Celebrating a Milestone: Freelance Catholic Writing Success

💲This month marks a significant milestone for me as my freelance work has exceeded my “day job” monthly income.

How did this happen?

It’s much simpler (not necessarily easier) than you think.

In 2015, I started my blogging journey, which served as a way to cope with the grief of losing my unborn child due to miscarriage and to continue my mission of spreading knowledge about the Catholic faith.

Writing has been a lifelong passion for me. 📝

As a kid I developed a deep love for reading I used to visit the library weekly, borrowing 20-30 books.

The stories that I read fed my creativity and led to my desire to write.

At the age of 7 I started writing adventures on my mom’s typewriter.

In college, I fostered the skills of reading and writing when I earned a Bachelor’s degree in history (and minor in philosophy).

I completed my Master’s Degree in theology in 2014.

But my higher education credentials aren’t what got me freelance work.

Sure it helped but it wasn’t the main reason.

Instead of merely talking about my expertise, I demonstrated it through consistent daily writing.

It’s easy to tell others about the degrees, programs, or certifcations you amassed.

But it’s more effective to SHOW that you know the subject matter.

And how do you show others?

In the case of my field (content writing), it meant “showing” up everyday.

Over the past 8 years, I’ve been writing daily, whether on my website, through social media, in my notebooks, or in the margins of the books I was reading. 📚📖

I also proactively reached out to websites in my niche, writing guest posts while managing “The Simple Catholic” blog.

Even those numerous unfinished drafts played a role in my freelance success.

One unique aspect of my work is my ability to connect almost anything back to the Catholic Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Here’s a few things I can tie back to Catholicism:

🦔 Hedgehogs

🙂 Tetherball

🪃 Boomerangs

✨ Grand Admiral Thrawn

🖇️ The Office

🌟 Kaleidoscopes

♟️ Board games

🏈 Paper football

⚾ Baseball

📦 Cardboard boxes

I even captured the attention of a client who saw a post I wrote about John the Baptist and eating locusts (with honey of course)!

Success occurs when your passion intersects with your skill and you hone your craft over time.

Repetition is soooooo key.

If you’re a Catholic small business owner seeking engaging, faithful Catholic content for your website, reach out to me yesterday (or today) if you’re behind schedule. 🙂

Email me at chicoine.matt@live.com to learn more.

Thank you for sharing!

How to Activate Your Small Catholic Business’s Uniqueness

Do you want your business to stand out in the sea of Internet-noise?

Be like John the Baptist. Do something different.

Eat locusts with a dab of honey. Record yourself chomping on these crunchy bugs. 😋

Don’t worry, I said you can have honey on it.

Now, if aren’t near a grassy field you can order dried locusts online (link in the comments).

😳

🦗

🙄

You might be reading this thinking, “Surely, you must be kidding!?”

I’m only half-kidding— about the locusts.

*Reader breathes a sigh of relief*

But I was serious about being LIKE John the Baptist.

Do something different.

I mean with your blogging strategy on your website.

“But we post once a month.”

We live in a fast-paced world. And it’s weird.

Heck, people video record themselves eating things much stranger than locusts (and in a much greater volume than John the Baptist did with those bugs)

Posting once a month isn’t enough to distinguish your business from every other one.

Going back to weirdness…

Last month, the priest at my local parish talked about how we need to keep the weirdness in Catholicism. This was in the context of our Corpus Christi procession.

Being weird isn’t bad.

It captures people’s attention.

John was weird with his Nazarite vows and yelling “Repent” or “Behold, the Lamb of God”.

And if you have a small Catholic business, we are compelled to preach the oddness of the Gospel.

This doesn’t mean making up new doctrines or stretching the truth.

But it does mean being different.

And if you don’t have a current blog on your website the first step to being different is starting one.

I provide blog writing services for small Catholic businesses.

Reach out to me if you want your business to stand out and attract new customers. More details by clicking on: https://thesimplecatholic.blog/writing-services/

And the best part?

I won’t ask you to eat locusts…unless you want with them with honey. 🍯

Thank you for sharing!

3 Tips to Write with Ease

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Editor’s Note: Post originally publiched on February 20, 2019.


