Catching Up: A Whole Year of Events and Happenings #amwriting #nonfiction


Good morning. I hope you’re all well. One of the things I have not written in an extremely long time is a personal update. A lot of this had to do with my disability case and the fact that social media was initially used against me to say that this made me capable of work at forty percent of my former job as an administrative assistant.

That was nine years ago, and I was on long-term disability for eight years. However, after a year of dealing with lawyers and the insurance company through my lawyers, I’ve settled and I’m so glad to not have that hanging over my head. I can finally, relax!

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(Credit: Tao Heftiba via Unsplash.)

However, there are a few thoughts I have been thinking about sharing with you guys from the past year and currently. I think I’ll begin after I first hired the lawyers for my case and initially signing all these forms and files after Christmas. The first thing I learned was to cut my budget from 60 percent of what I was bringing in before, and that took a couple of months for me to become used to, having less available funds. I learned to carefully budget my months beforehand and where to cut spending. Even if I could save ten or twenty dollars and hold off on buying an item until the next month, often this helped my monthly budget a great deal. As well, if you’re in Canada and searching for a great Disability Law Firm, you can contact Share Lawyers. They are awesome if you are initially, denied disability or if your insurance company cuts you off.

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(Credit: Tao Heftiba via Unsplash.)

As well, I began freelancing on a site called Upwork.com and it took about three months for me to find steady work for a two to three hours some days. I do a lot of academic writing, and that was a learning curve, as writing pays terrible. But even what I earned was better than nothing at about $5 US per page. I continue to do this although I’m taking a break right now for the holiday season and it brings in from $200 to $250 on average per month in Canadian dollars.

So, that’s not bad, and I enjoy the academic research a great deal, and I have written on many topics. Dealing with difficult clients online can be frustrating as face to face communication and affirmation of instructions is much easier than messaging each other. And of course, if the client did not provide clear instructions, to begin with, that’s your fault, not theirs. However, on the other hand, I have some great communicative and thoroughly clear clients too.

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(Credit: Green Chameleon via Unsplash.)

I tend to enjoy English Literature, Creative Writing projects, Psychology, History, Philosophy, and topics related to these areas the most. Also, although they are rare, Art History and any kind of Design topic or feature is great fun to research and write. I have learned a great deal about American History after the Civil War and into modern times and how that effects present-day America and immigration and other foreign policy. Also, I love writing on favorite poets such as Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath, along with various new poets. Also, I have written on poetic works I know well such as “Beowulf” and “Dante’s Inferno” but compared these to Modern Superhero’s such as Superman or Iron. And I’ve written on feminism and the development of Disney princesses, for example.

As well, from June until September, I did do a couple of blogs per week for a company from Upwork.com on beauty topics including anything to do with eyelashes — falsies, extensions, Mascaras, growth treatments, and natural lash treatments. Also, I reviewed hair straighteners on Amazon and wrote for a business that does non-evasive cosmetic procedures such as Botox, dermal fillers, dermal lip fillers, laser skin treatments, CoolSculpting, and many other fascinating procedures to help people shed excess fat cells or to improve their youthfulness. The neat fact is that many of these cosmetic procedures have medical applications as well.

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(Credit: Johncoutu.com.)

Moreover, I learned a great deal about blog writing for companies, how conversational and informal it is compared to academic writing. At first, I had to learn to ‘dumb down’ my writing in a sense to write at a grade six to eight level at the most. I learned about a couple of tools that help me both in freelance blog writing and in academic writing. Grammarly is an awesome tool for any type of writing and is worth paying for the add-on monthly, and it works on WordPress too, to polish your writing and save time.

Also, Readable is an awesome tool to see where you need to make your writing simpler for blog or magazine type writing. I wouldn’t pay for it unless you use it 24-7, but you can use it for free a few times a day. As well, since Upwork.com charges you for working through them, you have to keep that in mind, and I would recommend if you work for a client you can trust, work off of Upwork.com, unless they’ll raise your wage. You can both save money after initial jobs on the site. For instance, I made $20 a blog piece and Upwork would take $2.50 off that. Invoicing through PayPal or another system works much better if you have clients you can trust.

Moreover, in a strange way this careful budgeting and knowing I needed to earn an extra two to three-hundred a month quickly, became apparent to me and gave pushed my boundaries. If I wanted to continue to buy my preferred skin care (Clinique), foundation, concealer, and the occasional other items that I could not find in quality drugstore makeup brands, then I had to earn more than what I was before freelancing.

