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Erin J Bernard, ejb writing studio, copywriterWelcome, and let me guess: You’re a creative human, and you like to make stuff. But you struggle with: time management, motivation, grammar, character development, bad moods, slow progress, no progress, crap metaphors, reader engagement, metrics, technology, group critique, originality, self critique, laziness, branding, publishing, starting things, and finishing things.

Me, too. I’m Erin, and I’ve been making the writing life work (and pay) for a decade. Like you, I wage constant battle with assorted writing bugaboos. Some days, I think I’m terribly brilliant. And other days, I suspect I am just plain terrible. But always, I take damned good notes.

erin j bernard, ejbwritingstudio.com,

Written, Read, Seen: Why Creative People Need Supportive Partners

As anyone who’s managed it can attest, the process of disentangling oneself from a full-time job is beset with practical and philosophical questions. Going freelance requires a raft of methodical preparation, the cultivation of a decision tree or two, an exit strategy, and, eventually, a bold leap into the unknown.

It’s a life transition also liable to stir up crises of emotion in your closest personal relationships: what if you get a slow start and you and your partner are forced to rely, temporarily, on a single income? What if you’ve misjudged the market and you never quite find your financial feet? What if you’re taking a major pay cut? What if you become depressed, or distracted, or riddled with doubt? If kids are in the mix, what kind of stability are they owed? Who has the health insurance?

These are big questions—big enough to rend an already-shaky union clean in two. I have this on personal authority.

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Don’t Be Switzerland: The Case for a Politicized Creative Class

Would you write an ad campaign for Big Tobacco?

Would you edit feel-good copy for a corporation with a lamentable human rights record?

Would you shoot wildlife photos for an oil company dragging its heels on the clean-up of a major spill?

What if said potential client offered you a shitload of money? What if they seemed genuine about wanting to do good, be better? What if you could negotiate it so your name wasn’t attached to the finished product?

Would you say “Yes?”

Would you say “No?”

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Fix Yourself: A Self-Editing Checklist for Writers

I lurk around a number of fantastic Facebook pages geared toward writers and editors, and, really, you should, too. Truth be told, I’ve stumbled upon some active and very practically helpful communities of other writers/editors this way.

One group I particularly like is called Ask a Book Editor. It does exactly what you think it does: provide writers with advice. It’s also a forum for editors to exchange ideas and discuss the vagaries of copy and developmental editing.

A fantastic thread on self-editing came up the other week, and I decided to compile all the wonderful advice editors had offered to writers about how and what to edit in their own work. Now, it shall live forever on the Internet!

Click below to download the PDF:

Self-Editing Checklist for Writers

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TC Productivity Tip: The Big Bite

We’re in a cultural moment of compulsive solopreneurship, gigging, and freelancing, and this makes the current national obsession with Productivity and its many tools, hacks, and schools pretty unsurprising.

Work faster! Work smarter! Work better! Work harder! Those are the ascendant goals for every independent contractor, creatively inclined or not, and, really, when you’re paying your own way through the world without the cushion of a salary or benefits or sick leave, it’s wise to pay close attention to how much you’re getting done and how efficiently you’re doing it.

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What Would the Cool Kids Do? On Creative Envy and the Definitive Value of Shouting into Voids

You can’t escape the Cool Kids.

Sorry. You can’t. No matter how old you get, no matter the profession you choose, no matter how far from your hometown you travel, there they’ll be—outpacing you, outmaneuvering you, outshining you, and doing it all with the kind of purposeful ease that makes averagely gifted bystanders want to punch granite.

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