Canadian Mom Writer

Thoughts and Opinions on the writing life, working from home, and mothering.

Location: St Marys, Ontario, Canada

I am a work at home mom of 3 living in the country just outside of St Marys, Ontario. I am a freelance writer and copywriter just finally getting going on my business after baby #3. I was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland and have called Canada home for 16 years now.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

How to create a Copywriter's Portfolio before you get paying clients.

Give it Away!

That's right, offer your services for free! If you don't have any published pieces, now is the time to start contacting local organizations and asking them if they need any writing help, and if they would allow you to put the document on your website portfolio as well as your actual portfolio. I have written some articles for friends in a pinch, who were more than happy to allow me to use the finished piece in my portfolio. I also got a great start from volunteering my services at my local YMCA. They were looking to put a weekly column in the local paper, I showed up on their doorstep, it was a win-win situation all around.

I also asked the people I provided pro bono work to if they would mind contributing a written testimonial that I could use on my website, and they were more than happy to oblige. Like a good reference on your resume, what people say about you does effect what others think about your services.

So where can you find these pro bono jobs? Anywhere! Now is the time to start networking, telling people what you do, and what the role of a copywriter is as most people don't understand exactly what we do. If you are currently employed, ask to work on the next print ad or other written materials. If your children are involved with extracurricular activities, ask their instructors if they would like a profile written up about them for the local paper. Look around for volunteer work with festivals, non-profits or the like, they are usually very happy to have someone volunteer this kind of service.

But don't forget to ask them if it is alright to use the material in your portfolio, never just assume. In no time at all you will have a few decent samples in your hands to show to the paying clients.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

New Direction

I've been somewhat neglectful of my blog over the past few weeks. I've been thinking of changing the direction, of posting content that is related to starting a home based business. As some of you may know, I am a work at home mom that has decided to delve into the lucrative area of freelance copywriting. If you don't know what a copywriter is, then you need to go to my site right now.

A copywriter uses words to sell products. My BA in English is finally paying off! Of course, being self employed means a lot of hard work. The past year has been spent researching, learning, making contacts, building my portfolio, building an online presence via my website, and also getting my portfolio up and running. I have taken on some volunteer positions as I know this is the best and fastest way to build my portfolio before I have actual paying clients. I have written an article at Ezine Articles, and have more in the works. I have collected testimonials in lieu of payment from the non-profit work I have done recently. My website is nearly completed now, and the word is getting out about what I do.

The other side of starting a freelance business from home, is of course working with small children running around. For those of you that are regular readers (all 2 of you!) you will know that I have 3 children, and only 1 is in school full time. That makes for some keen multitasking on my part. Motherhood is quite the adventure. Add a work from home/self employed situation to the mix and you've got the poster child (or woman, in this case) for adult-onset ADD. But, I wouldn't change it for the world. I've examined my options and there is nothing else right now that I'd rather be doing.

So, I hope you will come back and see how I'm doing from time to time as I establish myself as a freelance copywriter. Who knows, maybe you'll even know someone who knows someone who could use a proofreader, editor, writer, marketing guru, word geek....

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Kids + Vomit= One tired Mom

Why do kids always throw up in the middle of the night? They can't wait for morning, or throw up during normal hours. No, they must start puking when we're either a. 'busy', or b. deep into REM sleep dreaming about Colin Farrell. *sigh*

Such has been my life over the past weekend, first the oldest came down with this stomach bug that caused 8 kids to be absent from school on Friday. Thankfully she is old enough now that she can aim for the bucket and doesn't cry for me everytime. Love that. Sunday night at midnight the middle child came down with it. After setting her up with a bucket and towels, she was ok fending for herself. But as every mom knows, you wake up with each retch you hear. Yesterday morning I succumbed to the wicked ailment and spent the day on the couch, not caring if the toddler tore the place apart. Oh, and the toddler? He started throwing up at 1am this morning, and continued throwing up every half hour until I crawled back into bed at 6am for an hour and 10 minute power nap.... So 4 down and one to go.... I'm half expecting hubby to come home early and spend the rest of the day in bed, if not today then definately by tomorrow.

There should be some kind of law against kids throwing up in the middle of the night. Who's with me?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Website Up and Running Again!

Thanks to a nasty virus that caused a reformat of my laptop, and the fact that changing host providers is NEVER as easy as they say it will be, my website was offline for a couple of weeks. Thankfully I have now got it up and running again, and just about finished. I still need to insert some published works into my portfolio, but all the links work and I think I've ironed out any other kinks that may interfere with the overall look of it. I'm open to any comments, suggestions, etc so please check it out

Many thanks to those who have already given their feedback!


