All posts by Amanda Connor

#BlogHer10 – To All My LadyBloggers

By Amanda Connor

Fact: 50% of your time as a professional freelancer should be spent working. The other 50% of your professional time should be spent networking and keeping on top of new trends in the industry.

Networking can be painful – root canal painful. Having to chat up a crowd of strangers can be a miserable and awkward experience. However, BlogHer10 is not your standard networking schmoozefest/snoozefest. It is two days of intensive seminars, hands-on learning and meeting the top female bloggers helping to drive the blogging industry. (Did I mention that this will be an all-women conference?)

What is It’s an online community of female bloggers who host, post, dish and share.

BlogHer10: As I write this, hundreds of female bloggers are preparing to descend upon New York City for two days of lectures, meet-ups, round-table discussions and Q&A sessions. I’ve rarely seen this much excitement surrounding a networking event. The buzz is immense on Twitter and Facebook and it makes me wish I was going! This year marks the sixth annual BlogHer conference, and as it has every year before, this year’s event is completely sold out.

This mega-conference, hosted and run by, will focus on bringing the BlogHer community together to meet, greet, eat and learn together. Lectures this year range from general topics like “Usability Basics for Newbies” to hyper-focused topics like “Fashion Blogging” and how to handle your own blog photography and images. Essentially, this is blogger bootcamp, designed to celebrate and foster growth within the female blogging community. Can I get a “heck yeah” from all the blogger ladies out there? Woot.

From newbies who need tips on working a WordPress blog, to professional bloggers looking for better ways to utilize their metrics, this event has it all. Check out the agenda. It makes me salivate.

If you are lucky enough to be attending this year, you have LOADS of networking opps, educational opps and FREE SWAG to look forward to (my God…the swag….the beautiful, beautiful swag.) If you missed out this year, keep it in mind for next year. And if this isn’t up your alley (or if you are of the male gender…) you should be keeping tabs on the best networking events in your area. These events can be invaluable.

It Ain’t Easy Bein’ a Freelancer

By Amanda Smyth Connor

The life of a freelancer. Oh sure, it sounds glamorous. Make your own hours! Be your own boss! Work from home in your footy pajamas with the funny butt-flap!1113326_old_typewriter

In reality, the life of a freelancer is tough, can lack stability and can really cramp your lifestyle if you don’t plan accordingly. Before you quit your job, burn your business suits and throw caution to the wind, be aware of what you are in for.

Freelance writing isn’t just a career path that you jump into. It’s no good saying “hello world! I’m a freelancer now! Hire me!” It takes hard work and dedication, as with any job, but it also takes intense self-motivation, self-discipline and a TON of networking. Not to mention that you also need to be an incredibly reliable and consistently solid writer.

Freelance-Zone has loads of wonderful posts devoted to how to become a freelancer, how to break into the biz and how to get better assignments, but this post serves as a warning to any timid newbies out there considering making the jump. This is not a career choice that is to be taken lightly. I would recommend holding down that stable day job while making this transition and getting your feet wet in the field of freelancing before making any serious life-changing decisions. I would also recommend having an healthy savings account and/or a spouse/partner with a great salary. Freelancing is not for the faint of heart. Continue reading It Ain’t Easy Bein’ a Freelancer

Put Stress In A Headlock and Give It Noogies

By Amanda Smyth Connor761892_heart_in_your_hands

Tight deadlines. Evil editors. Family matters. Finances. These common stress-inducers are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a day in the life of a freelancer. We all handle stress differently. Everyone has their own little tricks to dealing with stress. If you don’t, you should. Here are my top five ways of dealing with stress and finding zen in little moments to help get me through the day.

5. Stay organized. Nothing is worse than feeling that hysterical, out of control sense of disorganization. Staying organized is your best ally in combating stress, and while this won’t lessen your work load, it will make you aware of where you stand and will help you prioritize tasks. Tackling each item on your to-do list in order of most important to least important will create small victories and accomplishments as you check off each item. You can’t do it all at once, but you can focus on one thing at a time. Continue reading Put Stress In A Headlock and Give It Noogies

The Two Apps I Can’t Live Without

By Amanda Smyth Connor312226_multitasking

I can multitask as well as anyone. I am neither more nor less gifted in this realm than the average person. However, once I have met and exceeded my limit for “activities in progress,” things get decidedly ugly.

