Category Archives: Proffesional stuff

The Freelancing Noob. Will it Work?

This is the first posting I have put here on my blog since 2013. I will try to keep this first posting in four years to a minimum as I really don’t have a lot to say. I am sure this blog entry for my millions and millions of followers (COUGH COUGH *four* COUGH)  is a surprise to all, however, I am betting you have plenty of things to do in your busy lives.

 

 

Let’s get to the matter(s) at hand for me right now.

 

When I first started this blog thing, I was forced to create it in a class for college. I didn’t want to start a blog. I always thought a blog was for nerds, and actually I still kind of do. Now, here comes the big “BUUUUUUUTT” part (HAHA, see what I did there? BUTT? A joke is always funnier when you point out the funny spot and try to explain it.) I am starting to see why a blog is very important, especially for things I want to do.

 

I want to start up freelance writing. I have had my Technical Communication/Writing (I always do the Communication/Writing thing because I never really see the “Communication” part anywhere except on my degree; it seems that the first word is always followed by “Writing”) degree since May of 2015 and I have yet to use it once.

 

There just doesn’t seem to be work for that type of thing where I am located here in St. Joseph, MO. Sure, I am told all the time, “Move here, there’s all kinds of work here for Technical Writers.” I don’t really want to move though.

 

I see no reason why I couldn’t do freelance work from home for companies and write up, work on, or create white papers, grant proposals, WordPress pages, training materials and videos, flyers, copywriting, graphic design and the such. (Yeah, I’m one of those who like using the Oxford comma.) Now, do I actually have experience with any of this? Yes and no. You pay to go to college and you really only learn the very basics of all these things. For the most part, all that money I am in debt for now… I could have stayed at home and watched YouTube videos and read books. However, that’s a whole other story and I am kind of getting off track. OH LOOK! A SQUIRELL!! AND HE’S WEARONG SOMETHING SHINY!!!

 

 

In order for me to do this freelancing thing, supposedly, I have to have a website or blog going. I have read on several websites that starting a blog or a website is the first and most important thing you can do as a freelance writer. As much as I don’t really want to (HEAVY SIGH) blooooog, I can see the importance of it. How else are you going to make a web presence or have a portfolio for potential clients to look at?

 

How do I create a portfolio with no clients and no experience yet? Well, I have heard from a few people who have a prominent (important and/or famous according to google) presence on the internet and they have given me a little advice. Yeah, I’m getting ready to do a little name dropping to make me seem way more relevant in the world.

 

Now, I have just learned about these people over the last few months and they all seem to be connected in one way or another. Something cool about each of these people I am about to mention is that they will actually take time out of their day to reply to a message or question that you send them. I don’t really know if they will keep responding if you become a creeper who sends them messages every day, but each of them have responded to a question or two that I have sent. I just learned about John Espirian, from http://espirian.co.uk/, yesterday and he has already gotten back to me.

 

As I asked earlier, how do I create a portfolio with no clients and no experience yet? What do I write about in my blogs? According to Mr. Espirian in his response to me, “You could write about anything at this stage – just show you can fit a document together well.”

 

That reply from Mr. Espirian really is an inspiration and a kick in the butt motivation to get started, maybe even why I am writing this today. I haven’t had a lot of time to look at all of his advice on his page, but he does offer a lot of helpful advice at first glance.

 

How did I learn of Mr. Espirian? I was connected to him through Jorden Roper from https://www.writingrevolt.com/. She actually sent me an email saying something like, “Hey, go talk to this guy.” This girl here, she has a website that will inspire. She honestly tells it like it is and speaks like a regular person you would meet at a gas station would speak.

 

As awesome as this girl is, her advice kind of goes the opposite way of Mr. Espirian. Jorden (for some reason it seems odd, to me, to say Mrs. Roper… that sounds like an old lady librarian or something) says that you need to pick one certain niche and write about that. There lies my problem. I don’t exactly have a niche in mind. I don’t exactly have one fascination or interest in life except video games. The world seems so flooded with video game reviewers right now that I would just be wasting my time. Do I do white papers, grants, or something else? I don’t know, again, I don’t really have any experience. Good thing I got that college degree, eh? That’s doing me a whole hecka lotta good. Jorden sends you lessons through email and one of them is supposed to help you pick out a niche, but I haven’t exactly gotten to read it yet. All of the research and reading I have done for this freelance thing is overwhelming. I can put anywhere from four to eight hours a day into researching and I feel like I am only slightly closer to achieving my goal from when I started almost two months ago.

