gratitudeWhen Rev. Guy Williams challenged a class I was in to write down 100 things we were grateful for every day I had no idea that challenge would also kick off an annual posting from me.

It became 108 things to list simply because I found it much easier to count using beads than on my fingers! I used and still use a Buddhist mala or rosary and that’s the number of beats it has.

And all of a sudden it’s Thanksgiving 2014! Seems like summer was yesterday!

Here’s this year’s list:

  1. MzTiz, my beloved 20 year old tabby cat who passed away yesterday.
  2. Cats in general
  3. That I work at home
  4. That I live at the Sweetwater Zen Center
  5. Community, including the kids
  6. Ellie
  7. Cait
  8. Carol
  9. Ando
  10. Doshin
  11. Kozan
  12. Seisen
  13. Peter
  14. Jimmy
  15. Kelli
  16. Chris
  17. Linda
  18. Mike
  19. Steve
  20. Emily
  21. Ben
  22. Cole
  23. Valerie
  24. Stacey
  25. Gloria
  26. Chris
  27. My ’91 Honda
  28. PayPal
  29. AboutFreelanceWriting
  30. The web
  31. The ‘net
  32. Libraries
  33. Barbara
  34. Roads
  35. Electricity
  36. Gas heat
  37. Gas cooking
  38. Hot water!
  39. Showers
  40. Bath tubs
  41. Computers
  42. Dragon Speaks
  43. My writing forum
  44. Cathy
  45. Lori
  46. Sharon
  47. Jenn
  48. David
  49. Cleo a zen center cat
  50. Clark a zen center cat
  51. Jitsujo
  52. the fountain
  53. the Kwan Yin garden and stature
  54. My office
  55. Books!
  56. Magazines
  57. That I’m white
  58. That I live in the US (mostly)
  59. That I grieve for what we’ve done and are doing to our planet
  60. Navy blue starfish
  61. Sea snakes
  62. Elephants
  63. Wild salmon
  64. The Pacific
  65. The South Pacific
  66. Fiji
  67. Tonga
  68. Sail boats
  69. Boats
  70. Galilee Harbor
  71. My mom
  72. My dad
  73. My grandparents on both sides
  74. Joanna Macy
  75. Rev. Guy Williams
  76. Good, no great coffee (Cafe Moto)’
  77. My clients!
  78. A warm bed
  79. A good mystery
  80. Dogs
  81. Horses
  82. Goats
  83. Goat cheese
  84. Organic food
  85. Grass fed beef
  86. Eggs
  87. Chickens
  88. Pigs
  89. Bacon
  90. Green onions
  91. Garlic
  92. Butter!
  93. Organic sour cream!
  94. Thanksgiving
  95. Christmas
  96. Birthdays – even mine
  97. Wireless
  98. Trains
  99. Hawks
  100. Finches
  101. Crows
  102. Parrots
  103. Seagulls
  104. Shore birds of all types
  105. Great Blue Heron
  106. Night feeding Heron
  107. Seaweed
  108. Sand crabs
  109. My readers – that’s YOU!

Oh my… I never know what I’m going to list when I start. Since I’ve been doing this practice from time-to-time, it’s gotten much easier.

Write well and often,





Photo by Jim Ryder


thanks for freelance writersBy Allison VanNest of

At Grammarly, we focus on cleaning up copy after it’s already written. Even though we’re on the opposite team, so to speak, we’re deeply for grateful for all the freelance writers out there, without whom we would have nothing to proofread.

We all know that good grammar is the equivalent of wearing a nice suit to an interview: it makes a positive impression on clients and readers, which can lead to more (and better paid) work. With that in mind, here are our top six proofreading tips to get your copy in tip-top shape!

  1. Read your copy out loud. Yes, you will feel silly doing this. But it really is the best way to catch typos, awkward syntax, and omitted words. Our brains are very good at filling in the blanks when we scan a screen, but reading out loud forces us to slow down and pay attention to every word.
  2. Take a Break. It’s tempting to proofread immediately after you finish writing; after all, you want to wrap your latest project and get paid. However, it’s best to give yourself a break before you launch into proofreading. According to Shane Arthur at Copyblogger, you should “walk, run, or jog away from your screen before you start proofreading. Fixing everything at once will only allow errors to fool your eyes into believing they don’t exist. Take a break, and come back with your well-rested proofreader mindset.”
  3. Create Your Own Grammar Guide. Develop a “house style” for the different types of copy you write regularly that includes both notes on style and grammar issues that regularly trip you up.  If you know that you struggle with comma splices and dangling participles, you can start to build a personalized grammar guide that’ll help you perform triage on your copy.
  4. Cut Out Distractions. Proofreading does not lend itself to multitasking. Writer Leah McClellan recommends creating a distraction-proof environment before you being the task: “Shut down email and social media, hide the cell phone, shut off the TV, radio, or music, and close the door. Print your document if you need to get away from the computer altogether.”
  5. Double Check and Double Click. If your piece includes numbers, facts, and figures, double check them against your source material. A slip of the key can change 10 percent to 100, and you may not remember the details off the top of your head. In addition, review your references before finalizing your copy. If you’re writing for the web, make sure to click through any links you’ve included to make sure that they take readers to the correct page.
  6. Know When to Ask for Help. For those really important writing projects—the first piece for a new and potentially lucrative client, for example, or a big ghostwriting project—you may need an extra set of eyes to help out. Like finding a good mechanic or dentist, the best way to find a qualified proofreader is to ask around. The Editorial Freelancers Association has a helpful table of suggested rates here to help you estimate costs. If hiring a pro isn’t in your budget, you can try asking an eagle-eyed friend or check out Grammarly’s automated proofreading tool.

[click to continue…]


Freelance Writers – When Should You Approach An Editor?

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Why (Some) Freelance Writing Projects Fail

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How Freelance Writers Should Charge – By the Hour, Word, or Flat Fee

October 30, 2014

We spend a lot of time talking about how much freelance writers should charge and how they should set their rates, but we rarely the merits and problems about how we charge – by the hour, by the word, or by the project. Not surprisingly there are advantages and disadvantages to each. A look at convention [...]

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Official Language Change – Synonymizing “More Than” and “Over”

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By Allison VanNest of During the American Copy Editors Society’s annual conference in March of 2014, the Associated Press announced a change in one of the rules of the AP Stylebook by removing the distinction between “more than” and “over” (and, by extension, between “less than” and “under”) when referring to numerical quantity. The organization cited [...]

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Freelance Writing Income Forecasting

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For much of my freelance writing career I figured there was no way to forecast my income. Money was either coming in or it wasn’t; it either arrived or it didn’t. Truth be told, I felt pretty helpless about money for a long time. Then I learned how to get some control without going crazy or [...]

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