I am amazed by the sheer number of services devoted to helping you find the right freelancer. The only thing more surprising is that there are enough freelancers to support all these platforms. I suppose this was inevitable in the age of #sidehustle. But as someone who works with freelancers every day, I can tell you that they are not all created equal.Continue reading
An acquaintance of mine, after finding out what I do for a living, asked me if I considered myself a writer. She’s an English professor, who has devoted her life to studying writers. So when I said, “I love writing, but I think I lean more toward being an editor,” she seemed surprised. When you’re a kid, you never say, “When I grow up, I want to be an editor!”
Everyone wants to be a writer--but every writer needs a good editor.
When I tell people I’m an editor, they don’t really know what it means. If they have some idea about the profession, it’s that we spend our time looking for misplaced commas and typos. Of course, we do a bit of that, but in reality, that’s what copy editors and proofreaders are for. My time is spent assigning articles, and then making sure that the writers have hit the mark. I’m usually editing articles about business and technology, which means there are a few things I’m looking for.
I am smitten with Britain’s favorite gardener, Monty Don. A couple of years ago, I had no idea who he was, but then Netflix started airing Big Dreams, Small Spaces and I was hooked. But I’m not here to talk to you about Monty Don’s gardening prowess, his suspenders, or his loping walk. I’m here to discuss his writing garden–a lovely little woodland with a shed at the back where Monty types out his books.
The first time I ever thought, “Gee, I sure would like a writing shed” was when I read John Irving’s Last Night at Twisted River. The main character talks about the little shack he writes in on a remote island. Then, several years later, Pinterest and tiny houses became a part of my life. Before I knew it, I was very seriously coveting a writing shed of my own.
I am a working woman in my 30s who has never read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. I’m a rare bird, but now that you’ve spotted me, you can check me off your list.
Like a lot of women, I had a very basic, visceral reaction to Lean In that made me an instant skeptic. For me, though, the problem was less about the privileged position Sandberg was writing from at the time, and more about the fact that she was using her prominent position to tell us all to work harder–as if Americans weren’t already working themselves to death.
The third and (possibly) final stop on my world podcast tour took me to SLMA Radio. We had a nice chat about content marketing, what it means, what the challenges are, and why journalists are best-suited to tell your story.
In other news: It seems this podcast tour has been paying off. Last week I noticed that Amazon said they only had 11 copies of ICM in stock. This week, there are only 4! Hurry up and order yours!
I stopped by the Mobile Presence podcast to talk about how content marketing fits into the mobile landscape, and why your team is your most important asset. Tune in to hear our chat!
I’m embarking on a bit of a book tour–by which I mean I have just kicked off a “tour” of podcasts! I have to say, I love being able to do publicity from the comfort of my home office instead of spending weeks on the road. I’m sure, somewhere, there’s an old-timey author lamenting the state of book marketing but as a homebody, I love it.
My first interview was with Byron at WriterAccess. We had a great chat about Inside Content Marketing, the future of the discipline, and more! Take a few minutes to listen (and hopefully learn).
At the end of last month I decided to use this year’s NaNoWriMo as an impetus to finish the romance I’ve been working on — or at least make some decent progress on it. Before National Novel Writing Month even got underway I ran into a snag. I heard back from my editor about another book, and he needed me to go over a few small queries within a few days, and I happened to be going away for the weekend. I managed to get the queries answered in time, but over the past week I’ve developed a few practical tips for actually getting a significant amount of writing done.
- Leave the House–When I was writing the aforementioned book (you know, the one I had to answer queries about) I would try to work at home, which has a dedicated office. But it just wasn’t working for me. I needed to get away from the house. Away from the cats who want to lay on my keyboard, and the dog who seems to be able to tell time and stares at me with a look that says, “It’s after 5 o’clock, time to call it quits!” So, I would head out to a coffee shop (usually the one in my local book store), order a chai latte, and sit down to work. My most successful NaNoWriMo moments have been in that same coffee shop.
