Category Archives: My freelance writing

Why I like writing

This week I interviewed a local artist about how she is evolving into a consultant. I created a text story and a viImagedeo for the Rochester Professional Consultants Network e-newsletter, which publishes at the end of this month.

As we talked about her unusual art form and about the artisans group she created, I was reminded why I enjoy my professional writing career.

I get to meet and interview fascinating people who do interesting work and have intriguing ideas. I have the privilege of telling their story so that others get to know them. And as in this case, when the person reads the story and says it’s exactly right, I have the satisfaction of a job well done.

Every story, just like every person, is unique. I appreciate that my writing work enables me to continue to  learn and grow.

August 2013 RPCN newsletter (including the article about artist Stefani Tadio), and video.

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Do you proofread what you write?

Cringing at typos on professionals’ LinkedIn profiles — their free billboard promotion about their work — prompts this question: How closely do you look over what you write?

Do you proofread your proposals, documents and professional letters? How about the words on your website?

Misspellings, typos and errors hurt your image. It’s critical that you check your work or have someone reliable do so.

Here are 10 tips to help: How to Proofread

(Yes, proofreading is among the services I offer.)

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After the second cancer diagnosis, something wonderful

When Clay Felker — founding editor of New York magazine, who also had stints at Esquire and The Village Voice — was diagnosed with his second cancer, doctors said there wasn’t any treatment that would extend his life.

So they suggested that Felker and wife Gail Sheehy seize life: Do something wonderful that you wouldn’t have dared do before.

Now that’s a charge worth pursuing.

Sheehy told me it took them about a year to figure out what to do. They enjoyed a great trip to France — even though he was on a feeding tube. And they found a way for Felker to pursue his passion of developing young talent in magazines, which meant moving from Manhattan to California to work at Berkeley. With lymphoma. (That’s a cancer that  begins in immune system cells called lymphocytes.)

“He actually developed a great deal of courage,” Sheehy said.

She traveled back and forth between her job in Manhattan and their new home. The couple experienced a new time of feeling young and in love all over again. And Felker’s lymphoma went away.

“That’s the kind of miracle of it,” said Sheehy.

Felker was able to work for 10 more years.

If you give someone the chance to feel alive and able to do things, they just may be able to do them.

I’m grateful that can happen.

Felker photo: USA Today. Sheehy photo: LA Times

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Stan the toothpick man

If you won the lottery, how would you spend your time?

Driving to work over my years as a daily newspaper journalist, I passed a lottery billboard offering the possibility of millions. Periodically — even though I don’t buy lottery tickets — I pondered this question of what I would do differently if paychecks didn’t matter.

The answer can be revealing. Perhaps it can help you not end up late in life with regrets.

My answer: If money suddenly didn’t matter, I would love to have the luxury to pick and choose the stories I want to write. Interesting people. Important issues. Articles that teach and help people. And stories that are just plain fun to write and to read.

No, I haven’t won the jackpot. But since launching my freelance writing business, I get a lot more control over what I write about.

I’ve been working on several interesting stories this week, including this one on Stan Munro. The former zany early-morning Rochester TV features reporter is now crafting a career from his hobby creating buildings to scale from toothpicks and glue. Click on the link to see photos, read my story in the Democrat and Chronicle and see the details about his free exhibit in Irondequoit.

I’m grateful to be working on creating my dream job now, even without millions in the bank.

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012302170011

If you like that, check out this video of a creative use of toothpicks in California, http://blogs.exploratorium.edu/tinkering/2011/04/25/some-thoughts-on-working-with-toothpicks/

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Taking the plunge

Wish you could better tell your story to others?

Or want the help of a professional writer to elevate your upcoming newsletter or report to a new level?

I’m excited about the possibilities to use my interviewing and writing skills to help people in new ways. Please keep me in mind if you can use the help of an experienced journalist.

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Who else needs journalism?

I told a mom I know that I’m starting a freelance writing business. “What kind of writing?” she asked.

The long answer: I’m exploring new ways to use my journalism skills — such as the ability to uncover things and reveal the truth. I know how to listen and how to interview people. I write clearly and accurately, in ways that engage and interest the reader. I know how to find information and track down the right people to talk to.

A short answer: I enjoy interviewing people and telling their story.

In response, this mom said her son is applying to a study abroad program. She and other family members have helped edit the application essay multiple times. An independent, professional writer could be a big help, without taking over, she said. At the beginning, the writer could interview the student and help pull out of him the reasons he really wants to study abroad and how he’ll handle the challenges. Then the student could work on the essay until a draft is ready for review. Much less drama and tension when it’s not Mom giving the feedback.

I’m grateful for people sharing interesting ideas of how I can use my skills.

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