Saturday, December 25, 2010

I have been really busy on Squidoo

I've written more than 20 lenses. Been selected to be a SquidAngel for the month of December and applied to be a giant squid. Helium has taken a backseat. Now I am going back there to catch up on my rating and grading. I did submit 3 articles to the new marketplace system and will see if it is worth my time. Until the articles closes I will not know if I made $6.00, $3.00 or absolutely nothing.

It's Christmas Day. Everyone is still asleep. This is the last day that my Christmas lenses will do well. I almost made it to the top 100 with "I heard the bells on Christmas Day" landing at 162 today. Now, I'll have to wait until next year to see how it does.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I hate change

OK, I don't hate change but good grief, changes that are dumped on a talented bunch of writers at the last minute make such a muddle of everything. Helium has changed its payment policies and everyone is in an uproar. Given the new titles that they are offering, I can't find anything to write to and even if I did, there is no promise that I will earn anything but pennies. Still, I will wait and see before making a decision.

In the meantime, I am a RocketMom on Squidoo and have written 18 lenses in the last two weeks. I was also asked to be a SquidAngel and I get to go around and bless lenses that I think are great. It's a 30 day adventure and I have set a lens up to track those I bless. These are the ones that I have found something that touches me or are just very well done. It's been very fun there and while I will not make lots of money, it gives me more space to spread my wings. I can write in 1st person, I can be silly and I can address topics that mean something to me. The serious lenses are not monetized and not aggressively promoted. I think it's a choice on my part because to try to make money from them is against what I believe. Any, Squidoo is fun.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Still not spending time on Helium

Squidoo is just more fun right now although I know that the payout at Helium is greater. There are two days left in the month and I will spend all my time at Squidoo. Come December 1st, it's back to Helium. I have thing that need to be done there. It's hard to switch back. Squidoo allows me to really play with topics and interject my own quirky thoughts. Oh well, at least I have two more days to play.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Change in focus

I have not rated or written on Helium in over a week. In fact, I haven't even logged in. My focus has been on Squidoo and I have been writing there. It's a problem because I can make money on Helium and it's needed for Christmas. I am just having more fun on Squidoo. I have made 11 lenses this month and I am really proud of several of them. I received an invitation to join the RocketMoms and am working on the challenge. Along the way, I have discovered that Squidoo rewards with points and silly bonus stuff that is just fun. Since most of my lenses are new, they are not earning. Even my older lenses don't make money because they are not monetized.

I'm not sure why Helium is not where I want to be. It really doesn't matter, I have to start next week because money is money. Maybe the break will be good.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

We're writing a novel

The folks in the Writing Challenge group are writing a novel called "Invitation to Wishworth Castle". We are all doing a chapter and I did chapter 2. It's open to anyone who wants to join in. We currently have 4 chapters written and it's quite amazing what each one adds to the story. Can't wait to see how it grows and ends.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

New favorite quote

"If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." Toni Morrison

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I don't always write at Helium. Sometimes there are sites that are more appropriate for other topics

To write this for Helium would have required a little more decorum. Wikinut is a great place for writing what I might put in a blog but they pay. I will never make money on this blog because it is not geared to monetize. However, I do like this piece on "Well, look".

Friday, October 8, 2010

Little by little, the Helium functions are coming back

Yesterday the inbox returned. Today, although we can't get into the zones or write any How-to's, the links to the ones completed are back on-line. That makes me happy since many of my how-to's are on Squidoo and other places where I write. The links have been dead for a week and that's not good. I was delighted to find them working again. Hurray!!!

Helium is my favorite place to write and I like hanging out there. Having the whole beta system down has been difficult. Computer issues can be devastating to all and I know that they have been working hard to fix the issues. My hats off to all the people who have worked so diligently to get at least this much working.

Update...the How to's are back up and I completed my Halloween one. Yeah! All we need back now is our groups.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How do you write about something when you don't know where to start?

We are having a reunion. We being Sue and Vicky and Scoti and Janet and me. It's been 40 years since we've all been together. I'm having trouble imagining this group of senior women sitting around a table when none of us are young anymore. And yet, we've started corresponding by email and apparently all still like each other.

I guess my confusion comes from the memory of all of us in high school being boy crazy and wondering what the future would bring. The future has come and gone, we've all gone our own ways. This reunion comes out of the blue and with it, all the insecurities that I had way back when. I find it interesting that those feelings are still there although I haven't felt that way in a very long time.

