Category: WAHM

Where’d you get that name?

Somewhere in the blogosphere I read a post about the origin of blog names.

I thought I’d share with you how I came up with Crayon Writer.

It was pretty difficult at first, since so many good domains are taken. But I knew I wanted to talk about writing in the title, and I knew that my being a mother was important too.

Even though it was difficult to come up with, the concept is actually pretty simple.

I’m a writer who’s the mother of a toddler. When I need to write something in a hurry, I can never find a pen that works. So what do I reach for? A crayon. They’re everywhere. If I stick my hand in the couch, I’m sure to find one quickly.

So there you go. I write with crayons because my toddler uses crayons. I’m a crayon writer. And proud of it. The only problem is that my daughter gets upset when I use her crayons. “That’s MY crayon!”

Sigh…. Maybe I should change the name to Imaginary Pen Writer (LOL!).

How did you come up with your blog’s name?

New business venture

Freelance writing is definitely still part of my life, and I’ve recently decided to add another business to my life.

I strongly want to have a flexible schedule so I can spend time with my daughter. So a home-based network marketing business is a great fit for me right now.

I might have to start another blog now, but the next few months are sure to be an adventure.

Without going into much detail about the business (I’ll save that for another post or another blog), I would like to direct my loyal readers to the Donation button in the left-most side panel. Starting a new business takes a little capital, and I don’t think I’ve ever directly asked for folks to take notice of it.

So if you’re so inclined, click on it and donate away! Any amount will be a great help so I can hit the ground running. If not, no worries.

Just keep reading Crayon Writer, comment when you feel the urge, and enjoy!

Have you ever worked in a network marketing/direct sales business?

Moving mayhem

Well, it’s time for me and my daughter to move to a bigger apartment. The next couple of weeks should be–interesting.

The good news is we’re moving from a tiny one-bedroom to a roomy two-bedroom with a cute backyard (with our own cacti). My daughter doesn’t know she’s really a Georgia peach. She just adores cactus. I’ll be happy because a natural backyard will have lots of bird life. There’s a honeysuckle plant (which will attract hummingbirds), and a neighbor has a feeder with quail and other visitors.

The bad news is that I’ll have to be without an Internet connection for 3 days! Gasp! That’s an eternity. I’ll be frequenting the local coffee shops with free wi-fi, but it’ll be a pain. Then again, moving is a pain anyway.

I’m considering getting a wireless provider so I can use the Internet anywhere I go with my laptop. It would come in handy for working while I’m watching my daughter play at a park or whatever. If you have this type of service, what do you recommend?

Diving into daycare

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Photo credit: Renee Yarter

Well, I finally jumped into the deep end. I enrolled my daughter, just three months shy of three, in a daycare center. She only went the past two days, but it’s such a difficult thing to do.

My daughter’s been home with me pretty much every day since she was born, and this separation is tough on us.

So why am I doing it?

I mentioned it’s time for me to get a day job so I can amass some money to properly fund my freelance business. And there’s almost no way to look for a job with a busy toddler at home. Her previous sitters, close family, aren’t able to watch her as much as they’d like, so here we are.

So far it’s okay. She tells me she likes school, and she clearly likes playing with all the kids.

But tonight she woke up from a bad dream, saying something about, “I want to go outside to see Mommy. I want to go outside. Where’s Mommy?” Almost broke my heart. The first day I dropped her off at the playground when everyone was out playing, and then I picked her up later when they were outside. So she firmly believes that Mommy is outside, and that if she just goes outside she’ll see me. So far it’s been true. Today I picked her up on their second playground outing.

Both days the teachers said she really wanted to go outside and kept asking to go. They assumed it was for playing purposes. I wondered. Now I know.

Luckily I only have her enrolled part-time, but I

may have to ease her into it a little more slowly. She’s okay, and isn’t crying much, but when she heads out to the playground you can tell that she’s looking for me and getting visibily upset when she doesn’t see me (I was peeking through a window to see how she was doing).

