The Pioneer Cabin Tree, a tunneled-out Giant Sequoia that you could drive or hike through, collapsed this past weekend due to heavy storms. Continue reading RIP California Tree That You Could Drive Through
This is one of the more delightful things I’ve seen on the Internet in a while.
See more of Sam’s creations, from desert highways and waterfalls to the Golden Gate Bridge and Manhattan skyline, by clicking on the links above.
A few years ago, I wrote a silly post called Top 10 Email Subject Lines for When You Just Want to Say ‘Hello.’
The post was an inside joke that turned into the most viewed post in the history of this site. I’m embarrassed that that simple post, which offers very scant advice for writing emails, turned into such an SEO hit.
But I think that I have found a way to make up for that post by pointing you to a very helpful tool from designer Jessica Hische. Jessica’s Client Email Helper provides several fun “choose your own adventure” templates for writing back to people who want to work with you.
Choose your client (ad agency, friend, etc.) and budget (“none” to “good”), and the tool generates a short but sweet text for you to make your own.
Below is the text for “General Client” with zero budget. It strikes a firm but friendly tone. Make sure you check out the rest of Jessica’s templates as well as her whole beautiful site. Once you see her incredible, award-winning graphic design work, you’ll see why she has had to craft so many client letters over the years.
General Client email response via Jessica Hische:
Thanks for thinking of me for this project and for reaching out. As I am a professional artist, not a hobbyist, and as your company is a for-profit organization, I should be compensated appropriately for work performed. I, and many other creatives, feel strongly about keeping pricing standards high so that it’s possible to make a living as a creative professional. Fair pay is important — it is wrong to ask artists to create free work for a for-profit company, even if that work goes unused, because our time is valuable and we have bills to pay and families to support like everyone else.
Independent artists operate very differently than agencies. We don’t have the time and resources to throw at low and no-budget work and generally reserve our “freebee” time for true charity work or personal projects.
Please feel free to reach out in the future if there is another project you think I would be a good fit for and there is appropriate compensation.
All the best,
You are born into a family and those are your people, and they know you and they love you and if you are lucky they even, on occasion, manage to understand you. And that ought to be enough. But it is never enough. Abe had not been dressing up, styling himself, for all these years because he was trying to prove how different he was from everyone else. He did it in the hope of attracting the attention of somebody else—somewhere, someday—who was the same. He was not flying his freak flag; he was sending up a flare, hoping for rescue, for company in the solitude of his passion.
“You were with your people. You found them,” I said.
“That’s good,” I said. “You’re early.”
Hey, should I start blogging again?
Yes. Yes, you should.
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you just stopped whatever writing you are pretending to do and googled “distraction-free writing apps.”
So, let’s be clear: you’re the distraction. Continue reading The Best Distraction-Free Writing Apps
I’ve been freelancing on and off for more than 15 years. While I’ve been lucky to land some decent-paying projects with a few well-known publishers and online outlets, I’ve always wondered whether there is a secret formula to getting more work.
In fact, there is a secret formula to getting more freelance assignments, just as there is a secret formula to getting a fitter body: do more, work more. In both cases that’s easier said than done. I know what I should be doing but often I lack the motivation and stamina to get to the next level.
This is why I’ve been thinking about how to approach this issue from the opposite direction. I am not sure how one succeeds as a freelance writer — success is subjective and hard to define — but I do know what it takes not to succeed.
With the hindsight of 15 years, here are the things I should’ve done to get further as a writer. Consider it anti-advice from someone who knows better.