Ruud Questions: Christina Gleason

by Ruud Hein October 23rd, 2009 

She appeared on our radar as QualityGal; a real, life Google quality rater.

These days she has infinitely more to say as a quality provider. Christina writes — and she writes good.

On Twitter she shows her social side — one that led me to want to ask questions.

You write. Why?

Honestly? Because I hate speaking. ;-)

writing has
always
been a
part of me
But seriously… It's just something that's always come naturally to me. In high school, our newspaper advisor (who was also our school librarian) took me under her wing and encouraged me to keep writing. In college, my freshman writing professor read my first paper and convinced me to join the newspaper there. I became the editor during my second semester and continued on until the semester before I graduated, when I then served as student advisor to get my replacement trained.

I joined an online writing community called Written By Me that I still miss, almost 10 years later, and I'm still in touch with half a dozen writers I met there.

Writing has always been a part of me, and I'm so grateful that I can actually do something I love as my job.

Consuming content is not just content; it's layout, surrounding, presentation, typography. Do you write with a certain site or format in mind? Hit [enter] more often than you would do when writing for paper?

Ah yes, I hit ENTER a lot.

I have a love/hate relationship with Microsoft Word. Everyone uses it, but it doesn't play well with others… especially when it has to be translated onto a Web site.

In addition to making shorter paragraphs in order to allow for more white space, I make sure to turn off all that ridiculous auto-formatting that Word does where it adds white space for you. It works great if you're printing something, but if you're not literally hitting ENTER twice after each paragraph, there is no white space when the content is copied and pasted into most content management systems.

Suite101 really helped me refine my professional content formatting, so I guess I keep their guidelines in the back of my head a lot.

And I loathe Times New Roman.

Attention is said to shorten. Do you notice that in either the way your writing is handled or the type or orders your company receives?

Short attention span? I don't know what you're… oh look, a Facebook friend request!
people want something that won't take more than
two minutes
to read

Phenomenal Content gets a lot of orders for short articles. Most of our clients prefer shorter, easier to digest content, but there are a few who like the marathon thousand-word articles.

Overall, however, most people want something that won't take more than two minutes to read. And that's okay, because I have a rather short attention span myself.

I'll fully admit to taking breaks in between articles I'm writing or editing because I just can't focus, but that's the great part about running your own business. And if I find my mind wandering before I finish something, it's a signal to me that I may lose the reader before the end, too, so my lack of focus isn't always a detriment to my work!

Good reading is good writing. What are some sites or blogs you read just for pleasure?

I've recently gotten into deviantART to share my creative writing and to see what other people are writing about. And I have a lot of blogs I subscribe to via RSS, but mostly I read whatever looks interesting when I see the links on Twitter – mainly from my fellow mommy bloggers, most of whom write for Type-A Mom with me.

You have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In my mind that's hard because people must often treat you the same way they would as when you say you've been abducted by aliens.
Has the illness and people's reactions made you stronger? And if so, is that a case of synthetic happiness?

I haven't told most of the people I know "in real life" because of the reactions. My husband is the only one who really "gets it" because he sees me all the time, and most people don't see me on my bad days. They only see me when I'm feeling halfway normal. My family doesn't even necessarily believe that CFS is a real illness. That's what sucks.

The CDC recognizes it as a real illness. Social Security Disability will cover you if you can prove your inability to work. (Thankfully, mine is not that severe.) And even though there has been research uncovering a possible genetic marker, like you said, people treat those of us with CFS as if we've claimed we were abducted by aliens.

The illness certainly hasn't made me stronger. I've literally had to crawl up the stairs some nights, and I can get some nasty cases of brain fog. (Not helpful when you're in a creative line of work.) And it hurts every time I get one of the standard reactions that I'm making a big deal out of nothing or otherwise not trying hard enough. ("Yeah, I'm tired all the time, too." "You should work out more." "Have you tried going to bed earlier?") But my husband is very supportive, and I'm starting to not internalize the negative as much as I used to. I'm finding ways to work within my limits instead of worrying about what I can't do.
I've accepted that I can't fall asleep without some unconventional medication, and I bow out of social events when I'm too tired to keep up appearances.

But I'm pretty happy with my life overall. (My therapist would be very happy to hear that!) I've got a loving husband, a wonderful son, a successful business, and many amazing friends… both online and off.

I've made the decision not to let my illness rule my life. It still tries to put me back in my place every so often, but I win far more often!

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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