A New Endeavor

source: shutterstock – free image

Well, I had severe Internet problems (as in NO Internet) yesterday, so I missed the deadline for my usual Flash Friday contribution.  That also meant that Carolyn got sidetracked.  This all turned out fine (it always does) as I, first, still am sick and not up to doing my best work, and, second, I found a new endeavor (Read that as money-opportunity).

As usual, coincidences don’t exist; they merely seem coincidental, but all work out in the end.  Here’s the basics:

Yesterday, I got up from my afternoon nap and tried to log onto the Internet.  The computer stated that it could not find the network.  The lights on my modem were not right, so I began my normal routine for attempting to fix before calling for help.  I unplugged and plugged in the modem.  Then I restarted my computer.  This time, my computer would not shut down, but instead gave me a nasty error message.  I began to suspect a virus, but all else appeared fine.

At this point, I had to turn the computer off (a bad thing, people, it’s like getting knocked hard on the head, then getting back up to do college math!).  When I turned the computer back on (waiting 10 seconds as you should), it would not come up.  Now, it had a different set of messages and would not connect to the Internet.

I spent about an hour working through Windows Auto repair and checking things.  When I was sure the computer was fine, I began again to look at the modem.  The only modem light that was on here was the “Power” light.  After a few more attempts myself, I called Comcast on my cell (my land line was run through the cable and was unusable too.).

Comcast walked me through most of the steps I had already done, then set up a technician to visit between 8 and 9 am on Saturday.  I accepted this, though 8-9am is not my good time.  I began playing an offline game.

After several hours (yeah, I forgot time again), I realized that I needed to try and plug my laptop into the modem, just in case.  I didn’t want to pay a $40 visit fee because it turned out to be my computer.  When my laptop looked as if it would connect, I called Comcast back to cancel the visit.  While on the cell with them, I realized the laptop was not going to connect.  The Service Representative on the phone had me check my TV cable.  When it didn’t work either, we knew it was the outside line.  We left the call set up for 8-9 and I hung up.

Now, it was 2:15am and I had to get up at 8 for the service call.

At 7:55am I got up and went to the computer.  It came up fine and connected right to the Internet.  My cable TV was fine and I received a call on my phone from Comcast asking if I still needed help.  Apparently, the problem was more wide-spread; they just didn’t know that when I called.

Now to the coincidence part.  It is 8:30am and I am awake.  I did my morning work on the computer for about an hour, then ate.  After this, I still wasn’t tired, so I looked at the news clips.  One was about a woman who had worked for the NY Times creating crossword puzzles.  I became intrigued and looked up the info and the software.  Shortly after, I lay down for a nap.

When I got up, I went back and started working on creating my first crossword puzzle.  Then, I started looking at the market and the restrictions.  OMG!  Are there a lot of restrictions for crossword puzzle submissions.  You won’t get rich and it’s a tough market, but I now had an interest and spent the next 4 hours figuring it all out.

At 5:30pm, I submitted my first crossword puzzle (a 15×15 grid) to “The Chronicle for Higher Education”.  The editor stated to give him about 2 weeks, then remind him.  He also stated that it could be about 3 months before you would know.

From my research, here are some of the things that have to be considered when submitting a puzzle:

1)  The size (mine had to be a 15 x 15 size grid)

2)  The number of words

3)  The number of squares in which words cross (cannot be too many)

4)  The number of letters in the words

5)  The length of the clues

6)  The intelligence level of the clues (3 bear style  – just right)

7)  Format (the software helps.  You can get it for free, but you have to tweak just a bit).

8)  The title of the puzzle (shouldn’t use certain words or plain out say the topic)

9)  The clues have a whole set of rules in what they allow/disallow

There were a couple of others, but you get the point.  Also, each place has different restrictions.  Does this sound familiar to the authors out there?  It should.

The pay is interesting, too.  The NY Times is the highest paying place in the US.  A weekday puzzle (15 x 15) pays out $300.  A Sunday puzzle (21 X 21) pays $1000.  Of course, competition is fierce.

The place I sent pays $125 and competition is still rough.  Their requirements were not as strict as the Times.

I assume there are other places that pay less then the $125.  I also didn’t check into the collections and books of puzzles.

It has become something important now to me.  I will continue to work on these, adding them to my other writing methods to make money.  It seems that this all fits me best; I feel the most wonderful when working with words.

Anyway, that’s what happened yesterday and today.  I do hope I kept your interest.  Let me know what you think.  Any other ideas?

Namaste,

Scott

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Comments

  • 4amWriter  On January 21, 2014 at 5:50 am

    I think it’s a great idea to add variety to your writing. Sometimes working in the same vein can be tiresome, especially when it doesn’t move forward at a quick enough pace. Good luck with the puzzle endeavors!

    Like

  • A Star on the Forehead  On January 20, 2014 at 1:48 am

    Good luck with the new endeavor! I am sure you will do great! 🙂

    Like

  • RAMU DAS  On January 19, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Is content writing for companies a good idea?

    Like

    • kindredspirit23  On January 19, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      My own personal opinion is that each person needs to consider 3 things:
      1) Is the pay worth the time?
      2) Will I be any good at this?
      3) Will I enjoy it enough to keep at it?
      I think that if all those answers are positive ones when balanced out, it will work.
      Ex. My crossword endeavor here. It pays well; I believe I can do it; I will enjoy it enough to do it off and on. To me, that makes it a yes. It might not be for someone else.
      Hope that helps!

      Like

  • Andrea Stephenson  On January 19, 2014 at 5:45 am

    Good luck with your new project Scott – anything that helps us to survive as writers is a good thing!

    Like

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