04-01-21

eBay Sales: none

#MilWordy Update: 128,589 words (5,695 words/day to complete)

I truly wanted to do something interesting and clever today, but I couldn’t think of anything. Maybe next year I’ll be clever enough to do a little “history of April Fool’s” or something. Or maybe a collection of good jokes. Several of the YouTubers I follow managed to put out something fun, but the jokes really depend on you being long-term watchers of the channel to make sense, so I can’t recommend them to the general public.

I’ve been watching the climbing national trials on YouTube recently. I’ll do a post on that this week, I think. I like watching certain niche sports and I would like more people to watch them with me. I gobble up the Olympics in great gulps, even when it drives my family crazy.

Today was sort of chaotic. We spent the morning doing errands at the bank and getting some important paperwork filled out. Then, I had a quick phone discussion with a recruiter. Lunch was at IHOP. Then, I swear I did things this afternoon. Mostly, I think they involved resumes and things like that, but I really can’t remember anything in particular. I think I did put in a bid on some typist type work. I would be fine with that actually. I’m fairly quick at typing and I manage fairly clean copy when I do that. So, we’ll see.

I also saw a few interesting positions to apply for. Though, part of me wants to save some of them for the Unemployment hoops you need to jump through every week. I’m still waiting to find out if I’m even eligible for the stuff and for how long.

The downsizing auction we’ve been running completed tonight, even though pick-up is on Easter. It didn’t have the greatest turn-out, but I think the themed auctions that I’m planning for the rest of the year will do better. And they’ll make a significant difference for us.

Well, I suppose that’s it. Nothing really interesting. But it did get done today! Step by step, mes amis.

If you found this interesting, or you’d like to support my content, please consider buying me a coffee.

  • Goal: Finish 2 books & 12 short stories — 3 short story complete. 1 in edits.
  • Goal: Keep a journal, even if it’s only one line per day — Doing better with this
  • Goal: Take a photo every day and make myself a book at the end of the year. — Got two photos of my new business cards on a pretty amethyst background
  • Goal: Complete MilWordy. — I got started on a book (#5 in a series I started ages ago and need to finish)
  • Goal: Blog every day. — Fifth day in a row.
  • Goal: Modified eBay goal: List $200-$300 per day. Got $40 worth of listings today.

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03-31-21

eBay Sales: 1 GS badge, 1 plush

#MilWordy Update: 125,846 words (5,676 words/day to complete)

To set the stage: I have been applying to freelance positions, especially copy-editing and proofreading. I have been doing this through a particular website and this website has rules and terms of service and escrow accounts for the safety of all concerned.

I received an offer for an interview off of this site. I was completely down for the job and very excited. The precise was that it was a series of horror short stories with queer themes that needed some final edits and a second set of eyes to catch copy issues. This is one hundred percent my cup of tea. I applied. Did a lovely cover letter (which I counted towards my MilWordy, thank you very much). And today, I got the invite for the interview. It was in Skype, which made a lot of sense too. My last job had a Zoom interview. It’s pretty much par for the course when you’re living in an area that’s not exactly in lock-down, but is still heavily encouraging people to stay home.

I got into the Skype meeting and was informed that the interview was going to be via text. A little unusual, but damn if it didn’t sound lovely. It would contribute to blind hiring. And I can only think that this is a good thing. Especially for a copy-editing job. You’d want to see someone’s day to day grammar and spelling. And it’s a bit of a cheat, but rather than doing full testing, chat sounds like a good option for seeing that.

There were a few misspellings in the chat from the rep’s side of the conversation. Part of me assumed that that was actually going to be a part of the testing portion in the end. Something along the lines of “now go back through this chat and point out all of the areas where there were misspellings or improper grammar.

And there was a well-known corporate logo on the top, from a top publisher. Which was also believable because they have been hiring and there are open positions on their website.

There were two lists of questions for the application/interview portion. Seemed automated as you typed “DONE” at the end, but that didn’t trigger any warning signs for me. (Can you see where we’re headed? Can you?) I came from an office which did structured interviews. We had a set of questions which were asked of each employee and they were graded by three different people. If I’m doing a quick blind hire for an immediate position fill for a part-timer? Sure, I’ll automate those questions so I don’t have to retype them every Gods Be Damned time.

