The history behind a minute Simpsons reference

Fox Studios, The Simpsons

“Kippers for breakfast, Helga? Is it St. Swithin’s Day already?”

Though I first saw episode “Bart of Darkness” when I was 9, Bart’s cockney accented request has stayed with me for the past 27 years. It’s one of many references that went over my head as a kid and now, I’m going back to find the real story behind some of my favorite moments.

What Is St. Swithin’s Day?

If you’re from the UK, this is probably obvious. But if you first saw the episode as a kid in pre-internet America (okay, not…


It’s not as bad as you think.

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Writers have active imaginations (obviously). And those imaginations get quite a workout after they send an article pitch to an editor. When you send in a pitch, it’s easy to imagine the worst. That the editor hated your pitch so much, they’ll frame your photo on the wall for dart practice and plan their revenge.

Really, rejection isn’t that bad. Okay, it’s never nice to hear “no,” but I come from the acting world. People told me to my face that I was too fat for a part and all kinds of other…


Did “Orinoco Flow” need a sax solo? No.

Photo by Janis Straume on Unsplash

Right now, Enya is probably sitting in her literal castle in Ireland, gazing thoughtfully at the clouds and composing another soothing melody in her mind. She doesn’t think about her $150 million net worth, but is comforted by the fact that her wealth lets her create just the music she wants and nothing else.

Would Enya be musing in the comfort of Manderley if she hadn’t sold her saxophone?

Enya started her career as part of a popular family band. The youngest member, she didn’t get much of a say and when…


How constant worry was more harmful to my writing life than send a few crappy pitches.

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When you first start freelance writing, pitching is scary. You have to reach out to strangers and those strangers are in charge of bylines, money, and validation of your writing career. It feels like there’s a lot at stake, as if your career is on the line with every email.

This kind of pressure stops people from pitching at all. “What if I send out something bad and the editor blacklists me?!?!”

Thinking of the worst case scenario of a pitch is easy. The…


I’m Going to Write for the New York Times: Chapter 6

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My life has always involved a lot of waiting. Waiting in open call auditions. Waiting for auditions. Waiting to hear if I can even get an audition.

When I switched from acting to writing, I didn’t realize that waiting, in the words of Tom Petty, would still be the hardest part.

This week, I…


Anyone can pitch any publication and it’s not annoying.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

When I started freelance writing, I never considered pitching publications directly.

“Why would want to hear from me? I’d just be annoying them!” I thought.

So, I kept writing for small places, responding to ads, and assumed that people only wrote for magazines or places like if they were on staff or super fancy.

Years later, I learned that . Anyone. Will everyone get a pitch accepted by the ? No. But it’s not annoying or rude to try. …


The internet is full of places where you can get paid to write.

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“I love to write but I hate getting paid!” is something I’ve never heard anyone say.

More likely you’ve thought, “I love to write, but don’t know how to get paid/I’m tired of getting paid Dickensian prices.”

Luckily, there are a lot of paying publications out there and you don’t need a journalism degree or a million published samples to sell an idea.

To help you sort through all the publications out there (and filter out the ones that pay in “exposure.”), …


A reminder that even if you’re not financially perfect…you’ll still be okay.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Since I was 19, I’ve had at least two jobs at once. Since those jobs involved, acting, writing, and other random 1099 tasks, my taxes have been difficult for 16 years.

I’d love to say I’ve learned a fool-proof method to make taxes easy. That all my receipts live in a well organized folder in an even better organized drawer with all my freelance accounting.

That would be a lie.

My monetary organization is piss-poor, my invoices mysteriously numbered, and tax time always feels like a guessing game…


It’s the easiest email you’ll ever write.

Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

For freelance writers, pitching is super important. It’s how you get new clients, place new stories, and basically, get work.

But the pitch is just the first step. It’s a big step, but if you simply send one email and hope for the best, you’re missing out on a lot of potential work. Before I get into a 30-second email trick, here’s a quick summary of what pitching even is.

Super Short Description of Pitching

A lot of writing for publications (especially online publications) comes from freelancers. …


If the promise of the job is too good to be true…it is.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

It’s never easy to find a side hustle as an actor that pays the bills, leaves you time for auditions, and doesn’t make you hate every moment you’re on the job. With the rise of the gig economy, actors have a lot more options for flexible work.

But some of that work is garbage. That doesn’t mean the people that do these jobs are garbage. …

Amber Petty

Writer for Thrillist, Bustle, Parade, Greatist, MTV, IFC, Snooki’s blog. Want to hear about open writing jobs? Sign up for my free newsletter at AmberPetty.com

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