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Week in Review: The Election

I’m tired. Is anyone else tired? Like really, deeply exhausted?

I have a lot of foreign clients who have asked me in the last few days how I feel about the election results. The truth is, I’m as shocked as anyone. And I’m sad. And I’m scared.

But I’ve also been trying really hard to re-evaluate, and to listen. I feel like I’ve been having some good conversations, even if I don’t always understand. And in the end, my feelings can be summed up here, and here, and definitely with this.

There has been SO much hate tossed around this election season, and to be fair – I’ve seen it from both sides. As an American, I’m hoping we can somehow find a way to rise above that. As a mother, I’m watching, and I’m waiting, and I’m not opposed to doing whatever may be necessary to protect my daughter.

As a writer… I’ve hit the wall. I simply cannot write about politics anymore. I need a break.

Thankfully, I have plenty on my plate to offer that up! I am in the process of negotiating the work on a project I am REALLY excited about right now. And I had a few new articles published this week as well:

Life is good, and I believe in the good of people enough to believe that good will prevail. So that’s where I’m focused right now: On the good in my life, the good in the people I love (even those with a different take on the issues from me), and the good in my little girl… who I can’t wait to have an entire weekend to spend playing with!

Week in Review: First Snow

It’s been a month since my last Week in Review, which is totally an indication of how freaking busy I’ve been. In fact, things have been so busy that I wound up making a pretty big decision about my business in the last week.

One of the things not a lot of people understand about freelance writing is that you don’t just decide to be a writer, and then spend your days making all kinds of money off of passion pieces. It’s a job, like any other job, and sometimes it involves doing work that you wouldn’t necessarily choose for yourself. In the world of freelance writing, that often means ghostwriting.

The way my business is, and always has been, structured is that only about 20 percent of what I do is true passion writing–getting paid to write the stuff I love. An additional 30 percent is editing, something I also really love. And about 10 percent is social media consultations and management. Then there is the 20 percent of work I write under my byline, but that I’m not particularly passionate about–some of that I share with you all, and some of it I mostly find myself hoping will never really see the light of day. From there, there is 20 percent of what I do that doesn’t have my name attached to it at all: Ghostwriting.

Now, I have a few ghostwriting projects I really love, and about 7 clients I’ve worked with as a ghostwriter for years now. I tend to stick to subjects I know (so I do a lot of career and HR ghostwriting, since that was my former professional life), but I also blog regularly for several small business owners: A wedding photographer, a fitness guru, and even a novelist who just doesn’t feel like she has the time to blog.

The thing about ghostwriting work is that it helps to pay the bills, and I genuinely like the clients I work for. But the stuff I’m writing isn’t in line with the subjects I would want to brand myself as being an expert on… it’s just consistent work I can count on, which is a big deal for a freelancer.

But over the last few years, I’ve been bringing in more and more of the passion work; the writing and editing jobs I get truly excited about. And then in July, mom.me hired me on as their social media manager. It is by far the biggest, most consistent project I’ve ever had. There are a lot of good things that come with that–I’m taking on new challenges, still working from home, and I’m making enough money to be able to be really picky about the other work I do.

Which means more time to focus on my passion writing, and even to work on that first fiction novel I have my heart set on completing.

The downfall is that given the hours I’m dedicating to running social media for a big brand now, I don’t have as much time to commit to the many smaller projects I was previously juggling.

Something had to give.

Now, I have the typical freelancer mentality: This part of me that struggles to let go of any potential income stream, because you never really know when work is going to dry up. But things have been going really well with mom.me, and I’ve also had several other dream writing opportunities come my way in the last few months. I’m knocking on wood as I type this, but I think I’ve reached the point in my career where the dry spells may be a thing of the past. Which left me with the realization that I could no longer continue to hoard all the work that comes my way. At least, not if I also want the opportunity to sleep.

