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Pay yourself first

When you work for yourself, it is vital to pay yourself first – with money. When the money comes in, it flows to you (to your savings account, your investment account, your retirement account) first. Before the bills claim anything, you must pay yourself first. Freelancers, take note. Pay yourself first even if it means […]

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The moment(s) to celebrate

When you write to publish, the impulse might be to celebrate the moment of publication. That’s certainly the moment your family and friends celebrate because they can SEE your writing in print or online. Tangible evidence that all those months of mysteriousnous when you said you were “working” finally has something to show for it. […]

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Write a killer job application letter

Job letters – or the cover letters attached to your resume or CV – are your first impression with a potential employer. If it isn’t clear, specific, and well-written (read that – no spelling, punctuation, or other sentence-level mistakes), you won’t get a call. In fact, if the letter doesn’t kill the employer’s doubt, she […]

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So you want to be a freelance writer

Some of you may not know this unless you’ve really examined the end of my CV, or know me well in person: I was a freelance writer and journalist for ten years prior to earning my MA and Ph.D. and becoming a professor of writing. I meet people all the time at conferences, in workshops, […]

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Resurrecting dead stories

If you’re like me, you have a story or two, or a series of poems, or a novel, or even a scholarly article that has been relegated to the dustbin of your productivity. These are the pieces that have been through the publisher or editor rounds at so many places you’ve lost count and received […]

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The value of daydreaming

Would you like to feel instantly refreshed? Try daydreaming. For as much as we complain about how kids’ lives are so overbooked and overscheduled these days, we would be better served to take a hard look at our own practices. Namely, our tendency, as Americans, to pack our brains so full of tasks, goals, activities, […]

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Revision suggestions: When and how to say no

Defense and flexibility are both important in writing, especially with editors and, for academics, peer reviewers. Editors and peer reviewers are the gatekeepers. They hold the keys to our publishing potential, so many writers hesitate to question anything they say or protest even the most unreasonable request. They control what we want and the idea […]

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Pitching stories

When I was a freelance journalist, pitching story ideas was my business’s lifeblood. As an academic now, I also find that sometimes pitching an idea ahead of all the research and writing to gauge an editor’s interest can be a valuable option to save time and be more efficient. First, have an idea. Coming up […]

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