Saturday, 14 March 2015

Sunday, 14 December 2014

From Copywriter To Marketing Assistant

As of tomorrow morning I will be starting my new job as Marketing Assistant. This new job came as quite a surprise but a good one none the less! My last role as website copywriter hadn't been going as well it could have, it was a mixture of reasons but my old boss has been supportive and hopefully gives me a decent reference. 

I thought to start looking and applying for jobs at the 3 month mark of my contract as it has proven to take a few months to find a new role, this new role I've been offered was the first interview I went for and I really didn't expect to get it, as you rarely get the first one. It looks to be a promising role, certainly to learn everything on the job and I can start applying my CIM Diploma to the role which is great! 

My suit it clean and pressed, I've got all of the paperwork sorted out, so early bed and relaxing time tonight! Tomorrow I start a new career path!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Chromebook Review

Chromebook Review

I might have convinced myself that I needed a new gadget, and given it also roughly around the time of my birthday, my boyfriend, Tom,  bought me a Asus C300 Chromebook. He really does spoil me! This Chromebook was part whim, part extensive research to fill the void of a writer’s need for the next writing implement. My laptop that has served me well for four years has become a bit slow, and just heavy to lug around. I’ve had notebooks in the past, the old faithful EeePC, may your Windows XP system rest in peace, the epitome of simplicity and portability.

The Needs of the Writer

The Chromebook answered a lot of my needs. I needed something that was lightweight, a bit bigger than a tiny notebook, but fast and a good battery life. The fact everything is done on the internet didn’t put me off, the basic Google docs does the trick when writing on the go and can be made accessible offline. How rare is it this days that you don’t have some kind of wifi within easy access? And even then you can use your phone as a connection to the internet to retrieve important documents (so long as you have a usb cable!).
I also wanted a notebook that fit my current laptop bag. No I wasn’t buying the shoes before fitting the foot. Well, the size of the Chromebook might have had something to do with it. The generous 13.3in screen means I’m not struggling to focus or learning too close and there’s still the feeling of using a full sized laptop. It’s a great size overall. The other impact of the screen size is the keyboard. I quite like the spaced out keys, it has a slight MacBook feel, and I’m not having to alter my typing style as I had to do with the smaller net-books.

I’m not a software expert but I had read about frustrations about the previous Chromebooks using Ubuntu, and how many people preferred to adjust the software to their own specifications. That’s something I can admire, but I’m quite happy for off the peg, one-size-suits-everyone software, and the Intel Bay Trail-M N2830 dual-core at 2.16 GHz seems to be working out just fine. Just don’t overloads the system with too many open tabs and that many videos streaming.

Battery Life

The C300 promises around 10 hours of battery life, and that does seem to be the case, I tend only to need to charge my Chromebook a couple times a week, if that. Again it won’t be a main work computer but it’s perfect for my light internet browsing and writing in the evening. If I do return to life as a freelancer this will do in a pinch for drafts of blogs and articles, but I will likely return to the laptop or even desktop for heavy editing and redrafting.

Portability & Usability

It’s light, and apparently weighs around 3 lbs, I certainly don’t find it a struggle to pick up with one hand or to carry across on shoulder in my laptop bag, my bigger Acer Laptop can leave me feeling a bit out of breath and a distinct pain in my shoulder. This laptop is a joy to take to work and use on my lunch break, I can feel that I have achieved something even it’s a few emails or dashing out a few lines on the current novel. The only shame is that I get a half hour for lunch!

I also like the fact the normal keyboard short cuts tend to work fine on here as well, I've become very used to ctrl+ c etc over the last few years and it can be hard to change the habits of a lifetime.

Does Using a Chromebook Mean That Google is Everywhere?

The short answer is yes, it is getting everywhere! Google controls a lot of aspects of SEO, people use Google everyday for searches, it’s a business tool, a social tool and now a physical tool. I know Google will track everything you do, but let’s not start sounding like Big Brother here. The laptop works fine for me, and I don’t mind Google docs being accessible from any of my mobile devices, I need to utilise it more!

The Drawbacks

One of the small drawbacks if when I try to attach a Google word doc into an email it seems to have difficulty opening for the recipient if they don’t have Gmail, so I have to either paste it or go back to ye faithful laptop, which can be time consuming.

The trackpad works most of the time, yet it seems to lack the finer sensitivity of a traditional mousepad on a laptop, you have to use two fingers and tap gently to get the right click. I’m used to that however and don’t find it a huge struggle, but highlighting things can be a bit tricky.

I also miss the delete button you get on normal keyboards larger laptops, silly but I don't always want to use the arrow keys to delete a few characters or words.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2014

National Write A Novel Month is drawing ever closer, and I've got a vague idea of what I want to do and a couple character sketches. I had a great experience in 2012 writing, 2013 didn't happen, I seemed to be too stressed, too busy and generally too tired, other parts of life were vying for my attention so I sadly gave it a miss. In fact, November 2013 felt a bit of a blur. 

But this year is a little different, I'm 25 and ready to go. Mostly. I have a shiny Chromebook to plat with and most importantly it's light, portable and easy to use. The typing on it feels fluid and the 'trackpad' feels ok to use, so overall I feel a but more stable to approach this challenge. The writing juices have been returning, and despite my initial thoughts that writing copy all day would impact on my creative writing ability, I think it's actually a balance of life and stress.

