Category: freelance writing

My Broadcaster’s Voice, Allegedly.

When I am not writing things, I work in an insurance agency. I do marketing and I set up appointments for our agents. Today, a woman I’d called a few days ago was in the office. As I rolled by she flagged me down and asked if I was the guy she had talked to. I said yes. She told me that I have a “wonderful broadcaster’s voice” and suggested I should be on the radio.

I considered replying with “Thank you. It makes up for this face. It’s why I cover most of it with this beard.” But I didn’t. There is a time and place for sarcasm and self-deprecation. And anyway it was a nice compliment, and one that I have been given on a few occasions. I’m not bragging. I’m just reporting events as they happened.

I sort of hear what they mean, but I doubt that it is just the tone and timbre of my voice. A bit of the illusion has to do with my tendency to word things differently than most normal people when I speak. It’s a gift inherited from my maternal grandfather, probably. Like a lot of people, I write in my natural “voice” so speaking that way has enhanced my writing.

I thanked the woman and told her I’d keep it in mind should I be looking for a side gig. I’d rather be writing as a side gig, but honestly being a radio personality or podcaster has long been a pipe dream of mine.

Honestly I can picture myself pretty damned well pontificating about this song or that band between songs.

So why just a dream? I’ve never went for it because I am not a good “in the moment” kind of guy. I’m very prone to the umms in a speaking situation I am uncomfortable with. Not an uncommon phenomenon, and anyone can work through it. Even so, I keep thinking I function best as a writer, where I can take the time to perfect the craft. But I’ve gotten this far in a job where most of my responsibilities involve speaking to people on the phone, mostly off the cuff and conversational. And I’ve impressed enough of those people, what, with my broadcaster’s voice and all.

So there may be a side side gig on the horizon. I’ll keep you posted.


I’m Moving.

…..very soon.

This blog originally came of the desire to tell stories of my experiences as a writer. Since I was a teen first discovering the craft of writing, I’ve dreamed of piloting a publication called “The Dailey Weekly.” This seemed like a good platform for the moniker. It quickly became my place to promote and advertise my freelance writing business.

In the long and many months since Covid-19 struck, that effort has become less and less productive. I started to lose the audience I was building so I tried to branch out by posting writing on various subjects which would serve as demos for anyone who still was interested in a freelance writer. Unfortunately, as my content became varied, something got skewed in the algorithm. Google doesn’t seem to know what to do with it anymore. At the same time, it doesn’t seem to be making any headway with WordPress users either.

For all intents and purposes, this blog is just broken. That’s a hell of a pickle to be in when you’re trying to build an audience. It’s as frustrating as it is puzzling.

I am going to start over with a new publication. It will be less business-promotiony and more observational humor pieces. Well, whether it is humor will be a matter of opinion, I guess. The point is I will be writing for the sake of writing again. I won’t focus on “current events” because I think we’ve all had more of that than we need for a while now. I’m envisioning a column-type thing. Real Andy Rooney-like. Without the eyebrows.

I need an audience that will interact with my work and exchange ideas with me.

I haven’t settled on a name for it yet so I haven’t created the blog. If you’ve stuck with me so far though, please hang around and once I’ve generated some content I’ll let you know where you can keep following my work.

Onward.

You Might As Well Be Speaking Klingon

Jargon. Every industry has it. It’s own dialect of sorts that its members use at work every day. It’s a secret code, passwords that deliver to the receiver a message much more complex than is apparent at face value.

In virtually any business, in trying to simplify concepts essential to what you do, you risk talking down to “outsiders.” But you don’t want to talk over your audience’s head either. If you are just targeting your already-established client base then you probably don’t have a problem. But to allow your business the chance to expand, you need to create general familiarity first. Once you get them “in the door” chances are they’ll not only be using your industry’s jargon before too long, but they’ll be speaking the language particular to your company culture.

And that, friends, will be a loyal customer.

That alone is the best reason to hire a freelance writer – to translate that jargon, those terms, phrases and concepts into the universal language. Freelance writers are like the Rosetta Stone for any business wishing to communicate with the general public.

