Freelance Juggling Tips from Work at Home Moms

Juggling Tips for Work at Home Moms. Makealivingwriting.comEver wonder how work at home moms balance freelance assignments, family life, a day job, and everything else?

If you’ve ever thought, “What’s the point? It’s just too hard,” you’re not alone. Trying to juggle diaper duty, day-job deadlines, grocery shopping, and freelance work can be a challenge.

But work at home moms tend to have a few things in common when it comes to carving out time to get freelance work done.

They’re scrappy. They know how to multi-task. They know how to network with other moms. And when push comes to shove, work at home moms can turn a 15-minute block of time into a productive work session.

Know any work at home moms like this you can model?

In a recent Freelance Writers Den podcast, we talked with two work at home moms who have built thriving writing careers in the middle of busy lives. Here’s how it’s done:

Lessons from two work at home moms

Freelance writers Shannon Salinsky and Meagan Francis both know what it’s like to be work at home moms.

  • Shannon Salinsky is a mom who’s building her writing career while working full time as an inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • Meagan Francis is the author of four books, a contributor to big-name publications like Salon and Good Housekeeping, the founder of the Life, Listened podcast network, and a mother of five.

They’ve figured out their own ways of doing things to make it all work, like:

  • Moving through mistakes and setbacks
  • Balancing work and parenting
  • How to keep writing when life gets crazy
  • Finding longer blocks of time to write

Want to get better at your own freelance juggling act? Find out how in this Q&A:

Q: What child care arrangements have you made, and how did you manage the costs?

Meagan: I’ve done different things. My brother and I switched off child care at one point.

There are lots of creative solutions. It doesn’t have to be day care. You can get a teenager to come in after school.

When I made just a few hundred dollars freelancing, child care ate up a good chunk of that. I always focus on earning more because that makes questions like, “How would I justify paying for child care?” moot.

Q: As a parent with a full-time job, how do you make time for freelancing?

Shannon: I pretty much juggle up. I do interviews on my lunch hour, and I write anytime I have a free moment.

We’ll take our daughter ice skating, and I’m sitting with my laptop writing furiously while they’re having daddy-baby time. Or for 15 minutes that she’s engrossed in a video at home, I’m frantically doing my writing and research.

When I have to get out of the house, I go to Starbucks and write.

Q: How did you write when you didn’t have child care?

Meagan: I did a lot of driving around until the little ones fell asleep. Then I sat outside a hot spot to have wi-fi in my car. I did all kinds of crazy juggling.

Once my kids were inside the car watching TV, and I’m doing an interview in the parking lot outside because it was the only time we could connect.

When you want something badly, you’ll go the distance to make it work. Either I made it as a writer or I had to go back to an office. I was willing to be scrappy.

Q: How do you handle constant demands for attention?

Meagan:Sometimes if I set the computer aside and give them my attention, it reboots the afternoon. They’re happy to play by themselves, and I don’t feel so conflicted.

My kids have gotten good at respecting my schedule. I’ll say, “Mommy has to work. After that, we’ll do something special. How can I get you set up so you’re happy for a while?”

Q: How do you keep from taking on too much freelance work?

Shannon: I haven’t learned that lesson yet! I don’t say no to anybody.

But I do stick with easy assignments. Most of my work is with one regional publication. It doesn’t require a ton of research or interviewing, and the deadlines are manageable. It’s a good comfort level for me as a new writer.

I’ve refused to get into blogging. I don’t have time. I get clips in other ways.

Q: How do you cope with afternoon interruptions when school-age kids come home?

Meagan: As freelancers we can’t emulate someone in an office who works until 5:00. I try to not work from the time they come home until dinner. I wouldn’t get anything done anyway.

Q: How do you handle sitting all day at work, then going home and sitting down to write?

Shannon: I recently got a treadmill desk. I’m three weeks into it and I probably walked 25 miles. I highly recommend it. You can type and walk much faster than you think.

Q: How do you get kids to understand you’re working and not playing online?

Meagan: My son actually told husband, “Mommy’s job is just emailing with her friends!” You have to educate them. Shutting my office door helps them realize, “Oh, this is work.”

I need to be on social media, so that can be confusing to them. You have to be clear that this is your work and they need to respect it. The more I hammer that point home, the more they get it.

