On the Road with Jen: Rocky Mountain High

Hello from somewhere on the CO/UT border. Today’s my last day in Colorado, and it’s been a heck of a state. On the Fourth of July, I ran in the Liberty Four Mile, and did not need to be scraped up off the pavement. After moving on from my lovely dogsit in the suburbs of Denver,… Read more…

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On the Road with Jen: 6 months on, and ready for a new beginning

    Dear readers! All…well I don’t know how many of you there are because I don’t look. I know I missed my usual update last week, but for good reason. Here’s the run down of what’s been going on: 1. I went to Hawaii. Aloha! After my first plane broke and a five hour… Read more…

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On the Road with Jen: Yes, all by myself

Yesterday, I took an Uber from the mechanic to a friend’s house. On the way, the driver and I chatted a bit, and I told him about my trip. “That’s a big undertaking, especially for a single girl.” I have heard variations of this since before I left, and especially now that I’m out doing this thing. It’s… Read more…

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On the Road With Jen: Up and Down

Running: a series of ups and downs. Hiking: a series of ups and downs. Road trips: A series of ups and downs. I read somewhere that you’re supposed to put things in threes to make them funny. That line above is probably not funny – I’ve been listening to enough audiobooks by comedians to know… Read more…

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On the Road with Jen: Westward ho!

Hello from a hotel room near the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma. In the last week, I knocked out three states: Indiana, Alabama and Mississippi. After I write this and take a shower, I’m pointing my Jeep, which for this trip I have dubbed “The Beast from the East,” west. I won’t go through all… Read more…

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On the Road with Jen: Indiana!

Hello from day two of my summer trip/mobile office/50 state quest, what have you. The first day was, well, a lot of driving. I left at 4:30 a.m., crossed through Pennsylvania while being a cliche and belting along (poorly) along with Hamilton, then stopped for a hike at Cuyahoga Valley National Park (the Ledges Trail… Read more…

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On the Road with Jen: FAQ’s

Hello again! I’m frantically getting ready for my departure (which will be either Sunday or Monday – we’ll see). I’m excited and nervous at the same time. As I said in my last post, it’s hard to imagine what it will be like because I’ve never been on the road this long before. So instead… Read more…

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On the Road with Jen: Party in the USA

    I’m not sure why you’re here, but if you have read my work or follow me on social media, or are a friend who I talked to in the last four months, you know that my life was kicked into a tailspin in January when my dog died. I have shared this grief… Read more…

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2016 New Jersey Marathon Recap

If you’ve read Running: A Love Story, you know how much the 2013 New Jersey Marathon meant to me. You can refresh yourself here – though if you still plan on reading the book, you may want to hold off on reading this until then. It’s not exactly a spoiler – since hello I wrote about… Read more…

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Week 17: Revisions

5 miles including three one-mile repeats, 50:59 On Saturday morning, I sat on a bench in Boston Common, called my mom, and started sobbing. “I don’t want to do this anymore,” I said through huffed out breaths. “I can’t. I can’t do this.” She asked what I was referring to, and I couldn’t pinpoint just one thing… Read more…

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Week 15: Is it all too much?

1.5 miles, 15:49 I knew this day would come. Or: I hoped it wouldn’t, but I figured it would. Trying to keep up with the heaviest part of the marathon training at the same time I’d be doing events and travel for Running: A Love Story (and also, you know, keeping up with my regular job)… Read more…

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Week 13: Drive 55

16 miles, 2:39:17 When I mapped out my training for the 2016 New Jersey Marathon, this week stood out. Not only did it call for 56 miles of running, but this week also overlapped with the launch of Running: A Love Story. I didn’t laugh so much when I saw that as I cackled. That would be… Read more…

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Week 12: TV and races

4.5 miles, 43:51 Well that didn’t go as planned. Right before I started my run, I got an email from 6ABC asking if they could interview me that afternoon. This is the second time this week I got an email from TV news this week while about to or mid-run. I am not complaining! This is a… Read more…

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Week 11: Big miles, big book

8 miles, 1:26:42 If all goes well tomorrow and I get in all 16 miles on my schedule, I’ll be crossing the mag 50 mile a week marker for a total of 54. For someone who runs as slow as I do, that’s a lot. That’ll come to many many hours of running (Daily Mile… Read more…

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Running: A Love Story – excerpted

So what’s this book all about? The New York Times will tell you. They ran an excerpt yesterday. Things are going to go quickly from here, I think. I’ll have a book trailer to share on Tuesday, and I’ll be announcing the tour soon. A books of the books showed up on my doorstep today,… Read more…

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Week 10: Where’s your head at?