You want a freelance writer who will take the time to understand those terms themselves. The freelance writer is the filter you put that jargon through before it gets published. Jargon is a short hand of sorts. It’s the technical version of an “inside joke.” So a freelancer may say it in more words – dilute it a bit – but it allows a much wider audience to be in on it.

Hey, Good Luck With That.

As I write this we are three days from another Friday the 13th. I’m not terribly superstitious myself, and I’d be willing to bet that the number 13 brings on bad luck almost as often as the groundhog seeing its shadow brings on six more weeks of winter.

I can’t prove that.

Anyway, that’s not even taking into account that in some places – France and Italy particularly – the number 13 is traditionally a good luck omen.

And that still isn’t even taking into account that most bad luck is rooted in the state of mind of the person experiencing it in the first place. Of course the same goes for good luck.

I can’t prove that either.

With this blog I mostly address small business owners, potential freelance clients in my area. So for this Friday the 13th, I’d like to submit a few other good luck omens for businesses which do not have the overwhelming stigma of popular opinion going against them like the number 13 does.

Most of these superstitions are particular to certain cultures. But just because a superstition is something, say, the Icelandic believe, doesn’t mean it can’t work for you even though you are not Icelandic.

Good omens recognize no borders. Remember that.

First off, every animal under the sun has been named a good luck omen at one time or another in one place or another. I will not try to enumerate all of them here, but a couple examples are worth mentioning.

Let’s say you’re starting a business. You’ve leased the building or whatever and have just gone in to begin setting up shop. You open a cupboard and a bunch of bats fly out. Bats nesting in the building are a good omen because, having exceedingly keen senses, bats are likely to pick up on certain – not to get too hippy-dippy, but – vibes. If they’ve chosen to hang around, odds are you’ve chosen a good location. Similarly, nesting birds on the property are a sign of opportunities coming your way.

Speaking of birds, it is widely believed that receiving bird droppings upon one’s head is actually a good omen. It isn’t exactly pennies from Heaven, but if you’ve got flocks of birds using your storefront as a toilet, rest easy. It’s fine.

Speaking of toilets, keeping your office toilet clean is considered a harbinger of good luck. I think it goes without saying that you’ll tend to have more return business if you do this simple thing. So I don’t see how it is really an omen, and there surely isn’t any luck involved, other than – in smaller offices – not being the employee who draws the short straw and has to clean it.

Let’s move on.

So again, you’re setting up shop in your new building. There are spiderwebs everywhere. Omen seekers say before you start swatting them down, you should keep your eyes peeled for your initials, or those of the business, spelled out in the webs. Spiders, too, are apparently highly sensitive creatures with innovative ways to welcome you, essentially a visitor to their abode.

Now, when you open or when you begin a new project, promotion etc., there are other signs to watch out for.

The most obvious one is the date. The number 8 is most often mentioned as a good sign. So if the numerals in the date of your Grand Opening is January 2, 2021 (1/2/2021) the digits add up to 8, and are therefore a portent of good fortune.

If you open on the day of a full moon, superstition dictates you’ll be prosperous. But don’t you dare do it on the day of a new moon. Just don’t. Finally, launching an initiative or a business on a day when it is raining while the sun is out will be auspicious because a rainbow is likely to appear, which is really something in and of itself.

Now go forth, and prosper, and whatnot.

If Dailey Freelance Were Running For President

Not long ago I was trying to push my Facebook friends to get my Dailey Freelance page some shares. I told them I expected no fewer than one billion of them. I vaguely suggested that there would be a car given away to someone if it happened. I got six page likes. A friend of mine told me I should hold a rally to get things going.

Nah.

But that got me thinking. What if Dailey Freelance were running for president? Stay with me on this one. Dailey Freelance has the qualities people want, or say they want, in a leader.

You want someone who:

– Represents you. This is the whole point of both voting for a president, and of hiring a freelance writer. The president has to be the voice of the nation as a whole, somehow. I have to give your audience a comprehensive look at what they can expect from you. Not every post can accomplish that, but given time and an on-going assignment (say four or eight years?), that is Dailey Freelance’s agenda.