Long story shorter: Daycare is going to be rather hard for us to deal with. I feel horrible for abandoning my baby, but I also need to provide a secure home for her. Maybe when I get back on my feet we can go back to homeschooling, but for now daycare is a necessary part of our lives.

What about you? How has daycare affected you, your business, and your child(ren)?

Time to stay on task

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Over the years I haven’t owned a watch because I never really pay much attention to time. I get up when the sun (or my daughter) wakes me up, and I kind of just know what time it is.

But if I were to finally get a watch, I’d definitely be sure it includes a stopwatch feature. With constant interruptions from my daughter, I need to be able to literally stop time so I can accurately time a business event (versus getting up and changing a diaper).

Why is it important for freelancers, or any business owner, to properly keep track of their time?

Whenever you take on a project, even if it’s work done for your own business (like accounting, marketing, or even brainstorming), it’s crucial that you know how long it’s taking you.

When you do work for a client, keeping track of how long it takes for each task will help you price future projects more accurately. Be sure to include time spent on the actual writing. But you also have to take into account researching, editing, talking to the client, and more.

Keeping track of time spent on your own business should be accounted for also. This way you can see more clearly how much time it really takes to run your business. Use this information to adjust your hourly rates. You’ll quickly be out of business if you only consider your billable hours when setting your rates.

How do you keep track of your time?

Can children learn writing and reading from television?

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Before my daughter was born, I decided we would not watch T.V. at all. I heard all about the studies that said T.V. was bad for kids, that there’s no real interaction, that it may affect their ability to pay attention, and other scare tactics.

For us, television has been a sanity saver. There are times when I can’t be my daughter’s only source of entertainment, and we both need a break from each other. My daughter gets to visit places she’ll never see otherwise, she gets to see all kinds of people, and she’s introduced to lots of different concepts. For instance, she’s never seen snow in real life. The other day I pointed out that there was snow on the mountains, and she said, “I can ski on that snow!” I don’t ski. I don’t talk about skiing. She learned that on television.

I tape record educational shows for us to watch together, and we interact with them together sometimes. Our huge favorite is The Backyardigans. While there isn’t a teaching curriculum, she (and I) love to sing and dance together. When she was younger we watched Teletubbies.

Why do I mention this here? Lately I’ve found some shows on PBS that are wonderful programs that teach reading and writing. My educational favorite is Super Why. My daughter watches them read words, sound out letters and letter blends, write letters, and sing the alphabet. I find her telling me, “S. Sssssssss,” or “Tuh Tuh. T!” I love how she’s getting introduced to phonics. She answers their word questions, sings the alphabet with them, and pays close attention when they’re spelling out words.

While I’m still working at home without daycare, television is also a way for me to get a few minutes to concentrate on work.

So if you’re looking for another way to teach your toddler reading and writing, or if you’re a work-at-home parent, maybe rethink the whole television ban idea. Television might not be so bad after all, when used wisely.

Teaching grammar and writing to young children

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Do you need a reason to improve your grammar and writing? If you have children, or plan to soon, you have at least one great reason.

My daughter will be 3 years old in about 3 months. Though I know that genetics plays a role in her incredible language ability, I also credit her skills to my parenting style.

One thing I do is talk to her constantly, in regular language. I use prepositions, adjectives, adverbs, contractions, etc. I make it a point to tell her what things are, how they work, and I use a lot of words to explain. I also give her definitions.

My point is that my daughter uses almost perfectly correct grammar when she speaks. Sometimes she’ll say “me” instead of “I”, and of course she’s no English expert, but it’s amazing to watch her learn English everyday. If I didn’t know how to speak properly, and if I didn’t take the time to actually talk to her, she wouldn’t be able to communicate as coherently as she does.

Hand in hand with grammar is writing. I made sure to introduce and point out the alphabet to my daughter early, and we often discuss letters and words. When we’re playing with crayons, I often wrote letters for her, so it’s no surprise that she likes to make letters as best she can (she’s pretty good at writing an A, H, V, and U.)

