Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Freelance Writers

Thank God it’s Monday, again. I personally look forward to all Mondays, as they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you.



This week (the 11th-17th, for 2024) observes, among other things, Freelance Writers Appreciation Week; honoring those who entertain, inform, and educate us through their written works. Freelance writing was among’s 10 Lucrative Side Hustle Ideas to Boost Your Income… (for 2023).

There’s been concern over AI, replacing so many things, including writers. However, according to, “While concerns have been raised about AI’s potential to replace human workers, that is unlikely. Writers’ ideas are indispensable and, even with AI, their future is bright. AI should not be seen as a threat, but as a partner.” (Jun 21, 2023)

Some say AI’s just a tool to enhance creativity – not replace it – as it can’t replicate human feelings or emotions, nor can it generate them from others. Empathy, intuition, and imagination are qualities that freelance writers have and AI lacks. Mom was a freelance writer long before she became the Secret Recipes© DetectiveTM.

The internet revolutionized careers in freelance writing – as well as many other things. Freelancers can write blog posts for businesses or “ghostwrite” for others. They can also sell articles to magazines and newspapers, or write copy for websites, or pages/chapters for eBooks. There are so many options.

According to

‘Today, freelance writers work on projects like paper books, movie scripts, novels, memoirs, magazines, press releases, and newspaper columns. You’ll also find their work in almost every aspect of online sales and marketing: web content, sales copies, e-books, newsletters, articles, blogs, product descriptions, and even keynote speeches. They’re the genius artists who employ their creativity to create engaging content worth consuming.’

To start a freelance writing career – first, build the right skill set, if you don’t already have it; then choose the type of writing you want to do. Deciding on the right niche is a significant key to success. Then create a website and portfolio of writing samples. Posting positive reviews is also beneficial, for attaining clientele.

It’s additionally important to be active on social media, engaging others and promoting your skills. Freelancers are generally responsible for setting their own prices/rates. [A flyer that Mom mailed out (over 50 years ago – way before home internet) to various media sources is pictured below.]

Entry level freelance writing opportunities include creating a newsletter or brochure, articles for local news media, magazines, and/or marketing agencies. Covering the news for a special niche in a local paper or in a newsletter or writing reviews about places or happenings around town are great ideas for freelance writing.

There isn’t a lot to prevent you from being a freelancer. However, that’s not to say there aren’t going to be any barriers somewhere along the way. One’s ability to recognize, adapt, and overcome those barriers will often determine their success. I’ve recognized my biggest barrier to be a lack of self-confidence, which hinders many other things, like selling.

According to, the average freelance writer earns about $29 per hour. The average writing rate per word has grown exponentially since Mom first entered the biz. Her rate, pictured above equals one cent for every five words. By the way, according to, $1 earned in 1970 is worth $8.14 in 2024.

The consensus I gathered, in searching for average, freelance writing rates, is that beginner writers make, per word, about five to 20 cents, 30 to 50 cents for intermediate writers, and $1to $1.50 for experienced writers. However, other factors go into rates besides experience; like subject matter, for example.

Mom’s freelance columns, before and during her time as the Secret Recipes© DetectiveTM, were syndicated under various titles, including “Food for Thought”, “No Laughing Matter”, and “Minding the Hearth”, to name a few. Mom was initially inspired to be a writer, after watching the 1946 Warner Brothers movie, “Devotion”, about the Bronte sisters.

That’s when she started serious journaling – on a daily basis – writing about her dreams, ideas, observations, and faith; filling hundreds of journals, for well-over 70 years – from the time she was 10 years old until she physically couldn’t, shortly before she died, over 6 years ago. Writing, to Mom, was definitely a DEVOTION! It was her “happy place”.

Incidentally, I plan to open a new tab on this site, soon, for Mom’s freelance articles. Plus, in March, for National Craft Month, I’m launching a new tab for her crafts; as crocheting, particularly, was another one of her favorite happy escapes. In fact, Mom wrote a satirical article about crafts, as a hobby, that’ll be the opening piece for the “Crafts” tab.


Since yesterday was National Inventors’ Day, I want to also point out that it was, during her time as a freelance writer, when Mom invented her special niche (copycat cookery), in the food industry. She claimed it was preparation, meeting opportunity.


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 6). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)]


I DO, WITH RECIPES, what Rich Little does with voices! Imitating the ‘Secret Recipes’ of the food industry has been an exciting experience for me. The critics felt that ‘fast foods’ and restaurant dishes were not worth the effort to duplicate at home, when you can just as easily buy the products already prepared!

The critics who contend that ‘fast foods’ are ‘junk foods’ and not good for us, have probably never prepared these foods themselves. Certainly, they have no access to the closely guarded recipes from the food companies that created these dishes, as there are only a few people in each operation that are permitted the privilege of such information! So, 99% of the critics’ speculations are based on their own opinions.