British author J.K. Rowling declared, “The wonderful thing about writing is that there is always a blank page waiting. The terrifying thing about writing is that there is always a blank page waiting.” Writers since the beginning of time faced the double-edged sword the joy of creation from words and the fear of writer’s block. Some days it seems that words cannot be typed quick enough as phrases, sentences, and paragraphs already exist in your mind. Other times crafting a mere word or phrase is as painful as getting a tooth pulled at the dentist!

ouch-that-hurt-meme

Whether you currently are in a state of inspiration or at a standstill in your writing here are three tips to enhance the ability to write more naturally and effortlessly.

Read, Read, Read— Feed Your Mind

The great American author William Faulkner advocated for the importance of reading, “Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out.”

I’ve found that reading a lot leads to effortless writing, without any strain. The mind needs a steady stream of information, like the body needs a balanced meal. Writing different genres is crucial for growth. I read comics for creativity and Catherine of Siena’s dialogues for spirituality and intellect.

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Reflection 

Another tip to develop more natural and effortless writing is to make time to reflection on the stuff you read. The Greek philosopher Aristotle purported, ““Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Without proper time to examine yourself and the ideas that you read about it gets difficult to organize them into coherent thoughts. Among the best times for reflecting on a post that I want to write about occurs in the car. Using the minutes between drives to work, the grocery store, or other errands I ponder how I want to organize the essential points of an article that I am working on. Even a few minutes of reflection helps me write at a quicker rate and with less resistance!

Passion and Purpose

After feeding your mind with plenty of information and reflecting on the material that you want to write about the third tip I use to make my writing more effortless includes a passion and clear objective. Why are you writing? Is it for an increased amount of exposure and social media fame or is your reason deeper?

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I created The Simple Catholic blog to find joy in life on my journey to Heaven. Flannery O’Connor said, “I write to discover what I know.” Through faith, I know that freedom from sin and death comes from following the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

pablo meaning.jpg

My secondary goal is to help people find joy in this life and the next. Jesus said loving God and neighbors are the greatest commandments (Matthew 22:34-40). Prioritizing God, others, and myself brings joy to all aspects of life. This joy is meant to be shared with readers and passed on to friends and family.

Summing Up

Filling my mind with a variety of ideas, taking time to analyze that information, and remembering my original mission for becoming a writing has all contributed to helping me write more naturally, more honestly, and more effortlessly. I hope that these tips help you in your writing endeavors as well. Please feel free to share these tips to your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors.


“All for one and one for all” Alexander Dumas

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  Mahatma Gandhi

Thank you for sharing!

Unleash Your Unique Writing Voice: Engage and Stand Out!

💡 When you find your voice in writing you will grab the attention of those you want to work with…

and repel those you don’t want to.

Bonus benefit for finding your voice in copywriting and crafting your message for your niche audience??

You sound like less of a generic-humorless robot.

Making is that much tougher for you to lose work due to #aicontent.

Here’s three simple things I did to form my unique voice for The Simple Catholic blog and my brand:

1️⃣ Write the way you talk

I love Catholic theology, comics, and The Office so it became natural for me to combine those ideas together in my writing and social media posts.

This combination inspired me to create several memes that conveyed information about the Catholic faith but with a humor-angle.

2️⃣ Pivot to your expertise

While I have a Masters Degree in Catholic theology, I have learned an immeasurable amount from my decade-plus years of experience as a Catholic dad.

My four kids (and even my unborn children who died via miscarriage) taught me so much— and they are awesome content-generators!

(on numerous occasions I have posted about my kids’ shenanigans at Mass including an incident on Palm Sunday about my three-year-old being concerned Peter chopping off Malchus’ ear).

I rebranded my blog sometime in 2017 from “Prayer, Recreation, and Organization” to “The Simple Catholic”.

I did this because I wanted to communicate the truths of our faith in a simple manner that allowed people to be more open to wanting to learn more.

Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

3️⃣ You become what you consume

The people you spend time with, the books you read and the activities you do on a frequent basis shape your habits.

This isn’t any earth-shattering news.

I have formed my unique voice for my brand through the time I spend learning from saints like Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Philip Neri, and Louis de Montfort.

Some of the most unique and inspired content have come during Mass.

After the liturgy ends, I wrote notes to myself on my phone to remind myself to develop the thought-seeds further.

Plus, I have spent more time reading (and replying) to comments from my followers and I have discovered they enjoy my funny posts that teach the faith the most…so I have doubled down on Catholic-informative-funny posts.

Let’s Recap

When I have started away from this strategy my voice falters and it is easier to fall prey to writing generic content (i.e. the stuff that gets easy likes on LinkedIn).