Monday, February 27, 2006

I’ve seen the future, and it’s not pretty…

Yesterday my oldest daughter had her 8th birthday party with nine of her closest gal pals. Seven of these girls are in her class at school, and what FUN it was to have them all in one place at the same time! Ah, no, it wasn’t that bad, just a little scary when you think that a few years ago I was changing diapers and nursing this little being, and then all of a sudden she’s talking about loving this poor, poor boy in her class ( I say poor because as soon as Daddy finds out, he’ll be a goner). And thanks to the powers of technology in the form of a karaoke video camera, we have it all on videotape. I sat here in utter amazement as my daughter and her friends had no fear about saying who they had a crush on. A crush, for pete’s sake. When I was that age boys elicited two emotions in my friends and I – fear and disgust. I remember I was 12 when I had my first crush. Now I get to see it all again through my daughter’s eyes, albeit a little earlier. At this rate by the time she’s 12 she’ll already be engaged to be married… Scary, isn’t it? What’s even scarier is the fact that the objects of their affections have no clue what’s going on, or if they do understand what’s happening to the cute little girls around them, they run screaming in the opposite direction. Welcome to the complex world of human sexuality girls, it doesn’t get much better than this….

Monday, February 13, 2006

Four Things

I've noticed on my wanderings that a lot of bloggers are doing this. So I thought I'd follow suit, and seeing as I don't really have anything worthwhile to share today, why not. And it never hurts to know me a little better.

4 jobs you have had in your life
McDonald’s (My first real job)
Pizza Restaurant Manager
Front Desk Clerk at a hotel
Freelance Writer

4 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (The new version)
Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail
X-Men/ Van Helsing (OK, I know it said 4 movies…but I can’t decide between Hugh Jackman all angry and misunderstood in a wifebeater or Hugh Jackman all angry and Long Haired as a vampire slayer. Sue me.)

4 Places You Have Lived
Finglas, Dublin, Ireland
Elliot Lake, Ontario
London, Ontario
St Marys, Ontario

4 TV Shows You Love To Watch
Nip/Tuck(mostly for the eye candy...)
Six Feet Under

4 Places You Have Been On Vacation
New York, NY
Dublin, Ireland
France (various places-as a kid my parents took us camping in France, so they could spend more on wine)
Camp Waubashene, Ontario

4 Websites You Visit Daily

4 Of Your Favorite Foods
French Fries
Greek Salad

4 Places You Would Rather Be Right Now
Anywhere warm and sunny
Other than that, I am where I want to be right now!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

My child is secretly plotting to overthrow me…

Trying to recreate genius here….it’s going to be hard after it’s been 3 days since I wrote the original post in blogger and then lost the fricking thing…bastards…

But, I can try again. Here goes.

Last week was one of those weeks where, as a parent, you feel like running away from it all, from the sleepless nights, the dirty laundry that is never finished, the constant 1 step forward, 2 steps back approach to housecleaning, not to mention your evil spawn that is secretly plotting your demise.

Here’s how it happened. The son gave us a particularly tough night on Tuesday, it was as though he was hyped up on caffeine, you know he wanted to sleep, but he just kept thrashing around and waking himself up, and then refusing to go back to sleep. Finally, somewhere around 5am, the little blighter finally gave up and surrendered to some much needed shut eye, both of us bleary eyed and lying on the couch so that Daddy could at least get his rest (I've got to get up in an

Fast forward to the next day, after only 4 hours of sleep I wasn’t in that good of a mood, so decided to take the day off from any chores that involved me getting off the couch. Pretty hard to do when you have a very active 16 month old who likes to wear you down by throwing cheerios and dirt from the only remaining houseplant on the floor – repeatedly. And nap time was pretty much thrown to the wind as he didn’t wake up till 10:30. His babblings started to sound like Stewie Griffin…”Yes, yes…your anguish sustains me”, or maybe it was just the sleep deprivation talking. I was heading into the living room when I suddenly found myself airborne thanks to the strategically placed copy of Maclean’s left on the floor by ‘someone’. Luckily, the soft part of the armchair broke my fall and my face bounced off the cushion, remarkable as the coffe table was mere inches away. My right hip didn’t fare so well, I felt severe pain when I went down and realized when I was eventually able to get up, that I had landed on a plastic glass and broken it to pieces.

Perhaps the scariest part of this whole experience was when I was lying on the floor trying to stop myself from screaming “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” I felt these little fingers softly patting my head. And I swear, what I heard was “There, there, Mommy, I see I didn’t factor in the distance you would fall against the angle in which your head would hit the coffee table…but next time, my sweet….next time….Buwahahaha”…

Paranoid? Perhaps…but you try dealing with a relentless toddler after no REM sleep for 2 days.