 

How did I find out about Jorden Roper? I learned of her a few months back from a guy named Bamidele Onibalusi from https://www.writersincharge.com/blog/. I found this website a few months ago and this is where I found my original inspiration to start freelance writing. At this website you can sign up to have something like a list of a hundred or so companies that will pay you to write for them. I can’t really remember why, because this was back in February and March, but that list I was sent didn’t really seem to work. Plus, when I emailed this guy I felt it was a robot that sent me a reply back. I’m not trash talking the guy or his website, after all this is the first place I found that gave me inspiration to start researching freelance writing. I would highly recommend at least checking it out.

I feel like I already wrote this part, but I have read and reread this post and I don’t see it yet. Maybe I just thought about writing it. Anyway, I should have emailed each of the people I just mentioned and asked for advertising money to get the word out to my millions and millions of followers.

I am not here to review these websites… yet. I already said it is easy to get overwhelmed reading all the blogs, all the automatic lessons you get sent, watching YouTube videos, and reading books. I am embarrassed to say that I have been doing research for two, almost three, and maybe even four months now without getting off my tuffet to do something, but I honestly didn’t know where to start. I really still don’t know where to start, but I am making an effort as of today.

Sadly, I only have all day access to the internet for another three days. After those three days, it’s going to be questionable when I will get to play on the interwebs. I have a lot of other ideas for blogs later. 1) If I get a client overseas, how do I get paid? 2) An in depth review of the websites I mentioned and how much help I actually got from the people at those websites, which I should have asked them for some money to advertise their websites on my page here for my millions and millions of followers. 3) How am I doing at finding a niche? 4) Telling of difficulties and/or successes in my search for a client. 5) Umm… I got nothing. I guess I have my work cut out for me.

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Blog Post Final for JOU/ETC 224

In this class students learned how to create a blog using WordPress. Students also learned what should and should not go into a blog post if it is wanted to become professional blog.

Students learned about what a professional portfolio is, along with what needs to go into it. Using this information, students created professional webpages that can be used as professional portfolios or as a type of resume for potential employers.

Students learned of several different web design creation websites then were allowed to choose from them in order to create a website for a professional organization. There were several reasons for this assignment. One is just for the experience of creating a website. Two is to learn what it was like to work for a client in the professional world.

As to how this will be used in the future remains to be seen. For someone who has no interest in blogging, there may be no future in that. There may be a reason for having no interest in blogging. One reason is, this blogger here does not have internet hooked up at the house. So to take an hour out of the day to drive to town then return home just to blog seems a bit pointless. Especially for someone who is not starving for attention or is not surrounded by social media all day every day.

Some people choose not to have internet or even a phone because they do not wish to be connected to everything, everywhere, all the time. Maybe one day when skool does not consume my every waking moment, my mind will change on this subject, but as of now, this blogger here could really care less.

The program used to create the professional portfolio… that was a pain in the ass plus the site in all honesty, looks like total poo-poo. That is not to say a different one will not be created in the future hopefully using a different program, it is just that I am not all that happy with the way it turned out. Check out this portfolio right here. (Recently, after graduation, I lost the server I was hosting this on and no longer have the page up.)

As for what this blogger is going to do post-graduation… I got nuffin. Things usually do not turn out the way a person plans. To try and avoid any heart breakage, this guy tries not to plan too far ahead.

Honestly, I was supposed to be a movie star by now. Did that happen? Hell nah. The next goal in life was to be a voice over star. Did that happen? Hell nah. I then was a substitute teacher. Am I still a substitute teacher? Hell nah, they do not make anything for retirement. Finally, I was supposed to be graduating the nursing program next semester. Is that going to happen? Hell nah.

I am sick and tired of heartache and not being able to achieve goals I have set in my heart. I have always hated that question growing up, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Simple answer is this, “Happy.”

I have written plays that have gone onstage. I have worked with the Center for Disease Control (CDC). I have obtained a minor in biology. I have created websites. I have sang and acted in front of hundreds of people. I have been a manager or supervisor for several companies. I have just about a 3.5 GPA. I have put on a two day music festival. I have done more things in my life than most people could ever imagine of doing. All of this has made me who I am today and has made me happy. Why plan anything for the future when the future is so uncertain.

I am sure I will end up working some 9-5 job sitting at a desk like most people. That lifestyle sounds super exciting to me. That is probably why everyone does those type of jobs.

The website program used to create a webpage for a client was actually a pretty swell website. Things were super easy and laid out for you. A person could actually get paid using this program to create websites for other people. This is something definitely worth looking into for anybody.

I am completely finished with the website now. I created a website for The First Ward Bar and Grill. This was no easy task. I actually went through three different clients before finally choosing one.

