Home-Schooled: 20 Books To Build Your Freelance Life Upon

pile of books

I’ve already written in the past about the importance of being prepared. A huge part of that for me has been the greedy consumption of books: how-tos, self-helps, career guides, etc.

I’ve read so many that I think it’s about time for a roundup. After the jump, the 20 books that helped me build my freelance life…and that could very well help you too!

[Read more…]

Product Placement: Audio Recording + Transcribing Resources


[RCA Rp5022 64 Mb Voice Recorder With Usb, $19.98, Amazon]

[Olympus TP-7 Telephone Recording Device, $17.71, Amazon]

I’ve been doing a lot of interviews lately and, to get the job done, I’ve been using the items above.

My voice recorder (new versions are available) has a ton of storage place, allows me to place markers within my sound files, and includes a USB port for uploading to my computer. My telephone recording device also works like a charm, one end plugging into my recorder, the other going into my ear, allowing me to record all of my telephone interviews. Both of them being quite cheap, I’d recommend them to any writer on a budget.

But once the interviews are done, the worst part still remains: transcribing.

After the jump, a few resources for those who wish transcribing could be easier, or for those who’d like to outsource it altogether!

[Read more…]

Product Placement: NiteNote

I blogged about this for Modern Materialist earlier today, and thought some of you might be interested.

As a writer, I find myself spending a lot of time staring at a blank screen. And then, at night, when I’m supposed to be shutting my brain down, ideas start coming fast and furious.

My husband hates this.

Every time I think of something new, I have to lean all the way over and turn the bedside lamp, so I can jot down my idea. Then I turn the lamp off again. Then I lie there tossing and turning and think of something new. I lean over. I turn on my bedside lamp. I start scribbling. And on and on.

Then, Michael brought this home:

[Read more…]

Product Placement: The Flip Mino

The Flip Mino – An Intro from Steph Auteri on Vimeo.

Hey there guys. A couple months ago, I was reading about the Flip Mino, and how it was the new It tool for journalists everywhere. Why? You could use it both to take interviews and photograph subjects, and its slim, sleek design made it ideal for on-the-go reportage.

Did this mean my audio recorder and fancy schmancy DSLR were obsolete? God forbid, people. God forbid.

Anyway. The people behind the Flip Mino ($179.99) were kind enough to send along one of their products, for review puposes. For the sake of comparison, RCA also sent me their Small Wonder. The nitty-gritty, after the jump:

[Read more…]

Product Placement: My Dream Office*

[Desk: $149.99, Target; Hutch: $99.99, Target]

Since I began freelancing full-time about two years ago, I’ve had continual trouble achieving optimal work/life balance. First, there was too much life (if you count watching full-day marathons of America’s Next Top Model as “life”). Now, I just work all the time.

This past weekend, I was determined to stay strong, and not work.

So instead, I spent several hours putting together a Photoshop collage of my dream office, which I then wished I could start working in right away.

Then I somehow ended up at Target, where I saw a way cheap version of the $5,000 desk I had put in my collage. So I felt I had to share it with you.

After the jump, the rest of my dream office:

[Read more…]

Product Placement: Keep Your Home Office Off-Limits

Since we’re already talking about home offices and the sanctity of your space, I thought that I’d highlight the following for today’s product placement post:

[Read more…]

Product Placement: The Wall Above My Desk

[$179, JCPenney]

I’ve been going back and forth over how to fill the empty wall space above my desk, and I finally decided that I’d like a bulletin board/wall organizer.

The best one I’ve found? The one above, which comes with an iPod dock for charging, 4 USB connectors, and…I think those are speakers!

It’s already come down $20 since I posted about it on MM last week! I’ve been tight for money since Christmas, but am wondering if I should leap.

Product Placement: Monogrammed Stationery


Though we live an an Internet age, nothing beats the personal touch inherent in a snail mail-sent note.

And when running your own business, there’s no better way to show a client your appreciation. It’ll make you stand out from the pack like nothing else.

I’ve been looking into getting monogrammed or personalized stationery for just this reason, but I don’t want it to be blah.

My personali picks after the jump strike a nice balance between professionalism and personality:

[Read more…]

Product Placement: Magazine Filing

[$21.95, Crate & Barrel]

On December 31, I posted a New Year’s resolution over at Modern Materialist, wherein I vowed to start pitching again. At the moment, my goal is to have 10 pitches out at any given moment (setting a specific goal is so helpful; Rachel Rose over at Notes on a Whim is doing the same thing).

I’m already up to five, so I’m feeling good about things. But I have to admit, my collection of magazine back issues has dwindled considerably, mostly because my filing system for them was crap, so I had to recycle, recycle, recycle.

I’d like to set up a new system for keeping the back issues I so often refer to when pitching. After the jump, some pretty-as-heck magazine files:

[Read more…]

Product Placement: Slippers

I know I just did up this whole post on maintaining professional decorum, but I’m now feeling distracted by the extreme comfort I’m feeling at my slippered feet.

[Read more…]