Six miles, including 4 sets of 1200m repeats with 400m recovery in between, 58:58 When I set out on my run today, I was in not in a good mood. A few things have been dragging me down: 1. Contract negotiations. I’m in a bit of a tense situation with a big publisher trying to… Read more…

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Week 9: Here comes the build up

Six miles, 1:00:18 So: this week I’m scheduled to do 47 miles. I’m at 28. I have 20 to run this weekend, split between two days. Ow. (And yes I know that adds up to 48 – I had some mileage added on because I ran to and from where I did speedwork). How am… Read more…

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Week 8: When do you not run?

3.01 miles, 29:04, 2.01 miles done at marathon pace “I don’t want to run.” This flashed across my brain as I walked to the post office this monring, right before I was to go home, change, and do a seven mile run with five of those miles done at marathon pace. I’m now eight weeks into… Read more…

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Week 7: Five things

7 miles with 5 at marathon pace, 1:04:25 I’m trying to find something clever to say here, but I’m tired. It’s cold. It’s going to be very cold this weekend, and I have many miles to run. So how about four things I’m thinking about? Cool. I’m adjusting both my food and strength training to go with… Read more…

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Week 6: The hard stuff, and a magazine appearance

Four miles, 42:28 Well, I’m here: the hard part of the schedule began this week. Differences now: instead of five days a week of running, I’m running six. Instead of all easy, slow runs, one day a week is dedicated to speedwork and the other to a tempo run (here, that means miles run at… Read more…

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Four things Disney can do to improve running for vacationers

For the first leg of this trip, I spent a week in Walt Disney World with my family. Since I am also marathon training, I knew I’d be running while there too. Disney is a racing juggernaught. The Disney Princess Half Marathon and Disney World Half Marathon are the eleventh and twelfth largest half marathons in… Read more…

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A book giveaway!

Hello from Jekyll Island, Georgia! I’m here after my stint in Disney, which I’ll be writing about shortly. Until then: a giveaway! My publisher and Goodreads are giving away three galleys (aka preview copies) of Running: A Love Story. Want one? Click on the button found here by February 14. It’s that simple. Good luck! And now… Read more…

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Week 5: The calm before the running storm

Rest day. This week marks the end of the “easy” training. I’ll put in 24 miles by Sunday, then jump up to 39 next week. At that point, this schedule also includes one “strength” workout (what most of you would call speedwork) and one tempo run a week. Gulp – not just about the higher mileage, but… Read more…

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Running: A Love Story – the pre-order giveaway!

  Hey look at that! We’re giving away stuff! If you pre-order the book and send proof of said purchase to runningalovestory@gmail.com, you’ll be entered to win one of five prize packs that include a Exit 3.1 shirt, race entry, Body Glide, socks, and a little something special from me. The grand prize will also… Read more…

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Week 4: Brrrrrrrrrrrrr

  5 miles, 53:12 I saw somewhere today that the real feel temperature this morning was three degrees. I ran at 6:30 a.m., so I’m going to have to go with — or colder. It’s the first time that I’ve ever worn my balaclava and couldn’t pull the mouthpiece down at some point during the run from warming… Read more…

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Week 3: What is high mileage?

Four miles, 40:33 I’ve spent much of this week interviewing people who are going to be running in the Olympic Marathon Trials. I always ask about how many miles they run at their peak training. Most answer in the 100 to 110 range. For this training cycle, I’ll peak at 57 miles, which makes me sound… Read more…

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Week 2: Walt Disney World’s…interesting “jogging” site

3 miles, 32:31 In two weeks, I’m headed to Walt Disney World with my family (that being my [divorced] parents, my siblings, their spouses, their children and my grandparents. It is, by all accounts, a jamboree). I had a Florida Resident pass to Disney when I was in college, so I’ve seen just about everything… Read more…

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Losing 25 pounds this summer: my strength training routine

