Tag Archives: freelance writer

Good Editors Harsh Your Buzz

Disclaimer: I do not promote or support non-consensual face editing, whether it be by Copy Editor Cat or anyone else.

At the moment, I work with an amazing editor. Not only does she have her own content brand and some notable clients, but she is incredibly knowledgeable, patient, clear and generous. In a world where one can end up working for pennies on unpredictable schedules with clients who think writing takes as little time as typing, this is something to celebrate.

Something else I appreciate – she doesn’t let me get lazy. It’s easy, after working with the same editor on recurring assignments, to get a little soft, and autopilot through the week’s piece. While I should treat each new article like the first for that end client, I realize I sometimes simplify sentences that could say more, and don’t give due attention to cited sources. Fortunately, my editor has a good eye.

Better yet, she has a cool head and patient hand. At this stage of the writing game, no editor feedback is more unsettling than some, and detailed, constructive feedback is a must for a sustainable, mutually beneficial relationship. Oh, and if that editor is paying you properly for your time, addressing that feedback is also a must.

When I left my full-time-with-benefits, nine-to-five, Monday-through-Friday gig to become a freelance writer, I was ready to be happy with any job from any client, despite having experience and a degree. For a while, that readiness served me and my nerves well. Still, I’m glad to be through that period. I’ve been fortunate to connect and work with some fabulous people, who are lovely not only as professionals but as humans. Lovely humans who know exactly when I need to sit up straight and pay attention and keep getting better. It’s well worth the buzz kill.

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Lesson Learned


I have no idea how it happened.

Typically when an editor asks that a document be resent, it’s a simple matter of having attached the wrong file or needing to recreate the same document as a different file type.

However, this week, I somehow managed to save and send something that appeared as nothing but Wingdings and white space. And when I dug around to find a clean version, I came up empty handed. I had an “o4 File Type” and an increasingly sweaty brow.

Fortunately, I managed to recover the text by opening with Wordpad, and relatively quickly get everything into a nice, and even slightly improved, second version.

Now, this is all pretty boring stuff for most, and an admittance of my imperfection as a human and a freelance writer. But it brought two things home to me:

  1. I have a gem of an editor in this client. She is patient, communicative and highly organized. As I so often am, I am deeply appreciative of the professionals with whom I work.
  2. Pay attention all the time, to everything. I’m still getting used to a relatively new computer, and am guessing my mistake was something stupid and completely avoidable. For now, I blame my ignorance of Windows 8, but that can’t last long.

On those days when we feel like inadequate versions of ourselves, and want nothing more than to be 10 or 17 or 23, it’s good to remember that now is what we looked forward to all those years ago, and a lot of good is welded to these fields of learning and monotony and anxiety.

With that, I sign off for the week and take myself to Craft Night with the girls. To your weekend!

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Winning Freelance

mom glasses blonde toddler daughterIf I’m being completely honest, I’ll say freelance writing is tough.

Sometimes it feels like a pointless chase, accompanied by an empty bank account and too many dead ends.

This is not one of those times.

Over the recent months, I’ve been fortunate to connect with a few new, amazing clients (and friends – you know who you are). In fact, I’ve actually turned down good work due to a full plate. Better yet, I’ve purchased items without worrying about dipping into the red. Rather than living like a poor college student, I’m beginning to organize my finances like a parent in her 30s.

Most happily of all, I haven’t searched local job listings in weeks. This is what it’s all about.

Perhaps the traditional employer-employee relationship isn’t for you. Maybe you have a skill that isn’t being used, and going stagnant in a job that doesn’t let you grow. Likely, you’re drawn to the idea of working on your own terms and schedule, and taking time off as needed, and wanted, to go live in the real world (or on the beach).

That’s going to mean hard work and time. It requires interacting with people who recognize and appreciate your skill, and developing real relationships with professionals who actually understand what you do. Further, you need to seek out the truly valuable opportunities, rather than swamp yourself with jobs that demand too much and pay too little.

Freelance writing is not making me rich. It’s not making me famous. But it is letting me control my own career, and see way more of my husband, daughter and friends than I would with a traditional job. Win. So much win.

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Freelance Education: Computators and Interwebs

computator buttons wheelsI am constantly astounded by how little I know about computers, the Internet, computerized services on the Internet…

Fortunately, I get to learn stuff like this when I’m researching work assignments. One of my favorite things about being a writer is venturing into uncharted territory every time I take on a new client. Over the years, I’ve had the chance to delve into hospital culture, alternative health, solar energy, travel, memorial stones, HVAC systems and so much more.

These days, I’m spending a lot of time writing about Internet hosting and the vast landscape surrounding it. In some moments, I feel a bit behind the curve, as I scramble to decipher the cryptic terminology of Web development, or look up, once again, an acronym for some programming language.

Still, it’s all part of my education, and kind of a must for a freelance writer. Better yet, many of the folks with whom I’ve worked, both now and in the past, are patient, guru-like sources of knowledge and structure. Invaluable.

When you consider a freelance career, or writing of any sort,  recognize that your expertise is limited to a craft. Know also that clients will want you to be experts in their topic. Think of it as free (heck, paid!) education, and soak it all up.

Lovely weekend to you!

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The Assignment that Never Ends…

never ending wood board road

In the past, I’ve had work assignments that were big, and seemed like they’d never be over.

The one I completed last night took the cake.

While it was technically due by 5pm yesterday, most writers working on the numerous parts (myself included) were finding the articles to take significantly longer than expected. Our overlord (a very nice guy, incidentally), allowed us until today to finish, and you could hear the collective sighs of relief from our various remote locations across the country.

Perhaps it was all the Dutch names. Maybe it was our general unfamiliarity with the Dutch landscape. Or it could have been the monotony of the keywords. I like to think it was all of these, tossed in with some characteristic writer procrastination.

