Category Archives: lifestyle

February Resolutions

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, having seen far too many pieces of wishful thinking come and go–10 pounds not lost, bad habits not kicked. For freelancers it’s particularly tough, as hectic January sees clients simultaneously whip out their to-do lists that have languished over the holidays.

But just because I don’t believe in making a resolution in the first month of the year doesn’t mean I embrace a life unexamined. With the post-holiday mayhem tucked away till November, and most of the emergencies taken care of, I turn to February resolutions to set my course for the year.

Someday, I’d love to do this as a luxury corporate retreat, but for the past few years I’ve just headed to a local coffee shop sans laptop or cell phone. Two hours of brainstorming, no distractions allowed, just a blank legal pad and a pen and a couple of cups of black java. There are a million theories on how to set big goals, but I keep it simple:

  • What do I want to achieve? These are the specifics: Income target, completion of an ebook, breaking into a new field that’s appealing to me. I also incorporate regular-life things in here, like breaking a personal record in a half-marathon or completing a home project.
  • What will it look like and feel like when I have achieved that? For each of those goals, you need to close your eyes and dig down a layer to make it more emotional. (I am not a touchy-feely kind of guy, but this is really important!) Pro athletes, in particular, rely on visualization to improve performance—it has ways of energizing your brain that are pretty astonishing.

Once those thoughts are down on paper, it’s time to type them up neatly and tack them to a bulletin board adjacent to my desk. I can’t walk in and out of my office without seeing them—much harder to ignore than an idle thought that occasionally pops into one’s head.

Jake Poinier blogs regularly as Dr. Freelance and runs an Phoenix-based editorial services firm, Boomvang Creative Group.

A Closer Look: The Publishing Pros

At the end of last year I was reaching out to potential advertisers for and one of the groups I came across was The Publishing Pros (formerly RMPPG). When I checked the group out as we were discussing ad space on the site, I thought readers might be interested in learning more about them–they are an active, well-established group that I think is a great resource for the freelance writing community–and a valued advertiser on

Here’s a closer look.                  – Catherine

Web-ad-for-Freelance-Zone1. How did The Publishing Pros (RMPPG) get started?

Founded in 1991 to promote and enhance the professional skills of its members, the organization increases dialogue among colleagues and clients through meetings and social events and fosters effective, ethical business practices. Its members are editors, indexers, proofreaders, designers, writers, researchers, and others who offer a range of skills and specialties.

2. Who makes up the organization?

The Publishing Pros is composed of a professional network of publishing specialists, with most of our members based in the Rocky Mountain region, including experienced writers, editors, proofreaders, indexers, graphic designers, desktop publishing experts, researchers, fact-checkers, trainers, writing coaches, translators, and other publishing specialists.

3. Who should consider becoming a member of the group?

If you’re an experienced editor, proofreader, graphic designer, desktop publishing expert, indexer, writer, fact-checker, writing or editing coach, or other publishing professional, we invite you to join The Publishing Pros (RMPPG). We offer some great networking opportunities; further, when prospective clients contact the organization looking for a specialist we post their requests on our active ListServ.

4. What services are offered by The Publishing Pros?

Members of The Publishing Pros (RMPPG) serve a variety of clients in publishing, business, research, education and academic institutions, and nonprofit and governmental organizations. Prospective clients can access the services of our members by easily searching the website directory for a particular subject area and/or publishing service needed. Clients can also arrange for The Publishing Pros to post job requests on our ListServ. Members can develop the look, sound, and feel of any print or electronic/online publication or project, including manuscript editing, copywriting, website development, novel critiquing and evaluation, book design and typesetting, e-publication conversion, indexing, logo and brand development, and much more. With the multi-varied talents of The Publishing Pros membership, clients can tap into one of the country’s greatest networks of freelance publishing experts.

5. What is unique about The Publishing Pros?

We know of no other site that contains members whose expertise ranges through all areas of publication, from cover to index. Many of our members have deep roots in Rocky Mountain publishing and can be a great resource for newer members who are learning the trade. Our newly revamped website gives members a chance to list their specialties on the directory, enabling potential clients to find them, and clients can post to our site when they have a position to fill or a job to be accomplished.

For more information on membership or services visit The Publishing Pros.

Freelancing in 2012

Joe Wallace Vinyl Collector and authorby Joe Wallace

About 20 days ago, long before 11:59 PM on December 31, a lot of freelancing blogs made predictions about the freelance landscape in 2012.

And the same as every year, a lot of predictions basically read, “more people will start freelancing, more people will quit freelancing, and more companies will hire more freelancers than ever before.”