Then, there was a pat on the head and “please check back in half-an-hour.” Presumably so the real humans could look at the responses that the chat-bot had elicited.

And half an hour later, we’re offering you the position. Part-time, per project. Here’s the hourly rate. Do you accept?

Since the rate they quoted was above my bottom line rate? Yes.

Then, they were going to send me a contract via email. (Funny that they hadn’t asked for my resume by this point, but it’s posted on the site they offered the interview from.) Also, I assumed that the contract would come through the website system as per the TOS of the system.

You’ll be in training next week. It’s paid training. Don’t worry.

You would think that this was a flag, but it’s really not. I have taken the week long compliance training gauntlet for every company I have ever worked for. As an independent contractor, taking the things are a pain, but sure as shinola, I am going to charge you for it.

Then, they were all about what programs and equipment they wanted me to have available. Well, no, I don’t have those proprietary systems. I’m sure there are people who do. Also, why did you specify a particular brand of printer? Seriously? Whatever. Maybe there’s a connection between the scanner and the data entry system you want me to use to track my time or something.

Then, came the swing that set off all of my alarm bells.

“Can you afford this equipment or would you like company assistance?”

Well obviously, I am not going to pay for a $5000 suite of equipment and software! I want the company to provide that shit.

Okay. We’re going to send you a check to pay for the software and a MacBook Pro. And we’ll set you up with a local retailer with whom we have a long-term relationship. Still, not a terrible thought, though a little weird. Everything’s been weird in the Corona Times. Maybe their original supplier has issues. Maybe they have a small business initiative to get a tax credit. Especially if the check is made out to the retailer and comes along with a pre-filled order form or something like that. The retailer is responsible for the IT portion of setting up all of the software and doing all of the patches for the OS. Cool. Cool. (And if you think companies *don’t* have long-term relationships with retailers in order to get a deal, you have been sleeping.)

The thing is, the company should pay the retailer directly. Like, call up and pay with a purchase order or a credit card. They should not send a check and then ask the employee to buy the stuff. That sounds a lot like the wire-transfer fraud that used to happen on eBay all the time. The one where they send you a check that’s for more than the stuff is worth. You send back the other portion. Then, the check turns out to be a fraud and you’re out of the money. So, I was side-eyeing it a bit. But I was still willing to roll with it.

The proper answer to “we’ll help you with the costs” is: here’s a company laptop with these highly specialized programs. You’re going to be required to sign for delivery and we’ll have complete access to everything that happens on the laptop in order to track your time and the use of the machine.

As someone who has had a company laptop, you just sign your life away in blood and move on. (Ask me about the walkie-talkie that could have seen my paycheck docked sometime. Seriously. I bought stock in the damned company the thing was so impressive.) Then, when you’ve finished the project, you return it. Certified mail or FedEx as the company pays for it. The IT team sign. You sign. Everyone agrees that everything is in order and life goes on.

Then, my new friend and employer says: “all I need from you is trust and diligence.”

Um, wait, what?

“Do you have your mobile banking app?”

Excuse me? No. No, I don’t. I also don’t have a contract yet. And I haven’t been asked to fill out a W-9. Or, you know, any of the paperwork that you need when you start with a company. Or, barring that, at least a contract that spells out that I am an independent contractor and will be getting X number of dollars an hour.

You know what this is? It’s a scam. It is a scam that is taking advantage of 1) freelancers 2) people who don’t have a job or 3) people who are new to the working world.

So, what did I do? When they pressed me to get an on-line banking account because “how else will I cash the check?”

Listen, ass-wipe, I will take the fucking check to the bank. Wait for it to clear. (That’s two weeks.) And then, when the bank verifies that you are not going to bounce the check and that it’s not a fraud, I will have the money. Free and clear in my checking account.

So I “removed myself from consideration”. I reported the client to the freelancing website for attempting to “pay me outside of the site” and thereby violating the terms of service. Then, I wrote an email to the major publisher that was supposed to be the hiring agent and let them know what was happening and asked that the information be passed on to their security team.

