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101 Things About Domain Names You Didn’t Think to Ask

If you’re nerdy like I am and love the web, this will probably interest you. Even if you’re not, scan this and learn something about domain names… how they work, a bit of their history, etc. If you don’t already have your website this will be valuable as you finally buy a domain name (Blue Host is by far and away my favorite host) you’ll have a better sense of what’s going on.

The last entry on this list may be the most valuable. Take a look. Just click on the image.

101 Fascinating Facts You Didn’t Know About Domain Names

Infographic about domain names provided by Website Builder Au with permission.

As always,

Write well and often,




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year-end reviewA year end review is a good practice for freelance writers. Since tomorrow it will be December, it’s a good time to start thinking and writing your year-end review of your writing business.

Fortunately, since we’re freelancers, we don’t have to approach this evaluation with the kind of dread that so often happens in the corporate world.  We’re not looking for a manager to okay a past-due raise, or fearing the contribution we’ve made wasn’t even noticed. Our job and our livelihood don’t depend on this review, although properly done it can certainly enhance our lives.

Why do a year-end review?

Joe Bunting  over at The Writing Practice wrote Why You Should Do a Year-End Review for Your Writing. I really agree with his emphasis on gratitude and surprise as part of your review process.

We can be grateful for so many things, big and little about our writing business if we just take a little time. For example, here are three things I’m grateful for:

  • That I’m still a freelance writer.
  • That I’ve recently discovered many other writers hold me in pretty high esteem.
  • That my freelance writing business gives me a great deal of freedom about how I live my life.

How do do a year-end review

I suspect there are as many ways for a freelance writer to do a review as there are freelance writers.


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advanceAn advance for a portion of the fee, or even all if it, protects you against flaky clients and those who have no intention of paying you. I was reminded of this last week.

I answered an ad on LinkedIn for someone who wanted some blogging done for a project that sounded interesting to me. A few days later the advertiser connected me and asked to set up a phone call, which we did. We talked and had some nice rapport, plus I really liked the project.

As so often happens he didn’t have all his ducks in a row, but said he would send me the additional material I’d need to understand what he was trying to do, the link to a video, and a couple of sample articles he thought hit the right note. I agreed to give him a written proposal once I had looked everything over. I asked him how many other writers he was talking to and he said ‘several.’ So I asked where, at the moment, I ranked, and he replied “I really like what I’m hearing from you – I think I’d place you at the top of my list.”

It started to get strange

Then things started to get strange. I had to remind him through LinkedIn that he hadn’t sent the materials – he apologized and sent them pretty quickly. I put together a proposal for 12 blogs that would happen over the next three weeks – unusual, but he was making a trip that included stopping where he had contacts and ended at a conference. The proposal also included a short email blast following each one and posting on social media. And the proposal included an advance, as mine always do.


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My White Privilege and an Apology for Thanksgiving

white privilegeI was born into white privilege, although no one was talking about it back then.

As I grew up I learned that the Pilgrims and “Indians” as we said back then, celebrated the first Thanksgiving because the natives taught the newly arrived folks how to farm and catch food.

The scene was always portrayed as a friendly happening and never once was the exploitation, killing, disrespect and theft of property and language by those with European roots who “settled” much of our country. See Most Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong.

Nor has our countries’ land-theft from Mexico gotten much play.

Which is s somber, but perhaps a bit more mindful, way to introduce my transitional gratitude list.