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(Credit: Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved– At my friend, T’s, June Wedding.)

Actually, the most important aspect of why I needed to make more money each month was to save for the wedding and the wedding events of my two best friends who had wedding events in June and in later fall. Even if I wanted to go out and visit friends, especially because a long bus trip would leave me exhausted before I even had a chance to visit, I knew I had to earn some kind of income. It had to be no more than $300.00 per month at the most to still receive my government benefits as a person disabled from working, and that amount was enough to buy extras and see my friends most vitally.

Both weddings were a ton of fun, and I have many great memories from Bridal showers, Stagettes, and for my one friend T, the wedding itself. Freelance writing permitted me to pay for presents, take taxis, and buy a couple pairs of dresses and shoes. LeChateau outlet is amazing for this kind of event in Canada while staying on a budget. They are an awesome trendy Montreal based clothing store in and not only an outlet.

My second friend, S, had her Bridal Shower at the very end of September and her shower Theme was a ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ theme and her Stagette, a ‘1950’s Rockabilly Theme.’ They were a lot of fun, although, I did not make it to her actual marriage celebration or the following Pub night as I was having a terrible day (health-wise). While T had a traditional wedding which was awesome and a lot of fun, S’s wedding occurred on the field of our Home Canadian Football League (CFL) team field and her actual wedding for all those who could travel was in Varadero, Cuba.

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( Credit: Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved).

I was looking forward to attending the Cuba wedding initially, but my settlement had been so close to the wedding that it wasn’t possible and even making a couple of extra hundred dollars a month I couldn’t have afforded Cuba in November this year.

Anyways, both brides are deliriously happy, and my friend T is pregnant with her first child who is due in a couple of months now. I received the baby shower invite but already had the gift put together. It’s difficult not knowing if the baby will be a girl or a boy but at least her nursery theme of woodland/jungle animals is quite ‘in’ and I found outfits and blankets along with a couple other great items.

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Unknown Unsplash

Another friend found out she was having twins and twins are a great deal to handle along with her almost two-year-old. My Mom and I attended a ‘The Handmade Revolution’ craft-show, ‘MakeIt‘ and I received the business card there from a lady who makes these soft terry blankets/towels perfect for swaddling a baby and carrying a larger infant/toddler. Later, they work as towels for kids from three to five years old. I got two bundles with cream good for chapped skin, especially where babies feed. You can check out these handmade goods below if you’re interested. Here’s the online shop called OneBerrie.

Finally, one of the things I had been saving up for was a tattoo, and lucky I had saved it before my income went down last December. I found a great tattoo artist through friends at a place called Eye of Lotus. Megan is amazing, does watercolor tattoos and has a six-month waiting list at least and that’s always a sign of a talented artist along with Megan’s years of training, tattoo portfolio, and the personal artwork around her working space.

So the tattoo took two sessions and was three hours along with a touch-up session which was about thirty minutes but truly brought my tattoo to life. The touch up was only $25.00 but the other three hours were regular price for most tattoo places of repute where I live. Eye of Lotus was also rated highly as a tattoo place in Edmonton so there are also other talented artists there. Megan specializes in watercolor. Anyways, below is the final result.

The tattoo is on my right side and hip. It was not that painful. I mentally psyched myself up for much worse and truly it was pain much less worse than waxing certain areas of the body. The black lines barely hurt at all. Where the color was filled in felt like it burned at first, but I got used to it quickly. Only when the tattoo went right into my side did it hurt. The words of the tattoo have personal meaning and refer to the Bible verse in Romans 5:8.

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(Credit: Mandibelle16.(2017) All Rights Reserved).

Last but not least, I wanted to share some odds and ends with you guys. I can still apply for my MFA in Creative Writing, and I’m thinking about it. I have to act fast though as I only have a month. I’ve wanted to work on a short story for it, but it’s been hard with freelancing. Also, I do plan to work on my book now shortened to the title How Was Last Night?. I’m still on my second draft, finished until about Chapter 20 or so, maybe a bit further.

However, I’m attending a writers conference next August with my friend who is also writing a book. I have learned a great deal more in a year and want to have the third draft done for this event or at least the first quarter of the book for the conference as we do have the opportunity to pitch our work. Here’s the conference website if you are in the area for When Words Collide. Of course, there are many speakers and a fun Galla at night so I’m looking forward to this as it’s all at the hotel we’re staying at and I think the conference will be educational and fun.

(Credit: Whenwordscollide.org.)