I knew I needed to establish a very clear understanding of what I could and could not take on from this point forward. And more importantly, I knew I needed to then stick to that.

After a lot of reflecting, I realized I obviously want to keep my passion writing, and I still want to make developmental editing a big part of what I do as well (I genuinely enjoy it, and it’s something I like to think I’m very good at). But it no longer makes sense to contribute time to ghostwriting, when that’s the one facet of my business that doesn’t really contribute in any way to where I want to go.

So… over the last week, I gave my notice to several clients. Which was weird, because again, as a freelancer–you don’t typically turn down work. It was also hard, because I’ve worked for some of these clients for several years now–they’ve become my friends, and I hate letting friends down!

Thankfully, everyone was incredibly understanding–even if they did try to bribe me to change my mind a little. I gave them all plenty of notice, promising to continue on until the end of the year. But after that point?

  • I’ll only be writing content I pitch and want to write.
  • I’ll be dedicating time every week to finishing my fiction novel.
  • I’ll only be taking on 3 developmental editing clients a month–which means my editing slots WILL be booking out months in advance. I’d suggest getting in touch now if you want me to edit your book!

I had a friend confess to me the other day that she thought I was totally crazy when I quit my job 3 years ago. I had a newborn, and no real guarantee that I could make this work. “But you’re doing it,” she said, “And it’s kind of incredible to watch.”

What she didn’t realize is how incredible it is for me to experience. I feel so ridiculously lucky to be able to do what I love for a living, and to have the flexibility with my career that I know not most single mothers have. I got an e-mail recently asking me how I managed to build up a career as a writer, and my abbreviate response was just that… luck. I really do think that’s what it came down to for me. Timing, and networking, and luck.

But I’ll take it, because yeah… I’m grateful.

So… that’s what’s been going on with my career this last month. On the home front, we got our first in-town snow last week, and this kid could not have been happier!

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We’ve already done some sledding and snowman building, and are just hoping for another good dump-down of snow to really make for a perfect winter!

One of my writers recently published her first book and it’s one I can absolutely recommend:

I provided developmental editing for Sandra, but Masao completely captivated me from beginning to end–which is saying a lot, because historical war biographies wouldn’t typically be my preferred niche. But the way Sandra sheds light on WWII through the eyes of a soldier who might otherwise have been shunned on US soil is absolutely fascinating. This is a true story that shines an entirely new light on this less-than-stellar piece of US history, and it is absolutely worth the read.

As for my own work, here are some of the pieces I’ve had published over the last few weeks:

Now, we’re heading into a weekend with snow and two birthday parties… so pretty much lots of fun ahead! I hope you all have great weekends as well!

Week in Review: Winter’s Coming

Last weekend, some friends and I drove a bit out of town planning on seeing some fall colors and doing a bit of exploration. Instead, we found this:

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Funny story: I posted that picture on my personal Facebook page, and was immediately inundated by text messages along the lines of, “Who’s the guy?” and “Dude, are you coupled up?”

Ummmm, yeah… no. That’s my cousin. He’s been up here for the summer for work, and we’ve had a ton of fun having family around. Not my boyfriend. Everyone needs to calm down.

The whole thing had me cracking up; people are apparently hard up for me to find love. But I’m also half convinced, “Is that  your boyfriend?” might be the single woman’s, “How far along are you?” It’s just one of those questions that maybe, if you don’t know the answer, is better left unasked. Because, wah… wah… wah… no man in my life. Thanks for asking though! 😉

Now, back to that snow. We were about an hour out of town, and up in the mountains a bit. So this hasn’t hit Anchorage yet. But just seeing it? Just being ankle deep in it? It got me SO excited for winter!

Bring on the snow! I’m ready! And my girl is too!