Q: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a freelancer?

Shannon: I gave too much information about my day job when I pitched a blogging gig at an airport. They got scared when they learned I was a federal aviation inspector.

These are two different gigs. I am a writer. Period. They don’t need to know everything I do during my day job.

Also, if you mention your full-time job a new editor, they’ll get nervous that you can’t complete your assignment. They don’t need to know. You may write for them for months before the cat’s out of the bag.

Q: How do you avoid spending so much time meeting your family’s needs that you never write?

Meagan: When you’re starting out, you’re not making money, and your spouse may not see any benefit yet. It’s hard to get them on board and say, “I need you to handle the morning driving.”

But you have to treat your job like it’s non-negotiable. You might need to simplify your life temporarily. Once you have momentum, it’s easier to keep it going. Kids don’t stay babies forever, either.

When we have little ones we feel like we have to take them lots of places. But if I’m running around, I never have the focus I need. So there are just two days a week that we go out.

The time fairies won’t wave their wands and grant you eight hours. I’ve been waiting a long time, and it doesn’t happen.

The secret to success for work at home moms

Shannon and Meagan face different challenges, but both of them make writing a priority in spite of all the distractions. They’re proof that you don’t need endless uninterrupted hours to make it as a freelancer. You just need to take full advantage of the time you’ve got.

How do you balance freelancing with the rest of your life? Let’s discuss on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Maria Veres juggles freelancing, motherhood, and two side jobs in the Oklahoma City area. She contributes regular Q&A blog posts to Make A Living Writing.

The end of Free HuffPo: What to do? Grab this inspiring tip-filled free e-book: 6 Writers' True Stories of Breaking Out and Earning More!

The post Freelance Juggling Tips from Work at Home Moms appeared first on Make A Living Writing.

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Freelance Juggling Tips from Work at Home Moms

Juggling Tips for Work at Home Moms. Makealivingwriting.comEver wonder how work at home moms balance freelance assignments, family life, a day job, and everything else?

If you’ve ever thought, “What’s the point? It’s just too hard,” you’re not alone. Trying to juggle diaper duty, day-job deadlines, grocery shopping, and freelance work can be a challenge.

But work at home moms tend to have a few things in common when it comes to carving out time to get freelance work done.

They’re scrappy. They know how to multi-task. They know how to network with other moms. And when push comes to shove, work at home moms can turn a 15-minute block of time into a productive work session.

Know any work at home moms like this you can model?

In a recent Freelance Writers Den podcast, we talked with two work at home moms who have built thriving writing careers in the middle of busy lives. Here’s how it’s done:

Lessons from two work at home moms

Freelance writers Shannon Salinsky and Meagan Francis both know what it’s like to be work at home moms.

  • Shannon Salinsky is a mom who’s building her writing career while working full time as an inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • Meagan Francis is the author of four books, a contributor to big-name publications like Salon and Good Housekeeping, the founder of the Life, Listened podcast network, and a mother of five.

They’ve figured out their own ways of doing things to make it all work, like:

  • Moving through mistakes and setbacks
  • Balancing work and parenting
  • How to keep writing when life gets crazy
  • Finding longer blocks of time to write

Want to get better at your own freelance juggling act? Find out how in this Q&A:

Q: What child care arrangements have you made, and how did you manage the costs?

Meagan: I’ve done different things. My brother and I switched off child care at one point.

There are lots of creative solutions. It doesn’t have to be day care. You can get a teenager to come in after school.

When I made just a few hundred dollars freelancing, child care ate up a good chunk of that. I always focus on earning more because that makes questions like, “How would I justify paying for child care?” moot.

Q: As a parent with a full-time job, how do you make time for freelancing?

Shannon: I pretty much juggle up. I do interviews on my lunch hour, and I write anytime I have a free moment.

We’ll take our daughter ice skating, and I’m sitting with my laptop writing furiously while they’re having daddy-baby time. Or for 15 minutes that she’s engrossed in a video at home, I’m frantically doing my writing and research.

When I have to get out of the house, I go to Starbucks and write.

Q: How did you write when you didn’t have child care?

Meagan: I did a lot of driving around until the little ones fell asleep. Then I sat outside a hot spot to have wi-fi in my car. I did all kinds of crazy juggling.

