A little-known fact about me is that when it begins to get cold, the holiday season is over, and the New Year is on the horizon, I disappear into the woods for a sacred rite. By “sacred rite”, I mean “crazy camping trip including a hard-core week-long workout hosted by my ridiculously fit friend”, but whatever. You have your sacred rites, I have mine. Now, I bring this up because by the time you read this, I’ll have finished this year’s crazy extravaganza. I’ll be feeling pretty badass, and I’ll have done more pushups, sit-ups,> Read More
Who Pushes You to Achieve More?
What Freelancers Can Learn From Rodeo Announcers
I recently went to my very first rodeo, and I have to tell you, it’s kind of an awesome time. It’s a roomful of young men showing off what balls of steel they have, and trust me, watching them get thrown around on the back of a horse or a bull, you start to have a lot of faith in the steeliness. Those guys weren’t the most impressive part of the rodeo for me, though. The part of the rodeo that was most impressive to me was, believe it or not, the announcer. The announcer> Read More
Are You Trying to Be Too Smart?
As a professional writer, your vocabulary is literally your stock in trade. Other businesses have huge stockrooms full of whatever they sell – frozen food, Gucci shoes, leather satchels… You, you have words. If you’re anything like me, you’ve taken some pains to make sure your stock hasn’t been the same since 1997. You read good magazines and periodicals, and you take note of new words when they’re used. If a friend happens to use a word that is new to you in conversation, you may very well follow up on it just because it> Read More
The Princess Bride Guide to Copywriting
So there have been a lot of other posts around the blogosphere lately about the Star Wars Guide to Blogging and the Bridges of Madison County Guide to Marketing and I realized that at Men with Pens, we don’t really draw from pop culture for posts. Then I realized that this is because James doesn’t do anything but work. His most common response to analogies of mine is, “What’s that?” There I stand, agape, saying incredulously, “You don’t know who Joss Whedon is?” “No?” says James. Then, a moment later, rather timidly: “Should I?” Oh,> Read More
How Dirty is Your Mind?
Sherlock Holmes, the great fictional detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was purported to have one of the best minds of his generation. In one of the first Holmes stories ever written, Holmes described how he came to have such a clever brain: I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of any sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded> Read More
How Do You Know When You’ve Reached Success?
I wrote about why you’re afraid of success. A rousing little debate ensued in the comment section of that post. Exactly what is “success”? Here at Men with Pens, we tend to talk about “success” as though it were synonymous with “being a freelancer”, mostly because that’s what this blog is all about. (Read: this blog is all about me, me, me. And Jamie. But mostly me. Since I arrived, that is. I suppose it was mostly all about James before I got here. Not so anymore.) Laying selfishness aside, as we all so hate> Read More
Taylor’s a Feminist – But So Is James
Feminism is starting to piss me off. So unless you’ve been living under a rock for last few days, you know that James Chartrand, mon esteemed capitaine, has recently come out as a woman. I’ve known about James’ true gender for some time, and we’ve had a lot of discussions about whether, in today’s day and age, such a choice is really necessary to command respect in the workplace. After all, I’m a woman. James and I do the same kind of writing, and our male clients have been absolutely thrilled with the copy that> Read More
Have You Been Betrayed by Your Blogger?
This discussion we’ve been having about whether bloggers should get paid for their work is fascinating, and I think it’s pretty great that the whole MwP community here has been so level-headed and thoughtful about it. There are lots of other people out there getting seriously up in arms about it, though. They’re saying bloggers who ask for payment are betraying their readers, compromising their ethics, and generally being all-around jerks. It’s as though they believed our very moral compass is broken, and that bloggers simply don’t understand how to be in a secure and> Read More
How to Put Rumors to Rest
I’d like you all to imagine a Jedi hand-wave right now, because that title doesn’t work nearly so well without it. There is no ebook. There has never been an ebook. We never referred to it obliquely a few weeks back. We haven’t been keeping it under wraps. We haven’t even subtly slipped it into place in our store without you being aware of it. Never happened. We did try to tell you there was nothing to this vicious rumor of a new, updated, expanded and generally awesome upgraded version of Write for the Web,> Read More
Are You Afraid of Success? We Bet Yes.
I have discovered something about myself. I’m terrified of success. Not just terrified. I’m willing to put my health at risk, my reputation, and my financial security. I’m willing to do just about anything, if I can avoid being successful. You probably are too. Some of you are thinking that I am nuttier than a Planter’s convention, but I assure you that this blog post was not made on machinery containing nuts. My parents assure me that neither was my brain, so we are living in a nut-free zone, here. This is a harsh truth,> Read More