Here’s what I’ve had published recently:

 

I’ve also been plenty busy with a few new editing jobs and the big social media management gig. So busy that I am WAY behind on e-mails. Ooops! Probably time to catch up on that…

Week in Review: Outnumbered

We had Trick or Treat in the Heat last weekend, which is basically an excuse to get kiddos out celebrating Halloween before there is snow on the ground up here in Alaska (not entirely true – it’s actually a really cool charity event, too).

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Unfortunately, it absolutely poured on us, which kind of defeated the purpose. But Cheeks didn’t mind. Because… candy.

Work is going well and I’m finally feeling all caught up. I’ve got two new big editing jobs on my plate, and I had these pieces published this week:

 

 

This weekend I’m watching a friend’s two little boys while she and her husband take off for an anniversary celebration. I’ve actually really been looking forward to it, especially the cuddly baby time (she has an 8 month old). Until she reminded me that babies wake up early (6 am… blah). And I remembered the numbers are not in  my favor: Three kids to one adult.

I’m going to need gobs of coffee.

Week in Review: Playing Hooky

I am finally almost caught up on work and deadlines after my adventure in Denali. By the end of this weekend, I should be completely back on track.

Fingers crossed.

But today? Today the sun is shining and my girl and I are playing hooky. Because the fair is in town, and we love mommy daughter fair days.

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Gah! That picture was 2 years ago… she was such a little nugget!

We’ve had a pretty incredible week. Maybe mostly because of this and this and Mommy’s head just being in a good place for the first time in too long… this is why vacations are so important! And why all this catch-up I’ve been playing has been worth it.

Because I am a happier, healthier mama (and therefore a happier, more productive writer and editor) when I give my soul a chance to breathe every once in a while.

Which is where I leave you now… headed out to breathe.

Oh yeah, I did have one piece published this week:

It’s kind of near and dear to my heart. Enjoy!

Week in Review: This is Why I Don’t Take Vacations

It has been a looooooong week of playing catch-up after my week away. A week away I desperately needed (and a weekend without my kiddo that was literally everything I could have asked for from a kid-free couple of days), but a week away that, as a freelancer, I obviously didn’t get paid for.

Hence the week of sleepless nights I’ve had since coming back as I’ve worked to meet all my deadlines and wade through all my e-mails – some of which I still haven’t gotten to, but I’m getting closer. I promise!

Still… so worth it:

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(Look at those eyes, though… Yeah, those are the eyes of a tired mama who needed a break from reality.)

Anyway, I’m going to keep this short and sweet, as there is still plenty of catching up to do! I did have two new pieces published this week, and I’m super proud of them both:

Now, back to those e-mails!

Week in Review: Alaska Love

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet, mostly because I’m on vacation, which is involving a lot of this:

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And this:

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And this:

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And this:

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Yeah… I love Alaska.

And today? Today I’m hopping on a train to Denali for 3 days of intense exploration and hiking.

Life is good!

I did have 2 pieces published this week, if you’re hoping for something to read:

I should be back to a regular work schedule next week, but in the meantime… if you want to see my pictures from Denali, you might want to follow along on Facebook or Instagram!

Week in Review: Like, Whoa

So, this week has been crazy. First, I wrote this piece:

Then, this happened.

That’s right, Busy Philipps (from Dawson’s Creek, and Freaks and Geeks, and Cougar Town, and Vice Principals) retweeted something I wrote, then when I fan-girled all over her because of it (because I legitimately adore her, and I have zero chill), she responded in the sweetest possible way.

Week. Made.

Then, Cheeks and I had a special mommy-daughter moment, and I happened to have my phone nearby. So I recorded it. Because… well, you can see for yourself.

Here’s the thing about single motherhood: It can be damn lonely. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t give this child or this life up for the world. But the next time something’s going down with your kids, and you have your partner to turn to and say, “Did you see/hear/experience that?” Take a second to consider how lonely that parenting moment would be WITHOUT that person there to bounce off of. Without that person there to turn to and laugh, cry, or just dissect with.

