thI’ve taken a two-month contract job and my head, she is spinning. At 8 a.m. Monday I had my first conference with the editor and by 9 a.m. I had four assignments, all due within one week.

The articles are all based on insurance, a topic about which I know as much as any other freelance personal finance writer. Translation: I’ve spent a lot of time researching this week.

By the end of the first day I was utterly wrung out and wondering just what I’d done. The only thing that kept me going was the memories of my first day at The Chicago Tribune and the first few weeks at MSN Money. In both cases I felt completely at sea but I managed to survive, and to thrive.


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thThe 2015 Financial Blogger Conference starts today in Charlotte, NC, and once again I’m among my people.

Not rich people necessarily, but people who are nerdy enough about money and blogging not to be bored by conversations about compound interest and Google algorithms.

Is it any wonder that some relationships — and at least one marriage — have resulted from this annual money geeks meetup?

Last year I wondered how these romances began. Was it finding someone with similar financial values? Noticing that this person’s eyelids didn’t droop when you mentioned retirement planning?

Or maybe it was just the two free drink tickets that come with the receptions.


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thYep, I’m electioneering. This year I entered the #MoneyMinute contest sponsored by GO Banking Rates, and I’d appreciate your vote.

In fact, I’d appreciate your daily vote plus your willingness to share the info with friends and social media contacts. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The contest is being judged by reader votes vs. a panel of writing experts: Not ideal, but it’s the way this particular game is being played. That’s why I’m asking friends, relatives and readers to view my video and vote.

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thMy daughter just got tagged by the Sunshine Blogger Award, which is sort of like receiving a chain letter. In a good way, since it opens you up to new readers and gives you a chance to promote websites you enjoy.

How it works: Awardees get five questions to answer in print (here’s the link to Abby’s), and are supposed to send five of their own questions out to a handful of bloggers they read.

Of the questions Abby got my favorite was No. 3: “What do you think Victoria’s Secret is?”

Abby’s response: “That she’s very cold.” Snort.

But it made me think about putting my own questions out there – to readers, not writers.*


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thA trending Twitter hashtag #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter really got my attention today. You can imagine why.

Some well-known writers (Jodi Picoult, Harlan Coben, S.E. Hinton, John Scalzi, et al.) dove in along with the rest of us lesser-known and unknown scribes. Collectively we whirled and howled about stuff like:

  • Low pay and no pay
  • Folks who question why we have to use so many cuss words
  • The assumption that we’ll never get published, i.e., be “real” writers
  • People who treat what we do as a hobby
  • Those who swear they could do this too, if only they had the time

Were we being thin-skinned? Check out a few of the tweets and let me know:

“It’s pretty impressive that you spend so much time on something that has so little chance of success.”

“I downloaded your book for free online. Could you please sign this printout of it?”


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