Once my kids were inside the car watching TV, and I’m doing an interview in the parking lot outside because it was the only time we could connect.

When you want something badly, you’ll go the distance to make it work. Either I made it as a writer or I had to go back to an office. I was willing to be scrappy.

Q: How do you handle constant demands for attention?

Meagan:Sometimes if I set the computer aside and give them my attention, it reboots the afternoon. They’re happy to play by themselves, and I don’t feel so conflicted.

My kids have gotten good at respecting my schedule. I’ll say, “Mommy has to work. After that, we’ll do something special. How can I get you set up so you’re happy for a while?”

Q: How do you keep from taking on too much freelance work?

Shannon: I haven’t learned that lesson yet! I don’t say no to anybody.

But I do stick with easy assignments. Most of my work is with one regional publication. It doesn’t require a ton of research or interviewing, and the deadlines are manageable. It’s a good comfort level for me as a new writer.

I’ve refused to get into blogging. I don’t have time. I get clips in other ways.

Q: How do you cope with afternoon interruptions when school-age kids come home?

Meagan: As freelancers we can’t emulate someone in an office who works until 5:00. I try to not work from the time they come home until dinner. I wouldn’t get anything done anyway.

Q: How do you handle sitting all day at work, then going home and sitting down to write?

Shannon: I recently got a treadmill desk. I’m three weeks into it and I probably walked 25 miles. I highly recommend it. You can type and walk much faster than you think.

Q: How do you get kids to understand you’re working and not playing online?

Meagan: My son actually told husband, “Mommy’s job is just emailing with her friends!” You have to educate them. Shutting my office door helps them realize, “Oh, this is work.”

I need to be on social media, so that can be confusing to them. You have to be clear that this is your work and they need to respect it. The more I hammer that point home, the more they get it.

Q: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a freelancer?

Shannon: I gave too much information about my day job when I pitched a blogging gig at an airport. They got scared when they learned I was a federal aviation inspector.

These are two different gigs. I am a writer. Period. They don’t need to know everything I do during my day job.

Also, if you mention your full-time job a new editor, they’ll get nervous that you can’t complete your assignment. They don’t need to know. You may write for them for months before the cat’s out of the bag.

Q: How do you avoid spending so much time meeting your family’s needs that you never write?

Meagan: When you’re starting out, you’re not making money, and your spouse may not see any benefit yet. It’s hard to get them on board and say, “I need you to handle the morning driving.”

But you have to treat your job like it’s non-negotiable. You might need to simplify your life temporarily. Once you have momentum, it’s easier to keep it going. Kids don’t stay babies forever, either.

When we have little ones we feel like we have to take them lots of places. But if I’m running around, I never have the focus I need. So there are just two days a week that we go out.

The time fairies won’t wave their wands and grant you eight hours. I’ve been waiting a long time, and it doesn’t happen.

The secret to success for work at home moms

Shannon and Meagan face different challenges, but both of them make writing a priority in spite of all the distractions. They’re proof that you don’t need endless uninterrupted hours to make it as a freelancer. You just need to take full advantage of the time you’ve got.

How do you balance freelancing with the rest of your life? Let’s discuss on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Maria Veres juggles freelancing, motherhood, and two side jobs in the Oklahoma City area. She contributes regular Q&A blog posts to Make A Living Writing.

The end of Free HuffPo: What to do? Grab this inspiring tip-filled free e-book: 6 Writers' True Stories of Breaking Out and Earning More!

The post Freelance Juggling Tips from Work at Home Moms appeared first on Make A Living Writing.

Freelance Juggling Tips from Work at Home Moms

Juggling Tips for Work at Home Moms. Makealivingwriting.comEver wonder how work at home moms balance freelance assignments, family life, a day job, and everything else?

If you’ve ever thought, “What’s the point? It’s just too hard,” you’re not alone. Trying to juggle diaper duty, day-job deadlines, grocery shopping, and freelance work can be a challenge.

But work at home moms tend to have a few things in common when it comes to carving out time to get freelance work done.

They’re scrappy. They know how to multi-task. They know how to network with other moms. And when push comes to shove, work at home moms can turn a 15-minute block of time into a productive work session.

Know any work at home moms like this you can model?

