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Photo by Zainab Aamir from Pexels

On Being Human

The Writer Life

Making a Living

Outside the Four Walls

The 4 Most Important Things I Learned

Five years ago, I left a career in television news to instead pursue a career in marketing. I learned some valuable things during that time that I carried with me.

I will share those with you in a moment, but first, let me tell you a little about my former career. I worked at three different stations — two in Oregon and one in California.

I was never on camera (unless I happened to be in the background during a newsroom shot, which happened periodically). Every once in a while, a friend or family member would mention that they spotted…

When you find a way to make a little extra money online that works and actually pays decent, it’s worth sharing. Last year, I became a user experience (UX) tester for UserTesting, and quickly became a fan.

I get the opportunity to test websites and applications for top brands and give them valuable feedback. And then I get paid $10 for each testing session I complete (each one takes just 15 to 20 minutes of my time).

It’s a win-win.

How It Works

How a target audience intuitively navigates a brand’s website or application (on either a desktop or mobile device) is extremely…

We Just Go Slower

I actually grew up a skinny girl, and throughout my 20’s and mid-30’s, I remained relatively thin. When I was young, I never thought much about what I ate because no matter what I put in my body, I never really put on too many pounds. I was young and active, and my metabolism was strong.

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A photo of me (circa the mid-1990s) on the Pacific Crest Trail in Northern California (courtesy Scott Cheesman).

But Then I Got Older

But as happens to many of us as we age, that all changed at some point. My metabolism slowed as I got older, and I was forced to become less active as my body began hurting in places it never…

I am now a statistic. On Jan. 3, 2021 (just a few days after we officially closed the chapter on 2020), I became ill and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. The new year was not going to be kind to me, I discovered. Instead, I was about to get a crash course in experiencing COVID-19. Here is what I learned after testing positive…

#1 — The symptoms hit FAST

I remember waking up in the morning feeling like I might be coming down with something, and within just a few hours, it was hitting me like a freight train. Suddenly I could not keep my eyes…

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” — Thomas Mann

Agreed — writing is tough work, even for seasoned writers like me who have spent their entire career stringing words together for a living.

Tools help, and there are some simple ones I use that are quite useful. Some are new, some are old school, but they all help me improve my writing. Here is a list of my top five favorites and some bonus ones at the bottom of the article that I would like to share. Take a look:

1. Grammarly

I first noticed the adorably energetic three-legged dog one night while out for an evening stroll with my husband. Our walks are one way we fight the boredom of spending so much time at home since the coronavirus pandemic began. Spending time outside, even though we have to wear masks and be concerned about getting too close to others, keeps us sane.

We are fortunate to live in the beautiful city of Coronado, California, where the outside is plentiful. …

My college years are long past me now, but I remember being perpetually buried in reading and writing assignments. I studied English, which came with the territory, but I would throw in a few easier classes here and there to break up the workload.

I gravitated toward art history classes, mostly. I found it very relaxing to sit in an auditorium with the lights out, look at beautiful pieces of artwork on a screen, and jot down notes. It was a nice reprise from the rigors of my regular studies.

Those art classes are where I first heard the word…

Thirty years ago, when I first entered the professional working world, staying on task was so much easier. I kept a single piece of paper on my desk and jotted down a few important notes during the day, so I had reminders of what needed to be done. My workload was always manageable and I never really felt overwhelmed.

It was a much simpler time. In 1990, smartphones did not exist, computers ran on DOS, and we used large (and loud) dot matrix printers. …

I came into this world in 1972 — the same year that then U.S. President Richard Nixon came under fire amid the Watergate Scandal, NASA launched its Space Shuttle Program, and a gallon of gas cost just 55 cents.

My name, Shannon, is an Irish name meaning old and wise. It is quite apropos, considering I have always felt like an old soul with a need for solitary space to ponder and reflect. I am, at heart, a true introvert.

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Growing up, I was a painfully shy child who hid behind her mother’s legs if anyone tried to speak with…

Shannon Cheesman

Marketer By Day | Freelance Writer By Night at

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