What ties us together? If has to be more than just being friends in high school. I think that it's because these people know the real me. They know the person I was before all the layers of growing up obscured the purer soul that I was as a kid. For I really believe that none of us change deep down inside. Forty years later, we are going to get together. While we have aged and formed different opinions, we are not meeting those strangers who have changed so much through the years but the ones we knew so long ago.

That is the draw of a reunion. And now that I have written this all down, I know what I want to write about. All I have to do is come up with a title for Helium. That's even harder than trying to figure out what to write. They always reject my titles.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Just when I think I'll make ends meet, they move the ends

This is my new favorite saying, just stolen from someone on the message board. I don't know who the quote belongs to (I could look it up, but why?). It really sums up how I feel.

Guess I'll write today

Helium beta system is still down and we're having to resort to Facebook to communicate. There is a vintage trailer rally coming up that I want to go to but money is tight. I think I will make a deal with Gary and make enough to cover the trip if we have enough to upfront the money. So much for the lofty goals, now I want something. I just might do better with a physical goal than some cerebral goal that is harder to achieve. I still would like to get to 300 non-creative writing titles to keep the 4th blue star. OK, I'm going to work.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Computer glitches

This is the 3rd day that the beta portion of Helium is down. It's annoying but it's also making my Squidoo lenses less effective. I have my how-to guides from Helium tied into them. Since they are part of the beta system, anyone checking them gets an error message.

I should be writing articles but they are not as much fun as the how-to guides. OH well, guess I'll go write something.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

How to kill your Helium writing score

Helium is a great place to write but sometimes their selection of titles irritates me. If I were smart I would just leave them alone but I am really tired of people thinking that since I am now over 60, I am some frail old woman who can't think for myself. Believe it or not, I can still walk and talk. On top of that, I can still do all the things i could when i was younger. So the topic was "Flattering hairstyle for women over 60". The first article talked about faces changing shape as we age and other nonsense. My take is here.

This is going to kill my writing score and once posted, articles are there for good. Sometime it's just important to me to state what I believe is the obvious. If the title had been about flattering hairstyles for teens, it wouldn't have mattered. Right now, none of them are flattering and who decides anyway?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sold another stock content article

So I'm not getting rich. Still it's nice to know that someone is willing to pay for something I write. It's interesting that things that I don't see as important are sold. I wonder why that is? I guess I will never know. Strange sites buy these things. Two have been sites that provide articles for client's newsletter. Never thought that there would be a service to provide content for others. Thank goodness for the Internet. What an amazing place to live.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A collection of writing tips

This may be my favorite lens on Squidoo. I found all these tips on StumbleUpon and think that they are great. So, it is the featured item at the top of the blog. There is a lensrolled lens on the right that has even more information. No one can say they have writers block now.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

So much for goals

Instead of writing articles on Helium, I wrote two lenses on Squidoo and spent a lot of time playing with StumbleUpon. I am not close to meeting the goal I set and think that it might be a little to lofty. So changing the goal to something more manageable. I want to have 10 more before the end of the month.

Raising a grandchild takes much more time away from writing than anything else. I can now only write during school time. He wants my undivided attention when he gets home. Need to work on time management because I want to get quilting in too. So with a revised goal, I should be less stressed. I am creating my own writers block.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sold stock content today

Articles are bought from Helium by different companies. This is my second article sold. Helium pays us $5.00 so no one is going to get rich but it does up my monthly earnings and that makes me happy. It is even more gratifying when someone likes what you do and purchases it.

In the meantime, Diane contacted me about a Helium project that writes articles for a website. They are all beauty and fashion so anyone who knows me will realize that it's a stretch. Still, I can research with the best and am quite good at it. I emailed the Helium rep in charge of the project and hope that she will approve me. They pay slightly more.

Friday, September 10, 2010

More free promotion

Note today to Helium How-to Guide writers. The promotion is not directly for me but if other Helium writers check me out and read one article, that's one more hit. The guide itself has stopped earning mega views but $50.00 is still a lot of money.

"Hi team,

As you may already know, our members have seen enormous success by utilizing StumbleUpon.

Ann Hinds received over 35,000 views in one month for her How to keep food cold in an ice chest guide. Believe it or not, she's still receiving views with just a little under 50,000 total. By the way, that's $50 in revenue earned from ONE How To Guide."

