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thThis time last year I tried something completely different: creating an online course. It turned out to be an education for me as well as for those I hoped to teach. (In a good way.)

To celebrate the first anniversary of Write A Blog People Will Read, I’ve decided to give away a copy.

You may be thinking, “But I don’t have a blog, so why would I care?” However, the course will help you become a better writer in general – even if all you do is an annual Christmas letter.

 


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thGiven that my most recent giveaway had 243 entries, I’m guessing you guys like to win gift cards. That’s why you should all head over to my daughter’s website, because she’s giving away a $100 Amazon gift card.

Well, she isn’t. DollarDig is. Abby’s just the host. The cash-back site is sponsoring the giveaway of the gift card and will also donate $100 to a charity of the readers’ choice (and 10 T-shirts in addition to the Amazon scrip).

That’s not the only site you should visit, though.

 


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Keeping it real online.

thYesterday I read a long, painful and moving essay on the LoveLifeEat blog called “When you can’t be the person the Internet wants you to be.” It affected me so much that I wrote to its author, Felicia Sullivan.

Short form: I told her that writing about the dark places in her life make her honest, not self-indulgent.

I also said that her words matter. By daring to tell the truth about life, i.e., that sometimes it is horrible, she has helped and will help an unknowable number of people.

Some readers will be bolstered by the fact that they aren’t the only ones dealing with depression, unemployment, the loss of a parent, a difficult relationships with the surviving parent, the search for meaning. I’d bet my next freelance paycheck that her essay encouraged some readers to examine their own dark places and get help for them.

What a refreshing change from the everything-is-awesome drumbeat that makes up so much of the Internet. So many blogs resemble a never-ending, humblebragging stream of fake Christmas letters: Look at me! Look at me and my perfect life!!!

Riiiight.

 


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th-1Readers and writers: Want to talk about personal finance, blogging techniques or life itsownself?

I’m heading to Phoenix on Monday and hope you’ll join my daughter and me — and possibly some bloggers to be named later — at a casual meet-up on Saturday, Jan. 23.

I’ll be in town to visit my daughter, who blogs at I Pick Up Pennies. Abby and I will hold forth from approximately 1 to 4 p.m. at the Wendy’s restaurant (see “casual,” above) near her home. We’ve staged meet-ups there in the past and it’s been quite pleasant. Management doesn’t seem to mind if we loiter and talk.

And talk. And talk.


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th

Finishing your holiday buying in person? Get ready for warfare on wheels – and not just as regards scoping for prime parking spots.

Combat shopping can be murder on your ride. Whether you leave it in a garage, on the street or in a mall parking lot, you’re at risk of being tagged by a clueless driver and/or having your purchases stolen before you can even get them home to be wrapped.

While some consumers prefer to shop entirely online nearly six in 10 will do at least some brick-and-mortar visits, according to the National Retail Federation. Excited, distracted or stressed-out shoppers may dent your fender or scrape some paint on the way into or out of a parking space.

The honest ones will leave contact information on your windshield. The others just keep driving, which is not only bad manners but could also be a hit and run, legally speaking. Most states don’t define this as taking place on roads or highways, and many include parking-lot incidents in the hit-and-run definition.

One of my recent NerdWallet articles can help.


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