- Don’t Forget to Charge Your Battery–This is not a metaphor. I am not going to suggest you do some yoga to get your creative juices flowing (though, walking has been shown to enhance creativity). If you aren’t going to be working at home, where you have exclusive claim to all the outlets, you need to remember to charge your laptop battery before you head out. There were at least a few times where I did not, and I have been sorry.
- Don’t Edit–I don’t always follow my own advice. I edit all day, it’s hard to stop. When I’m stuck in my own writing, I go back and start adding, subtracting, and rewriting. But if you actually expect to finish a novel in an entire month, there’s just no way you can waste time on editing. Besides, editing is not really the point of NaNoWriMo, right? Just get the words on the page. You can spend December editing.
These tips can only help set you up for success. The truth is, writing an entire novel in a month is not easy. At times it will feel practically impossible. The only way to make it happen, is to just do it.
I’ve always thought it would be fun to write a romance novel. I don’t really read these books, but something about them makes me think I could learn a lot from writing one. They are notoriously formulaic, and writers have to adhere to very strict standards in order to be successful. Something about writing a book “by the numbers” seem like an exercise in discipline.
I have a tendency to “wing it” when I’m writing. I get a spark of an idea and I just go from there without any kind of roadmap–which leads to a lot of dead ends. If I was going to embark on this project, I thought, I should make it as structured as possible. To that end, I started a blog about it: The Road to Romance. Continue reading
and I wrote about it for Dogster. Check it out.
You may recall that my cat was diagnosed with gallstones. I spent a month fearing that without surgical intervention my cat would get sick again as soon as she went off her meds. I didn’t know what to do. Then, one night, as I sat on my couch editing a book for a freelance project, I came up with an idea. I needed to write a book, get an advance, and use it to pay for the cat’s surgery.
I know that sounds like a bad plan, and it would be except that I work for a publishing company with a book wing — and the publisher had been trying to get me to write a book for years. We just hadn’t been able to come up with a subject that interested us both. But I’d recently been toying with an idea that I thought would work. So I quickly shot off an email and asked if it would be of interest.
It was. Continue reading
I feel a special kind of satisfaction when someone blares their horn at me for no reason–usually at a stop light–and then has to follow me for a few miles. It’s even better when they blare their horn again before turning. I mean, it’s a little mean-spirited but I can’t help smiling at the knowledge that someone is fuming–however temporarily–over something so small, while I continue on my merry way. I leave feeling like I’ve just given someone a little lesson in not sweating the small stuff.
I found myself in front of an angry driver on my way home from the grocery store this evening, and I started thinking about it in a new way because, last night before bed, I started reading The Tao of Pooh. My Kindle needed charging, and so I picked up the book that was laying on my nightstand, waiting for me to finish Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (which is taking me awhile because of the less than page-turning plot).
I instantly connected with the Taoist philosophy (as explained through Winnie the Pooh) in a way I didn’t expect. I don’t consider myself a religious–or even particularly spiritual–person. If I had to pick something I’d probably become a Wiccan (because I’d get to dress like Stevie Nicks and celebrate the solstice and whatnot). This sounds like a pretty good philosophy, right: “Harmony and balance encourage to neither be too good nor too bad, but to find the balance in our lives.” Sounds to me like if we could all take a lesson from the Wiccans, the world would be a much better place. But Pooh has his own wisdom to share.
“We don’t need to shift our responsibilities onto the shoulders of some deified Spiritual Superman, or sit around and wait for Fate to come knocking at the door. We simply need to believe in the power that’s within us, and use it. When we do that, and stop imitating others and competing against them, things begin to work for us.”
A while back Bleacher Report founder Bryan Goldberg found himself in a bit of a PR nightmare when he announced he would be revolutionizing women’s media by creating a site that *gasp* put politics and hard news alongside beauty tips and fashion advice. Mostly people just laughed at him because clearly he hadn’t done any homework before launching Bustle.com, which would have shown the many thriving websites aimed at women. Among his competition is Jezebel. I’d forgotten all about Bustle because, well, I read Jezebel, Rookie, XOJane, Slate’s XX blog, and any number of other lady-focused sites. Today I confirmed that I was right to stay away. Continue reading
An Irish accent on St. Patty’s Day. One of my favorite poems.