If you found this interesting, or you’d like to support my content, please consider buying me a coffee.

  • Goal: Finish 2 books & 12 short stories — 3 short story complete. 1 in edits.
  • Goal: Keep a journal, even if it’s only one line per day — And we were successful. It wasn’t a long entry, but it was an entry
  • Goal: Take a photo every day and make myself a book at the end of the year. — Got two photos of the cherry blossoms
  • Goal: Complete MilWordy. — My words today was mostly a blog post.
  • Goal: Blog every day. — Fourth day in a row.
  • Goal: Modified eBay goal: List $200-$300 per day. Got $220 worth of listings today.

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Books to Read – March 2021

The Removed – Brandon Hobson

The Burning God – R. F. Kuang

Dying with Her Cheer Pants On – Seanan McGuire

Seven of Infinities – Aliette de Bodard

Cemetery Boys – Aiden Thomas

Nourish – Heidi Schauster

The Four Tendencies – Gretchen Rubin

Make Time – Jake Knapp & John Zeratsky

Writing Killer Blurbs and Hooks – Adam L Croft

The Vine Witch – Luanne G. Smith

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03-30-21

eBay Sales: 2 books,

Bonanza Sales: remote control car

#MilWordy Update: 125,434 words (5,642 words/day to complete)

I fought my way through my taxes today. I cannot begin to explain the headache that creates. I suppose it could just be my sinuses, but it’s not centered there. It’s higher on my head and pressing out like my head is trying to explode. I might need to get my glasses updated to, I realize. It’s been over a year.

I am between positions at the moment, so I’ve been jumping in to writing profiles and updating my resume and portfolios. It’s draining in a way that looking for jobs and peering at submission guidelines when you’ve got a day job isn’t. It’s time to start shaking my network for opportunities. I am one day away from changing over my LinkedIn profile and updating my resume on all of the sites. I need to finish writing up my most recent position on my resume and proof it about three times to make sure there’s nothing glaringly wrong on it.

In general, it’s been a productive but exhausting day.

Well, I’m off to try to get some words which are not related to cover letters done. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

If you found this interesting, or you’d like to support my content, please consider buying me a coffee.

  • Goal: Finish 2 books & 12 short stories — 3 short story complete. 1 in edits.
  • Goal: Keep a journal, even if it’s only one line per day — Removing the barrier made a difference. I actually wrote two days worth of entries.
  • Goal: Take a photo every day and make myself a book at the end of the year. — Got two photos today. — My new business cards showed up.
  • Goal: Complete MilWordy. — My words today were mostly job proposals and an author profile.
  • Goal: Blog every day. — Third day in a row.
  • Goal: Modified eBay goal: List $200-$300 per day. Got $400 worth of listings today. That’s a big deal. I’m trying to get through my “death pile” so that I can justify going to an auction next week.

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Books Read in March 2021

Fiction

  • Old Man’s War – John Scalzi

Non Fiction

  • Hyperbole and a Half – Allie Brosh

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3-29-21

No update today. Allergies are trying to kill me. But look, I kept the streak going.

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03-2-21

eBay Sales: tea for one teapot,

#MilWordy Update: 124,119 words (5,579 words/day to complete)

On the subject of goal setting and not being perfect:

As you see at the end of this post, I have several goals for this year. A few of them are daily goals and a few of them are yearly goals. Each goal has a measurable component to it.

Goal 1: is to finish 2 books and 12 short stories. I have promised 6 short stories to the Golden Fleece Press Patreon. The monthly load is being spread between me and another author for this year. However, if I try for at least one short story every month, then I will have a surplus and will have stories which I can start submitting to outside publications or possibly offer on my own Patreon (when I get around to actually getting that up and running.) I also owe two books to my publisher. (A sequel to Sugar and Spice and a sequel to To Market.) Thus, goal one is very measurable. I either finish the projects or I don’t. And to be honest, if I don’t finish them, then I will be breaking my promises and I hate that.