Whatever the case, I felt as though I’d be writing these pages for the rest of my life. Even as I chipped away at the individual pieces, the pile never seemed to diminish.

Sadly, there are times when being a writer is the primary thing that destroys my inclination to write. Specifically, professional freelance writing sometimes leaves little energy for the screen time and thought process of personal creative writing.

By the end of the typing marathon, all I wanted to do was eat carbs and watch Dracula.

Still, it’s worlds better than limited lunch time. There are always those green patches on the other side, but I’ll continue to graze over here for a while.

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Beans, Beans, Cat

close up orange cat faceMy nine-year-old, practically feral cat has a cold. He’s gettin’ a little stir crazy in the house with a toddler.

Work and life are keeping me busy. It’s wonderful. I’m beginning to feel like a real freelance writer. I also almost think I’m a grown up sometimes.

The frigid temperatures have returned, and I strive to accept that on no soon day will I frequent a warm beach with zilch to do.

There’s nothing for it but to make soup!

Iris and I will be enjoying a play date this evening, for which I am making my latest obsession – creamy white chili. I tweak that recipe a little with no chicken, no butter (it’s rich enough with the cream cheese), veggie broth and tomatoes. Extra onion and green pepper thin sliced into strips adds a nice texture. I might throw in some black beans for fun contrast. Blue corn chips with salsa and guacamole on the side and clementines make the meal complete and ROY G BIV compatible (Eat the Rainbow).

Last night I tried out tomato chic pea stew, as we’d not eaten Mediterranean in a while. In the interest of time I used minced garlic, red pepper flakes, dried mint and parsley and lemon juice, and threw in some bulger. It was a hit with man and child.

Also, I learned what chiffonade means. Thanks, Web 2.0.

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Freelance Uniform Uniformity

woman comfortable clothing by stairsI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: One of the best things about working from home as a freelance writer is being able to wear whatever I want.

Please realize that I do like to dress up, and understand that professional clothing serves to boost the awareness of professional behavior. But I don’t care who you are – you don’t want to spend 40 hours a week in tailored clothing and heels. If you do, you likely maintain an attendant who sees to the cleaning, pressing and storing of said articles.

Anyway, pictured is my current work uniform. In keeping with my desire to exercise responsible consumerism while also wearing pretty lounge pants, I requested another pair of Punjammies for Christmas. Yes, I still catch flack for living in pajamas. No, I have not come to care.

It’s Friday, my lovelies!

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Freelance Connections: Kindred Clients

kindred spirits Anne Green Gables

There was no question about the image that would accompany such a title.

I don’t make a habit of becoming overly friendly with my clients. While there is certainly always pleasant chit-chat and some insight into personal lives, we’re both there to get a job done, and don’t tend to form deep, personal connections.

At the moment, I’m working with a local custom home builder, and part of that work is developing biographical material for their site. The designer – a woman I believe to be around my own age – sent me an email the other day with some information about who she is and what she likes. I was glad to see that she enjoys cooking from scratch, makes a serious effort to lessen her impact on the environment and uses humor as therapy.

Continue reading

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Freelance Equipment: Motor Car

boy girl vintage motor carThere are certain things that one expects to need in a freelance writing career. A computer. A phone. Access to scanners and fax machines. A web cam.

A vehicle, perhaps, might not seem like an essential or regular part of working for oneself. Isn’t the whole point to be able to work in bed and never wear real clothes? Why would a freelance writer want to go anywhere?

If you’re a writer who works from home, you’re likely thinking “um, duh.” Never leaving the house is OK for some aspects of freelance (the actual writing, non-local clients), but can be severely limiting in others. Unless you live somewhere with excellent public transportation, you will have a hard time literally getting out there. And if you want to grow as a freelancer, you have to Get. Out. There.

Social media has made it easier for many creatives to stay in their hidey holes, myself included. But I can say from experience that face to face meetings, networking events and having actually seen the locations about which you blog are vital to an engaging freelance career that goes beyond working as an SEO content factory.

At the moment, my husband and I share a car. Between it and occasional rides from others, we do just fine. But, when Iris is a little older, and I have more time to focus on not just doing the work I have, but really growing, a second car will be a must. Until then, I will enjoy the lower insurance bills.

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Freelance Uniforms

blue lounge pants laptop deskOne of the best things about working from home as a freelance writer is being able to wear whatever I want. While I was pregnant, this meant huge old sweaters and lounge pants. Today, it means… well… old tanks and t-shirts and lounge pants.

My husband makes endless fun of me for basically living in pajamas. It’s a habit I developed while nannying. I saw no reason to wear nice clothes if I was going to spend my day on the floor with a baby, toddler, cat and Boston terrier.

Pregnancy and baby chasing have provided the perfect environment in which to continue this practice of comfortableness.

While I used to be content with just any old lounge pants, I became pickier, however, when my sister introduced me to Punjammies. These are pajama pants that are made by former sex slaves in India. The women are residents of after-care facilities, where they are allowed to rebuild their lives though medical attention, relationships and development. They also make amazingly beautiful pants/capris/shorts of which I cannot get enough.

I have no qualms about wearing what are essentially pajamas as I go about my day, and I make an effort to put on jeans if I’m going to run to the store or something. But, I figure that, if I am going to go about in lounge wear, it might as well be gorgeous and for a good cause.

For those of you that love comfy pants, fabulous fabrics and supporting women in need, check out the links I’ve provided, and BUY THE PANTS!

*Note – the pants in the picture are from Women at Risk, which is another organization for women escaped/rescued from trafficking situations.

*UPDATE – Still rockin’ this look 2 years after the above picture was taken (which was well before this post).



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