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Erin J Bernard, ejb writing studio, copywriterWelcome, and let me guess: You’re a creative human, and you like to make stuff. But you struggle with: time management, motivation, grammar, character development, bad moods, slow progress, no progress, crap metaphors, reader engagement, metrics, technology, group critique, originality, self critique, laziness, branding, publishing, starting things, and finishing things.

Me, too. I’m Erin, and I’ve been making the writing life work (and pay) for a decade. Like you, I wage constant battle with assorted writing bugaboos. Some days, I think I’m terribly brilliant. And other days, I suspect I am just plain terrible. But always, I take damned good notes.

Erin’s Blog is Moving!

The time has come.

After a decade-plus of faithfully blogging on WordPress, I’ve decided to level up and start a new writing blog on the Squarespace platform: The Writer in Full.

Sometimes, change is hard; sometimes, it’s easy.

This change in particular feels mostly easy. And logical. And exciting! I’ve not published as often on this blog lately, but I have been writing faithfully and quite productively, and I remain passionate about helping other writers and working to make the writing community more inclusive of writers of all backgrounds and experience levels.

To that end, I’ve got 150,000 words on the craft of writing just burning a hole in my hard drive at the moment, and it’s time to start unleashing them on the world! Thus, the new blog, and preparations to debut a series of e-books and other fantastic products for writers. I’m also launching a newsletter, which you can sign up for by navigating over to my new site.

I must confess more than a passing sense of sadness at the thought of potentially losing touch with the 2,000-or-so souls who follow me here. I hope to continue the creativity conversation with you over at The Writer in Full.

I’ll be leaving this site up for awhile until I figure out what the new blog wants to become, and whether two blogs are necessary or even advisable. I’ll check in regularly. But The Writer in Full will be my primary blog from here on out.

See you over there!

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Saying They/Them instead of She/Her or He/Him Isn’t Hard; You’re Just Being a Jerk

Honorary titles, toilets, toy aisles—the landscape of gender is shifting fast, and—you must have noticed—our spoken and written language is transforming right along with it.

He/him, She/her—the old binaries no longer work for everybody, and we’re sliding headlong into a future that feels increasingly not-so-binary.

And that forces to the fore some messy-ass questions.

Such as: Are we entitled to choose the pronouns with which we are addressed? Who decides who gets to be male? Who decides who gets to be female? And what of those who identify as a bit of both, or sometimes neither, and would like that sentiment affirmed by the larger community?

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The Hammock Dilemma: Why Work When You Could Play?

It’s the start of June, and I’m celebrating a milestone.

I’m also stewing (just a little) over paths not-quite-taken.

May was a great month, work-wise. Despite being grossly ill for the first two weeks of the month with theeee worst head cold known to man, I got a shitload done. The projects I’m currently hacking away at are varied and challenging and fascinating pretty much to a one, which (cough) doesn’t happen all the time, and that certaintly helped to bolster my resolve through the brutal fog of an early-summer sickness.

And, here’s the best part: as far as pure earnings, I hit a financial benchmark that I never could have imagined for myself a couple of years ago: I out-earned my partner.

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The Burden of Time: Holding your own as a creative freelance parent

Anyone who’s raised a toddler knows that toddlers get sick with astonishing frequency. Like, it’s almost sort of insane. My babe, for instance, has been sick since last Halloween. It is now May.

And if your toddler attends daycare, this presents an instant, recurring dilemma: who will skip work to stay home with the snotty little darling?

If, like me, you’re a creative freelancer and your partner is not, this burden probably defaults to you. And it’s probably sort of what you’ve chosen, even if you resent the imposition.

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What Labor Teaches (Or: How the Taffy Gets Made)

In the sweltering summer of my sixteenth year, I scored my first-ever full-time job.

It was a taffy-making gig, paying $5.25 an hour and entailing 40-or-so hours per week of light manual labor at a modest factory in Portland’s Inner Industrial Eastside.

The person who hired me was a petite and perky woman in her early 30s who reeked perpetually of flower-scented mothballs and preferred to wear her hair in a tight, high ponytail. She looked just a bit like Phoebe from “Friends,” and she lived in my dad’s condo complex with her six-year-old daughter. (I’m fairly certain he was attempting to date her, which never really worked out, though she did consent to a couple of rides on our jet-boat the week before she hired me, by phone, through my father.)

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Written, Read, Seen: Why Creative People Need Supportive Partners

As anyone who’s managed it can attest, the process of disentangling oneself from a full-time job is beset with practical and philosophical questions. Going freelance requires a raft of methodical preparation, the cultivation of a decision tree or two, an exit strategy, and, eventually, a bold leap into the unknown.

It’s a life transition also liable to stir up crises of emotion in your closest personal relationships: what if you get a slow start and you and your partner are forced to rely, temporarily, on a single income? What if you’ve misjudged the market and you never quite find your financial feet? What if you’re taking a major pay cut? What if you become depressed, or distracted, or riddled with doubt? If kids are in the mix, what kind of stability are they owed? Who has the health insurance?

These are big questions—big enough to rend an already-shaky union clean in two. I have this on personal authority.

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Don’t Be Switzerland: The Case for a Politicized Creative Class

Would you write an ad campaign for Big Tobacco?

Would you edit feel-good copy for a corporation with a lamentable human rights record?

Would you shoot wildlife photos for an oil company dragging its heels on the clean-up of a major spill?

What if said potential client offered you a shitload of money? What if they seemed genuine about wanting to do good, be better? What if you could negotiate it so your name wasn’t attached to the finished product?

Would you say “Yes?”

Would you say “No?”

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