– Is a great communicator. This goes hand in hand with “Represents you” because I cannot represent you well without presenting a digestible message. There is an aspect of advertising in what I do, which requires me to keep the heart of your message direct and snappy while dressing it up with that “something extra” which wins a vote of confidence.

“Tells it like it is.” One of the most endearing quality in a candidate for a lot of people is the candidate’s “telling it like it is.” Whether the “like it is” they are talking about is really “like it is” is debatable. Let me be clear, though. My agenda as your representative, is telling your public what they can expect from you. You have no reason not to want that to match what they actually get. I’d be doing you and your audience a great disservice if it didn’t.

– Is resilient and open to change. This is a creative process. As a freelance writer, I have to be open to new ideas, and if my vision is vetoed, I have to be able to bounce back with an amended version of that vision. I like to try to envision many different angles from which we can approach your messaging.

– Will be diplomatic. It is important to me to be easy to work with. And it isn’t necessarily just a “the customer (you) is always right” situation. Just like the president ideally works for the public who quite literally hires that person, I work for you. But I do my best to work with you, to find out what will do the most good for you as I execute your vision in words.

– Will be level-headed. When I have my assignment from a client, I might do a preliminary outline right away just to establish a plan for myself. Depending on the deadline, I’ll likely set the work aside after that. I’ve never found myself with writer’s block with client work in front of me, though the time has to be right. I try to be in the proper state of mind before diving into client work. It’s not rocket surgery and it’s not magic, but just like some of the major decisions a president has to make, inspiration can be a key ingredient.

I’m Dailey Freelance, and I approve this message.

Are You Ready For Talk Like A Pirate Day?

As a freelance writer, I’ve recently been thinking of how I will offer holiday promotion services this year, which reminded me that one of my favorite holidays is coming up. This Saturday, September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

How do you celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day? I don’t know. Maybe sing “What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor” while swigging Captain Morgan rum.

No. I mean you can, but remember it’s all in the language.

A couple of years ago I worked with a cousin on editing a novel he was writing. In doing so, (he and) I got a little more immersed in the characters in the book than we (I) should have. The book centered around Irish characters. So, not pirates but a similar etymology. I never said “shiver me timbers” mostly because I don’t know what the hell that means anyway. And I’d never call anyone “matey” on purpose. But in discussing the book with my cousin, when I’d answer in the affirmative instead of “yes” I’d say “aye” to him. Instead of “no” I’d say “nay.” When we got stuck on a plot line, to express frustration, I’d say “arrrrgh!”

I’ve long been a fan of old-timey language. For instance I like to say that something is “nigh” when it is nearby or coming soon. And to draw attention to that something, I may exclaim “Lo!” Conversely when I am about to rush off somewhere, I may say I’ll “hie” to that location.

It’s fun. And I’ve been doing it for so long that some of it has become totally natural to me. Maybe not to those having a conversation with me.

It’s just one shining example of how a little bit of each project I do stays with me, perhaps even becomes a part of me. It’s what happens when you are a writer and you do work that means something to you. That doesn’t mean that when I write for you, some Irish slang is going to show up in my work. I can’t control it. What it means is when I go to work for you, if you sit down with me a year later, you just may recognize some aspect of our project bubbling to the surface.

I hope it does. It’s undeniable evidence that I connected with my work.

Sharp Dressed Man

I have never liked “Sharp Dressed Man” by ZZ Top. Frankly I’ve never really cared much for ZZ Top. It’s not their fault. It has less to do with “Sharp Dressed Man” than with a string of similar-sounding 1990’s country songs. It’s hard to explain.

Maybe I don’t like “Sharp Dressed Man” because I myself am not a sharp dresser. The song doesn’t speak to me, I guess. I doubt that I hate the song so much that I’ve adopted non-sharp dressedness as a lifestyle.

It’s not that I don’t like dressing in nice clothes every now and then. I flat-out refuse to tuck in a shirt and no one can make me though. I fold it in such a way to make it look tucked in. But I’m in a wheelchair. I shift around a lot. A tuck tends to be impermanent when you’re in a wheelchair. I’m not a slob or anything. It’s just that “unwritten rules” in general confound me. That includes the unwritten rules of sharp dressedness.