✍️ Write how you talk

💪 Lean into your strengths

🧠 Be cognizant of what you consume

Follow this basic three-step path to find your voice and create unboring and vibrant content that resonates with your audience.

How do you shape your unique voice that captures your audience’s attention?

Share in the comments section ⤵️

Thank you for sharing!

Boost Your Catholic Business: Professional Writing Services

Small Catholic business in need of content creation help

Dear beloved small Catholic business owners and solopreneurs,

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always. We know that time is a precious resource that’s not renewable, and oftentimes it can feel like there’s only 24 minutes in a day instead of 24 hours. As you juggle the many responsibilities of running a small business, it can be challenging to find the time and energy to create compelling content that resonates with your audience.

But fear not, dear brothers and sisters, for help is at hand. As a professional writer and content creator, I offer my services to you with joy and enthusiasm. I understand the importance of creating high-quality blog posts and content that engages and inspires your customers. With my help, you can free up more time to focus on other important aspects of your business while still creating content that delights and informs your audience.

Whether you need help with blog writing, social media posts, email newsletters, or any other type of content creation, I am here to serve you. My services are specifically designed for small Catholic businesses like yours, and I am committed to helping you achieve your business goals with creativity and excellence.

So, dear friends, let us work together to build up the kingdom of God through our small businesses. May our content be a beacon of light in the darkness, a source of hope and inspiration for all who encounter it. And may the Holy Spirit guide us in all that we do, now and forevermore.

Email me today (at chicoine.matt@live.com) for engaging Catholic content!

Sincerely,

Your fellow servant in Christ

Thank you for sharing!

Detective Daddy Episode 4: The Descent into Darkness

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Characters:

Detective Daddy: Me

Muffin Miscreant [mentioned]: Avila

Setting:

Three years after the events of Detective Daddy Episode 3: Shenanigans Infect Us All.

Detective image

“You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

—Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight (2008)

Time is a crazy thing. You can’t wait to grow up and a day feels like a year. But when you get older time seems to speed up. Years turn into weeks. Weeks into days. Hours fly by in a minute. Yet memories don’t always fade. In some “cases” thoughts blaze in the mind while darkening the heart.

Three Long Years

“It’s been a long three years,” he thought. So much potential and promise existed in the Time Before the Events. New work. A training partner. Finally, a decrease in shenanigans. Things were at an all-time high for the former sleuth. After years of study and case-work, Detective Daddy solved the greatest case of his career: MuffinGate.

It pushed him to the limit, or what he thought was his limit, and nearly crumbled his confidence in his caper-skills. Persistence and hyper-focus were his superpowers. Following the muffin-crumbs led the detective to make an amazing discovery. The Muffin Miscreant and the Coffee Culprit were the same individual. Turns out the Detective was too focused on solving cases for the public he couldn’t keep his own home in order as the Muffin Miscreant was his own offspring!

This revelation pushed Detective Daddy to a crossroads in his career. He decided to hang-up his gumshoes and deerstalker in place of library trips and piggyback rides. Fatherhood allowed the detective to enjoy family life while also keeping his creativity and problem solving skills sharp. He gained a promotion at a local grocery center and worked the night shift. This allowed his wife and him the ability to have a parent present at all times in the house.

Then the Events began to happen. These began with a global pandemic that upset much existing systems. Panic set in. Hope seemed to dissolve faster than baking soda in vinegar.

Detective Daddy fell back on his old mindset as a way to approach this “After the Events” worldview: logic, deduction, and investigation. “There must be a reasonable way to solve these problems (ours and the world’s)”, the former sleuth told his wife. This sentence came up time and time again. It turned from a single thought into a mantra. And from a mantra into a madness…

To be continued.

Related Links

Thank you for sharing!

5 Actionable and Simple Tips to Help Parents Write (Right) Now

“But I don’t have anything interesting to say.” “I am tired exhausted from work and household duties.” “I just cannot take time away from my family.” “This is going to add an additional burden on my spouse.” “Honey, there is literally no time. We both have full time and three kids to take of when we get home.”

These were some of the excuses I used in the past whenever I pondered a pursuit in a career in freelance writing. We have a finite amount of time each day. 24 hours. Doctors tell us at least a 1/3 of that should be used for sleeping. That leaves only16 hours a day at our disposal. Add in a full-time job, children and all the various school activities they are in, and meal time. Our time starts disappearing faster than a dozen eggs on sale at the store.

