At Any Rate - A Freshman Freelancer's Opening Numbers

“Curiouser and curiouser.”

At Any Rate – A Freshman Freelancer’s Opening Numbers

I played around with a freelance calculator today. It popped out the results I suppose I expected. It’s not easy bein’ green. You gotta work in order to be.

In Lynn Wasnak‘s helpful piece, How Much Should I Charge, she states “smart full-time freelance writers and editors annually gross $35,000 and up—sometimes up into the $150,000-200,000 range.” Granted, the article and pay chart that followed were based on the cost of living in 2005-2006*. Has that much changed in six years? I don’t suppose here in 2012, many freelancer writers are making over two-hundred grand. If you are, God bless you and keep up the good work! For the rest of us though, what are we looking at? What is a number that we are comfortable with, a number that will represent for us, not just a means of paying the mortgage, electricity, hot water and food but also with the all too vital feeling of self worth and satisfaction that we, as a species, so desperately need. How could you ever put a price on that?

I’m speaking rhetorically quite a bit here, of course. We each have our individual lifestyles to maintain. To each his own (and hers). Coming from a newbie’s perspective, I can tell you that I’d be happy with no less than a cool thirty million a year.

And the crowd goes wild with laughter!

Did you like that one? Ppbbtthh.

At any rate… <interjection: I just found this entry’s title> I am sure that learning about your billable hours and hourly rates is a learning process just as everything else. One thing’s for certain though: this new gig’s got class.

LW

*I am now realizing that there is a 2011 pay rate calculator on Waznak’s site. D’oh!

Chapter 1 or 7: Moving In Stereo (Writing Tip No. 1)

I am well and deep into the finishing recesses of my book. It’s been two long years of fighting certain aspects of it, not least withstanding periods of sluggishness, but now I am nearing the end. Or perhaps the beginning? Alas (or ha!), I am seriously considering switching the two. I’m currently re-writing the first draft of my epilogue and thinking, well damn if that couldn’t be the Prologue, instead! It’s an interesting thought, I wonder if my story will have the gumption to do it.

Have you ever moved chapters in haphazard or organized ways to see if your story could work differently? You might have to change tenses or turn some chapters into flashback scenes or go completely Boznai bananas and do a killer Pulp Fictiony kind of thing to make the full work make sense as a whole. (Whew.) However you may have done it in the past, I applaud you. It’d be cool to hear your story. Did shifting the timeline of your story improve it? Did your tale reach new heights?

If you haven’t done this, and you don’t think it’s an off-its-nut idea, you should try it. Or, if you don’t have a book to experiment on, if you’re a poet say, I’m sure this idea is not new to you. I’ve dabbled in poetry a great deal in the past and come off with an approximately 20% personal satisfaction rate overall—the rest is 70% drivel (do that math, it’s different than you’d think)—and having dabbled, I do know the great and untarnished joy of taking poetic license (pardon the pun) and dancing your many lines and stanzas from top to bottom to sideways to shelf and back again! It can be, at its finest, a wildly creative ride. Practice it more if it works.

LW

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6Ksrmbwr1s&w=420&h=215]

Breaking the Inundation of Inertia

Some things in life are unnecessary distractions. Come to think of it… most are. Do you really need to check Facebook every ten minutes? Ok, sure, your friends’ kids are pretty damn adorable but those pics will still be there tomorrow. And then on Twitter, there’s no less than ninety-two new articles being retweeted in your feed about Jay Z and Beyonce taking over the hospital (interspersed with endless dull jokes concerning Tebow’s 316 yards for Jesus). Steer clear of the nonsense. Close all tabs and get going! Stop reading blogs (as soon as you have finished reading this one) and go warm up your fingers by writing your own words, whatever they may be. Any writing (blog or otherwise) is therapeutic for the lazy writer. In a sense, there is a bit of the lazy writer in all of us. And I am by and large your sluggish king.

