Archive for July, 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

There’s no excuse for poor presentations

Categories: Like talking but with more typing, Now I'm free(lancing), Things you should be reading

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The standard joke is that writers do what they do because it allows them to work 1) alone and/or 2) silently, and no one should be surprised when writers are awkward or boring in person. There was certainly a time when one could fit that stereotype and still make a decent living, but nowadays it’s nearly impossible to be a career writer and not have to do a certain amount of public speaking as part and parcel of that existence. Write books? Go on tour to promote them. Blog for a living? Sit on some panels at conferences. Otherwise freelance in the realm of getting paid for your words? Rest assured, somewhere, at some point, you are going to be expected to speak publicly in support of the work you do.

Nothing will make people question your professionalism more than a terrible public speaking engagement. Listen, some people just get nervous and handle themselves poorly in public; it doesn’t mean they’re dumb or incompetent by default. But a good public showing showcases your ability to conduct yourself like a professional, while a poor one suggests you don’t do well under pressure.

The good news is that presentation skills can be learned. If you don’t yet handle yourself well in this arena, don’t panic! You can cultivate the skills you need.
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Finding my road routine

Categories: A mother's work is never done, My boss is an idiot

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Last summer my family didn’t manage to get away at all, so we were hoping to schedule some R&R this summer to make up for it. We’re not a grand-vacation type of family—neither by design nor by wealth, ha—so our approach has always been a brief jaunt here, a day at the museum there, a camping weekend over there, etc. We seem to still be off our routine, though, and it took us until now (mid-July) to schedule a camping trip, and then our go-to campground was booked, so we decided to try someplace new.

Yesterday we pulled up and started setting up camp. We have a travel trailer, so it’s hardly “roughing it” in the conventional sense, but we do have to do some setup when we get here. The kids have their jobs—one of them wrangles the dog, the other one cranks down the stabilizers on the trailer—and my husband does the water and electric hookups while I pop out the tent top over our bed and get things arranged inside. Despite the long break since we last did all of this, it all went pretty quickly and soon camp was set.
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Putting on a professional… face?

Categories: My boss is an idiot, Now I'm free(lancing)

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I used to go to conferences fairly regularly—one or two a year, at least—but as I noted in my recent post about BlogHer, this will be my first conference in around two years. It seems impossible that it’s been that long, and yet… here I am. No big deal, because it’s not as if the passage of time somehow renders me incapable of behaving in public, or anything. I just pull out the pretty shoes I haven’t had a chance to wear in a while, dust off my business cards, and go do my thing. Right?

Some of you may remember that a while back I started thinking about letting my hair go gray, and then about a month later, I went for it. I’ve embraced the gray, and I’ve been growing my hair back out ever since, and as I prep for conference-going, my attention has turned to my face.

And now it’s time to embark on the makeup angst. I totally forgot about this part, plus it’s different, now, than it used to be.
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