I’m not going to run around in sweatpants and a polo shirt or anything like that. I did, one time, wear a gray cardigan sweater with a neon green collared shirt underneath which I called my “Mr. Rogers at a rave look” though. The “rules” just strike me as more than a little subjective.

You’re not supposed to wear black pants with brown shoes – something I am not at all ashamed to admit I just became aware of a few weeks ago – but you can wear dark navy blue pants with brown shoes all you want even if the pants are so dark navy blue that they might as well be black. But you simply mustn’t wear black pants with brown shoes. Unless the shoes are a certain shade of brown in which case it’s okay.

What makes it okay? What shade must they be? No one knows.

Conversely, if you are wearing brown pants, then black shoes are fine. You don’t see a lot of navy blue dress shoes walking around. You sure as hell aren’t going to wear brown shoes with brown pants.

You know what I do? I wear black pants with brown shoes. I’m not going to wear my black shoes with my black pants. I’m going to work, not a funeral. I have some light colored grayish shoes but I rarely wear them to work because they make me feel like I’m about to get on a yacht or something. I suppose that is my hang-up, though.

And I will never understand why a certain colored shoe is forbidden with a certain colored pair of pants, but there is a different set of “rules” governing the wearing of certain colored shirts vis-a-vis pants. And while that second set of “rules” makes more sense to me, overall I’m probably hopeless. Thankfully I don’t care at all what “every girl’s crazy” about. I only care about the opinion of one “girl” and she’s my wife. She tolerates me. She encourages me to do what feels right when it comes to clothing. She probably has to fix my collar before we leave in the morning a little more often than she should have to (I swear I’m not a slob) but otherwise she understands I gotta be me.

If you’re looking for a freelance writer who will break the “rules” that need to be broken, I’m your man.

Labor Day During a Pandemic: Working Hard While Hardly Working

This year’s observation of Labor Day has to be the most poignant one in American History.

Here’s to you, working harder than ever behind the scenes trying to figure out how to re-imagine your business for these trying times, and trying to figure out how to bring your business back to the level it was at before the pandemic. You’re putting in untold hours of extra effort. You’re losing untold hours of sleep. But I have a feeling that in doing so you’ve learned a lot about your business and about yourself. You’ve revealed what really works for you and what never was really working in the first place.

Here’s to you, working overtime to fill in for gaps in the staff where you work. These are the times that make a staff a true team. A collective with one agenda. Here’s to you whose hours have been cut. Working fewer hours than you did before, you may be pushing yourself to the limit to make yourself indispensable to your employer. The year 2020 has brought us to one of those “when the going gets tough” moments in history and people everywhere have stepped up and shown their employers and themselves what they are made of.

Here’s to you, unwillingly out of work. There is this old-timey way of thinking that is still around which asserts that a hard-earned living equals a certain morality, and gives a person value. While a hard-earned living is honorable in and of itself, it does not assign any inherent value to the earner. And even though, to paraphrase Thomas Paine, “these are the times that try men’s and women’s souls” it is certainly not a moral issue. We saw that more clearly than ever when the U.S. federal unemployment rate jumped from 3.5% to about 15% this spring. While I won’t debate the wisdom of state-wide lock downs vs. the push to re-open, we saw how adamantly so many people fought to get back to work rather than collect an unemployment check.

Here’s to you, putting in extra hours – your home time, your free time, your family time – thinking about what you will do if things change at work. Not because you want to think that way, but because you have to be prepared. This has been your chance, without anyone really blaming you at all for it, to see what other possibilities there are for you. Maybe you never really had a Plan B or a Plan C, etc., but thanks to Covid-19 now you do. Maybe it’s made you re-evaluate what you want out of life. Maybe it’s helped you to re-invent yourself.

