Friday, January 30, 2009

Professional astrologer am I?

When does someone become a professional astrologer?

That is my latest question that I am kicking around. And have I crossed the line?

As some of my readers know, I am currently working as a Staff Writer for the Community College of Denver's student newspaper, Campus Connection. It was a gig that was supposed to expand my portifolio. Instead as the year has gone on, I have drifted in writing for the same type of stuff that I always write: esoteric and occult.

In this latest issue, I had both an article about Divination Addiction and an astrology column.

So does writing a monthly astology column for a college newspaper make one a professional astrologer? I don't know. But it is sure to bug my mother if she ever learns of it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ten Rates in Thirty Days

A couple of days ago, Helium changed their rating star requirements. Instead of having to do forty quality rates in the past ninety days to get your rating star, now you only need to have thirty in the same time period.

They also changed the system so that if you have done ten quality rates in the last thirty days, you also qualify for a rating star. And whatever is the higher rating percentage (ninety or thirty day) is used to calcucate the number of stars that you have.

I am unsure if this new policy is going to prove to be helpful to myself. I hope so. After all, daily revenue share ("the pennies") depends on maintaining a star, and my regular readers know the difficulties that I suffered in that particular task.

I would hate to have to default to Associated Content as my primary daily revenue source; while some of my articles do better there, others fare better on Helium. I would like to continue to earn from both sites, and I need a Helium rating star to do that.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tomorrow is the start of the spring semester

Well, tomorrow is the start of the spring semester (my second semester as a junior at the University of Colorado at Denver).

I did not get much writing accomplished during this winter break. Nor did I get much reading done either. And the house repairs and remodeling were overlooked by me on most days.

But I am not going to kick myself over it; what would be the point of doing so?

I may or may not get some writing done during this semester. I do have a two hour gap between classes twice a week. Last time that happened, I ended up hanging out with a classmate or studying instead of writing.

I am still working as a freelance writer for the Community College of Denver student newspaper (Campus Connections) despite moving on to UCD.

(An amusing thing is that the wife is sick today on her off day from work; good timing on her part; I intended not to work today and it is not a good idea for her to exhaust herself working on the remodeling project. Hopefully, she feels better tommorrow.)

So I am off to buy textbooks (recieved my loan check late Saturday) and attend classes tommorrow. It should be an interesting day.

Friday, January 16, 2009

At least he is working

Yesterday, I was home listening to some history podcasts about the Punic Wars, trying to prepare for that section of the Roman history class, when I got a phone call from ARC.

ARC is a thrift store, along the lines of Goodwill or the Salvation Army thrift stores. The wife and I have been donating the clothes that we do not want to them. So we are used to getting periodic calls from them.

Yesterday was different because I actually knew the person doing the phone bank. It was a friend of mine. He thought it was me by the last name and the voice (my voice is distinctive to the point where I hate the sound of my own voice), but it wasn't until I gave my penname (Morgan) as a contact name that he knew for sure that it was me.

(Morgan is my penname, not my birthname.)

I always knew that my friend specializes in call center work, but I never ended up on one of his calling lists before. It just goes to show you how small the world really is.

And at least, I know that he is working...a minor miracle for any of us in this economy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Prisoner (Number 6) died Tuesday

On Tuesday, Patrick McGoohan, the creator of the cult television series, The Prisoner died.

I must admit that I was a big fan of the series, one of those who treated the series the way that a literature major treats a classic work by a great writer: what did he mean to say; why did he use this symbol; are we trapped in the Village ourselves?

The series have influenced my witing, my philosophy, and in the past, I have ran a role playing game in that setting.

Alas, Number 6, we barely knew you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Made the Helium front page today

When I logged into Helium a few minutes ago, I was surprised at the jump in my earnings since yesterday. It was not until I checked my email that I learned a possible reason for the jump.

It turns out that one of my articles is on the front page today. It is the review of Tracy Ullman: Live and Exposed that I did awhile back.

It gives me a touch of pride to think that on a television themed front page that one of my reviews was chosen to represent Helium. Gee, I think I can feel my ego grow even as I write this.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ongoing fight with the wife about the thermostat setting

Last night, it snowed here in Denver. And it is a cool 33 degrees according to the therometer on the side of the garden shed. In the house here, I am thinking about putting on gloves and writing in long hand.

It is either do that or turn up the heat.

Yesterday, when the furnace was going on, the wife declared that it was too hot (she was working on the entry way, ripping out the tiles, part of the remodeling bug that she caught) and turned down the heat.

If I turn up the heat, she will turn it back down when she gets home. But I don't, she will turn it up and ask me why I didn't turn it up earlier.

Either way, I lose.

Does anyone know where I buy some gloves suitable for typing?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Surfing with the trends

One of the causes for spikes in my online earnings as a writer is when I just happen to have a piece that is related to a hot news story and people start suddenly reading my content; in other words, I managed to get lucky to be a part of the websurfing trend.

Such earnings tend to be short-lived, but they are interesting to experience.

There are three ways to get involved in such trends.

One is to be a really fast writer, and keep up with the news. I tend not to be in that category, though I did write a personal comment on Flight 1404 when it ran into trouble a couple of weeks ago. I am a college student after all; most of my writing is done between classes without any internet or media access.

The second way is to predict what is coming up in the news. I am more in this category than the previous one. Like for instance, I suspected that today's unemployment news was going to be bad. Therefore, I wrote a piece about how unemployment is defined.

(If you ask me, I believe the official reports are unstating the problem. After all, I am a discouraged worker [unemployed but no longer looking for a job]; how many more are actually out there?)

But let's be honest, all of us could have made that prediction.

The third way, which is my personal long term plan, is just to have a variety of articles online. I am in the process of creating articles in categories I have no articles in yet; another reason for the set of unemployment articles that I am writing.

The reason that I lean towards the last option, besides time restrictions, is that most surfers are using a search engine to find items of interest to them. So if an article has not been indexed yet by a search engine (Google seems to be the main way for people to find my stuff), then no one is going to find it. Most of the traffic on the article sites, such as Helium and Associated Content are coming from search engines and not internal traffic.

I just hope that my unemployment article has been indexed already, so that I get some surfing income from that one.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year Resolutions

One thing that I no longer do is make New Year resolutions. I used to, but I found that I rapidly abandoned them in the first month of the new year. For instance, I used to promise myself every New Year's Eve that this coming year, I would work harder as a writer.

I don't. So why make the promise?

Now I just keep my eyes ahead of me and continue slowly writing. Each day takes me closer to my goals. Resolutions should be a daily thing, not just something that you do once a year.