Also, I have a story that is going to be part of a Cinderella Anthology. The Anthology is still being edited and I’m excited about its release. Moreover, if you want to read what I have of my novel in the second draft, it’s on Wattpad under my pen-name ‘A.M.Wilson’ and @mandibelle16. It’s still rough, even the two-thirds of it that are edited from the first draft, but unfortunately, this year has not left me much time work on it except after last Christmas.

But that will change as I’m not paying off debt anymore, due to my settlement. I do not have to freelance as much if I do not want to. Here’s the link to my unfinished novel How Was Last Night by A.M. Wilson. Any tips, thoughts, or constructive criticism can be left in the comments after each chapter so please don’t hesitate to speak up.

Lastly, something neat I found on Indigo this morning that you all might enjoy when searching for something good to read: Indigo’s Best Books of 2017. This list is their top 50 books.

Have a Merry Christmas!

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©Mandibelle16.(2017) All Rights Reserved.

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Update Fall/Winter: All Is Well, Though Never Easy #amwriting #nonfiction 


It’s been a long while since I’ve given an sort of personal update. Part of the reason is there are somethings I can’t talk about at the moment. The other part has been life has felt incredibly busy and trying to keep up with everything on the reduced schedule I have has been a bit challenging. 

After an initial and yearly week or two dealing with SAD and becoming used to less light, I feel more energy again. Often I find when it comes to blogging, I have so many blogs to follow now, commenting daily is difficult. So you’ve probably noticed I do this less. I’m sorry I can’t keep up, but I’ve found in the last while, I need to maintain a balance in life or become overwhelmed. 

So I’ve been trying to keep up with my usual prompts and also for a couple of months in October and November I was doing daily poetry prompts for OctPoWriMo and November Notes. But I felt at least in poetry, my writing has been improving as has my knowledge of poetry forms. I’ve been so happy to be a guest blogger on Look Around, being able to continually collaborate with Spill Words Magazine Online, having work published on SickLit Magazine and have the possibility of poetry or short fiction pieces being published on a few other sites and/or magazines. 

Credit: http://www.spillwords.com – image used for my poem by this name!

Fiction is something I continue working on through flash fiction and other prompts. A larger story has developed from a piece called Teegan’s Potion. I have an idea this might develop into something much bigger, a longer short story or a novel. I would like to begin planning it out more. 

However, the other part of me is still working on my original novel on WattPad, doing a second draft. Lately, I’ve done about three more chapters and am hoping to put serious work into the novel throughout the winter semester. You can find my completed second draft chapters for How Was Last Night on Wattpad HERE. Events have changed and moved around from the first draft. Lately, I’ve only been able to do about three chapters, but I’m hoping to go through the remaining chapters, rewrite, and edit, and have one up each week. 

Sorry, I cannot promise this but I’m going to try to do this. Please let me know on this post or on Wattpad what you like and don’t like, or if you have any suggestions or thoughts. I’ve completed up to new chapter 12 in second draft. Also playing around with potential covers for this point in my writing. It’s a paranormal romance, so I’m unsure whether I want the cover more mysterious or more of a typical romance cover. What do you think? 

I was most disappointed not to have made it into the online MFA in Creative Writing I applied for for September 2017. My plan is to try applying one more time and to continue publishing pieces of poetry and short fiction until I’m in or not.

 I’m also looking at taking a couple of courses in the certificate program at U if Toronto. This way, I have more writing courses and hopefully more recent great marks, for my Academic CV. I’ll be able to see how my second application for the MFA goes next October. If I don’t get in then, I can work on completing the certificate. I’m not sure if I would try three-years. I’m just taking it day by day right now.


The other part of my life has been dealing with not having money from my disability company anymore. I’m coping with this, but it could take a year to come to a mind of resolution. In between if I could make the $300.00 a month I can make having AISH and CPP disability in Alberta, Canada, I would be most happy. I’m applying for different writing and blogging jobs on a freelance sight called www.upwork.com. They do take a small percentage, but it’s worth it if you can connect with good clients. 

I’ve had job offers so far but had to refuse because I cannot write and research full time. Not to mention, some of the people posting jobs have little clue how long writing up an article or blog from 300 to 1000 words takes, especially with research. They want articles fast and yet they want them to be perfect, free of errors. Some of them want this for only $10.00 an article – not even minimum wage per hour where I’m from. I’m hoping to find some good jobs on Upwork to earn extra money and gain some job experience part time and/or casually. I’m leaning more to the casual end I think, part time would honestly be too much. 