Sure I've got a house to decorate, sure there's suddenly adult things that need doing, like putting the bin out and thinking about future career options, but I've realised that the older you get that the internal spirit of the writer doesn't change that much, it becomes better formed and more thought out. The essentials are still there, you just need to make sure adult life doesn't put it aside. 

I was accepted into the Notting Writer's Studio, something I'm quite excited about, it's just a matter now of making sure I get along to meet ups and make the effort to get back into the writing world. It's been a wonderful experience to get back in touch with everything I love about writing. 

Hindsight can sadly impact on your regret, looking back over the last two years, I should have had the confidence to reach more for the career I should have gone for, not gone for the easy job. Never convince yourself you're in a steady place, look for the next step, the next level up. I don't mean world domination, this links into writing, look to improve your craft, and you will improve yourself and your life. 

As for Nano this year, the usual amount of 1633 words per day feels a bit steep, as I do have to remember I do have other commitments, so I'm aiming for a little less, but the most important thing to be writing everyday, so long it is a few words and I'm enjoying it. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Tick Tock Goes the Writing Clock!

The count down has begun!

This week, I turn 25.

People will think that's nothing, and they would give a left leg or other valuable body part to be 25 again, but for me it's not even coming of age, but a declaration I've made it to a quarter of a century on this earth.

I will have been writing for almost the age of a teenager now, possible a pimply, slightly bad mouthed teenager who shows some promise of becoming a productive member of society. For over half of my life span I have consciously identified as a writer, yearned to write, fed my imagination and attempted become a semi decent writer.

My writing muse has finally come of its long holiday, it seems to have taken a new home and a job with regular, less stressful hours and a stable relationship, a big dose of perspective, and suddenly I'm thinking like a writer. I won't be penning a massive novel any time soon, but heck there's been the odd poem scribbled in a lunch break.

I've even been to a couple poetry reading in the last two weeks. I've also joined the Nottingham Writer's Studio (something I've been rather desperate to do but lived too far away to justify it!). Moving to the city of Nottingham seems to have fired something up, I'm not far from cultural happenings and also back around friends and family, which is great.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A job! A job!

After 3 months of unemployment I've landed a 6 month contract as a website copywriter. It's sort of in the direction I want to go, the first rung of marketing, and at the end of the day I need to doing some drudge work for the experience. 

This is my third week and so far I'm doing ok. 

Sort of. 

It's become clear that the last 6 months, even year, on a quiet, unassuming sort of level have had an effect on me. Working in stressful jobs, then trying to find a better opportunity, only to find that my luck hasn't been very good, has taken a strange effect on my moods.

I had the implant (a form of contraception) put in last year, and only had it removed over 3 weeks ago. It had in the mean time played havoc with my body and my hormones, left me with mood swings, weight gains, sore bits and emotions that couldn't settle. There were times I would feel my heart tight in my chest, I felt like the breath had been taken my lungs with the gentlest of knocks. I dared not let myself think I had anxiety problems. It's silly, I'm stronger than that I told myself. 

The week before I started work, I hoped I would get bits and bobs done, have a relaxing break before rejoining the world of work. 

Except karma decided not to. I spent all of Monday in A&E with a friend, for a problem that did eventually calm down. whilst at hospital I dropped my phone down the toilet, and by Wednesday my car had broken down. Amongst all of this I dealt with quite bad sexism, the stress of trying to get to a hen party I didn't really fancy, nor could financially justify. Come Monday, I probably wasn't in the best of mental states.

The theme over the last week seemed to be me looking after other people, and getting punished for it. I started work on the Monday, a bit tired. I stupidly worked shifts at the family pub because I didn't get any money whilst having to sign on, and it was going to be a long 4 weeks til pay day. 

That first Wednesday was my worst day, by the fact my boss had commented I needed to be more focused. I've had the misfortune and luxury of poor focus over the last few months, it's been too easy to get distracted and do something else. So checking social media and personal email at work is a big no no. 

I have a couple good days I'm focused, but then my days can be tied into what mood my boss is in, if it's a good mood, I can get on with my work, but at times I can feel weepy, tired, shaky, and struggle to focus. 

He's got good and bad things to say, overall I'm doing reasonably well, I can feel that he hoped for better. I hoped for better myself, but I would have been better a few months ago. It's interesting to try and trace the chain of events back, and you'll be quite surprised what's happened and how much has really taken its toll on you. It's good to stop and take focus, I'm pulling back on things, I am very much living a day at a time, and aiming to improve, and achieve consistency. 

On the plus side my spelling seems to be improving!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Now I love typewriters...

I've had my typewriter a little over a year now and it's still perfectly good and behaving, my spelling isn't really improving but no one is going to read the gibberish I write anyway! I was looking through today and happened to stumble upon this:

I was quite speechless! What a clever piece of art! I never thought that could be possible, I'm still learning how to get the layout on my typewriter but I often end up with a few words stuck together. I think it's very pretty and if I wasn't so short on cash I'd be keen to purchase a few!