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I’ve been writing commerce articles for half a decade now. When I first started, I answered every single PR message I got. Now, I receive an average of 140 cold e-mail pitches a day — and if I’m lucky, I respond to about three of them.

I don’t ignore the rest to be mean, or dismissive. I ignore the rest because I have a full (and specific) workload, and the vast majority of these pitches seem like complete shots in the dark.

That said, if you’re one of the few who manages to catch my attention and my loyalty, I’ll…

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By 9 years old, I knew I wanted to be a writer. By 18, I’d finished my first manuscript. And by 28, I’d landed an award-winning agent, nabbed the first seven spots on the New York Times’ Best Seller list due to my cult-favorite zombie-hobbit mashup series, and then I was asked to speak on Oprah.

Alright, so the first two things are true. The rest is still on my bucket list.

In actuality, any aspiring writer knows that traditional publishing is not easy. …

No matter what’s going on in your life, this mentality puts the ball back in your court.

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Last Friday around 4:00 p.m., I got a message on Slack. It was from the founder of a company that had just recruited me three months prior: “Hey Maria. I know you’re OOO for jury duty today, but can you hop on this call for a team meeting? Thanks.”

I knew in my gut that was it. After all, it was a relatively new startup — and no one schedules a call an hour before the weekend so they can tell you good news.

The company had folded.

Everyone was informed simultaneously, including the people who had been there since…

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I’ve always envied people in industries like mathematics and programming, and for one reason: in those fields, there’s generally a right answer, and there’s a wrong one.

For the rest of us — specifically those in creative industries — all of our work is left up to interpretation. Some people may like it and some people may hate it (and those on the latter end of the spectrum will undoubtedly make it known in the comments section). But most people fall somewhere in between. They’re indifferent.

As a result, it’s difficult for us to make an argument for our worth…

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My day job entails answering e-mails, attending team meetings, and writing articles.

If it sounds like your typical 9-to-5, that’s because it is — all except for one slight detail: I work from home 100% of the time, and yes, more often than not, I’m in yoga pants and a T-shirt.

Up until recently, work-from-home privileges were reserved for part-time employees and those who spent 30-some-odd years proving themselves at the firm. Now, forward-thinking companies (like the past two I’ve worked for) are trusting select people to perform 40-hour workweeks from anywhere. …

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Exactly a decade ago, I was sitting in my high-school guidance counselor’s office for a mandatory meeting about college. When she asked where I was in the process, I told her I’d already applied to four schools. I’d also already decided on a major: English.

“Are you planning on being a teacher?” she asked.

“No,” I said. “I’m going to be a writer.”

She forced a smile. “That’s a lovely dream, but you should really have a back-up. English teachers get paid pretty well and they get summers off.”

It’s 10 years later, and (knock on wood) I’ve never needed…

Maria Cassano

Writer & Editor — as seen in Bustle, Allure, The Daily Beast, Elite Daily, The Zoe Report, Mic, Lonny, Minutes, Thought Catalog, TheThings, Shareably, & CENE

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