As far as the writing 100 articles goes, I still need to do 88 more. This is really a struggle.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I think I've written 2 more. I did write 2 more and then decided to grab a topic page. It's not helping me make my goal. Still topic pages are good. As a channel manager, they want us to have topic pages to manage. I really need to write articles. I think I will play with the prompts I used in my article to see what I come up with.

Monday, September 6, 2010

4 down, 96 to go

I know stuff. Now I'm looking for titles for the stuff I know. Today it is crafts, embroidery, quilting and other crafts that I have done. Free cross stitch flag patterns was the last topic. Found some really cool ones that even I want to try. I think it can be done. The problem is they all need to be quality so it's not like I can just knock them off. My score is bordering 85% and I want to keep the bonus star.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Rethinking goal

OK, so since I posted the goal which is supposed to make me accountable, I have written one article. Let's see, I can blame family problems, financial problems or the weather. I am rethinking the goal although I really don't want to change it. I guess I will stay with it, it is lofty and it would be fun to make it. OK, it stays.

Friday, September 3, 2010

GRAND magazine names Helium in the top 12 websites for Grandparents

GRAND, The Online Magazine for Grandparents, has named Helium’s Grandparenting Channel one of the “Top 12 Websites for Grandparents”. The sites were chosen based on a number of criteria including content, ease of navigation, web traffic and the overall look and appeal.

Helium is honored to receive this award and proud of all our dedicated writers who work to provide the best content on the web. We especially want to congratulate Ann Hinds, Helium’s Grandparenting Channel Manager!

The Top 12 sites will be published in the 7th Year Anniversary Edition of GRAND published on Sept. 1 as part of the site’s National Grandparents Day celebration.

New goal

It's time to set a new goal. This time it is money motivated. I want to go to Tuscon in October but know that it will take money. I also need to have 500 Helium articles to keep my 4 stars. I am in danger of losing my bonus star so need to clean up some of the older articles. I want to write 100 articles this month. Keeping the 4th star pays more. I am currently at 207. It's a long way to 500.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Debate over children who do not grow up speaking English as a 1st language

I had a talk yesterday with a friend who told me that if children in America do not grow up with English as their first language, they will always lag behind in school. She is from Mexico and seemingly quite successful so I don't understand her logic. I know that the kids in the classroom where I volunteer are struggling. Still, I believe that they can not only learn but excel and that it is now a challenge for me. I think that her perspective if flawed and that we will need to have further discussions on the subject.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

10,000 hits

The article on writing prompts has 10,000 hits on StumbleUpon and earned $28.00 in 7 days. I'm not complaining obviously. The how-to on keeping ice cold still earns at least 400 hits a day. I think it's at 42,000 but haven't checked in a couple of days.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Update on rewritten article

Have to update this post. Very happy now. This article may not stay where it is but at the moment, this is what it is showing on my screen.

Memoirs: Death of a friend
Active 08/29/10
1 of 69

It probably won't remain at #1 but this is just great!!!

Earlier in the day
Little happier with the rewritten article. Now sitting at 4 of 64, the percentage is actually better than it was in the other title. I know that it is well-written and going forward, will actually pay attention to what title I am writing to.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Article update

It has now earned $20.19. This is very fun.

Essay, memoir, testamonies and reflections

Helium deleted one of my articles. Made me mad until I gave it some thought. It was sitting at 3 of 24. It didn't make much money but it was personal for me. It was essay: Death of a friend. When I wrote it over a year ago I'm not sure that I even knew that it was an essay title since I don't think I bothered to look. OK, so I rewrote it today and resubmitted it as Memoir: Death of a friend. Now it's sitting at 15 of 64. It has lost ground and there goes my creative writing percentage.

So I don't make the same mistake, I did a little research. This is stuff I should have remembered but didn't take into consideration when I started writing at Helium.

So here is my mini-refresher for me to refer back to next time I want to write something that is not fiction but is personal in nature.

Memoir is a personal tale, with dialog and description like an autobiography.

Essay is written from a personal point of view. A short literary composition on a single subject, usually presenting the personal view of the author.

Testimony - A Testimony is something that comes straight from your heart, and tells people what you believe in.

Reflection - Reflections lets us analyze our experiences. It is not autobiographical although it is built on a personal experience. This lets us reflect on the event and make connections.

Now that I think I have what I need, well, I am not going back through my articles to see which ones might be incorrect. They can delete them and I will simply update them and reissue. Still, I am very sad about my creative writing score that took a dive.