It would help me pay for a course in spring and fall and maybe a vacation. One of my bestest of best friend’s wedding is in Cuba. I was planning to before my insurance revoked my disability. But this is a long ways away, so I’m praying it might work out that I could be there and have a little vacation too. As of now, it’s not appearing hopeful.

Credit: http://www.melia.com

My Christmas shopping is finished. I’ve been baking cookies and squares. The best cookies are from this Neiman Marcus oatmeal cookie recipe. You grind the oats into flour in your blender. The cookie is soft and chewy and uses both white flour and the oat flour. I put in lots of chocolate chips and crushed pecans. I’ve become an expert at baking these and my whole family is addicted to them.

Apparently, I haven’t baked them in a while. One batch is about five dozen cookies. One dozen I gave to my brother, and the other four dozen have been disappearing from the freezer at an alarming rate. Let me know if you want the recipe, I can send it to you. I will be making another batch when I replenish the chocolate chip supply. 

Credit: Brown Eyed Baker

I’ve been trying to keep busy, seeing friends whenever I’m able. My one BFF and I went to a Paint Nite event, painting penguins on wine glasses. At home you bake them in your stove so they are useable. It’s a cute craft, but I think the wine glasses themselves would have been nice with some wine in them 🙂 Hanging out with S again this Saturday for drinks a the Art Gallery restaurant and a naughty Christmas show at the Citadel Theatre. Also, always planning for the future.
Credit: Amanda Eifert

I finally found my perfect tattoo and am trying to arrange a consultation with the artist my hairdresser and friend Tess, suggested. It’s a peacock feather but very beautiful. Bold enough in black but also with shades of blue and maybe purple. So excited for this, even though it will hurt! It’s not this whole tattoo, just the peacock feather part. See below:

Credit: http://www.pinterest.com

Have a blessed Christmas everyone! Remember the true meaning of Christmas and the hope a babe in a manger named Jesus became for all mankind. 
Credit: Lamb and Lion Ministries – Prophetic Facts – About the Nativity

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Summer Words: The Latest 


Usually, I attempt to update you guys in the blogging world, every month but I’m sure I haven’t actually done that in a few months. So, it’s summer words because well, summer is almost over and I never updated until today.

I kind of dread the end of summer as much as I love it. There is a freedom and carelessness to summer, no other season has. People relax in the deck, on the patio; they go to beaches and sometimes house boating; they visit and explore foreign places; and those who never relax stay home and sleep in, get a few things taken care of around the house, or not.

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http://www.thedailyroxette.com

Typically, I take a summer vacation somewhere, but I found out this year I had waited much to long to book flights using my airmiles. And the Canadian dollar was down as compared to the US dollar, so the dollar was too low to consider a trip there.

I wanted to go somewhere fresh this year. Somewhere I haven’t visited or haven’t been in a while. I have never actually visited around Vancouver and it’s been ten-years since I visited Quebec City. I feel as if those are both great options for a fall vacation.

If the dollar improved, Las Vegas is always an option, but sticking with the theme of visiting new places, I would like to go to San Francisco or Seattle. There are a few different places I’ve read blogs on or heard about, which I would enjoy seeing in those cities. Not to mention, pretty much anywhere you go, unique food and shopping are always worth the trip.

SanFran Shopping
http://www.youtube.com

I’m day dreaming of a European trip. I’ve narrowed it down to the country of Italy for now. I know the cities I wish to see. I only have to arrange everything, decide where I’m going to stay, and arrange when and which attractions I want to see — oh and there’s always the money issue too. But minor detail lol.

Because of my health, I think it would be a good idea to spend a week in each city, maybe a bit more so I have days to use to do nothing in case I need them. So, a month to two-months for a trip to Italy, and who to take with me?

Anyways, that’s future dreams. Lately, not feeling as well. All around, I feel drained. Maybe, I’m doing too much? But I don’t think so. Maybe, it’s another slump in my health? Or perhaps, I’m only having a bad week or two? The humidity in the air often makes me tired, almost sick at times. But I didn’t think it was so bad in Edmonton this summer as compared to other summers. However, I get through it because, I always do.

Venice1
http://www.aroundtheworld.com (Venice)

Summer has been spent doing a bit of shopping in July as it was my birthday month. I looked at my finances and have been trying to better arrange them, considering retirement, life insurance, and accidental death insurance. Not that I think anything bad will occur to me soon, but we don’t always know so I’m trying to be prepared as best as I can for my future and my family.

