Tag Archives: mental_floss

6 Articles I Barely Shared On Social Media

home-is-where-the-dogs-are-2As both a deeply private person and a writer trying to build her portfolio, I’ve written a lot of pieces that I didn’t share when they came out. Though I was proud of many of them, they weren’t immediately available online and I forgot or the topics were personal enough that I could risk offending someone or there was some sort of error (from me or the editor) that overshadowed the awesomeness of the piece.

Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, most of those errors have been fixed after the fact, but it was far enough after publication that I forgot to publicize the piece. Yikes. Anyhow, here’s a short and strange look into my portfolio.

  1. When “My $5,000 Wedding Budget” was published on Debt.com, we had gone a few hundred dollars over budget. I also don’t like to admit that wedding planning triggered panic attacks, or that I think the modern obsession with weddings can turn the celebration into a pageant and that icks me out.
  2. I profiled winemaker Randall Grahm for VinePair, and forgot to send the article to him for several weeks. He’s an odd but interesting bird, and I got to learn about viticulture. Wine is cool.
  3. This article on the geeky side of clarification in cocktails for Tales of the Cocktail came out a couple weeks after the third death in our family in ten weeks. Big, huge, sloppy thanks to the editors for their flexibility and generosity. I was too shellshocked to do anything other than read over it and file it away for later.
  4. Sometimes I write about agriculture. FarmLife magazine is super cool, but the full issues don’t go online for a bit. My first feature for them focused on a pair of brothers farming up in Quebec.
  5. For the first few months of the year, my main coping mechanism was compartmentalization. Though many of y’all may not believe it, I wrote an article about the history of the Cosmopolitan for mental_floss.
  6. People get real snarky about recommendations for starting a home bar. Really, people get snarky over booze recommendations in general because they’re based on opinion. There’s no hard and fast rules, guys, mmkay? Drink what you like. Here’s my take for mental_floss.

This post topic was inspired by the suggestion to blog about 5 things you know. This month, I’m attempting to blog my way forward by writing every day as part of Blog Like Crazy.

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Help! I Googled Myself

HELP!One of the best — and sometimes, most frightening — parts of being a writer is getting to Google yourself. Earlier this week, after spending a few hours researching absolutely nothing of consequence, I Googled myself. What I found was at once awesome and weird. Here are a few things I learned:

  • There’s a short love note article on The Rumpus to a piece I wrote about zombies for The L.A. Review of Books. It’s a year old. How could I miss this?
  • It’s funny you should ask. One big reason is that Google Alerts DOESN’T WORK. I’ve had active alerts on my name for the past two years. During that time, it’s sent me ONE update that actually caught my work. Things it didn’t catch: lots of published articles, mentions, any of the articles about other McLaffertys, and a few other things…
  • Like that I’m a literal footnote in whisky history, at least on Wikipedia. One of my articles is source #4 for their Tennessee whiskey page.
  • Pieces from my mental_floss column have been used as sources for a seemingly academic presentation and an unrelated paper.
  • On the shitty side of things, I found out that a lot of people don’t respect copyright. Seven (!!!) different sites that had posted word-for-word or poorly paraphrased versions of articles I’ve written. That’s not cool, guys. Or legal.
  • Apparently Refinery29 has a content sharing agreement with MSN, so I can now say that my work has appeared on MSN.com.

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This week in freelancing

She's probably worrying about money.

She’s probably worrying about money.

When I woke up Monday morning, I thought that everything would be different. It was my first day as a full-time freelance writer, and I was certain that I would wake up with all the energy and inspiration to take the publishing world by storm.

Instead, I slept in. If my sleep schedule — I do my best work between 3 -11 p.m. — and money worries were factored out, it would have been one of the least stressful non-vacation weeks on record. But even with those two things factored in, it’s still been an incredibly productive week. Here’s roughly how it went:

Monday
Pitched two articles, outlined one, wrote a guest post about bourbon,  itemized my to-do list, cooked, cleaned a bit, and napped.

Tuesday
Drafted two previously outlined articles, checked a couple things off my to-do list, tutored and got a pitch rejected. Tuesday evening, a friend and I went to a cocktail reception at Flip Burger at the Summit. We sat with Laura from Alabama Graffiti (Hey, Laura!), and enjoyed salty turkey sliders, blue cheese-y butcher sliders, and stack sliders. To compliment the food, we sipped on extremely raspberry-y Flip Mules.

Wednesday
Found out that Adam passed the bar (!!!), napped, celebrated, finished an article about salt and amari for mental_floss, and tutored.

Thursday
Put together a budget to find an income goal, freaked out about money, took a nap to deflect the fear, woke up to find I have media credentials for Tales of the Cocktail, and rewrote the intro to an upcoming article for Birmingham magazine.

Friday
Friday afternoon, I sat down with a friend to talk about freelancing. What followed was a discussion about fear, change, and growth that has shifted the focus of my writing. More on that another time. I also finished the Birmingham magazine article, pitched mental_floss for May and celebrated my mom’s pending retirement and Véro’s wedding.

This week was full, and I’m excited to take today off.

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InstaVine that tweet

When anything remotely photo worthy happens at the Octane bar, one of the bartenders will usually start saying something along the lines of “InstaVine that! Better catch it now!” You haven’t missed out on a new social media outlet. We just like to treat them as a unified whole. It’s easier that way.

My relationship with Twitter is specifically pretty good. I love the creativity the 140 character limit inspires. It’s an extremely easy way to share content with a lot of people and to gauge their future responses to different subjects. It can also turn into a mob of disgruntled, faceless bullies in a heartbeat. Personally, I’ve given into making my Twitter account my own rather than trying to turn myself into a branded wonder. It’s just not who I am.

In the writing world, I follow a lot of amazing writers. If not for @writeousbabe and the @seejanewritemag Blog Like Crazy challenge last year, I wouldn’t have a blog. Javacia, the beauty and brains behind it, has been immeasurably helpful in providing advice (directly and indirectly) that has made my freelancing what it is. I also owe @bhamboxset for getting started both freelancing and blogging — Carla Jean has been my mentor and friend and occasional tech support since 2011. Listing all of the writers and bloggers I admire and follow would take days, so I’ll keep my list abbreviated.

To keep myself informed and entertained, I follow @mental_floss. Full disclosure: I write a column for their website, but their lists and informational stuff is too awesome not to share. For all things girl nerdy, I follow @ThreeChicGeeks and @BakerStBabes and a ridiculous number of others. My nerd is strong.

Otherwise, I follow friends, people I admire, magazines and websites I want to write for and many others. Oh, and @fernetbranca. If you’re not familiar with their deliciously herbaceous and bitter spirit, remedy that. After all, it had a medical dispensation during Prohibition, so it’s medicine, and medicine’s good for you, right? Let’s go with that.

Today’s topic was to shout out to the people I follow on Twitter. There are a lot, so I chose seven.

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