  Enough of you guys asked, so here it is: the strength training program I used this summer when I lost 25 pounds. A couple of caveats: 1. I am not a fitness professional. Proceed at your own risk. I created these workouts by going to the weight room and telling myself I was allowed to… Read more…

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The Best of My 2015

Is it gauche to do a best of 2015 when it’s already 2016? Oh well. Too late. I’m not going to categorize or rank, but here are some really great things from 2015: Ran a one-mile road race. Instead of spending my Sunday summer mornings sweating out long runs to prepare for a marathon, I instead… Read more…

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Week 1, the Kick Off: To the Little Free Library and Back

3 miles, 31:25 Big day today: first run of marathon training. I donned my tuxedo running shirt and did an easy run to Collingswood’s Little Free Library and back. I found it a few weeks ago while walking to the vet to pick up my dog’s medicine. I took a book then and was past due in returning the favor. Running… Read more…

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A new book, and a marathon, for 2016

*tap tap tap* Is this thing on? It is? Well good. Hello! Fancy meeting you here. I know it’s been a while, but 2015 was quite a year for me. As my previous posts suggest, I wrote a book. I meant to blog more then, but I got sucked into the vortex of, well, writing the book. At… Read more…

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Six drafts of a book chapter

Yesterday, I turned in the last four chapters of the book. Hooray! I’m not quite done yet. I already have notes for revisions on the first two thirds of the book, and I’ll jump into that on Tuesday. For now, I’m going to take four days off from the book. And for you, here are the… Read more…

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She tweeted what?!

Two weeks ago, I had stories published in The New York Times and Zelle, which is Runner’s World’s new(ish) women’s-focused website. For both stories, the publications put my twitter handle in their tweets sharing the stories. I was ecstatic – of course! What great exposure! Maybe I’d pick up a few followers who would eventually buy my book! And more… Read more…

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Audio Rights: Sold!

Some great news on this end: the audio rights for Running: A Love Story have sold! From Publisher’s Marketplace: “Audio Rights: Jen A. Miller’s Running: A Love Story, a candid memoir from a runner in the middle-of-the-pack, to Brian Sweany at Recorded Books, by Mackenzie Bready at New Leave Literary & Media (NA)” What that means:… Read more…

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10 things I have learned while at a hotel working on my book

Quite a few things: 1. I have two wrinkles that look like a quotation mark in the middle of my forehead, like it has been whacked over and over again by an oversized typewriter key. Couldn’t the mark be a little more interesting? Like an ampersand? 2. I have a lot more gray hair than I thought… Read more…

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Writing Rituals

A very kind and talented friend is doing a video series about the process of me writing this book, but because he has an actual job and because this is a side project for him, he’s not following me around 24/7. That means I’m shooting some of the video with my iPhone. I usually set… Read more…

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1 big deadline vs. rolling deadlines

So how do you write a book? In fits and starts for me so far. But how do you submit a book? Depends. For my first two books, which were travel guides, I turned in everything at once. For the first one, the editor did a spot check and read some of the entries to… Read more…

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A writer’s seat at the table

  I’m starting to write my book this week, so this was nice to see last night on E!’s livestream of the Golden Globes red carpet.     That’s Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, with the woman who played her in the movie. I met Cheryl in 2013. She’s a lovely woman – charming, funny, and… Read more…

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10 items for a 10-year freelancerversary

Ten years ago, I quit my job, stuck an “A” in my byline, and struck out on my own as a full time freelance writer. I’ve been thinking about what I’d say today since I realized that this year would be the big 1-0, and I keep drawing blanks. So I’m going to use one… Read more…

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U.S. ——> U.K.

Now that my book has sold in the U.S., my agent is starting the process of selling foreign rights. First up: the UK. Today, I went through my proposal and changed/clarified some Americanisms that a British audience might not understand. My junior year of college, I spent the spring semester studying Shakespearean Drama and Modern British… Read more…

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Why Disneyland?