I’m into this application on my IPad called Wattpad. It’s a great way to see what other writers are writing and see the quality or lack there of, for different genres of books. I’m doing the second draft of How Was Last Night For You? on Wattpad. I’m happy with it so far and have had Yinglan’s helpful support as she also has some work on there I’m helping her proof. The newly arranged chapters of my book and the sequence of events so far is available in chapters one through nine, and you can check it out at the above link.

I had to completely redo chapter nine, so it might be a bit sketchy yet, but things are coming. The novel is developing slowly, even though I never even conceived it would get this far when I started writing a couple of years ago.

But due to the novel, and doing a being proofread of my Uncle’s historical book on his family, I’ve been hugely busy. #WordhighJuly was great and well done by our hosts Rosema and Maria; but it was also time consuming.

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Unknown Source (Current Cover for my Novel)

So, I have to apologize, I haven’t been able to read and comment on as many posts as I like. In order to not overwhelm myself, I think I will have to consciously, only comment on a few of your posts, each week. I’m ecstatic to have more followers, but I don’t want to forget old friends. I feel it is necessary to comment but it takes time. I’ll work it out.

Don’t worry. But if you don’t see me, I’m off trying to get more poems and fiction published. And I’m probably, working on putting my novel together so I have a manuscript worthy of a good editor. Lately, as I mentioned, not feeling so well, prevents me from completing tasks, I would like to do as well.

Also, as I’ve mentioned before there’s a masters program I want to apply for. Lately, I’m not sure about it. It’s been a dream for the past few years, but I’m not sure about it. I like to learn, and to build my knowledge of writing. I’m not sure if that’s best done in the classroom or through real-life experience. But just the same, I’ve always wanted a Masters in English or Writing. I think creative writing most of all. Perhaps, I feel, a certificate program such as at University of Toronto online, might be less stressful?

Creative Writing Typewriter
http://www.proessaywriter.net

Fitness is a bust. Sometimes I walk, other times I don’t have it in me. I try to stretch and do a bit of yoga. But it makes me angry and upset I cannot do the cardio I need to do. I complain about this too much, I’m sorry. But I loved the adrenaline rush of exercise, like I love art, and writing. And I miss it so much. I’ve never been able to get it back even wearing myself out. And I know it’s what I need to lose weight. I’m completely confused as what to do for diet right now, probably I will go back on the herbal magic diet, as it seemed to be the diet plan which worked the best for me and the amount of exercise I could do. I’m not signing up again, only following the meal plans.

I’ve been reading a lot on Wattpad. But, it’s frustrating because the authors only update once a week if that. So, I’m reading other books again, with middles and endings, by more well known and accomplished writers. I’m excited to read: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Also, I have some favourite writers, who  I would like to read up on their latest novels.

Pretty Little Liars
http://www.celebuzz.com (Main Characters of Pretty Little Liars – Hanna, Emily, Aria, and Spencer.)

I’m addicted to Prett Little Liars on Netflix right now. It’s a better series than I anticipated. Secrets can be big and convoluted as I’m learning through each season of the show. I’ve only started season three and there are four more to go. Season seven which is on TV now I believe, or just was, is the last season. I’d be happy for Madmen Season 8 to be available on Netflix too. Also, I watch a show based of the Scream Movies once a week, but I think it’s almost done. I watch the Summer Olympics and my Eskimos playing CFL football as well.

Dory
http://www.taormina.it

There are some great festivals in Edmonton during summer. As well, it’s relaxing and fun to be put on a patio with friends and have a few drinks. I’m having a birthday brunch downtown on Sunday, as everyone was busy in July. Also, I’m hoping to get to a farmer’s market in August and to a couple of movies as I have passes. I’m thinking Finding Dory and some kind of action type film?

I’m not entirely sure of my blogging schedule come fall. But tentatively, here is what it looks like:


Sunday – Sunday Photo Fiction

Monday – Moral Monday’s Flash Fiction

Tuesday- Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer

Wednesday – Photo Prompt Fiction\Poetry (Mind Loves Misery’s Menagerie)

Thursday – Three Line Tales (Once A Month – Tale Weaver’s Fairy Tale Prompt)

Friday – Music Prompt (Mind Love’s Misery’s Menagerie)/ Poet’s United Poetry Prompt

Also, Monthly – 15 quotes twice a month, and Writer Interviews every 2 weeks.


wine image
http://www.medicaldaily.com

Also, wanted to let you all know I read: Drinking a glass of red wine a day is equal to an hour of exercise. It could be false, but who am I to say so? It sounds true to me. Cheers!

 

 

 


©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.