Goal 2: is to keep a journal. I have never been very good at journaling. I did pretty well at the three pages of brain dump a day process for about three months once. But in general, I turn to journaling when there’s something horrible in my life that I need to process. This goal is to try to circumvent this. We’re living in some pretty historical times. There’s something to write about every day. But there’s also the mundane. I’m trying to find at least one sentence a day. That means it should be simple to achieve. Why haven’t I been doing this? Because I put something on top of my journal. Yep. That’s it. It’s really that simple to create a barrier to the completion of a goal. So, how can I fix this right now? I’m going to move the things on top of my journal to the other side of my desk. Right now. As I type. It’s just a book and a CD drive, but now I can see my spangled Captain Marvel journal. (Don’t at me people. I love sparkly things. I am part magpie.) Let’s see if this helps any.

Goal 3: is to take a photo every day. Or at least to get 365 photos in a year. I haven’t managed a photo every day, but I’m within a week of the goal. That’s a lot better than the years when I’ve only taken one photo outside of vacation or eBay listings. The end goal is to create a book with just one picture per page as a record of the year. The photos will be everything from a photo of my walking team, to a close-up of a train wheel. But those pictures will be able to trigger memories, and that’s the whole point. Even if I don’t end up with a full 365 photos? I’ll have taken more than I would have without the challenge.

Goal 4: MilWordy. I’m attempting to write one million words this year. Is that easy? Heck no. Was it easier before I missed a few weeks of writing anything? Yes. Can I still do it? Probably. If I focus up a bit. I need to write more consistently, and MilWordy is making that happen. It’s encouraged me to do more sprints and to participate in a weekly YouTube write in. (Shout out to Porscha Writes, hosted by Porscha Simmons. You should come join us on Wednesday nights! There are speed demons like me, and well-thought-out turtles. It’s not how many words you do, just that you do them. And it’s a lot easier to do that when you’re surrounded by people who challenge you to write. There’s usually at least 2 and sometimes 3 writing sprints during the session.)

Goal 5: Blog every day. Well, anyone who’s been around here for any length of time knows that this is not happening. However, I am blogging more than I ever have before. Does that make this goal a success? Yes, I think so. I think the intention is to blog more. But I am not a moderation person. I am an every day or no day sort of person. If I let myself just “blog whenever” I will fail to blog for months at a time. When I have a goal to follow up on? I blog more often. I even can count my Sunday Night Music blog posts toward this goal. So, I think it’s working. I’ve gotten a lot more consistent and I’ve even thrown up a few blog posts that are saved by other people for one reason or another.

Goal 6: eBay listings. This goal has been modified several times. At first it was listing 20 items per weekday. Then, it was $150 per day. Now, I’ve upped that to between $200 and $300 worth of items per day. The theory is that you generally see a sell through of about 5 percent of the items you have listed. And if you list on a consistent basis your items are captured by the eBay algorithm more easily. Have a seen this borne out? A bit? I am selling more often. And a few things sell over-night. It ebbs and flows. This week will be slow because it’s Spring Break and it’s the last week of Lent leading up to Easter and people are not focussed on shopping right now. Next week might be different. You can’t really count on it, but I also think that it’s probably true that more active users get more sales. It just makes more sense. If you’ve got more items available, you’re more likely to find clients. It’s the math of abundance.

Overall, I think the goals have been going well. And in another three months, I’ll look back on them. And every day, I’ll consider whether they need to be updated or modified. Goals are not static things. They’re something to use to make yourself better at something one day at a time.

What sort of goals have you been working on?

If you found this interesting, or you’d like to support my content, please consider buying me a coffee.

  • Goal: Finish 2 books & 12 short stories — 3 short story complete. 1 in edits. The new story is definitely a crime story.
  • Goal: Keep a journal, even if it’s only one line per day — I removed a barrier to this today. Maybe that will help.
  • Goal: Take a photo every day and make myself a book at the end of the year. — Got four photos today. That’s helped me catch up with my goal.
  • Goal: Complete MilWordy. — I have words today. That’s a help.
  • Goal: Blog every day. — I missed a day, but I think today’s entry is strong.
  • Goal: Modified eBay goal: List $200-$300 per day. It’s Sunday and I am not supposed to be working, but I still did about $50 worth of listings today.

