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The Rules of the Sneaky Serial Comma

If there was ever a piece of punctuation to give us all fits, it’s the comma. When do you use it? When are you using it too much? Do I need a comma there? Correct comma usage causes endless questions simply because there are so many rules. Let’s worry about one comma in particular – the serial, or Oxford, comma. It’s the most controversial of … read more

From Struggling Writer to Solid Writer and Beyond

As an English teacher, I have a strategy that usually works for struggling and reluctant writers. If they claim to not be able to write something, I ask them to tell me the story or response to address the prompt. Then, after they tell me a sentence or two, I repeat it back to a student and tell him to write it down. Kid says, … read more

The Greatest Things About This Freelancing Gig

I’m a teacher. I chose to be a teacher, and I continue to teach because I enjoy the challenge and the rewards of the profession. But there are always downsides, and in this season of assessment testing and stress, I was thinking today about my other job. I’m a freelance writer. I chose to start writing and to continue this career in addition to the … read more

Shifting Schedules (Again): How to Tell When It’s Time

As any work-at-home parent knows, your schedule is at the mercy of your family. The exception might be those who have a babysitter or daycare lined up, but for most of us, we have to plug along as best with we can with holidays, changing sleep schedules, summer vacations and the rest of it. Over the almost eight years I’ve been working from home, I’ve … read more

Copywriting for Other Countries and Cultures

I received an interesting message the other day about some ideas on writing in other countries. Normally you think of “Western” copywriting – predominately American, Canadian and UK copywriting. English speaking readers are the typical target or niche, but what about readers in other nations in the world? China is poised to become the largest commercial market in the world if it’s not there already … read more

Soft Skills of a Professional Writer

I’m not going to split hairs about what makes a professional writer different from a full-time writer or different from a freelance writer or blogger or any other industry distinction. When I talk about being a professional writer, I could care less what you write – I’m referring to how you treat your clients and your business. There are two elements to being a successful … read more

Working from Home? You Might as Well Be Your Own Boss!

Yahoo recently announced that all of its remote workers must either find their way back into an office or they should quit. Legalities and unemployment eligibility aside, this may very well mark a turning point for those of us who choose to work at home – that is, those of us who are at the whim of an employer. Stable work-from-home jobs aren’t always as … read more

3 Cardinal Rules of Working with Kids at Home

There is not much easy about our job unless you compare it to something like digging ditches or building a skyscraper. But that at least wears out your body rather than your mind. At the end of a day wrestling obligations to kids and careers, my brain is tired. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels mentally split almost constantly throughout the day. … read more

What We Can Learn from WAHM Writers

We all know that the work-at-home-mom (WAHM) writers aren’t considered the upper echelon of the writing community. If you didn’t know that, you’ve never read about the cost-savings to be had by tricking desperate WAHMs into providing ultra cheap articles in a particular forum’s Special Offers. Well, as a few of us here can tell you, having children and enjoying a professional writing career are certainly not exclusive entities, and even … read more

Writers, How Are Your Rates Looking?

There is an endless amount of debate over what should be the going rate for writers in this business. There is a parallel debate over what actually constitutes a writer, another one over global price structures and still another one over the different styles of writers and how they fit into the grand scheme of business models. For the sake of argument, let’s ignore the … read more