Potential clients did not like the fact that they may have to pay for something (domain names or a year worth of service through a website creation page) even if the website was created for free.

Once a client is finally selected, it does not get any easier from there. Both parties have to figure out time to meet in each of their busy schedules. Once a time is agreed upon and it is established exactly what is wanted in the page, communication does not stop there.

Both parties need to keep in touch with each other in order to make sure the webpage is looking exactly like what the client wants.  This again is no easy task. With my skooling and his being a business owner as well as a father, it is not hard to imagine why it is so difficult to meet at times.

Even after the page is almost complete a person usually has to wait on  the client to send pictures or possible updates. This is where my website is now. I am completely finished but I am waiting on a few photos. I could easily hit the publish button but I want to make sure everything is top-notch in the clients eyes.

This website will be posted right here in the future, hopefully in just three to five days. So, check back here and see if the webpage is up to par for public standards.

Finally, students are required to create a Linked-In Profile to help out with their future professional careers. The link to our Linked-In Profile is to be provided here as well. Check out my Linked-in Profile.

I really have no idea what I am doing on this Linked-In thing, but I am sure over time, after looking at other peoples profiles, I will figure it out. Is this the first sign that you are old?

Heartland Virus

In no way should this post be taken as scientific fact. This post in no way reflects the views of the faculty and staff located at neither Missouri Western State University (MWSU) nor the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Ticks are little creepy crawlers that some may or may not be familiar with. Those familiar with ticks may be afraid of them or they may not be. Regardless of what is felt about ticks, they have been a hot topic the last few years among the scientific community.

A new virus has been found that seems to be transmitted by these creatures. The virus in question here is called the Heartland Virus. This virus received the name it did because of where it was discovered. Dr. Scott Folk at Heartland Hospital in St. Joseph Missouri played a large part in helping to name the new virus.

There is not a lot that can be said of this virus at this time because there is not a lot of evidence or proof to back a significant amount of research. With that said, there is no need for people to start panicking and locking themselves in their house while keeping their pets outside.

What is known is that this virus has affected two men in Northwest Missouri. It has been determined that the virus was passed to these men through a tick. Ticks play host to a variety of potentially harmful pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and helminths (worm parasites).

It is assumed that the Heartland Virus will not be passed by a bite from a tick alone.  The tick would have to remain attached for several days before the tick’s blood and saliva would transfer pathogens to a host. Even then, effects are assumed to not be felt immediately.

Symptoms appear to be flu-like symptoms including headache, fatigue, fever, diarrhea, thrombocytopenia and leukopenia. The two men who were hospitalized were released after approximately 10 days.

In hopes of finding answers for this new virus, the CDC received help from faculty and students at MWSU. Over the course of two summers so far, MWSU faculty and students have assisted the CDC in collecting ticks to aid in research.

While there has been one scientific research paper produced in a journal, there are still questions that remain. To raise awareness on where ticks are located, there was a short study done by Dr. David Ashley and fellow students at MWSU.

Tick collection was conducted on July 8, 2013 on private property near Amazonia, Missouri. Four different microhabitats were chosen to compare.  These included:

  • An area near a pond
  • A fence line of a wooded lot at the top of a hill
  • A forested area on a hill crest
  • A forested area on the slope of a hill

Within each location, two separate collection transects (areas) were sampled. The two transects were “off trail” and “on trail,” with a total of eight separate established areas. Three traps were placed in each section for a total of 24 traps. Three flagging areas were conducted at each site adding up to a total of 24 flag collections.

The traps consisted of plastic food containers with dry ice contained within. There were holes inserted into these plastic containers to allow dry ice vapors to escape as it melted. Dry ice lets off carbon dioxide (CO2), which is what attracts ticks. The plastic food containers were placed on small white sheets of cloth making the collection of the ticks much easier.

Ticks feed by going “questing.” This consists of the ticks sitting on leaves reaching out with their legs waiting to see a host pass by that emits CO2.

In addition, while the traps were attracting specimens, separate samples were collected by flagging, a method where a sheet of cloth is attached to a wooden rod which is passed over foliage. Ticks for some reason cling right onto these sheets of cloth.

It was assumed that there would be more ticks located at the area by the pond. With all of the animals that would go to this water source to quench their thirst this should have been the prime place in collecting hundreds if not thousands of ticks.

It turns out that there really was no significant difference in where ticks were located. In short, ticks are everywhere. When a person goes out into the woods or even a park area, it is a very wise idea to check over all areas of skin for ticks.

When removing a tick, it is better to pull one off with a pair of tweezers or forceps rather than fingers. Using fingers may end up squeezing contaminated blood into a host.