How to write and raise a family?

This article is specifically geared toward parents who want to develop a career in writing. As a father to four children ages 11,9,6, and 4, I completely understand the scheduling struggle. It might be more accurate to call it appointment acrobatics! I am also the husband of an elementary school teacher. Anyone who is married to or has a family member or friend who is an educator knows that profession involves A LOT of time—investing in lesson planning, parent meetings, professional development sessions, and staying up to do on current curriculum. Additionally, two of children have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Autism is a social communication disorder. We have weekly adaptive aquatics lessons for our six year old. We have also had to invest an incalculable amount of hours into research, therapy, and home reinforcement over the past several years.

Bottom line is I understand that life presents you many challenges that take up the vast majority of the day. It is not impossible, nor even merely improbable to start writing and creating content.

Martin Luther King Jr. once declared, “If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t walk run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then , but by all means keep moving.” While you may not be able to soar now you can take action. Move towards your goal of being a writer! The tips in this article come from my experience and have proven to have worked for my impossibly busy schedule. Let’s now jump into these five actionable and simple strategies to help you write now!

Be prepared to sacrifice

“Wait! I thought you said these were actionable and simple steps. Right away you are asking me to give up something,” you might be thinking now. As much as this fact hurts to hear, it is necessary to learn. To love something [and someone] it involves a sacrifice. Foregoing the latest Netflix original series, shopping spree, or having to say “no” to one of your kids activities will be painful. I struggled mightily with watching just one episode of the latest series so I could have time to write daily.

Since my decision to leave my full-time job to pursue writing as a career, I have made several sacrifices: our family gave up eating fast food, limited television time, and I will be working a night job to help the bills until I can write full-time from home. This decision was not made lightly. Writing proved to be healing and therapeutic as reached a low point in my life in 2015. If after some deliberation you realize your gift to the world is to write, realize this tremendous joy does come with a price—sacrifice. But it is well worth it.

Narrow and Nest into a Niche

A second tactic to help you write now is to find a niche topic to write about. Ask yourself the following questions: What topic can I talk about for 30 minutes without needing any preparation? What subjects am I already an expert on? Select your writing niche based on either or both of the answers to those questions. My expertise is Catholic theology. I have also developed an interest in writing about anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Finding a niche does not always happen overnight. Yet, you can still start the process of discovering your writing niche now!

Find Five Minutes

Finding time in the day to write can be challenging. I get it! Parenting is incredibly tough. Kids require physical, emotional, intellectual supports to grow and thrive. We all want our kids to grow up into mature and productive citizens. Some days all hell breaks loose. The children turn into frenzied creatures—especially during a full moon! Other times, the children coordinate an executed staggered schedule attack to ensure that you and your spouse never get more than 2 hours consecutive that night.

Don’t let that deter you from your dream to write. Find just 5 minutes per day to write. Schedule it at the exact same time and place in your house to journal or type out your thoughts. If your life is a bit more hectic, allow for flexibility of that 5 minutes to occur at various times. Always make sure you write for an absolute minimum of 5 minutes. When your routine is set, up your time to 10, 15, 30 minutes, or to 1 hour. Consistency is absolutely necessary for traction towards your goal. Move towards your goal of writing a bit each every.

Consume Content Daily

Another simple strategy to develop your writing skills is to consume content from your writing niche daily. Doctors prescribe patients to eat a and balanced nutrition. That same is true for content creators. Creativity does not occur in isolation. Read books, listen to podcasts, watch videos, connect with experts in your desired field of study on LinkedIn.

Use those short drives dropping the kids off at school, running errands, or returning home to listen to podcast episodes or an audio book about your niche subject. During those rare occasions when the kids actually nap or go to bed on time read a book for a few minutes. I have been starting to take a book to the park—even reading just a page or two daily will help build your knowledge in the long run!

Repeat—Key is Consistency

If you made it to this point of the article without interruption I want to congratulate you! Thank you for taking take out of your busy schedule to further your desire to write. My final strategy to help you write right now is simple—repeat strategies 1-4 daily! If you are running low on energy or motivation please message me on LinkedIn or email me at chicoine.matt@live.com. I would love to help you through any scheduling obstacles and mental roadblocks.

Related Links

The Origin Story of The Simple Catholic

3 Ways to Stay Relevant as a Catholic Blogger

Thank you for sharing!