I Moroccan a Ton of New Ideas [Interactive Post!]

[Excuse the pun. We made a lot on holiday. It was wonderful, thanks for asking! (I’ve actually been back nearly two weeks now, but busy busy!) So relaxing, bar the occasional panic that I wasn’t replying to messages on Upwork quickly enough when I was out in the mountains with no WiFi… The downtime was great though, and one coach journey proved insanely productive: I wrote a dozen pieces during a three hour trip through the Moroccan countryside. As such, a fair few of my posts for the next while will be those pieces, starting now with an interactive one…]

Fill in the blanks. Comment your suggestions below. I’ll post a summary of the best from my readers (I’ll be honest, I expect the volume of comments to be low enough to allow ‘the best’ to be all of the ones I receive, but you can prove me wrong through commenting tons and sharing with all your friends and generally promoting my blog if you really wanted to!) and various other contributors at a later date.

“When a mummy and a daddy
love each other very much
they take off all their ____
and lie down in the ____
and rub ____ over themselves
until they ___.”

You can go for the obvious answers if you want, but you’re creative types, so I’m sure you won’t!

Amazing Poetry

[My next post was meant to be a ‘Hi, I’m back from holiday, I wrote a ton of stuff, here it is’ sort of affair (with a terrible pun in the title, no less!) and, while that post is still heading your way sometime soon, I simply had to tell you about this first…]

So I follow (along with just five other people) a blog called Catch24, and they’ve posted two outstanding poems recently: ‘The Days of Youngness‘ and especially ‘Ruins of a heart once beating‘, by a guest writer referred to only as Haz. It’s harsh and raw and beautiful and easily some of the best poetry I’ve read in a while. I’m tempted to quote some of my favourite lines from it, but I wouldn’t want to spoil your own experience in any way. Go read them both. Do it now.

The blogger themsleves, like ‘Haz’, doesn’t give much away on their identity either, maintaining an air of mystery, and the emphasis is very much quality over quantity – they don’t post often but each one so far has been fascinating. I would strongly recommend, nay urge you to follow this blog – I’ve no doubt it’s going places.

P.S. Did anyone read the title and assume I was just bragging? Kinda looks that way!

Happy Birthday to Blog!

We are one year old today! [Cue confetti]

Some reflections:

This blog started out (EXACTLY one year ago – I’ve matched the time and everything) as a place to let out Skylance – the ‘wild, imaginative creative part of me’ – and for the most part that’s just what it’s been. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to let out, but it turned out to be a lot of flash fiction and poetry (I would link to them but they have their own categories anyway) alongside little pieces of songs, ultimate, and the straight up, ripped-from-my-younger-self’s-head fantasy I had in mind when I first began. One-off pieces like that proved a lot easier to write than any part of something more substantial, hence the glacial progress of my two flash fiction series and the only-once-ventured tie-in to my in-progress novel (way too many hyphens there!).

A big shock for me was the reception given to some of my posts about real life. I didn’t think anyone would be interested to hear about my own trials and tribulations, though admittedly, when a lot of them were about Tinder, maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised.

Another thing that’s really struck me is the community here on WordPress. I’ve met (well, virtually met) a ton of great people with so much interesting stuff to say, and I’m genuinely touched when, after a long absence from posting, I rejoin the WordPress world and am welcomed back so warmly. I couldn’t possibly list all my brilliant friends here, but Jane Basil needs mentioning for almost always being my first like, comment and welcome whenever I’ve returned. Big and warm shout-outs as well to Nurse Kelly and Lotte Lubach who have been my other most prolific commenters and readers. To all the rest, I love you all as well! I really enjoy it when I get a chance to sit and scroll through all the blogs I follow on my Reader, including many of my talented friends.

And where am I going next? Hopefully continuing to build a readership here and share my work as widely as possible, alongside my recent steps into starting as a freelance writer. Exciting times indeed!

That’s all, really. I’m on the last day of my holiday at the moment, so I’m going to go enjoy My Name is Skylance’s first birthday – have a great day!

Skylance: Professional Writer

It’s official. Sort of.

Remember my previous post about my first foray into Upwork? Well there’s been an early and surprising development: green tea and Korea.

This is a blogging job I was invited to apply for within a few hours of joining the site, and on a whim I did just that, admitting my limited knowledge of the area but stating also my passion for writing and willingness to research as much as necessary. And also offering to take less payment. Who knows what swung it…

AND I GOT THE JOB!  Chris Grant from Wooree Tea, a New Zealand based company selling Korean green tea, got in touch with my first assignment, a piece about pairing green tea with dark chocolate, and its two week deadline. Milestones were created through Upwork, and funded (such that when they’re completed, the money is released) and I started work!