Article continues to make money

In less than a week, I have made $17.50 on one article. I don't care if it never makes another penny, it was just fun to watch it grow.

Finished a new how-to on "How to make a compass with a pencil and string". Waiting for approval and it will be out there. That makes #17. Can't decide what to do. Just wrote two really bad articles that I should clean up. I have 3 how-to's pending and so now the quandary is, what should I really do. I think I will play on this blog. That way, I can tell myself that I am doing the required writing while really not doing anything. I think I need to read the article that is making money. It's about writers block.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Interesting day - Helium is creating a book that will be sold on Amazon

Got an email that said that my article was one of several chosen for a new book. It says that the book will show me with a byline, photo and bio. This is very interesting.

My article "Using writing prompts to defeat writer's block" just received 3969 hits on StumbleUpon. That's pretty amazing. I just made more money on one article in three days that I have on the rest for one month.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Clinton did not have sex with that woman

This has amused me for a very long time. The Baby Boomer generation has some very different idea on many things and this is one of them. Although today, many people my age will gasp if you say this out loud, they ought to be really clear on what they really did and thought then.

The term “sex” was the actual event. Anything leading up to that was heavy petting. It was frowned upon by our parents and our churches but since we were not having sex we were unconcerned.

Clinton said he didn’t have sex with that woman. Cut the man some slack. By our definition, he didn’t.

Moving my comments from another blog

StumbleUpon is my friend

I have the How to keep food cold in an ice chest with 45K hits, 700 plus today. I just stumbled an article titled Useful writing prompts to defeat writer’s block, and it made $.45 in one hour. It currently has 150 hits. While the rest of the articles and how-to guide sort of flounder, these two are just plain fun to watch. The deal with StumbleUpon is to stumble as many as you post. Fortunately, that’s not hard. Stumbling through all the websites can be addictive and it pays off. It works like bookmarks. But because I have stumbled so many, I had a nice selection of writing prompts that I just had to save. Works for me.

Can’t post “My quilt blocks” Squidoo lens on Facebook

I almost made a big mistake. I have “My Quilt Blocks” on Squidoo with a nice picture of a quilt top made by our Cozy Cup Crafting Guild. It is for a friend who is moving away and we wanted her to have something to remember us. However, I recently added her as a friend and if she sees this, she will know it’s for her. Until we surprise her with the finished quilt, this lens can’t be promoted on Facebook.

This is the reason I can't promote my lens on Facebook

Updating Squidoo lenses

On the suggestion of a friend who is doing quite well on Squidoo, I decided to update mine. I have let them sit untended for a long time. I never promoted them and so now, most of them are shined up and promoted on Twitter, Facebook and Stumble Upon. It doesn’t appear that they are doing very well but at least I don’t feel so bad about leaving them alone. This self-promotion shouldn’t be left in the hands of amateurs.

Self-promotion is not my style

When you are raised to respect the values of others, shoving my accomplishments in their face was considered rude. I might be able to string words together but there are many talented people. I like writing and enjoy the conversations I have with other writers. I just don’t feel right posting stuff on Twitter and Facebook. It feels like bragging. However, I am willing to give it a try because although I am not out to get rich, even the smallest financial reward feels good. So to my friends, I know that you may be tired of reading the things I post but there are times that it is quite good. That’s not bragging, it is just what is.

Squidoo lenses and other sites

It would be nice if I could find a RSS feed for Squidoo. Each article has its own but this form doesn’t support that many widgets. Since I can’t I will just post the link to my Squidoo lenses in the side column. I have everything from Bullying to California Destinations. I found the RSS feed for Wikinut and Helium. Now that I have links to the three places I write the most, I am going to add this blog to my profile on Helium. I’m still learning but I think it has something to do with back-links.

Time to stop messing around: 38K views on my How-to

I have spent the last two days updating my Squidoo lenses. I am adding them to Stumble-Upon to see what will happen. My “How to keep food cold in an ice chest” just hit 38K views. This is great for my Helium payments. It is probably unusual for a how-to guide to have that much traffic but what a ride!

“Do-over’s” are not just for kids

Who says we can’t do anything over. I didn’t like the other blog so this is a “do-over’. Here is the place that I will finally combine all the writing that is all over the Internet. Helium, Wikinut, eHow, Hubpages, Triond and Squidoo. That way I will never have to remember what all of them are.

My thoughts on writing

Ever want to write but were afraid to try. This was a journey of self-discovery that has been challenging and the most fun I've had in a long time.