In a recent Freelance Writers Den podcast, we talked with two work at home moms who have built thriving writing careers in the middle of busy lives. Here’s how it’s done:

Lessons from two work at home moms

Freelance writers Shannon Salinsky and Meagan Francis both know what it’s like to be work at home moms.

  • Shannon Salinsky is a mom who’s building her writing career while working full time as an inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • Meagan Francis is the author of four books, a contributor to big-name publications like Salon and Good Housekeeping, the founder of the Life, Listened podcast network, and a mother of five.

They’ve figured out their own ways of doing things to make it all work, like:

  • Moving through mistakes and setbacks
  • Balancing work and parenting
  • How to keep writing when life gets crazy
  • Finding longer blocks of time to write

Want to get better at your own freelance juggling act? Find out how in this Q&A:

Q: What child care arrangements have you made, and how did you manage the costs?

Meagan: I’ve done different things. My brother and I switched off child care at one point.

There are lots of creative solutions. It doesn’t have to be day care. You can get a teenager to come in after school.

When I made just a few hundred dollars freelancing, child care ate up a good chunk of that. I always focus on earning more because that makes questions like, “How would I justify paying for child care?” moot.

Q: As a parent with a full-time job, how do you make time for freelancing?

Shannon: I pretty much juggle up. I do interviews on my lunch hour, and I write anytime I have a free moment.

We’ll take our daughter ice skating, and I’m sitting with my laptop writing furiously while they’re having daddy-baby time. Or for 15 minutes that she’s engrossed in a video at home, I’m frantically doing my writing and research.

When I have to get out of the house, I go to Starbucks and write.

Q: How did you write when you didn’t have child care?

Meagan: I did a lot of driving around until the little ones fell asleep. Then I sat outside a hot spot to have wi-fi in my car. I did all kinds of crazy juggling.

Once my kids were inside the car watching TV, and I’m doing an interview in the parking lot outside because it was the only time we could connect.

When you want something badly, you’ll go the distance to make it work. Either I made it as a writer or I had to go back to an office. I was willing to be scrappy.

Q: How do you handle constant demands for attention?

Meagan:Sometimes if I set the computer aside and give them my attention, it reboots the afternoon. They’re happy to play by themselves, and I don’t feel so conflicted.

My kids have gotten good at respecting my schedule. I’ll say, “Mommy has to work. After that, we’ll do something special. How can I get you set up so you’re happy for a while?”

Q: How do you keep from taking on too much freelance work?

Shannon: I haven’t learned that lesson yet! I don’t say no to anybody.

But I do stick with easy assignments. Most of my work is with one regional publication. It doesn’t require a ton of research or interviewing, and the deadlines are manageable. It’s a good comfort level for me as a new writer.

I’ve refused to get into blogging. I don’t have time. I get clips in other ways.

Q: How do you cope with afternoon interruptions when school-age kids come home?

Meagan: As freelancers we can’t emulate someone in an office who works until 5:00. I try to not work from the time they come home until dinner. I wouldn’t get anything done anyway.

Q: How do you handle sitting all day at work, then going home and sitting down to write?

Shannon: I recently got a treadmill desk. I’m three weeks into it and I probably walked 25 miles. I highly recommend it. You can type and walk much faster than you think.

Q: How do you get kids to understand you’re working and not playing online?

Meagan: My son actually told husband, “Mommy’s job is just emailing with her friends!” You have to educate them. Shutting my office door helps them realize, “Oh, this is work.”

I need to be on social media, so that can be confusing to them. You have to be clear that this is your work and they need to respect it. The more I hammer that point home, the more they get it.

Q: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a freelancer?

Shannon: I gave too much information about my day job when I pitched a blogging gig at an airport. They got scared when they learned I was a federal aviation inspector.

These are two different gigs. I am a writer. Period. They don’t need to know everything I do during my day job.

Also, if you mention your full-time job a new editor, they’ll get nervous that you can’t complete your assignment. They don’t need to know. You may write for them for months before the cat’s out of the bag.

Q: How do you avoid spending so much time meeting your family’s needs that you never write?

Meagan: When you’re starting out, you’re not making money, and your spouse may not see any benefit yet. It’s hard to get them on board and say, “I need you to handle the morning driving.”