You don’t have to be Nostradamus, really, to issue predictions like these.

I ignored all that sort of thing this year in favor of looking at the freelance landscape from a completely different perspective, thanks to a blog post by Dave Allen at the Portland-based brand agency North.

Allen was talking about an experiment he started in early January to work with all-mobile tools, namely the iPad2 and the iPhone.

He writes, “Since January 2nd I have been attempting to live without my MacBook Pro to work exclusively on my iPad2. I can honestly say that for 90% of the time the iPad is the perfect tool for my daily work activities. As an added bonus it’s many pounds lighter than the MBP and the battery lasts hours longer. Yet, as to be expected, there are some shortcomings that are holding me back from becoming a 100% mobile user.”

If you want a prediction about the state of freelancing in 2012, you need look no further than mobile–for some of us, it really is going to be the future of the business in terms of the portable office, working from the road, and making the most of every given second when needed.

I was on the fence about the iPad2 as a freelancing tool until reading Dave Allen’s post, and while he points to a few shortcomings, I personally believe–and here’s my prediction for 2012–that these issues can and will be addressed by some savvy developers who know the need to do business on these lightweight, flexible, and highly desirable platforms.

Freelancers, writers and editors in particular, are often stuck in the previous decade when it comes to technology. But the business is evolving as fast as the new toys hit the market. Are you keeping up? Treading water? I’m trying to get out of the wading pool and into the deep end with this stuff…it seems like the best way to survive.

Joe Wallace is an author, professional blogger, and vinyl collector. He blogs about rare and strange vinyl records at, sells vinyl records at horror and sci fi conventions across the USA and is currently photographing more than 100 record albums for his forthcoming book WTF Records: The Turntabling Guide To Weird And Wonderful Vinyl. He is very busy but does consider freelance writing and editing gigs on a per-project basis. Contact him at jwallace (at) turntabling (dot) net.

Just Walk Away

Joe Wallace freelance social media.jpgby Joe Wallace

I sprained my frontal lobes today. I spent a good long time writing about social media for retail banks, VA funding fee changes for veterans looking for a VA mortgage, and writing advice for people who need help managing professional Twitter and Facebook profiles.

You know that feeling you get when you can’t remember what 2 + 2 adds up to and the thought of writing another word fills you with the urge to run screaming down the hall? Yep, that’s what I’ve got.

I should have stopped half way through my marathon writing jag, walked down the street to my local coffee shop and given my poor battered brain a rest. Then I’d be capable of getting some additional work done today. But I didn’t, and chances are good that I won’t write another thing for the rest of the day.


Like the runner who trains too hard for a race, but instead of pulling an Achilles’ tendon, I’ve not got to put an ice pack on my skull. Someday, I will learn to stop, drink a cuppa and chill out before diving in again. But not today, apparently.

Sometimes, pacing yourself (even when you don’t think you need it) is a damn fine thing to do. What do you do when you need to stop and avoid overtaxing your most precious writing instrument?

Joe Wallace writes about finance, social media, retail banking, vinyl records, and foreign films. He runs which discusses and sells vinyl records, and travels the USA in search of the coolest indie record shops in the land. When he’s not doing all, that he’s a freelance pop culture philosopher and roving food critic wannabe.

5 Questions With…Toneal Jackson

Here’s the next author interview in our series–Toneal Jackson…

Toneal Jackson

1. How did you wind up a writer?

As a child, my family moved a lot. I found writing to be one of the very few consistencies in my life. I used it as a positive outlet to express myself and convey my feelings. It just remained a passion.

2. Was the road to being a writer what you expected? Why or why not?

Not really, because I never expected to be an author. Writing has always been something I did for personal gratification and release. So when I had my first book, Pleasing Your Partner: A Spiritual Guide to H.A.P.P.I.N.E.S.S. released, it changed my entire perspective of the craft.

3. What has been your best moment or biggest accomplishment as a writer? Continue reading 5 Questions With…Toneal Jackson

5 Questions With…Laura Enright

Here’s another fun author interview….today we have Laura Enright with us for five questions…

Layout 11. How did you wind up a writer?
I’ve been working at it off and on since I was in high school but not with the sort of determination I needed to.  Part of that was a severe lack of confidence in myself.  A few unexpected occurrences in life managed to slap some confidence into me (what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger) so after that  I pursued it with a  lot more passion and a lot more faith in myself.  The bug was always there, though.

2. Was the road to being a writer what you expected? Why or why not? Continue reading 5 Questions With…Laura Enright