Archive for the ‘ Personal Projects ’ Category

31 Queries in 31 Days: #11, #12 and #13

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Since Friday, I’ve been working on a few personal writing projects, but I haven’t forgotten about 31 Queries in 31 Days. Since the whole point of the project was to make specific efforts to earn money from my writing, I’m including:

11) Wrote and submitted an article about “Sleepy Hollow” to the Yahoo! Contributor Network.

12) Accepted an offer to participate in an interview for a client who contacted me via ODesk about a marketing/blogging position for a new organizational app for moms.

13) Submitted a proposal via Elance for a job proofreading a personal blog.

31 Queries in 31 Days: #10

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

I am trying to stay ahead of the game this month with the 31 Queries in 31 Days project, in case I have to take a few days off at some point.

I’ve had a busy day: I wrote an entertainment article for Yahoo! News, did a little cleaning in the kitchen, played a game with my son involving balled up recycled paper, sorted through some old poetry, and wrote a quick post on my personal job. In addition, I just visited Elance again:

10) Submitted a proposal and article idea via Elance to a British ezine looking for art and culture writers.

Update: I got an e-mail stating that my proposal was declined for the job writing essays for a new app in development. This, incidentally, after the client had told me that he was putting me on his list of potential writers while he finished developing the app. Given this sort of abrupt reversal of his decision, and the apparent uncertainty about the development of the app — he actually has already changed the business name — I’m actually glad I haven’t been tapped for this project. I suspect it would have given me trouble when it came time to getting paid.

31 Queries in 31 Days: #8 and #9

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

While working on my 31 Queries in 31 Days project, I’ve actually begun looking for poetry-related jobs via Elance, because it’s easy to do through their search function.

8 ) Submitted a job proposal via Elance for a job crafting a Halloween poem for an advertising firm.

In addition, I also sent out some poetry:

9) Submitted five poems to FIVE Poetry Magazine.

31 Queries in 31 Days: #5, #6 and #7

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

I spent much of my weekend working on the Monty Python trivia game promoting Dedicated Idiocy. However, I visited Elance and applied for a couple jobs to stay on track for the 31 Queries in 31 Days project:

5) Submitted a job proposal via Elance to create a 20-page e-book based on posts from an orthodontist’s web site.

6) Submitted a job proposal via Elance to format an e-book for publication.

7) Submitted a job proposal via Elance to write creative “stories” to accompany product descriptions for an online retailer.

Play My Monty Python Trivia Game

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

I just created this trivia game at Give it a whirl!


31 Queries in 31 Days: #3 and #4

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Yesterday wasn’t exactly a day off from the 31 Queries in 31 Days project. Rather, I was doing some brainstorming for my next query:

3) Submitted a proposal to Bitch magazine for a series of blog posts titled “Ms. Mom.”

Then, I sent out some poetry:

4) Submitted six poems to Miracle literary magazine.

Update: I got a message from the client who was looking for people to write thoughtful pieces for a new app, saying he was putting me on his list of potential writers. He is going to complete development of the app and contact me about the project.

31 Queries in 31 Days: #2

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

I took the time to do some writing today. I sent a new essay, about material possessions and motherhood, to the client who was looking for essays for a new lifestyle app. I’m not counting that towards my total for this month, however, since I’d already applied for that job.

2) Completed and submitted a personal essay and photo to VoxPop at Metropolis, which is looking for pieces by Philadelphia-area writers.

Then… almost immediately, I received an automatic response saying that Metropolis has folded, so not to be deterred, I sent the essay instead to Brain, Child magazine.

Update: The Elance jobs copyediting a novel and formatting a PDF/ebook have been awarded to other freelancers.

Executive-Sized Silliness

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Remember me mentioning a side project that threw me off during my 30 Queries in 30 Days project? Well, it’s now complete!

Dedicated Idiocy cover graphic

About a decade ago, I spent umpteen hours putting together a detailed, silly, madcap collection of web pages called “Dedicated Idiocy: A Personal History of the Penn State Monty Python Society.” This spring, while casting around for ideas for perks to offer for my Indiegogo campaign, “Get the Ringbearer to Illinois,” an old friend suggested turning those pages into a PDF and offering it as a perk. “After all,” he reasoned, “you’ve already done all the work.”

I suspected even then that turning such a massive project — containing dozens of pictures — into a PDF would be a time-consuming affair. But I liked the idea, so I offered it and got a handful of takers. Instead of just cutting and pasting the previously written material, I made corrections and added some new information, as well as adding on some never-before-published skits and some of my post-MPS writings.

Then I happened upon the news that PDFs are less than ideal for many uses nowadays. Because they don’t scale well, they are irritating for anyone reading them on a small screen (such as a smart phone or iPad). That’s when I decided to do a Kindle version, as well.

Having done Kindle versions of my poetry book and my essays book (both available through the Alyce Wilson store), I didn’t think it would be too difficult, but neither of those had included photos (though the essay book did involve a number of footnotes). The Kindle project ate up a lot of time, as I painstakingly converted the existing PDF document into a HTML document which would then be converted by Kindle Direct Publishing into a Kindle book. Since this also involved resizing all of the photos, I also took the opportunity to use my newfound Adobe PhotoShop Elements skills to “retouch” them, fixing the color balance and reducing noise.

When I’d finally entered the testing phase, I realized that the pictures rendered fairly small. While someone reading a PDF could zoom in on any photo to read the text, that was not an option for the reader using a Kindle device or the Kindle app. Therefore, I made one more pass on the document, providing physical descriptions of the photos that involved text and/or including the text in the body of the book.

All told, the finished project clocked in at roughly 398 pages, which is a suitably silly number. I’ve dubbed it the “Executive Version” of the history, and you can purchase it from Kindle or order it from me as a PDF (use the “Buy it Now” button on the index page of the original project).

Even if you have no connection to the Penn State Monty Python Society, I guarantee plenty of laughs. As I described it on Amazon:

A wildly colorful look at the silly, anarchic history of the Penn State Monty Python Society from 1988-1993, packed with photos, funny stories and original sketches. From staging wacky events on the college campus to author Alyce Wilson’s personal interactions with some members of Monty Python, “Dedicated Idiocy” tells a universal story of friendship, played out on the always unpredictable stage of a college campus.

If you love British humor, silliness, performance art, sketches and wacky stories about pranks, you will love “Dedicated Idiocy.” Tell all your friends!

Coconuts not accepted as payment.

30 Queries in 30 Days Ends / 31 Queries Begins

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

So, my 30 Queries in 30 Days project ended more with a whimper than a bang: with 21 queries/submissions/job applications submitted during the month of September.

Not one to give up easily, I’m resetting the clock and starting over. In my 31 Queries in 31 Days project, I will attempt to send out 31 submissions/queries or job proposals in the month of October, beginning with:

1) Submitted four poems to Poetry literary magazine.

Wish me luck!

30 Queries in 30 Days: #19, #20, #21

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

I’m finding more intriguing prospects at by searching under the “Creative Writing” filter:

19) Submitted job proposal and writing sample via for a job writing thoughtful essays for a new app.

20) Submitted job proposal via for a job converting podcast transcripts into PDF and ebook formats.

21) Submitted job proposal via for a job copy-editing a novel.

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