Professional Writing Certificate Application

Today I completed and mailed an application for the Professional Writing Certificate that I’ve been working on.  I find it a little odd that the College is unable to use technology to keep track of it’s students and the courses they complete so that when the requirements are met they just mail out the Certificate but, if memory serves, I also had to serve notice that I was ready for my Bachelour’s degree to be granted so I guess that’s “how it’s always been done.”

It’s taken me just short of two years to complete the required courses and now that I’m done I find myself wondering “What’s next?”    For the past several semesters, there was always the next course to look forward to but now I have to find something else to anticipate.  Guess that means I should write something that produces a financial benefit!  Hmmmm, the topics are endless aren’t they?

Maybe I should wait until I actually get my Certificate in the mail before I start something.  Yeah, that’s what I’ll do……

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So, are you on Facebook or LinkedIn?

As I adapt to the new social realities of such networking sites as Facebook or LinkedIn, I find myself asking friends and acquaintances if they are “on” one of them.  Many of my friends are on both Facebook and LinkedIn but some are on one but not the other.  I guess it depends on what it is you’re looking for from social networking that will determine which site(s) you sign onto. 

Since I have seen a foreshadow of my own mortality in the passing of an old friend, I have made a New Year’s resolution to be more active in the social network of Facebook.  I’m hoping to keep in touch with old and new friends and to reach out to some of those I haven’t seen in many years to reconnect and refresh past friendships.  In the end, the definition of a Good Life doesn’t include the number of “friends” you have or the number of business contacts you’ve made but the interactions and relationships we make will have an impact on our happiness and that is part of my definition.

I’ve also created a full profile on LinkedIn and I try to regularly communicate with the contacts I have on that site too.  LinkedIn is more of a business network and I have made some great contacts and reconnected with old friends who have moved on in their careers.  I am hoping that opportunities will be coming my way through my membership on that site.  I’ve come across a couple that didn’t pan out for one reason or another but I’m sure that others will follow.

I have not opened a Twitter account because between my coursework, my family, my writing, my blog, Facebook, and LinkedIn, I’m convinced that I would not be able to keep up with the “demands” of adding yet another networking app into my life.  By the way, are you on Facebook or LinkedIn?

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As I near the nine-month mark

of being laid off, I have been busier than I would have ever thought possible.  It seems that the things I’ve put off for the last 15 years are all getting done now.  Of course, having three young kids also means that the taxi service is constantly required as well as the referee, chef, litigator, judge, jury, teacher, psychologist, speech therapist, doctor (well, advil and tylenol dispenser anyway), librarian, book reader, and best of all, friend.

In between that I’ve been taking courses trying to embark on a new career while somehow managing to find the money to pay the bills.  I’ve just completed course two of five with course three scheduled to start in January.  Just need to find a market for my writing now!

Kids are off school for two weeks and I have mixed emotions about that!  Having them away for a few hours each day gave Lily and I a chance to catch our breath but now with them home all the time it seems that the storm named KristenEliJordan is always blowing through our house throwing books, clothes, and toys all over the place.  We go from room to room cleaning up after them while they mess up the rooms behind us…..

It’s all good though, they are growing up in front of my eyes and I know that someday I’ll back fondly on this time while my mind conveniently forgets all the stuff that drives me crazy now.

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Back to School!

Well, the kids are back to school and we are now “relaxing” with only our youngest at home.  Jo is 2 years old and not quite old enough to be going to Kindergarten so she hangs out with Lily and I during the day until we have to pick up our son from the bus stop shortly after 11:00 am and our oldest daughter a bit after 3:00.

Now the the older two are back in school I am getting back to the business of trying to get published and looking for a TrackWise contract to keep me going.  I’m taking the opportunity to investigate the possibility of freelance writing right now since I don’t think I’ll get another chance if I head back to the Corporate world immediately. 

I’ve written a couple of children’s books which I need to find an illustrator for (graphic design is not my bag) and I’m also planning on submitting some poetry and short stories to see if I can get a “published” credit.  Magazine article ideas are another avenue I’m looking at to keep me busy although I have yet to sell anything.