This being my dream and all, I got a bit excited and wrote the piece that day, after several hours of research (I’ll be honest, in my euphoria, I had started reading up on green tea and the company before I even got the offer). Chris approved, and on Monday my piece was published on Wooree Tea’s website. You can see the article (it has my name on it and everything!) here: Green Tea and Dark Chocolate.

I’m hoping this is the start of a longer-term working relationship with Wooree Tea, but regardless of whether things go further, I’m very grateful to them for giving me my first break! As such, if you might like to try the finest green tea that Korea (via New Zealand) has to offer, or want to read some of the interesting articles they have on Korean culture, and tea, please check out their website.

I have a couple more irons in the Upwork fire as well, so I’ll be sure to update you again soon (probably after my imminent holiday!). Muchos love to all my readers (I get very affectionate when I’m happy and I’M HAPPY BECAUSE I’M A WRITER)!

P.S. The image for this article is my Upwork profile pic, with resizing frame and all!

Finding my dream writing job on Upwork

Upwork – My Latest Venture

Evening folks! I’m excited to tell you about a step I’ve taken towards the dream of actually legitimately being a real-life paid-up writer person: I’ve signed up as a freelancer.

It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out for me, and hopefully I’ll be able to share some tips and pitfalls along the way that might help anyone else out there wanting to do something similar. So a quick breakdown:

Why
I want to be a writer. I’m currently an engineer. It pays well, it can be pretty interesting, but it is not what I love. I love writing. I’ve been looking at writing jobs and, unsurprisingly, employers want professional experience, so I’m going to get some.

What
Upwork is a site that connects freelancers to projects all over the world. There are fields for programming and web design and blah blah but more importantly writing! From editing and technical copy to poetry and blogging, there are people everywhere who are willing to pay me to write. Oh my.

How
Signup is simple, and free, and pretty quick. I set up my profile – picture, short bio, list of skills – last night and have started looking at jobs today. When you find something interesting, you message the project/owner/employer/tasker and if they like you, you get the job! You agree a rate, do the work, get paid. Apparently.

So what have I done so far?
Wrote a bio.
Added my skills  – for me that means fiction, blog writing, poetry, editing etc
Chose a nice cheerful photo.
Added some work details (about my irrelevant engineering job, and how that has helped me communicate with barely-literate, scientifically-minded people) and about the student magazine I edited at uni. Gotta start somewhere!
Set my hourly rate
^^ What?? This really threw me – I’d just signed up and was expected to state how much my time was worth. I had no idea and agonised for a while, but in the end just went cheap (I’m not doing it for the money after all) for now and for each job you agree on a rate anyway.
Took a creative writing test! Upwork has a ton of tests to cover all the skills you can list on the site. The prospect terrified me a bit but it looks good to verify your skills so I went for it. This test was 40 questions, multiple choice, about publishing, plot, characters etc. I did pretty well thankfully (in the top 10%) so that will look good.

and lastly…

Applied for some jobs! Within a few hours of joining the site I was invited to apply for a job writing short stories about green tea and Korea… neither are areas I know much about, but I explained that in my application (why not, hey?) as well as my passion for writing, my low rates and my willingness to research green tea and Korea and make a decent hash of it! We’ll see where that goes. I’ve applied to three others as well (applying costs credits called Connects of which you have a limited number each month) to which I wasn’t invited (being invited means a free application!) which are proofreading, a rewriting of a novel into natural English (from a non-native author) and short story writing for an online magazine startup. Not heard back yet, but I’ll be sure to check in here when I do, and I’d love to hear from any of you who have tried similar endeavours!

Post To Be

[Deadpool post coming soon (I’m excited to convince you to watch it!), but in the meantime, here’s a song…]

Some posts just flow from me
Others I gotta work so they grow from me
Work’s what I got to show for me
Work’s what I got to show for me

And haters got this role for me
Tryna say this job’s all over me
But there’s so much more to me
Writing’s how I settle the score for me

Cos that’s what I got to show for me
That’s what I got to show for me
Trust when I say there’s more to me
And everything’s good like it post to be

[For an idea of the rhythm, the rhyme scheme, inspiration for the title, explanation of the final line and some of the material, see Omarion, CBreezy and Jhené Aiko’s Post To Be. Great song, y’all.]

Under Control [Drabble]

noradnorth-portal

“Evening, Lopez.”

“Evening, Jon. Alright?”

“All good, Lopez. Off soon?”

“Fifteen. DK’s running late.”

“Fair enough. Once more round the loop?”

“Aye.”

Lopez set off again, heading northwest along the fence. Gravel crunched underfoot. His breath hung in the air. He imagined his lounge, warming his feet by the fire, sipping a coffee while he watched the snooker.

He turned into Compound C, boots rapping on the metal floor. A door ahead opened; these doors never opened. Two men hurried out, keyed in the lock codes behind them. Lopez sped up.

A roar shook the earth. Blinding light. Then nothing.

[100 words]