108 Things I’m grateful for

  1. I am grateful for a video from Jane Elliot because it puts the whole white privilege into perspective for me.
  2. And yes, I’m grateful I was born white – I really get that it’s made things easier for me and still does. (Yes, it pains me to admit that…)
  3. I am grateful for my Master Mind group of four very white women who under the urging of one member have spent at least six weeks really looking how this country’s history of slavery created much of our wealth even today. of black slaves and their help building this country, including much of it’s wealth.  The article in The Atlantic magazine Slavery Made America discusses this at some length.
  4. I’m grateful to live in coastal southern California.
  5. I’m grateful to the original settlers here in San Diego County. The Chronology of the Indigenous Peoples of San Diego County gives a look at some of our heritage here.
  6. I am grateful  Alternet which published Tal Fortgang, The ‘I’ll Never Apologize for My White Privilege’ Guy, Is Basically Most of White America which confirms my white privilege while giving me some idea of how those who deny it think.
  7. I’m grateful for Sweetwater Zen Center where I live, learn and practice.
  8. I’m grateful for the almost 100 year old cottage I live in.
  9. I’m grateful for the gardens that we have at SWZC.
  10. I’m grateful for the fresh water we have to water the gardens.
  11. Fresh, clean water available from several taps in my home is another thing I’m grateful for.
  12. I am grateful for the incredibly complicated system that brings San Diego it’s water – right in the middle of a  desert.
  13. I think hot water is one of God’s finest inventions – particularly when I do the dishes and take a shower.
  14. I’m grateful for the instant hot water heater that keeps me from fearing running out of hot water.
  15. I’m oh so grateful for flush toilets.
  16. Which means I’m grateful for the sewer system.
  17. I’m grateful for the people who pick up our trash – if only we can find ways to reduce it.
  18. I’m grateful for electricity.
  19. I’m grateful for the electric grid.
  20. I’m grateful that the San Onofre Nuclear power plant is shut down.
  21. I’m grateful for the system that fuels my gas stove and heater.
  22. I’m grateful for my three kids.
  23. I’m grateful for my kids’ spouses.
  24. I’m grateful for my four grand kids.
  25. I’m grateful for the network of roads and highways and streets that allow me to drive so many places.
  26. I’m grateful for the train that takes me north so I don’t have to drive on the freeway.
  27. I’m grateful for my car .
  28. I’m grateful for my car’s tires.
  29. I’m grateful for the gasoline that arrives at several near by service stations.
  30. I’m grateful for my mobile mechanic.
  31. I’m grateful for my mobile vet.
  32. I’m grateful for the two cats that live with me.
  33. I’m grateful for my computer.
  34. I’m even grateful for spell check on my computer.
  35. I’m grateful for my smart phone even though it’s auto correction drives me crazy.
  36. I’m grateful for my Kindle.
  37. I’m grateful for my iPad.
  38. I’m grateful for my stove.
  39. I’m grateful for my kitchen sinks.
  40. I’m grateful for my ‘fridge and it’s freezer too.
  41. I’m grateful for the original wood floors that look so good in my cottage.
  42. I’m grateful for the big rug in the living room.
  43. I’m grateful for my roommate who pays his rent on time.
  44. I’m grateful for Cait.
  45. I’m grateful for Carol.
  46. I’m grateful for Claudia.
  47. I’m grateful for the other Claudia.
  48. I’m grateful for Joanne.
  49. I’m grateful for Seisen.
  50. For Herb.
  51. For Rosie.
  52. For Ando.
  53. For Doshin.
  54. For Ale’.
  55. For Jennifer.
  56. For Zoe.
  57. For Jody.
  58. For Wednesday the dog.
  59. For Bella the dog
  60. For Laura.
  61. For Jimmy.
  62. For Jay.
  63. For Hans Peter.
  64. For Nichellie.
  65. For Amalia.
  66. For Gordon.
  67. For Ellie.
  68. For Trish.
  69. For Dwight.
  70. For Lori.
  71. For Cathy.
  72. For Jenn.
  73. For Sharon.
  74. For Nickie.
  75. For David.
  76. For John.
  77. Hanna.
  78. Paula.
  79. Ashley.
  80. Cheryl.
  81. Anna.
  82. Chris.
  83. Rob.
  84. Rob.
  85. Liz.
  86. Hector.
  87. Trader Joe’s.
  88. Smart & Final.
  89. Blue Host.
  90. WordPress.
  91. My land line.
  92. Ceiling fans.
  93. Chanting.
  94. Kim.
  95. Ron.
  96. The yurt zendo.
  97. The original zendo.
  98. The dharma.
  99. Teachers of the dharma.
  100. Cafe Moto.
  101. Moto coffee.
  102. Twigs on Park.
  103. Casa del Taco.
  104. Libraries and librarians.
  105. The Trolly.
  106. Heating pads.
  107. My desk.
  108. Every single one of my readers known to me and unknown to me.

There you have it… my 108 things I’m grateful for this year. And yes, I do want to apologize for my white privilege as well as for my long-term misunderstanding of Thanksgiving, and so I do. I am truly sorry.

Write well and often,

 

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Project Management on the Fly for Freelance Writers

project managementProject management tools are readily available. There are even free ones that have good reputations.

All, however, require some sort of learning curve. Since I don’t think about project management until I’m in the middle of something that would benefit from some clarity about everything,, I’ve not been willing to pay the price of learning how to use one.

Since, however, complex and / or large projects do require some management if you’re going to complete them with some elegance and ease. Along the way I’ve developed my own system over time.