I love being this little girls’ mommy. But sometimes, the craziest moments of parenting are the ones where I am left mouth agape, wishing there was someone there to share in that moment with me. The good, the bad, and the ugly… you kind of just feel like you need that other person to help you digest what just happened.

So, yeah… lately, I’ve been recording a lot. And sharing plenty with my closest friends – mostly because I need to be able to say, “Did you see/hear/experience that?” That’s all that happened with this video. I had my phone right next to me when incident went down, so I grabbed it up before I even reacted. I didn’t take it with the intention of sharing online – though I did immediately text it to some of my best friends. It wasn’t until the next day, when I was re-watching it and finally able to laugh over the whole thing, that I decided to upload it. I had no idea it was going to get the attention it has. But… yeah… that’s my kid, forever and always emblazoned on the Internet dropping her first 4-letter word.

Fantastic.

I also wrote these pieces this week:

The new job is going amazingly, and I’m still pulling in some pretty consistent editing work as well. For the record, though… I’m taking the next week off! This guy:

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Is coming to Alaska (with his lady, who we love) to celebrate his 34th birthday – and Cheeks and I could not be more excited to have Uncle Justin here!

We have a ton of crazy adventures planned – seriously, something fun every single day! Some of it (most of it) we’ll be bringing Cheeks along on (her first real taste of adventuring with Mommy and Uncle Justin – the way we used to travel and adventure before she was born). But next weekend some amazing friends of mine are actually taking her so that we can hop on a train to Denali and do some not-suitable-for-kids adventuring!

That’s right, I’m getting a super-duper-rare opportunity to go do some intense hiking and exploration without my kiddo – this is only the second time since she was born that I’ve been able to do that! And let me tell you, life has been a bit crazy lately. I am beyond excited for this time with my best friend, and to kind of disconnect from everything else and reconnect with who I am outside of motherhood and career – the two things that have kind of overtaken my entire being these last few years.

If you’re not already following me on Instagram, I would definitely recommend doing so now. I anticipate having some pretty incredible photos of Alaska to share over the next week!

Week in Review: So Hard Not to Laugh

We’re still having the bedtime fight in our house. The taking of toys actually worked for 3 whole nights. She was earning a few things back, doing really well, and then… backslide.

My child is back to having zero possessions.

Being a parent is tough. Consistency and following through suck. But… here we are.

Last night, on the third escape from her bed, my child opened my door to reveal her shorts had been removed and were over her head, covering her face completely. It was so hard not to laugh. But, I kept my best stern voice on and said, “Go. To. Bed.” She turned around, closed the door, and went right back to bed – never bothering to take the shorts off her head.

Seriously, it took everything in me not to burst into giggles.

Parenting is hard. And then, Timehop sends you pictures like this:

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And it just hits you how fast it all goes by and you just want to go and squeeze them and cuddle them and kiss them while they’re still young and don’t hate you yet.

I almost wish I had laughed at those damn pajama bottoms on her head. Just because… she is a goofy, funny, silly kid. And I so love that about her.

But, no… Consistency. Following through. I’ve got this.

It’s been another crazy busy week with work. Which is good. Great even – I love what I’m doing, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to do it.

I’ve had a few big editing jobs recently, and then I also had these pieces published:

This weekend, I’m hoping to convince my kid once and for all to stay in her room at night. Wish me luck with that…

Week in Review: Fail

For weeks now, I have been trying to draw Minions on bananas for Cheeks’ lunches. Because Pinterest told me I could. Unfortunately, my attempts just keep getting worse and worse.

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I’m pretty convinced the school is going to call me any day now and ask me to stop sending demonic fruit in her lunch. So, there’s that.

Fail.

In other news, the new job is going so well. And I had these articles published this week:

A few months ago, I was interviewed for a big article on adoption scams. Because, this. That piece was just released this last week, and it’s a really interesting read:

This weekend is going to be spent entertaining my girl outside. Because she has no toys left. Because this.

So… wish me luck with that.