Category Archives: Writing

Shifting Volunteer Hours to Work-Related Endeavours

I’m rejiggering my volunteer time. Pulling back a bit from some of the fishy/enviro stuff, and shifting over to more work-related volunteering.

First step, meet the new Program Chair for the Editors Canada BC Branch :-).

I really enjoyed meeting lots of folks and renewing many acquaintances at the Editors Canada BC Branch Annual General Meeting tonight.

Thank you for your confidence in accepting me into the executive fold, and here’s to having more great programs for 2016-17 starting next autumn! And thanks to Kyra and Marianne for also joining the program committee.

I have some big shoes to fill, but I’m happy that everyone is happy to help.

Never Work for Free

Cleaning my office today I ran across some words of wisdom posted to the Society of Writers, Editors, and Translators (Japan) mail list back in 1996 by Fred Uleman, quoting “Hugh Gigante of MktgMavens”:

1. I never work free of charge
2. I never work cheap
3. I charge more than others because I am better than them
4. I never get paid based on performance, only deliverables
5. I define deliverables
6. I always have more of the client’s money than he has of my time
7. Rates go up every six months
8. People who want work free or on spec must first show that they are working on the same basis, and are a legal charity
9. Every client can be fired, any day
10. Repeat number 1.

MS Universal Mobile Keyboard

I picked up a Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard (universal = Windows, Android, and IOS phones and tablets) on sale for C$59 at NCIX in Burnaby, BC, today.

MS Universal Keyboard

That’s my Nexxus 7 sitting in the keyboard. I’ve also paired my Samsung smartphone and my iPod with the Bluetooth keyboard.

I’ve done just a bit of writing with the new keyboard, and so far so good- it’s usable for my medium-large hands. I bought a keyboard/cover for the Nexxus 7 awhile ago, but I cannot touch type on it, so I think the new keyboard will be much better.

It’s not going to be a laptop replacement by any means, but it’ll be something I can throw in a briefcase, backpack or camera bag, and barely notice it’s there.

ms universal portable keyboard with notebook
Here’s the keyboard on top of my ASUS 13″ notebook computer for another indication of the size.

ms universal portable keyboard with iPod
For the Appleistas out there, here’s an iPod mated, with, gasp, the Microsoft keyboard : -)

Self-Publishing Fair Convinces Me to Join Federation of BC Writers

I went to my first Federation of BC Writers event today, the Self Publishing Fair held at the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library.

I enjoyed the speakers and chatting with folks who had displays at the fair. I recognized a couple of fellow members of the Editors’ Association of Canada.

I decided to join the “Fed” as it appears to like to call itself. Perhaps being part of such a group will help stimulate me to do more writing!

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

I finished my seven-week communication contract at the MS Society of Canada, BC & Yukon Division today. Thanks to all the folks who made it a pleasure to work there, staff and volunteers. It was great meeting you all, and the MS Ambassadors that I interviewed. My final task today was putting together a “2014 in Review” slide show of MS events all over BC — great images of inspirational people.

Unfortunately the last day at the office was a cacophony of sneezing, nose blowing, and coughing, with me included. I think I shall now sleep through Christmas, with just enough fresh air and exercise to help get rid of the bug.

Super Communication Contract with MS Society

I’m nearing the end of a seven-week communication contract with the MS Society of Canada, in their BC & Yukon Division office at Metrotown in Burnaby.

I’ve been freelance editing and writing from my home office for nearly 15 years, so the thought of commuting and working at “a real job” in “a real office” with a bunch of strangers was a tad intimidating. I haven’t worked in an office since my journalism days in Tokyo back in the late 1990s.

But from the first day, all those apprehensions vanished.

The office atmosphere has been congenial, with warm, friendly folks eager to show me the ropes. It helps that there are lots of volunteers rotating in and out of the office every day, so staff are accustomed  to guiding newbies.

It doesn’t hurt that it turns out that there are two other Royal Roads University grads with the MA in Professional Communication in the office :-). Another common link.

In addition to some social media and document editing work, one of my main tasks has been interviewing MS Ambassadors  — people living with MS, researchers, and volunteers — who are willing to speak to the public and media about the disease, and to get additional training in public speaking and media relations. I’ve been writing up long and short ambassador bios that the society, and the ambassadors, can use in their outreach efforts.

It’s been an educational and inspirational experience chatting with these folks, and writing stories about their relationships with MS. The human spirit is amazing.

I’ve also had the opportunity to put my photography skills to use, documenting an MS Ambassador workshop in November, and popping by the gift-wrap booth in Metrotown near Winners several times to shoot a few of the nearly 200 volunteers wrapping gifts by donation to help #endMS. Got some gifts at Metrotown? The volunteers will be there during mall hours through Dec. 24.