Multiple embarrassing and messy situations begin to arise. My quality of work suffers. I tend toward general hysteria. And instead of approaching this situation with a level head, I continue to swirl within this ugly vortex of multitasking until everything blows up and I become a Looney Tunes character in the midst of one of those black splatters of ash post-explosion. Continue reading The Two Apps I Can’t Live Without

Follow Your Child’s Lead with a Summer Reading List

By Amanda Smyth Connor1179698_old_books_1

I love reading. Growing up as an only child, I could often be found nose deep in a book. I owe my love of writing and words to this solid foundation in reading, and what better way to celebrate summer than by getting back to my roots.

I started by joining to see what my friends were reading. I compiled a list of great recommendations, as well as tried and true heroes, and I’ll be spending my precious free time this season catching up on my sorely overlooked reading list.

Here’s what I’ll be reading (or re-reading) this summer:

1. The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde) – This beautifully written, dark tale is a classic story of narcissism, innocence lost, and man’s fall from grace. It’s also, on the most basic level, a haunting tale of temptation. It’s a GREAT read and you owe yourself at least one good period piece this summer.

2. Nine Stories (J.D. Salinger) – If you have never read Salinger, this is a wonderful starter book. To be honest, I really didn’t like Catcher in the Rye. I find Nine Stories to be a far superior read with vastly more interesting stories. Did you know that Salinger loved to play with stories about fate, destiny and psychic abilities? Now you know. Enjoy.

3. World of Pooh: The Complete Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner (A.A. Milne) – This one you can enjoy with your kids. While this may be classified as a children’s book, the stories of Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood is timeless and Milne has such a refreshingly simplistic writing style. It’s like a breath of fresh air from the wordy blog posts I torture you with.

4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Hunter S. Thompson) – Wild ride, man. Buckle up, sit back and enjoy the ride through the mind of Hunter S. as he embarks on a drug-addled, mind-bending, Gonzo-journalistic adventure through Las Vegas and back. This book is equal parts exhilarating and hilarious. You won’t regret this.

5. In Cold Blood (Truman Capote) – Classic journalistic style sets the framework for this true story about a family murdered and the detective efforts surrounding uncovering the killer and how this family died. Capote humanizes the characters in a seemingly effortless way. This is not only a piece of great literature, but a flawless example of journalistic story crafting.

I find inspiration in the great writing of others, and it’s nice to sit back and soak in the efforts of other great writer’s once in awhile. Rest, relax and rejuvenate this summer with some great books of your own. Got a great reading recommendation for me? Pass it along! I need more recommendations!

Getting Ahead in the Officepla…wait a tick

By Amanda Smyth Connor

1235996_pencil-pusherThat “Mike O’Mary” and his *expletive* blog posts. Well Mike, hats off to you. You scooped me.

I had an amazingly well mapped-out plan of action regarding ways in which “one can get ahead in the office.” I even had some snarky yet optimistic ideas for freelancers in the office place,  yet you’ve addressed many of these this topics splendidly well in your blog post, “How to Get Ahead in the Office.”

Thanks, Mike. I’m going to give you a sarcastic slow clap.  “Clap.     Clap.      Clap.”

Actually, I’m glad we are addressing this topic. (And thank you, Mike, for bringing this up.) It’s easy to overlook how many freelance writers and editors do have desk jobs and are looking for ways in which they can get noticed and get ahead in the work place.

Tip #1 – Be an opportunist. Always be looking for that next chance to stand out in the office place, whether you agree to take on a big project or you simply agree to watch the boss’ dog while s/he is out of town, any chance to stand out and be seen is a good chance. Grab it. Otherwise, the old adage “out of sight, out of mind” applies. Don’t let yourself be a silent worker. Continue reading Getting Ahead in the Officepla…wait a tick