    My dad and I went to Disneyland today. I had a couple people ask why we’d go, especially when it was boud to be a busy time of year. Inspired by Melody Kramer’s post about her recent visit to Disney World, I’m sharing my reason about visiting the resort’s California outpost.   1.… Read more…

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Favorite Stories of 2014

Inspired by Jason Fagone’s list of his favorite stories of 2014, I’m going to share mine. It was quite a year. 6. Hurricane Sandy’s Second Anniversary Has Been Harder Than the First for Philadelphia Magazine. I don’t write about the Jersey Shore as much as I used to, but I did blog about it every week this summer… Read more…

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RUNNING: A LOVE STORY, coming at you in 2016

Big bang huge news today from the offices of Jen A. Miller: I have sold my running memoir, Running: A Love Story, to Seal Press. It’ll be published in early 2016. From the announcement in Publisher’s Marketplace: “Philadelphia Inquirer columnist and frequent NYT and Runner’s World contributor Jen A. Miller’s RUNNING: A Love Story, a candid… Read more…

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End of the Blogathon

Well there you have it. I pledged to blog for every day in the month of June, and I did just that. I have mixed feelings. I’m glad that it pushed me to use the blog more, but once a day may be overkill – especially on weekends. I’m going to keep this thing going, but… Read more…

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Working on the Weekend

It’s a lovely Sunday morning here in Collingswood, N.J. I woke up, took the dog for a walk, had a nice breakfast, brewed my coffee and…went to work. This is a rare occasion. When I started freelancing, I worked a lot of nights and weekends, but I’d burn out quickly. My work suffered, and I made… Read more…

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Perception of freelancing

My mom made a joke tonight – and old one – about how I really didn’t work. She said this sarcastically, of course. When I started freelancing, a lot of people thought my job was easy. That perception is changing though, at least for me. Why? It could be that more people are freelancing in… Read more…

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Reader Question: How do you form relationships with editors?

Today’s reader question is about those gatekeepers we love to (sometimes) hate: editors. “What are the best ways to cultivate relationships with new editors? Blind pitching? Seeking them out through social media? Finding mutual connections and asking for an introduction?” I’d say a little bit of all three, and then some. The best way to cultivate a… Read more…

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What I watch/hear when writing

  My latest TV obsession is Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. It’s an Australian Broadcasting Company show that’s how streaming on Netflix. There’s a lot to like, especially the costumes: the show takes place in 1920s Melbourne. It’s fun and formulaic, too: someone dies, Miss Fisher’s called in, she battles with the local detective, maybe someone else… Read more…

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Ugly writers?

Today’s post is a short one since I have a hectic workday and am not sure what wisdom I could share. Except this: writers aren’t ugly. To quote Mindy Kaling, I have an ass that won’t quit.  

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Story Behind the Story: Miss America Can’t Save Atlantic City

This piece is an example of a pitch that had a hard time finding a home, but when it did, it worked out better than I could have expected. The Story: “Miss America Can’t Save Atlantic City,” Philadelphia Magazine, September 13, 2013 The Pitch: I’ve been writing about Jersey Shore for more than a decade, and… Read more…

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When to pitch: always

“Or are you always pitching stories?!” This was the last line of an email that just hit my inbox. I had reached out to a running industry contact to clarify a number that will go in an article I’m writing for a men’s magazine. This was how he signed off his reply. My answer: Yes.… Read more…

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A writing surface for every room

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a writing surface in every room of my home. I know you want to see them, and since it’s a nice Sunday, I’ll show you.     This is my office, version 2.0. I say that because it’s radically different than when I first moved into… Read more…

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Peaks and valleys – of checks

I got a rather large check in the mail today. I had two thoughts. The first was delight – the check was early, which is not something that happens often. The second was was WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE MONEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY! Ahem. Just like work comes in peaks and valleys, so do checks. When I first started freelancing, my spending was… Read more…

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One of the best days

Today was supposed to be a busy day. I had a corporate job due by close of business, and a magazine feature to write on Monday – a feature where I didn’t quite have all of the sources lined up. After an early night in Atlantic City, I woke up and thought I should pack up… Read more…

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Self-imposed writer retreats

Today I’m writing at you from high above the Atlantic City boardwalk. I’m not working on a story, but changed my setting so I could finish the revision of my book proposal, which I just sent back to my agent this morning. I love my home office. It is designed with me me me in mind, so there… Read more…

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Oops: Apologizing to a client

I had two conflicting issues on Monday: a terrible head cold and a deadline. I had two options on how to proceed: finish the work by fighting through the cold, or alert my client that I was sick and ask for another 24 hours. I chose the former, for a few reasons, one being that this… Read more…

