Archive for April, 2013

Cornered Office

with Mir Kamin

I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.

To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/

Silly Mommy, conferences are for… mommies?

Categories: A mother's work is never done, Like talking but with more typing, Things you should be reading

3 Comments


I feel like I should preface this by admitting that back in 2006, I was part of a BlogHer panel called “Mommyblogging is a Radical Act.” As much as I’ve never been a fan of this particular term, way back then—seven years ago, which is like, what, maybe 49 years ago in Blogging Years, right?—I thought it was important that the blogging community have an honest discussion about what it means to share about our experiences as parents. I have no regrets about being part of that. At the time, that sort of blogging was still sort of new and different and we were all figuring out what it meant.

But that was seven years ago, and a lot of things have changed since then… including that many of us who were simply sharing our day-to-day for the sake of finding an outlet and community are now paid to write. Many of us are freelance writers running our own small businesses, working full-time (or more), and the fact that we write about our children from time to time is either incidental or just a fraction of the work we get paid to do.

And yet, good lord, the world is just so reluctant to let go of that term “mommyblogger.” Most of the time I don’t care; what’s in a name? I’m just doing my thing, getting my work done, living my life, whatever. But then there always comes someone wanting to take that dismissive term and use it as the cornerstone of painting every woman with a blog as a silly little moron.
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Persona vs. personality

Categories: Like talking but with more typing

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I have this coffee mug that says “I’m famous on the Internet.” My daughter gave it to me for Christmas, as a joke. I love it because it’s really big (all the better to hold lots of coffee…) and also because I think it’s hilarious.

Because I am not famous, on the Internet or otherwise. I have no desire to be famous.

A lot of people look at personal blogging as a way to “build a brand” and “become a celebrity” and I think those people are delusional. First of all, the number of people who are successful at becoming some sort of celeb through blogging compared to the number of people who wish they were is… not encouraging. And second of all, I cannot imagine wanting to be scrutinized the way so-called famous people are.

The joke in blogging is that you know you’ve arrived once you get a hateful, trollish comment on a post. Once someone cares enough to tell you how very wrong you are, that’s it! You’ve made it. Can you imagine the amount of vitriol famous bloggers are subjected to on a regular basis? No thanks. But more importantly, I think once a writer attains some level of attention for their personality, it becomes hard to avoid becoming a caricature of oneself.
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Reflections on an unexpected viral post

Categories: Like talking but with more typing, Now I'm free(lancing)

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So this week has been interesting for me, to say the least. I started a new gig, and I wrote my first post, hoping that things would go well. You never really know, when you start at a new venue. But I was (am) excited about it. I shared it with my readers on my personal blog and hoped I’d get at least a few comments.

The post in question is here, and at the time of this writing, it has over 20,000 Facebook likes, about a hundred “shares” (which I’m able to see; who knows how many I can’t), 80 comments, a whole mess of tweets, etc., etc., yeeha, woohoo, and all of that. I even had a local friend call me this morning to say that she’d seen my piece “all over” her Facebook feed this morning and was delighted to be able to say, “Hey! I know her!”

I don’t know; maybe this sounds like a regular day, to you. But to me, even as someone who’s been writing online for nine years—making a living for most of that time, mind you—this is more attention than any single piece of my writing has ever gotten before.

It’s completely wild. And weird.
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Read your writing contract

Categories: Like talking but with more typing, Now I'm free(lancing)

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One of the most important lessons to learn when working for yourself, I think, is that there’s no shame in outsourcing. I am a writer because I’m good at writing; some of the business-minutiae that comes along with being a freelancer I’m not so good at, and so I am deliberate about what I handle myself and what I don’t. To wit: I have an accountant. I love my accountant. Could I handle my taxes myself? Probably. But it would take me a lot longer than it takes him and it would make me nutty and if—God forbid—I ever end up getting audited, it’s peace of mind for me to know that I have someone who can essentially handle it for me. I consider my accountant money well spent.

On the other hand, I don’t have an administrative assistant or virtual assistant, and I know a lot of freelancers who do. For me, dealing with mail and paperwork isn’t a big deal—it doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t take all that much time—so I do it myself. These sorts of decisions are really all about what makes you feel most comfortable.

New freelancers often ask me if they need to have a lawyer around to review their contracts. This question is not so very different from considering your taxes and your mail. Do you feel comfortable handling it yourself? If the answer is “absolutely not,” it may be worth having a lawyer look things over for you. But the average freelancer is going to be signing a lot of contracts, and most of them won’t be terribly complex, and so most can learn to handle this process themselves with a bit of coaching and experience.
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