my 10 favorite freelance pieces of 2017

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Last year, I wrote 119 freelance pieces (!!)

Some people assume my main job is writing. While that's definitely a pipe dream down the road, I actually work full-time for a healthcare company. Freelancing on the side is a ton of work, but I love it, and being able to produce this volume of work in a single year makes me feel pretty damn proud.

Here's a round-up my 10 favorite freelance pieces from 2017:

I Actually Work Out On My Lunch Break - Here's How I Make It Work, SELF.com. This was my first story for SELF, and so seemingly simple. I basically said to the editor: "Hey, lots of people seem surprised that I exercise over my lunch break most days. Any interest in that angle as a how-to?" Sold, and fun to write.

Here's What Parents Need to Know About Febrile Seizures, Lifehacker. One of my primary writing goals is to take something deeply personal and make it useful or relatable to others, whether they go through a similar experience or not. When my son had a febrile seizure, I knew nothing about it, and figured other parents had to be in the same boat. I probably pitched this to 3 or 4 other outlets before the parenting section of Lifehacker, called Offspring, picked it up.

Five Lessons I've Learned from Miscarriage, blog. Going through a miscarriage was tough, but writing about it felt okay. I've had others express surprise that I can share such things, and I understand that, but for me, writing is therapeutic. I'm glad I could write about this from the lens of "here's what I learned" versus "ow, ow, ow look at my bleeding heart and painful, sad story." Also, SO many individuals reached out to me to offer support or share their own stories of loss. As much as I did kinda know miscarriage happens to lots of people, all the time, this showed me how common it really is.

How Erin Oprea Went from Cleaning Houses to Training Carrie Underwood, The Everygirl. It's not every day you get to talk to a celebrity trainer! I had the privilege of working with Erin on a number of stories for different outlets, and this profile was incredibly fun to put together. She's a total badass with a crazy career arc, a genuine heart and a passion for helping people live their best lives without any of the bullshit.

10 Minutes of Yoga to Jumpstart Your Work Day, Work + Money. This story was entirely out of my wheelhouse. Even though I'm a yoga teacher, since I'm not regularly teaching right now, I typically work with other experts on yoga-related content. However, for this one, I had the chance to do a series of three stories on yoga, and with this one, collaborated with my dear friend Jami for photography and placed my little sister as the model, because her practice is amazing. We had the best time, and this particular one out of the series ended up hitting 200K views and being their top story of the month.

Why I Love Being a Working Mom, The Everygirl. I feel less sensitive about this now, but the first year into parenting, I seemed to experience this wave of assumption or insinuation that "good mothers stay home." It pissed me off, and that's why I wanted to write this piece. I firmly believe that ALL mothers need to do what works for them, based on what's in their hearts and what's feasible with their family (unfortunately, those two things don't always go together). For me, right now (and it could totally change down the road), I really enjoy working. I don't have to rag on stay-at-home-moms to feel good about my choice, either. This story garnered tons of comments and emails from other moms who said, "Thank you for reminding me I don't have to feel bad about my desire to work."

Making the Case for Female-Focused Investment Firms in the Midwest, Clay & Milk. Another one outside of my usual scope, which is a good reminder that as a writer, lots of "stretch" assignments are what help you grow. I didn't know anything about investment firms, let alone in the Midwest, let alone the ones owned by women. I learned so much from interviewing sources for this story and putting it together.

9 Ways to Get Involved with Local Politics, The Everygirl. This really served as my response to the 2016 election results, because I wanted to write something more political than usual, but also something instructive. Since I was trying to learn more about local politics personally, it seemed fitting to create one example of a guide for others. 

Why You Shouldn't Feel Guilty About Rest Days, Aaptiv. I write a LOT of content for Aaptiv on a monthly basis as a regular contributor, but this one stands out. Maybe because I remember the days of my 20s when I never gave myself permission to take rest days from working out. I thought I had to work out every single day to be healthy (or at the time, be skinny). The fact is, your body NEEDS TO REST. Let me shout that from the rooftops! You're supposed to rest, so be kind to yourself about it. Loved the sentiment of how this one turned out, and how passionate the trainers are/were about promoting rest days in general.

Whoa Baby! for BRIDES (print, Feb '18). Saved the best for last! Shocker: this one was my absolute favorite from last year, though it just recently got published. It pushed me creatively; I worked with a fantastic editor who asked for draft after draft after draft. It opened my eyes to how first-person essays in print happen (i.e., they take a reallyyyyy long time to come to fruition). It was the biggest freelance check I've ever gotten so far, and it happened because I saw an opportunity, raised my hand, and basically said, "I have a story to tell." I really advocated for myself on this one, and it turned out wonderfully. Also, buying a magazine in the grocery store or the bookstore that has something I wrote in it was essentially my childhood dream, so feeling great about checking that box at age 31.

Whew! If this year is anything like last, I'm excited to see what comes into play.