Everybody has a few daily time-wasters built in to their freelance routines. I use mine mostly to stay sane, especially when I have a particularly frustrating morning. Clients who won’t get back to me on important details, checks that arrive late or not at all, part-time writers who abuse the apostrophe, when all this stuff gangs up to drive me mad, I turn to one of my glorious time-wasters to help me blow off steam.
What are YOUR time wasters? I find that Wired.com, Craigslist, and the new releases section of IMDB.com are all places I get lost in, but nowhere near as much of a time drain as the gadget pictured above and to the left.
The telephone is by far the biggest blow to my available time in any given day. Once I start commiserating with my fellow writers and editors about life, the universe, the preponderance of television ads about Mesothelioma lawyers, home loan foreclosures and other sundry topics, it’s easy to lose 30 minutes to an hour talking about everything and nothing.
What makes YOU lose track of the time? I’d love to see a dialog in this space about time wasters, productivity, and how you manage to get your lost time back. For me, I find Saturday mornings are usually the first casualty to the time wasting habits of the work week…what about you?
Beware: highly opinionated writing ahead.
Experienced freelance writers already know what kinds of crap passes for “writing-related websites” on the net…over time you’ll find everything; out-and-out scams, hilarious ineptitude, raging egos (that would be me) and brilliant insights. Newcomers to this writing life will learn soon enough. It can be quite frustrating online, especially when you are trying to soak up information on the writing game and learn all you can to get your foot in the door.
New freelancers are often tempted to start writing-related websites. Here’s a little secret that no other writing site that I know of has (so far) shared–many (not all) experienced writers can tell the difference between a noob writing site trying to pass itself off as “one of the pros” and an honest-to-god experienced writer sharing the benefit of his or her experience. We appreciate people who don’t try to pass themselves off as something they are not–newcomers who admit this up front are far more likely to get a good reaction from a weathered ole hack like me. Try to pull the wool over the eyes of someone knows better and you deserve whatever flames you may get.
For those of us in the know, the symptoms are impossible to miss. They stick out like a sore thumb. Scratch that–they stick out like a sore thumb badly infected with gangrene in dire need of being lopped off. Lately I’ve seen my share, and I suppose it’s irked me a bit. More than a bit.
I know some of my friends will ask why I am wasting my time writing this. One of my stated policies is that I don’t spend valuable time railing against “stuff that sucks”, especially when there are so many GOOD sites out there to talk about. In this case I make an exception because I’m not addressing any one site in particular (why bother) and because I just wasted a good deal of time looking through a site I thought held promise. I was disappointed to see that it was just full of crap. It is frustrating to waste valuable time on nonsense, and now I vent my spleen for you. Will it actually HELP you? Read my top five signs of a bad writing site and judge for yourself. Continue reading Top Five Signs of a “Bad” Freelance Writing Site
Charles and Marie is one of my favorite net window-shopping destinations, but today I might just break down and actually make a purchase. The Sanctuary is an all-in-one universal battery charger and cable organizer compatible with more than 1500 electronic devices from most major brands. A handy USB port lets you power up cell phones, PDAs, Blackberry, iPods, MP3 players and bluetooth headsets in one convenient place.
I’m a huge fan of both space-saving devices and universal battery chargers, so this one’s a natural for me. Plus, all those gadgets look pretty sharp all gathered together like that at the end of the day.
The Sanctuary costs approximately $130 from Charles and Marie, and be sure to specify you want a USA-compatible power plug or the EU version. Busy travelers may do well to purchase both!