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Responding to reader emails

Late last night, I got an email from someone in response to my story about runners and pedicures that recently ran in The New York Times. It was not pleasant. The writer’s beef was that I used a colloquial phrase. I’m not going to reprint her email here, but she insulted me three times, suggested that this one… Read more…

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Three books that made me want to become a writer

  I’m working on the revisions of my book proposal, which are largely to the sample writing pages. So while I pick away at the manuscript, I’m also re-reading three books that first made me want to become a writer, and then become a better writer. Some people don’t want to read within the genre they’re writing,… Read more…

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Blog love: Wordcount

It’s early Sunday morning, and I’m sleepy, so no advice from me today. Instead, I wanted to shine a spotlight on another blog about freelancing that’s much more informative and consistent than this one. That blog is Michelle Rafter’s Word Count: Freelancing in the Digital Age. Michelle is the person who came up with the Blogathon… Read more…

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Four steps to writing persuasive commentary

On Friday, Philadelphia Magazine ran my commentary about a new law that could ban smoking in all of New Jersey’s parks and beaches. I wrote about why this ban would be ineffectual if an amendment allowing for smoking beaches became part of the final bill. I think this is a rather simple argument to make since… Read more…

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Reader Question(s): Working with PR people

This week’s Reader Question comes from the comments of last week’s reader question. Christine asks: “I know you have covered working with PR people in the past, but I haven’t seen you yet address just how much work you want PR people to do when pitching you stories? Is it ever helpful to have the PR… Read more…

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Story Behind the Story: Going the Distance Grows Shorter for Many Runners

The Story: “Going the Distance Grows Shorter for Many Runners.” The New York Times, February 22, 2014 The Pitch: I’ve been writing for the NYT sports section since 2008, so I didn’t need to do the whole song and dance about why I’m qualified to write the story. I’ve wanted to write about the Gasparilla Distance Classic… Read more…

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Reminder: Quarterly estimated payments due Monday

  Reminder, self employed folks! Your quarterly estimated payment is due on Monday, June 16. I just mailed mine yesterday (and don’t bother trying to read my return address, you weirdos – it’s a P.O. box). When you’re self employed (with some exceptions), you pay the government your taxes four times a year based on what… Read more…

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Marketing for the freelancer: why it works

Yesterday, I wrote about how I was in a terrible mood, and about how, as a teenager, I used to bang on the piano to work out tension. Here’s what happened after I wrote that post: 1. I went to the gym and threw around heavy weights for a half hour. 2. Two large projects were… Read more…

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Freaky Monday: Why do I think there’s a piano in my basement?

I’m in a terrible mood this morning, for about a thousand little reasons. I didn’t sleep well. My dog’s being an asshole. I can’t find a source for a story where sources should be plentiful. I’ve tried to write a blog post today five times this morning and have trashed all five. I don’t have… Read more…

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Smart girls don’t write for free

Amy Poehler recently launched a site called Smart Girls at the Party, which promises to “be a hub for teens, parents, teachers and fans of all ages to learn, to become a part of the greater Smart Girl community, and to participate in Smart Girl projects.” Sounds great! Except when you get to the contributors… Read more…

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Gut instincts, in running and writing

I’m spending my Saturday morning at the Scott Coffee 8k. I’m not running it – my mother is. I could have put on my race gear this morning and joined her, but I opted for flip flops and coffee on the sidelines instead. I don’t have any real reason to say no to the race,… Read more…

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Reader Question: “Is silence the new no?”

Mailbag time! Here’s my first reader question (well, two part question) of the blog challenge: “Is silence the new no? Should I check back in with editors I’ve pitched or just let it go?” To answer the first question: No, silence is not the new no. I’ve been freelancing since 2002. Some of my queries… Read more…

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Story Behind the Story: Less is More at New Road Races

I spend a lot of time running, and because I need a goal in order to get myself out the door, I run a lot of races, too. I’ve run some big ones, including the Chicago Marathon, but I’ve found I prefer smaller races. So I wrote a story about it. The Story: “Less is… Read more…

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#yesallwomen, journalism edition

This happens so often that I’m desensitized to it. I’ve gotten it since college, though commenters being able to use an internet-provided shroud of anonymity has intensified the volume of it. Even the pattern is typical: first, try to take focus away from a woman in a position of power who has something to say… Read more…

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The Ethical Freelancer: Charging fees for a product review?