Another excellent tool is right in front of you. I’ve allowed my daughter to watch me type, and I let her type letters too. This helped her learn not only her alphabet, but also punctuation marks and numbers. She often tells me, “Let me type my name, Mommy.” Right now she just types whatever letters strike her fancy, but she has fun pretending she’s writing words.

All of these everyday activities will help my daughter become a good writer, speaker, and reader.

So if you need to brush up on your basic rules of grammar, or if you never thought it was important to speak to babies and toddlers, give it a second thought. It really does matter.

Just this morning my daughter told me, “I hear a train. That’s strange. Hey! Train. Strange. Train. Strange!” I made sure to tell her that that’s called rhyming. I’ll let you know in a few years when she’s written her first book. 🙂

Note: Look for more stories about my daughter’s amazing talents. I’ll be talking about her more and more, or I might just have to start another blog that’s not about writing.

Want to build your dream home business? Here are some tools.

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Are you a work-at-home parent? Even if you’re a home-based entrepreneur without children, this resource list is gold.

The list includes 100 resources, from articles to blogs (mine is included…very nice), to networks and miscellaneous information. Everything’s online, so there’s no need to run to the library.

Even if you don’t have time right now, just go to The Bootstrapper’s site and bookmark the WAHM’s Toolbox. This is a list you don’t want to ignore.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

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One of the perks of owning a home-based business is that you set your own hours. You can work late at night, early in the morning, or during “regular” hours. It’s up to you!

But when are you most productive? It probably depends on the task you have to complete, and also on your lifestyle.

For me, mornings are best for dealing with clients and for marketing. I work with clients all over the country, so I need to be able to contact people who live on the east coast. If I wait too late, they’re usually gone for the day. I’m most productive in the morning hours once I’ve woken up, eaten, and cleaned up.

My writing is best done late at night. I’m no good during the middle of the afternoon. That’s when I get overcome with sleepiness. So I’m kind of a night owl, and I get my second wind after 9 p.m. This might be because my daughter is blissfully asleep then, and I can’t write well when she’s up running around.

Blogging activities (replying to comments, dropping Entrecards, writing posts) are another story. When my daughter’s at home I can usually take care of most blogging tasks, but sometimes I wait until the wee hours of the night/morning.

What are your most productive times for the jobs you do at home?

Crayon Writer is open for business

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(Photo by Andrew Beierle)

In the beginning, Crayon Writer was intended to market my freelance writing business. It still is. But it’s become a bit more, and I now consider this blog to be a business itself.

Interested in joining this venture? There are several ways.

First, I’m adding a Satisfied Readers blogroll for people and companies who’d like to pay me for my “crayon writing.” Some call it a donation, but I figure that you should only donate if you think my words are worth paying for.

Or perhaps you feel strongly, like I do, that society benefits from mothers staying with their children as long as possible, and you’d like to support that cause.

Either way, if you send at least $10.00 using the convenient “Donation” button (found in the sidebar), your link will be added to the “Satisfied Readers” blogroll. Just so the list doesn’t get too long, I will have to remove links sometimes (first in, first out), but your link will be active for at least 24 hours (probably longer). I will only link to sites that are PG, though, so if it’s offensive to me I won’t post the link (no refunds for donations, though).

Email me the following information when you’ve donated $10:

  1. Tell me what anchor text you want for your link
  2. Tell me the URL for the link

Want to have a lengthier, more visually appealing advertisement on Crayon Writer?

You can buy advertising space or a review. The full details are on the Advertise page, complete with convenient buttons for you to make immediate purchases. Reviews are just $50, while 125×125 ads are just $40 per month. Click here to reserve your space or buy a review now.

Finally, take a look at some of the products in the sidebar. I have an affiliate partnership with the products I recommend, so if you’re in the market for them please buy them by clicking on them at Crayon Writer.

That’s it! Crayon Writer is officially open for business. If you’re ever in need of great writing for your business or blog, click on the tab for Copywriting Services. My freelance business is still accepting new clients too.