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Sunday Night Music: Sugar in the Hold

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03-25-21

eBay Sales: puzzle, mcDonald’s Toy

#MilWordy Update: 121,973 words (5,522 words/day to complete)

I went to an estate sale today and picked up a bunch of Nancy Drew books. There was a Dana Girls mixed into the middle of the grouping. I was happy to see it. I always enjoyed the Dana Girls, but they’re hard to find. I picked up a few odds and ends, but in general the sale was a bit too costly for my blood. I much prefer the auctions or thrift stores out in the wild more than a lot of estate sales. I hate to say that people over-value items, but in general, now that eBay and WorthPoint are easy to find, it’s a lot harder to find deals. It’s one of those things that I understand. Go for all you can get out of an item. At the same time, I am not your buyer.

I also got some hair dye. It’s only temporary. I’m debating whether or not I’m actually going to bleach out my hair or not. I’ve never actually colored my hair, but that’s mostly because I’ve been in fairly conservative office spaces. (Even granting that we had a high-level deputy with green hair at the position before the last one.) I am nervous. I should have taken the advice of the little punk that I met when I was in college who encouraged me to do it while I was in school and it wouldn’t affect anything. She was right. I should have.

Of course, looking back on the world, I also realized that I was probably completely blind to the fact that she was flirting with me. That is not an unusual problem in my life though. I’m usually completely blind to that sort of thing. Mostly because I don’t care about being in a relationship. LOL. I can see it so clearly when it involves someone else. but I am blind when it’s with me. As with a lot of insights.

I feel slightly better now that I’ve had a day to process that I’m not beholden to anyone outside of myself right now. It’s a new sensation. Into the future!

To infinity and beyond!!!!

  • Goal: Finish 2 books & 12 short stories — 3 short story complete. 1 in edits. Typed up a new one tonight. I think it’s going to be a crime story.
  • Goal: Keep a journal, even if it’s only one line per day — Nope. I did not fix this last night. Will today be different?
  • Goal: Take a photo every day and make myself a book at the end of the year.
  • Goal: Complete MilWordy. — *maybe????*
  • Goal: Blog every day. — Back at it. Four days in a row. This is almost unheard of.
  • Goal: Modified eBay goal: List $200-$300 per day. Not today, but I did get about half-way there.

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03-25-21

eBay Sales: vase

#MilWordy Update: 121,676 words (5,490 words/day to complete)

I am officially looking for a new day job. We’ll have to see how this flows.

But that being said, I’ve had a chance to look at insurance costs versus COBRA costs and damn. I am hoping that the company I applied to takes me on. I would like to make sure that I have coverage as of April and if I have to take COBRA (which costs more than $100 more than I would pay on the market and I find that less than helpful.

That being said, I am truly torn between trying to build my business and my freelance career and having something steady that pays all of my bills easily.

The business and freelancing would happen regardless of the day job, so I think I will keep looking for something steady. But if I start being able the kludge together enough on a regular basis to pay the bills, then… well… if I don’t need a day job? That would be wonderful.

I see such a very clear need and I’m working through a business model for it. If I can make that work for me? If I can do that by getting some freelance help in or if my VA would be willing to help me with it? (I need to talk to her about it.)

This is going to be a little weird and my blog posts will probably be a little more disjointed than usual. (And that’s saying something.)

Anyway. Love, luck, and lollipops, my loves.

  • Goal: Finish 2 books & 12 short stories — 3 short story complete. 1 in edits. Started a new one. I just can’t help myself.
  • Goal: Keep a journal, even if it’s only one line per day — Nope. I did not fix this last night. Will today be different?
  • Goal: Take a photo every day and make myself a book at the end of the year.
  • Goal: Complete MilWordy. — *maybe????*
  • Goal: Blog every day. — Back at it. Three days in a row! Woot!
  • Goal: Modified eBay goal: List $200-$300 per day. Not today, but I managed it yesterday.

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