To know what these dishes contained, they’d have to be better chemists than I, as I have tested over 20,000 recipes with only the finished product as my guide to determine what each contained. ‘Fast foods’ are not ‘junk foods’ unless they’re not properly prepared. Any food that is poorly prepared (and just as badly presented) is junk!

Unfortunately, ‘fast food’ has carried a reputation, by default, of containing ingredients that are ‘harmful’ to us. Yet, they contain the same ingredients as those foods served in the ‘finer’ restaurants with wine stewards, linen tablecloths, candlelight, coat-check attendants, and parking valets; which separate the plastic palaces of ‘fast food’ from the expensive dining establishments.

One ‘eats’ at McDonald’s, but ‘dines’ at The Four Seasons. Steak and potato or hamburger and French fries – the ingredients are practically the same. How they are prepared makes the difference!

In the early 1970s, I was trying to juggle marriage, motherhood, homemaking and a newspaper column syndicated through Columbia Features, when it seemed obvious to me that there wasn’t a single cookbook on the market that could help me take the monotony out of mealtime. There was not a single recipe in the newspaper’s food section that did not smack of down-home dullness!

‘Okay,’ they said at the newspaper I worked for, ‘YOU write the column on foods and recipes that YOU think would really excite the readers and make them happy!’ I did, but that didn’t make the Editors happy, because it made their [food industry] advertisers miserable.

When I was told that I’d have to go back to monotonous meatloaf and uninteresting side-dishes that made mealtime a ritual rather than a celebration or pick up my check, I told them to ‘MAIL it to me!’ I went home to start my own paper!

It was probably a dumb thing to do, amid an economic recession with the highest rate of unemployment I had ever experienced, but it was worth the risk. I was a dedicated writer that new someone had to give homemakers something more than what they were being given in the colored glossy magazines, where a bowl of library paste could even be photographed to look appetizing!

…They laughed! They doubted! They even tried to take me to court when some famous food companies insisted that I stop giving away their secrets. They couldn’t believe me when I said that I did NOT know, nor did I want to know, what they put in their so-called secret recipes.

I did know that there are very few recipes that can’t be duplicated or imitated at home. And we could do them for much less than purchasing the original product. I proved… it can be and should be done!

Famous foods from famous places have intrigued good cooks for a long time… There is speculation among the critics as to the virtues of re-creating, at home, the foods that you can buy ‘eating out’, such as the fast food fares of the popular franchise restaurants. To each, his own! Who would want to imitate ‘fast food’ at home?

I found that over a million people who saw me demonstrate replicating some famous fast food products [the FIRST time I was] on The Phil Donahue Show (July 7, 1981) DID – and their letters poured in at a rate of over 15,000 a day for months on end!



Mom always used to say that being a writer isn’t what she did but, rather, who she was. It was her essence and her passion. She also loved to mentor others who were interested in writing, as well.

Like many others, I never thought I’d see the day when Mom would run out of words. But her words live on forever, at least in print (and on videos); which is why I’m working on a new tab for her freelance articles.

I’ve heard from many people since I started these blog posts in September 2018, who’ve told me that they still have their copies of Mom’s books and/or newsletters and how special they are. I pour through my own copies of her books and newsletters all the time, as they never cease to inspire me in so many different ways – writing, crafting, cooking, etc.


In honor of National Hot Breakfast Month and Canned Food Month, here‘s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Beef Feeder Corned Beef Hash (Quick)”; as seen in one of her first self-published cookbooks, Eating Out at Home (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; September 1978, p. 22). Dad LOVED this dish (before he had to start watching his carb-intake).



P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…


February observes, among other things… National Fasting February, Black History Month, Great American Pies Month, Bake for Family Fun Month, National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Library Lover’s Month, and National Snack Food Month.

This second week of February (for 2024) observes… Random Acts of Kindness Week, National Kraut and Frankfurter Week, Great American Pizza Bake, and National Jell-O Week.

Today is also… National Plum Pudding Day. Plus, as the second Monday in February (2024), it’s also… National Clean Out Your Computer Day and National Football Hangover Day (which is always the day after Super Bowl).

Tomorrow is… National Cheddar Day and National Tortellini Day. Plus, as the day before the start of Lent (2024), it’s also… Fat Tuesday, Paczki Day, Fastnacht Day, and National Pancake Day (particularly at IHOP). Here’s a re-share of Mom’s imitation for “Pancakes Like Perkins’”…


February 14th is… National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day and Valentine’s Day. Plus, (for 2024) it’s also… Ash Wednesday, which changes annually. [NOTE: Lent runs Feb. 14th through March 28th, for 2024.]

Thursday, February 15th, is… National Gumdrop Day and National Wisconsin Day.

February 16th is… National Almond Day.

Saturday, February 17th, is also… National Cabbage Day and National Random Acts of Kindness Day.

Sunday, February 18th, is… National Crab Stuffed Flounder Day, and National Drink Wine Day.


…7 down, 45 more to go!

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