A writer writes. How many times have we heard this? But doesn’t a writer also procrastinate, stew in his own uncreative juices, moan, mourn the writing that’s not being done, work a day job, eat, sleep, exercise, make love, shovel snow, love a family, drink, watch television, take vacation, clean the gutters, pay the taxman, be a conscientious consumer and a faithful, dutiful patriot while still questioning your government’s decisions (as is your right) and on and on and on. Yes, this is just an infinitesimal sprinkling of what people do. Everybody has their own stuff, be it normal or weird. I have mine as you have yours as she has hers and we are all together. See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly. I’m crying. Wait. Don’t listen to The Beatles. Not now. As great as they are, they will distract you. You’ll listen to the lyrics and you’ll think, “How brilliant, how simple, how true. Why can’t I write like that?” Why indeed? But listen to the band on your own time. No outside influences here tonight. Just you and your pen. Now is not your time. Now is your Muse’s time. Give in to her and her alone.

I watch too much TV. There, I said it. It’s awful. It’s something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. My grandfather used to call television “the boob tube.” I always found that amusing as a child. Even though I was too young to fully understand women’s bodies (still am and probably always will be), I did know that the word “boob” was pretty funny. Didn’t know why. Still don’t. But in this sense, the boob, as it were, is the fool watching the tube—the fool who is distracted from his work. I won’t bore you with the sob story of my particular distraction any more than I would with the channel guide or what’s saved in the DVR. We all have some reason or other why we aren’t producing. The question is: are we content? Are we sufficiently and ultimately satisfied with the amount, and more importantly the quality of the work we put out there? If the answer is no, we should turn off our numerous distractions—or at the very least postpone them indefinitely—and get down to the nitty-gritty of the business… as I am sure many of our grandfathers have once quipped.

Get down with it now and get down with it. Be something more important than the non-writer you have been pretending to be. Write what you have always wanted to write. And if it doesn’t come out of you immediately, let it grow. Keep it going for as long as it takes. Til you find something special. And then, you will most definitely be hooked on the high of that feeling. So hang on to it.

I wrote today.

Are there three words in the English language that, when placed side by side by side, are more attractive, alluring, and meaningful than these three words?

I wrote today.

Can you write those words right now and mean it? If you consider yourself a writer, I wish their bliss upon you. My writing, as of late, has largely consisted of editing. The short of it is that I conceived an idea for a novel not quite two years ago (I know the exact date because Google Calendar rules my life). Two years is a long time to be stewing in something. Have you ever done that? Have you ever had a genius of an idea but just sat on it, writing bits and pieces as you go, but never really fully committing to what it could be? Well I’m here to tell you that whatever your idea is, it could be great, if only you would let it. You’re writing for some reason and I assume that reason is because you believe in your story. So why not set it free? What do you have to lose?

I’m actually nearing the end of this particular work and this is how I did it. I dilly-dallied for a long long time. Skip that step if you haven’t already. Take this that I have learned from that wasteful period to heart: write it down. I’ll say it again. Write it down. I’ll expand on that thought. Write it all down. Write it down write it down write it down. And then, when you stop, it’s ok. Take a break. Take a day or a week or a month at most but then come back, and write it down again. Just keep going. Writing is easy. It’s editing that’s hard.

So here I am and I’m editing. The way I do it is I started at the beginning. Chapter One. I went through it and I worked it. I worked the living hell out of it. I rewrote it and I studied it and I rewrote it again. And then I moved on to the flaming heap of crap that was Chapter Two and I did the same meticulous work with that. And so on and so on.

Today, I very proudly finished editing/re-writing Chapter Nine. During my day’s painstaking highs and lows, I have discovered that it is a short chapter and tomorrow, I will fuse it to Chapter Ten making one great big wonderful, polished and supercharged breaker breaker one Niner (did I hear a Niner in there?). I’m so excited I almost don’t want to sleep through the night. But I have to. If, for no other reason than the gross fact that I scratched my cornea with my contact last night and my eyeball is still healing. Eww! Did you just read that right? Why did I write that? I guess because it’s true. And it’s painful. And I wrote like a fucking madman today anyway. I wrote through the pain and I feel all the prouder for it.

I’m going to celebrate by cooking up some beef stir fry, drinking scotch, and donning a homemade eye patch made out of dryer sheets and duct tape.

Yar, matey. (I was kidding about the last part.)