Madness can be a wellspring of opportunity when you’re looking for it. I hope you’ve looked and found it. We’re all doing the best we can. Over the course of 2020 we’ve had to live in the moment even while preparing for the bleakest of possibilities. It’s been a weird paradox of a year. We know we are meant to live in the present. If you think about it, you’ll likely agree that you are at your sanest when you are not re-living the past or playing out endless future scenarios in your mind.

I started this post talking about those who were working harder than ever while not really doing business at the level they’d like to be. We’d all like to be “working hard while hardly working” but in a different way. Busy, busy, busy, but never feeling like we are “at work..” We all want a productive, prosperous, full life. It’s my wish for all of you this Labor Day.

A Canadian Folk Delicacy, Sort of.

I realize that you don’t always know what you’re going to get from this blog. One week I might be writing about baseball. The next it’ll be jazz music. The next thing you know, I’m expounding about food. And if the mood strikes me, I might give you the rundown on my philosophy as a freelance writer.

Tonight it’s going to be food. Namely, the new KFC fries. Because the heart wants what the heart wants on a Monday after work.

But I digress.

From the TV ads for the new fries, I got the impression they’d be a crispy, heavily breaded situation. I asked out loud “chicken fried fries?” when I saw them.

But no.

They were tasty though. They reminded me and my wife of the Taco Bell nacho fries without the seasoning, somehow. While I ate them, I went back and forth on whether I’d prefer them over the KFC mashed potatoes going forward. I think if I had to choose one, I’d stick with the mashed, but so long as each are available, I may consider going back and forth between the two depending on my mood.

Except that right now the only meal deals including the fries that I am aware of pairs them with chicken fingers, or nuggets. I don’t think I’d be likely to choose chicken fingers or nuggets over the traditional fried chicken terribly often. I only did so today because it was the deal. We get KFC infrequently though, and the fries are not going to make me go there more often. They are not stand-alone fries that one would order on their own merit like the ones at McDonald’s or the curly fries at Arby’s.

A traditional three-piece chicken meal (leg, wing, breast) will always seem right with mashed potatoes so it’d be no big loss if they don’t pair it up with the fries in a “deal.”

The fingers come with a choice of a couple different dipping sauces and they offered ketchup for the fries. My wife being Canadian and I being a Canadian by marriage, we got a side order of gravy to dip the fries in. That’s sort of a folk delicacy in Canada. You melt some cheese curds over it and you’ve got yourself some authentic Canadian poutine. They should just go ahead and do that.

The Summer of My Discontent

Something weird has happened this year. I know you’re probably thinking “Umm, yeah a lot of weird has happened this year, man. Keep up.”

No, not that, but it’s probably related to that to some degree. What I am talking about is that for the first time in my life that I can think of, I can not wait for winter to start.

Maybe it is because of COVID-19 and the havoc it has brought on our economy and the over-all limitations imposed upon our everyday goings and doings. But it is also because it feels like this is the hottest summer in the history of mankind. It isn’t, I don’t think. But I am tired of the humidity, a.k.a. “the air you can wear.”

I’ve already told my wife that when it snows, I am going to go “play in the snow” and I swear I will. I am not going to build a snowman. I intend to frolic. I had been saying I did not want snow. Just cold. I always say my wheelchair is allergic to snow. The more I think of it though, I’m not picky. If there is one thing I’ve learned this year it’s how to stay home if need be.

I’m finding myself getting excited, anxious for winter. I sometimes catch a glimpse of the calendar and I’m dumbfounded that we still have a third of 2020 to go. It really feels like winter should be any day now.

I envision hunkering down in a quiet country cabin in front of the fireplace (because you can’t stay cold all of the time), a refrigerator well-stocked with apple cider or hot cocoa-making supplies (depending on my mood), sitting at a giant oak desk (a brobdingnagian fortress of a desk) with an olde-timey quill pen and parchment paper, and a hefty list of freelance writing projects to work on.

I’m kidding. I don’t have a cabin.

But apart from the things about our society that need to change forever – which this whole year was a chance for us to do – like most of us, I would like to pick up where I left off in the early spring. Enough lamentation though. When I go frolic in that first snowfall, I’ll be taking the opportunity to embrace what was previously repellent to me. I’m well on my way to accepting whatever this winter will bring.