Tag Archives: freelancing

Interactions

As mentioned in earlier posts, every relationship has a story. Those social connections don’t have to be romantic, either. They could be between two elderly men who have played chess against each other for twenty years. Between a priest and a parishioner who comes to him for confession. Or a butcher and a regular customer.

Each relationship will have a pattern and, probably, a patter to their exchanges.

For a very clever video showing relationships between vendors/service providers and clients, click here. As a freelancer, these stories struck a chord with me. I’m unsurprised the video went viral in a big way.

What it does show is that relationships, like beauty, are often in the eye of the beholder.

Ethics for sale

I’ve worked as a freelance journalist. I know how hard it can be to make a living without regular contracts. I’ve haggled with major publishers over whether a particular article deserved the pathetic 65 cents per word standard rate or 85 cents per word for humour*.

Having worked as an online journo for a decade, I also know how easy it is for people to rip off other writers’ work. Define. Copy. Paste. Change a few words. Send. Ignore your conscience. (I’m assuming the last bit as I’m not speaking from experience.)

Plagiarism is rife out there and I’m unashamed to have ‘dobbed’ people in to programs like Media Watch where I’ve been able to prove theft of work. I’ve also used websites like Copyscape to track down folks who ripped off work – and then penned intimidating letters demanding they stop using unauthorised content without paying.

While most journalists adhere to an industry code of ethics, some don’t. Then there are professional writers who would never claim to be journalists and therefore are unencumbered by such considerations. If it pays or advances the cause, they’ll do it.

But even I’m gobsmacked by this professional writer’s tale. I’m not surprised this industry has cropped up but it makes you wonder. How many fraudulently qualified graduates are pulling in big wages after participating in this type of dishonesty?

*This was some years back. I hope to God this crappy rate has progressed since then… but I’m not optimistic.

Freelance, part time, no time

Regular visitors might not have noticed the lack of action on these pages lately and I apologise for that. This week is unlikely to be different.

Much as I’d like to say I’ve paused by the side of Thunder Road to camp and enjoy the view, the truth is I’ve been in my writer’s cave juggling deadlines.

Last week’s task list included an Internet trade show, a training course, a real estate brochure, a mortgage broker’s newsletter and a health bulletin. Throw in a mate’s book launch and some lobbying work on behalf of my kids’ school and the week was crammed.

This week looks… even more intense. I’ve just received final mark-ups on the manuscript for Five Parts Dead, due Friday. There’s still quite a bit of work to do and the book will benefit from the extra spit and polish. I’m learning a helluva lot about writing from this process. Wax on. Wax off. (Think I just exposed myself as a child of the ’80s.)

I’m also co-writing an online stress management course (need to practise what I preach) and documenting my role as a website editor for my new employers at my main freelance job.

Best of all this week, I’m spending three days leading writing workshops with students at Manor Lakes Specialist College. I’m looking forward to checking out this shiny new school and wallowing in creative chaos with the students.

Busy, yes. Under pressure, sure. But that’s the life of a freelance, part time writer. It’s rare that you can plan your workload and common for deadlines to overlap. It’s also why blogging and Twittering have had to take a back seat.

Interestingly, there’s been recent coverage of the value in writers stepping away from online distractions. Check out this LA Times blog and author article on going cold turkey on Twitter.

I’ll resume trudging down Thunder Road as soon as humanly possible.

In the meantime, here’s further proof of my ’80s leanings.