There are also a half dozen or so projects around the house that need my attention although I am dragging my heels a bit on those.  I think my creative side is looking for an outlet and the more mundane day to day activites of keeping the house in order are not quite so exciting.

I am looking, however, for something that will keep the cats out of my backyard without also scaring away the squirrels and rabbits who occasionally pass through our yard.  The latter two I don’t mind but I would prefer to keep the cats away.  As a dog owner I am very careful to clean up after my dogs when we take them for walks and I also keep them to the side of the house most often and not in the backyard so much because I want my kids to be able to walk around out there without worrying about stepping in anything messy.  The neighbourhood cats insist on using my backyard and garden as their own private latrine which is, to understate, annoying.  Since I have also found their turds in the vegetable garden it is also disgusting.

I don’t want to harm the cats, just keep them from relieving themselves on my lawn and in the gardens……Any suggestions?

A Successful Finish to Course #1

Today I got my marks from the writing course I’ve been working on the past couple of months and am happy to report that I finished with an 84% average.  Pretty good I think and I’m quite satisfied with that start…..

There are four more courses to be completed before I can get the Professional Writing certificate that I’m going after and I registered for course number two this morning;  I hope that I can complete it with something close to the same success.

I had assumed that the children’s story and poem would be my worst marks but it turned out the opposite!  My poem was very well received by my Instructor and the children’s story was very satisfying to complete. 

I hope that this is the beginning of an interesting journey…..

The New Home Office

Okay, so, our home office has been redone.  The tipping point came when we realized that we basically had a path from the door to the desk and that was the only part of the floor that was visible.  It was impossible to work in a mess like that so I spent a couple of weeks clearing everything out so that we could patch the walls, rip out the carpet, repaint the walls, install hardwood, and then begin to move things back in.

We’ve been careful about what goes back into the office and the things that were in there have been reorganized.  Business cards were everywhere, pads of paper and envelopes existed in different piles in all four corners, and I found enough pens and pencils to last a lifetime!

Now that the place is cleaned up, we’ve been trying to figure out how to put everything away without putting the chaos back also.  In many cases that has resulted in different piles for different rooms.  Kids books and toys to the playroom, books upstairs to the bookcase, tools (?!) back down to the workroom in the basement, CDs and movies to the Entertainment centre, etc. etc.  Difficult to imagine how all that stuff seems to have migrated from its rightful place into the office.  Putting everything back where it belongs, though, has made the office much neater and more pleasant to work in. 

I’m hoping that since the office has been remade into a working area, inspiration will come to me and I’ll be able to finish off the last two assignments in my professional writing course.  The children’s story has been in progress for a few weeks now and I just don’t think it’s coming together yet.  When I write, I can tell when something is coming together because I can feel it and the writing just flows.  That has yet to happen with the children’s story.  I’ve nearly completed my poem and have a much better feeling about that one. 

Hopefully they’ll be done in the next week so I can let them sit for a few days, review and edit them one last time, and then submit in time for the end of the course.  That’s it for now.  My youngest just came to sit on my lap and I “scents” that I need to change a diaper…..

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A Topic at Last!

I am enrolled in a writing course and for the past few weeks have been stumped as to what the topic of my first assignment should be.  Not a very good start!  I’ve started and subsequently discarded several manuscripts either because I lost interest in the topic or because it seemed that I couldn’t find the right angle. 

I thought I had finally settled on a topic last week when I started writing about my experiences as a new house husband but again it seemed that the right angle was going to elude me.  Until, that is, I happened to pick up a magazine in the dentist’s office and I finally figured out what my angle will be.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve learned through experience a number of good tips that I think I can write up as an article to submit for assignment one.

Not to give away too much, but one of the most important things that I’ve learned is that no matter how much time you think you’ll have when you lose your job, if you’ll have kids at home you can kiss all that “free time” good bye!  That tidbit was one of the most difficult lessons to learn and I had to learn it the hard way.  Every morning I would wake up with a few ideas of what I was going to accomplish that day from polishing up my resume to reconnecting with some of my past business associates.  By the time my wife came home in the afternoon, I would finally sit down and realize that I had only managed to get the computer turned on.  So much for all the things I was going to accomplish.

Tomorrow I start my new manuscript.  Wish me luck!

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