I was born with a yellow #2 pencil tucked behind my right ear and bearing the
Irish storytelling genes from my two grandfathers.
Wrote and published three issues of "The Neighborhood Advocate" newspaper, photocopied
by my dad at the office, and circulated to six neighbors.
Received my first official rejection slip, from American Girl magazine, for a
short story called "The Trouble with Gerbils."
Received my first paycheck as a freelance writer ($15) for an article in a county
Wrote my older sister's English paper about a John Donne poem and earned a measly
Learned the meaning of "direct response writing" after writing and publishing
(with the help of a few equally rebellious co-conspirators) an alternative to
the high school newspaper. (The administration was not amused.)
Matriculated at Georgetown University. Earned tuition money by typing fellow students'
term papers. Earned more tuition money by editing fellow students' term papers.
Graduated with a B.S. in Russian Language. Began a career of Russian-English translation
for the government. Occasionally regretted not majoring in marketing.
Upon the birth of my first child, quit my job and parked my higher brain functions
in the garage for several years. Avidly read about marketing to keep brain synapses
from withering completely.
After the birth of my third child, began writing and teaching about the one-income
Got offered a column syndicated to four Maryland newspapers. Wrote about the one-income
lifestyle with four kids. Began to panic about college funding for four kids.
Began writing for magazines in an attempt to break free of the one-income lifestyle.
Started helping out friends with business copywriting as a favor. Read books about
marketing the way most people read John Grisham novels. Collected and studied
junk mail with growing fascination.
Got a few bylines in national publications. Continued to help out friends with
business copywriting as a favor.
January: Despite continuing modest successes with magazines, got fed up with the
magazine querying process, "no simultaneous submission" rules, editors, and sinking
$1,328 into postage for SASE's that never got returned.
February: Got focused. Paid attention to what friends were saying about business
writing. Cleaned out the craft room in the basement and turned it into an office.
Launched Coale Communications. Left the one-income lifestyle behind.
Write web content, brochures, direct mail, articles, elevator speeches, press
releases, advertorials, and other fun stuff. Help business owners, consultants,
and sales professionals find the right words. Watch their businesses grow. Cease
panicking about college funding for four kids. Life is good.