ejbwritingstudio.com, terrible creative blog, erin j bernard, gender neutral

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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erin j bernard, ejbwritingstudio.com,

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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ejb writing studio, terrible creative blog, erin j bernard, viewfinder

What Would the Cool Kids Do? On Creative Envy and the Definitive Value of Shouting into Voids

You can’t escape the Cool Kids.

Sorry. You can’t. No matter how old you get, no matter the profession you choose, no matter how far from your hometown you travel, there they’ll be—outpacing you, outmaneuvering you, outshining you, and doing it all with the kind of purposeful ease that makes averagely gifted bystanders want to punch granite.

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turn to clear vision, telescope, terrible creative blog, ejb writing studio, erin j bernard

Wanna Define Writing Success on Your Own Terms? Ask Yourself One Magic Question.

About four years ago, out of a desire to clarify a few longer-term writing goals, I hired a creative career coach to take me through a few visioning sessions.

As we sat together on the floor of my office one sunny Tuesday, sketching out a visual map of my deepest writerly desires, I earnestly announced that I believed I had something important to teach other people, and that I felt I could best achieve this through the written word.

She listened carefully, and then she posed to me what I have come to think of as the Magic Question. At the time, though, it felt less magical and more like an upper cut straight to the guts: “Why does it matter if other people read your work?”

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