I got an email yesterday that startled me. It included the following line: “I would like to do a review of this. My fee for the review is $75 + product.” After scrolling through the email chain, I realized that I’d been cced by accident on an email between a PR company and a blogger.… Read more…

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Freelance myth: We sleep in every day

It’s 8:20am, and I’ve already filed a social media report, written an article for a custom publication, sent out emails scheduling two interviews, and invoiced two clients. After I write this post, I’ll go to the post office, and then to the gym before I tackle the second half of today’s to-do list (though my… Read more…

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Step right up and get your freelance advice

Last week, Marie from Cheaper than Therapy sent me a link to post about how to freelance write. I knew based on her use of smiley faces that she knew it would send me into a tizzy. This blogger wrote a post about how to be a freelance writer because, apparently, making enough cash to… Read more…

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Coming in June: A Blogathon!

Looking for information on the freelance life? Want to ask an expert some questions? Tired of my sporadic posting? That’ll change – for the month of June at least – as I’ll be participating in the 2014 Freelance Success/WordCount Blogathaon. The rules are simple: I just need to post once a day for every day… Read more…

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The Bitch Editor: Jill Abramson and why I left editing

I was a junior when I took over as editor in chief of my college’s newspaper. I knew it would be a challenge. We were a weekly paper at a school that, at the time, had no journalism major, and most of our staff and writers were volunteers. I had been the commentary and then… Read more…

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Anniversary Time! 10 Years in Journalism

Ten years ago, I started my first and only full time journalism job. After toiling in the press office of a Philadelphia healthcare system, I took over as editor of SJ Magazine. A lot in my life has changed since then, but sometimes, that time feels like yesterday. Suddenly I’m 23 again with no dog,… Read more…

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Are freelance writers rivals?

I spoke to my friend Amy’s journalism class a few weeks ago. I do this once or twice a year, and the students are usually full of questions about how do I make contact with editors (connections or cold pitches), how do I spend my day (more scheduled than you’d believe), and can you actually… Read more…

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Training and goals

I was supposed to run the Trenton Half Marathon today. Last night, to prepare, I printed out directions, dug out my arm warmers, laid out my race clothes, bagged up my post-race recovery gear, and went to bed at 9 p.m. But here I am, in my office, having never left Collingswood today. I signed… Read more…

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Tax Traditions

An ugly thing confronted me when I returned from a recent trip to Seattle: taxes. It’s not so much the paying of taxes that annoy me (yes, I’d love love love to pay less, especially since freelancers pay more of them, but I also like safe roads, teachers in our schools, etc). It’s the DOING… Read more…

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How to sell essays

I just wrapped up edits on the first essay I’ll have published in Runner’s World. I write for the magazine often, but I’d never landed a personal piece, and the process was very different from pitching an article. That’s common in the magazine world. Selling essays is a different type of freelance activity than selling… Read more…

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Happy National Freelance Writer Appreciation Week

Hey, it’s our week, fellow freelancers? This week is National Freelance Writer Appreciation Week. Who knew such a thing existed? I didn’t. So thanks to Michelle Rafter for pointing that out, and writing this great post about all of the things freelance writers do. Some people may find it eye opening all of the tasks… Read more…

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Protip: TURN YOUR STUFF IN ON TIME

Hey there, “Notes from a Hired Pen” readers. I’m still here. Life has been a jumbled mess of breakups and moving and a sick dog, so the blog has been put on the back burner. But I have a few minutes so I’m going to give you a short blast of information that could extend… Read more…

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Review: The Whopayswriters Tumblr

On Saturday, I got a half dozen emails about a new tumblr called Who Pays Writers?  From what I can tell, it culls anonymous submissions about which magazines, newspapers and websites pay what. Today, it popped up in a Forbes.com piece about an idiot who says writing for money is “weird.” (Short rant: I’m sure writing… Read more…

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Battling Duvet Covers

I sent a pitches to some Very Big Magazines today. After I hit send on the last one, I breathed a sigh of relief that immediately turned into panic, and to me refreshing my email every five seconds. So I did what I say I never do during the workday: housework. I stripped the beds,… Read more…

