, geography and climate, editing and rewriting. It's the first day back from the weekend and not a day to spend working, if you ask me. I had a funny spell at lunchtime, too. I wonder if I am having a kind of workaphobic brain tumour?

To add to my brain freeze I read some more of self-help book, 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People'. I really shouldn't have.

In the Overview (not gotten to Habit 1 just yet) the author says, 'The way we SEE the problem IS the problem."

This has given me a spiritual epiphany. It's very depressing.

You see, when I get mad at Steve for leaving the washing-up for me to do the next day, HE ISN'T THE PROBLEM. I am the problem! Me, impressing my desire for tidiness onto other people.

My internal paradigm is: "If the house is untidy, I am a worthless person." This informs everything that I do, making me too stressed to watch TV without tidying (yes, I know it's hard to believe. It's worse when Anthea Turner is on). It insists that Steve must do the washing up IMMEDIATELY, so that it is untidy for as little time as possible.

Sometimes my thoughts are so frightening that I think I can never get away, and I am going to implode. (But I am not telling that to the awful psychiatrist man who wrote the book.)

So right. It all seems to make sense but it frightens the pants off me.

Here's another one. When I fall off the top of a stile in a muddy field, it ISN'T Steve's fault for forgetting to help me. It's MY fault for borrowing from his strength. Borrowing strength nourishes weakness, you see? Expecting him to stop me falling will only result in me falling when he is not there. (Well, duh.)

But all the same, it's quite a relief to have someone to yell at when you get muddy and hurt your knee, isn't it? Therapeutic, maybe?

But seriously. I don't know how I will cope with the not-blaming-Steve theory. It is the very core of me.

And also, maybe it is Steve's fault just a little bit?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Reasons to eat more chocolate

I haven't made any of these up (promise). Some days my job is real good...

Five Excuses to Eat More Chocolate

Got a cough?
Take chocolate. Researchers at Imperial College, London famously discovered that chocolate is 30% more effective than codeine, which is the most common cough-medicine remedy. Theobromine, found in cocoa, was tested on volunteers with cough symptoms and didn’t show any of codeine’s side-effects, either.

Planning an adventure?
Take chocolate. Mountain-climbers, trekkers and serious adventurers are always advised to take chocolate. It’s been said to have saved the life of many a tired walker.

High blood pressure?
Take chocolate. Its polyphenols slow down the oxidation of cholesterol (which is what leads to blocked arteries) and it’s also suspected to prevent blood clotting. In fact, Mars is so convinced of its health-giving properties, it’s just launched CocoaVia: high-cocoa bars for people suffering with blood and heart problems. Mars claims the bars promote platelet activity (for good circulation) and improve blood flow.

Prone to anaemia?
Take chocolate. This trick is familiar to many women who suffer mild anaemic symptoms once a month. If you’re menstruating, dark chocolate is a useful iron supplement, and cheers you up too.

Need extra vitamins?
Ditch the pills and take chocolate. The humble cocoa bean is 3.5% vitamins, including calcium, iron, magnesium, sodium, phosphorous, vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


There's a lot of Nikki in me.

Some of us are born princesses, and some of us pick it up along the way. Especially when we have a partner who panders to our princessy pouting...

In the pub on Monday we sat behind two girls who were therapising one another. One had a boyfriend who had just thrown beer in her face and walked off. The other could sympathise, because her boyfriend once cut her cheek with a broken bottle.

At least the princess outbursts only consist of scowling, stamping and melodramatic shrieking. That's why it's okay for girls, but not boys. You just don't know how to do it right.