But you have to treat your job like it’s non-negotiable. You might need to simplify your life temporarily. Once you have momentum, it’s easier to keep it going. Kids don’t stay babies forever, either.

When we have little ones we feel like we have to take them lots of places. But if I’m running around, I never have the focus I need. So there are just two days a week that we go out.

The time fairies won’t wave their wands and grant you eight hours. I’ve been waiting a long time, and it doesn’t happen.

The secret to success for work at home moms

Shannon and Meagan face different challenges, but both of them make writing a priority in spite of all the distractions. They’re proof that you don’t need endless uninterrupted hours to make it as a freelancer. You just need to take full advantage of the time you’ve got.

How do you balance freelancing with the rest of your life? Let’s discuss on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Maria Veres juggles freelancing, motherhood, and two side jobs in the Oklahoma City area. She contributes regular Q&A blog posts to Make A Living Writing.

The end of Free HuffPo: What to do? Grab this inspiring tip-filled free e-book: 6 Writers' True Stories of Breaking Out and Earning More!

The post Freelance Juggling Tips from Work at Home Moms appeared first on Make A Living Writing.

Get Paid to Blog: 5 Ways to Show Clients Your Value

Tips to Help You Get Paid to Blog. Makealivingwriting.comYou may know that a growing number of businesses hire freelancers who get paid to blog. And they get paid well. High-quality blog posts can pay $200 a post and up.

The question is: How do you get those better gigs? To get paid to blog (real money, that is), you need to show clients how the blog posts you write help bring in additional money.

A decade back, blogging was more of a ‘squishy’ soft-sell tactic than it is today. Now, companies increasingly understand how content marketing works. When it’s done right, blogging bring them more leads, opt-ins, and ultimately, sales. Which means they look to you for proof your posts will bring new business.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about this challenge in Freelance Writers Den lately. So I thought my blog readers would probably like tips on this, too. In this post, I’ll give you concrete strategies for demonstrating the value of your paid blogging, even as a newbie.

Big tip: Don’t guarantee results to get paid to blog

Need to prove value as a paid blogger? It’s definitely a worry for freelance writers. For instance, here’s a question I recently got from a brand-new writer:

“I need info to back up pitches to business clients that I can ‘bring in more leads, increase awareness.’ Do business blogs tangibly work? And if so, how to ensure that? If I write great web content, will it attract customers?

“SEO best practices are always evolving, and my fear in launching this business is my writing won’t deliver on promises of increased sales. Or I’ll be asked for examples of ‘successes’ in this area.”

Business blogs definitely do work. Otherwise, businesses wouldn’t still be posting on them. If you want to get paid to blog, you will be asked for examples of your wins – and your job is to build those as fast as you can.

One other key thing to know in business blogging: Never guarantee results.

You get paid to blog for the effort you put into your writing, not on the contingency that the client get a particular result. Don’t fall into that trap.

Simply build your portfolio. Show your experience in driving traffic and getting visitors to take desired actions (social share, comment, opt-in for a free report, sign up for a course, etc.).

Here are five approaches that will help you quickly build a track record, show your value, and get paid to blog for big money (even if you’re a newbie):

1. Screenshots of social proof

Even before you have a single client, you might be guest-posting for free, or writing on your own blog. Anytime you have a popular post, take a screen shot of the share or comment count. A post that got hundreds of views, comments, tweets, or Facebook shares helps get prospects excited about what your writing could do for their business growth.

For instance, some of my early social-media wins were guest posts on Copyblogger.

They no longer show share counts with their social-share tool…but they do show number of comments. And comments are also a strong piece of evidence that you can write posts that make readers take action: They left a comment.

Get paid to blog: show social proof

 

If prospective clients ask if you know how to get readers engaged, that’ll do as proof.

If you don’t have a steady history of successful posts, a screenshot of one popular post can also be highly persuasive, especially on sites that show a view count:

Get paid to blog: Forbes view counts

My pro tip: Take a screenshot right away, any time you see good traffic or social stats on one of your posts.

When companies change sharing tools, counts often get reset back to zero. Or companies fold or reorganize their content, and the next thing you know, your big win has vanished. Preserve the evidence, and you’ll have social proof to help land a new client and get paid to blog.