I call it Anne’s Hit List system, or mostly just Hit Lists. It works like this:

Not all projects require managment

Not everything I write requires project management. My weekly posts for this site only need to be calendared. Keeping client files in separate folders on my computer and in my email is often sufficient.


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mysteriesWith the rise of the internet, interest in freelance writing is picking up. However, with people coming from different countries and backgrounds, there is a shroud of mystery about how freelance writing really works.

So here I am today to bust a few common myths that create doubts among the newbies and hold them to back from pursuing a career in freelance writing.

1. You can’t find work without connection

There is no truth in this statement that “you cant get writing work without connections.” There are so many opportunities littered over the internet that you can start from anywhere. You can:  find “work from home” jobs from job websites such as Monster; can bid at freelancing websites such as Upwork; make a cold calls, email outreach to offer your services to potential clients, and you can start a blog to create a portfolio of your work from where your potential clients can approach you.


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write efficientlyWhen you write efficiently you actually also create more space for your own creativity.

I recently took on a project that’s got some pretty tight time demands and I was feeling a bit at odds with it because I knew it would cut into my own writing.

Then I asked myself an important question:

Is there a way I can do this project and still have plenty of time for my own writing? 

Funny how often asking the right question provides a workable answer.

What came to me as an answer was simple “write efficiently.”

8 tips to help you and me write efficiently

  1. I’m timing how long it takes me to do various tasks. Knowing that will give me some measure of the progress I am or am not making in terms of use of time. I’m using Toggl to do this because it’s so darn simple.
  2. Last night I blocked out the hours I’m planning on spending on the project. I use Google calendar because it’s right here where I need it – the tentative hours  I’m dedicating to the project.  At this point it’s four hours a day four days a week. Since I’m not sure that’s actually enough time I’m experimenting with that schedule for this week planning to evaluate Friday or over the weekend.
  3. I’m giving myself plenty of permission to redo the schedule.
  4. I planned this article before I sat down to write. Ideally this would be done the evening before. I’m convinced that knowing where I’m going to start my writing the next day makes it possible for me to write efficiently as soon as I sit down at the computer.
  5. I’m also clear on my purpose with this post – to help writers discover how they can write efficiently.
  6. I’m postponing even glancing at email knowing what a distraction that can be.
  7. I’m keeping my eye on the word count, knowing that something 300 words or more is what’s currently considered optimum for search engines.
  8. In the back of my mind I’m wondering what sort of follow-on article I could do when I next write a post for this blog – nothing has come yet, but it will, in plenty of time.

There. I’ll let you know how this all works out in a week or so.

How do you write efficiently?

You might also enjoy How to Become a Good Freelance Writer (Hint: Be A Bad Writer First)

BTW, it’s taken me 33 minutes to write, add an ad and publish this short post.

Write well and often,





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How Many Languages Does Your Blog Speak?

How many languages does your blog speak? For some reason this morning I was thinking about Christmas – the traditional winter holiday of most of us whites here in the United States. and that’s exactly how the thought showed up – with the recognition that most religions and/or peoples do celebrate a winter holiday.

That led me to poke around on my Google analytics to see just where everyone who reads or at least looks at this blog comes from .

languages

This blog it turns out is read in some 67 countries. Admittedly mostly English speaking in many varieties, with the United States and the UK having the highest numbers. I’m fairly impressed with the idea that I’m being read to one degree or another in 67 countries.

Typical white American that I am, I speak only one language well. I have a smattering of splintered Spanish and that’s it. Lots of people in this close to the border with Mexico where I live are truly bi-lingual. It’s embarrassing.

So what I’ve done is add a translator widget. You’ll find it over on the right down at the bottom… an orange button that says ‘Translate.’ Try it. I’m told the translations are pretty good.


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profitable sustainable freelance writing businessStarting a profitable sustainable freelance writing business is more common sense than rocket science.

That said many of us started our writing business in a slap dash, maybe no plans way. While some of us made it work, we recognize we could have had more success early on had we done a few simple things.

Here are eight tips that will help you immensely create and build the profitable sustainable freelance writing business you want. I’ve put them in an order that makes sense, but don’t get ridged about this. The most intimidating to many will be the website. It’s important and should be close to the top. But don’t let not having all these elements in place, including the website stop you from getting started.

In fact a strong case can be made for starting with marketing, perhaps even before you quit your day job or figure out exactly what you want.

The biggest secret to having a profitable sustainable freelance writing business

Your attitude is ultimately what will determine your success. Negative thinking makes it almost impossible. Visioning what your experience as a successful writer will be like every day will help. Take responsibility, discover gratitude. You’ll be glad you did both.


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