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Freelance Investment: Conferences

In October, I flew across the country to attend the East Meets West Conference at the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Including the conference fee, flight, hotel, cabs and meals, I spent around $2,000 on the four day trip. In March, I’ll be spending about the same to go to the Wild Mountain Memoir Retreat.… Read more…

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After Sandy

A lot has happened since Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey Shore, which is why I haven’t posted here in a while. I’ve been swinging between working on stories about the disaster, to staring at pictures of beach towns I have not visited, to wondering where the hell do we go from here? In my writing,… Read more…

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How to change your twitter name (and keep the old one, too)

When I signed up for Twitter, I didn’t think it’d amount to anything, so I didn’t put much thought into my handle. A friend told me it’d be a nice way to promote my book, which was about the Jersey Shore, so I picked @jerseyshorejen. That was fine then, but as Twitter become more popular… Read more…

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Story Behind the Story: “Waking Up with Eczema”

October is national Eczema Awareness Month, so this edition of “Story Behind a Story” looks at the one time I wrote about the condition in a very public place. (For more information, visit www.nationaleczema.org) The Story: “Waking Up with Eczema,” The New York Times, December 15, 2011. The Concept: I developed eczema when I was eight years… Read more…

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Don’t tweet your way out of a client

Twitter is an amazing tool for authors and freelance writers. Not only can we publicize our work to a niche audience, but you can also mine twitter for editor contacts and to forge editorial relationships that might not be possible otherwise. But you can also upset or end a freelance relationship through Twitter. Here are… Read more…

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Q&A: Amy Hill Hearth

Sometimes I feel like Amy Hill Hearth is my sister from another mother. We’re both graduates of the University of Tampa. While there, we both served as editors of The Minaret, the school’s newspaper. She was the featured speaker at 2001 spring commencement. I was the student speaker in spring 2002. I love the Jersey… Read more…

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Race Report: Chicago Marathon 2012

Dear readers: I know this is a freelancing blog, but it’s my site, so occasionally I will write off topic posts – like this one. If you care nothing for running, skip it (I won’t be offended!) I’ll have an interview with the amazing Amy Hill Hearth later this week. When my boyfriend and I… Read more…

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“Freelancing: a choice not a punishment”

Under normal circumstances, I’d write my own blog post about the results of the 2012 Freelance Industry Report. But Tam Harbert did such a good job summarizing the findings that I’m just going to link to her post here. I even borrowed the title of her post, which is why it’s in quotes. That title,… Read more…

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On running and writing

Baring a freak leg break, I’m running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday. It promises to be a painful experience that will most likely end with me shedding tears as I cross the finish line, after which I will promptly ask for a beer. “Why do it?” I’m asked. I have a list of reasons: I write… Read more…

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The “Where’s My Money Bat”

I’m guest posting over at the Renegade Writer today, talking about my “Where’s My Money Bat.”  Yes, it’s a real thing – my high school softball bat. Of course I’ve never used it on a person, but it’s a reminder to be strong when going after late checks. It got this name because a bunch… Read more…

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Winner winner chicken dinner

We have a winner! Well, two, for the blog contest. The winners, who were chosen via a random number picker, will be getting copies of The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed. And the winners are…Elizabeth King Humphrey and Clara Mathews! Congrats guys! I’ll be contacting you shortly. Thanks to everyone who played along,… Read more…

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Giveaway! The Money Book

Money money money! It’s a big deal if you’re self-employed, and learning to manage an irregular income is half the battle for freelancers. So I talked with Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan, authors of The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed about just that. The book goes over everything, including starting an emergency fund, taxes,… Read more…

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Story Behind the Story: “Renovation Empire”

Second in an occasional series about how a concept became a sale. The Story: “Renovation Empire,” Penn Gazette, Sept/Oct 2012 The Concept: I’ve interviewed Curtis Bashaw, the subject of this profile, more times than I can remember. He played a big part in the re-birth of Cape May and opened a hotel in Atlantic City… Read more…

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There is no “free” in “freelance”

I started my “Down the Shore with Jen” blog in 2007. I was writing my first travel guide, and the blog was a place for me to write about the book writing process, and share news about the South Jersey Shore that didn’t fit into the book. When the blog took off, I was surprised… Read more…

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