2. Let your testimonials sell

It’s frustrating if your client won’t share stats with you, so you can quantify how your posts did. The next best thing is to harvest a testimonial from them, ideally one that mentions a specific win or two. Something along the lines of:

“Carol’s blog posts helped us double our monthly traffic and grew our list by 1,000 names.”

OR

“Carol’s post on the top 10 tools was our most popular this year.”

Of course, it would be better to have actual stats, and to be able to tie that directly to downloads, opt-ins, or sales figures on a specific campaign.

3. Get stats and take screenshots

Even if you have a paranoid client who doesn’t want to give you dashboard access where you can roam around and get tons of data, there are ways to get at least a bit.

If you can’t get access to all their stats, ask your client to give you one or two key facts.

For instance, ask:

“Which of the 10 posts I’ve done got the most traffic? Could you tell me what views were on that one?

“How did my post rank among all this month’s posts?”

“Can you tell me what the top three post headlines were that I’ve created, and their traffic?

“Do you see any trends in topics I’ve done that are doing well for us?”

You can spin this as “I’m just trying to improve and help you succeed here.”

A little data – or even a narrative answer about your success – that you can show new prospects is far better than no proof at all that your posts are effective.

One possible way to gather data: On many popular blogs, they offer you a home page for all your posts on the platform. That may have traffic stats. For instance, I’ve been able to get paid to blog by simply showing prospects the stats from my Forbes channel:

Get paid to blog: Total stats

Obviously, I’m not directly selling anything on this editorial channel. But driving 2.5 million visitors with just 165 posts still makes a strong case that I know how to get eyeballs on a post.

4. Propose trackable projects

When you’re new to business blogging, you’ll often have clients who don’t know much about conversion. They may not be withholding data from you – they may just not have any!

So be a genius and propose a post that has a valuable download in it, or a P.S. that links to an offer for a paid product or service.

The secret? Suggest they set up a unique page that is only linked from that post. That way, they can track clicks to that page and see how the post performed compared with other ways they promote the same offer, or with past promotions of that offer.

Be sure to circle back and ask them for data after the campaign, so you can document the sales or opt-ins you got.

5. Pitch relationship building

If you don’t have any sales victories or impressive shares or traffic stats to report, consider a different angle. Instead, talk about how your post ideas could help grow their network of influencers, or build rapport with readers by delivering high value.

If you’ve ever gotten a big influencer to share your post or otherwise mention you in a positive way in a social comment, screenshot that! (And if you haven’t, work on it by targeting post ideas they’d love directly to them.)

Here are a couple of those that I’ve held onto, to show around as far as driving traffic on this-here blog:

Get paid to blog: Darren Rowse RTs me

Get paid to blog: Jon Morrow compliment

If the many marketer emails I get each week asking me to share their company’s posts are any indication, influencer marketing is of huge interest right now. Demonstrate that you’ve had well-known names share your post or mention you, and you’ve shown you know how to build buzz for a blog. And that buzz leads to sales.

Commonly, some posts in a content marketing campaign simply build rapport with readers and deliver value. Those purely useful posts help future salesy posts be more successful. You can always talk up how valuable content builds authority with their audience.

Can’t get traffic? Get help

One final tip: If you’re struggling to get traffic on your paid blog posts, ask for help from the client. Learn what has done well for them in the past, and it may open the doors to success for you.

When I started out with that Forbes channel I showed above, my posts were mostly being ignored. I asked if my editors could help me succeed with their audience.

That request got me a one-on-one coaching session from a top online editor. After I got those tips, I wrote different types of posts, based on what was proven to work for their audience – and my traffic took off.

How do you show value to blogging clients? Let’s discuss on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Get paid to blog: Get a free e-book (100+ Freelance Writing Questions Answered by Carol Tice) and free updates! Sign me up!

The post Get Paid to Blog: 5 Ways to Show Clients Your Value appeared first on Make A Living Writing.

Return of the comet: 96P spotted by ESA, NASA satellites

Sun-gazing missions SOHO and STEREO watched the return of comet 96P/Machholz when it entered their fields of view between Oct. 25-30. It is extremely rare for comets to be seen simultaneously from two different locations in space, and these are the most comprehensive parallel observations ever taken of this comet.