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4:16 p.m. - 2012-03-27
money falls in my lap...
Matt called me today and told me a contact of his is looking for a freelance writer to do a piece for a trade magazine on Friday. Do a phone interview at 9:30 am, file 1,000 words by 3 pm, get paid $1,000. Do I want to do it?

Of course I'm going to say no to Matt, since he's still supporting me and the kids and we could always use money. I wouldn't say no to $1,000 for 5 hours work if it was stripping. (Actually I have seriously thought about being a stripper as recently as last week, but I have enough sense to know that since I have no experience, I probably wouldn't be very good at it.)

Of course the first question I had for him is how he knows this chick and whether he's fucked her. He told me she used to work for one of his company's papers and no, he hadn't fucked her. (Is she over 70, or a transvestite? And here I thought he had screwed every female member of the media and media entourage from here to Maine...)

So he gave her my contacts, she called, and I've got a freelance job. It's a profile of a canadian sheet metal manufacturing company. Do I know anything about sheet metal, the company I'm profiling, or the industry mag I'm writing for? Zilch. But that doesn't really matter; you can hand me an assignment to do a profile of cannibalistic Tibetan survivalists and I'll give you something accurate, insightful, compelling in 24 hours. That's what I have done for a living my whole adult life and I am very good at it.

So I am not at all breaking a sweat about this sheet-metal manufacturing piece. I am sort of thinking, however, that maybe I should give freelance journalism or even PR more of a thought than I have.

The problem with public relations, and freelance writing, is that you have to be extremely good at promoting yourself, and I am not. I'm very smart, and I'm a good investigator and a good writer, and I have a talent for connecting with people who slam doors in other journalists' faces. I think this is because I am somewhat pathetically human and real and often genuinely distraught about invading people's lives where the more salesmanly, confident journalists are not. I've always been considered one of the best reporters at every newspaper I've worked at, because I can write anything on a dime and on deadline, and because I write human interest stories that make people laugh and cry.

But I need editors to back me up, and a workplace that values me based on the work I do and not how well I schmooze, how well I promote myself, and who I know. I don't think I've ever SAID anything that's gotten me hired or gotten me a promotion. My writing always spoke for itself.

So after I decided to stay home with the kids three years ago instead of working full-time, I never even tried to break into the local freelance writing and PR market; there are probably people out there who are less talented and less qualified than I am who are making good money doing what I could do, but I'm incapable of promoting myself the way one has to, and that's that. Besides, it isn't like doing public relations or writing puff pieces for glossy magazines is anything I genuinely want to be doing -- it's just what "real" journalists end up doing when they realize they're not going to be the next Barbara Walters and they want to work normal hours and earn more than a reporter's pittance. We call it "selling your soul to the devil" -- those of us who haven't done it yet -- and I'm not really motivated at this point to sell my soul for money I really don't need and a lifestyle I'm not interested in anyway.

But, you know, I wouldn't mind lining up a few more $1,000 Fridays. I didn't exactly have to do any self-promoting to get this assignment; the person who hired me, the company's area full-time pr lady, is leaving so I will definitely see if they're going to need any work in the future. And I will, at the very least, put up a profile on linkedin. So pathetic I'm not even on linkedin, can you believe it?

I still have no interest in a career in PR, or lucrative freelancing -- I actually see it as a waste of my life, at least as bad as smoking -- life is short, why waste ANY of it making money to spend it on materialist, transient, inanimate crap? I don't ever, EVER want to live in a mcmansion; I want to speak at least six languages and help change the parts of the world where kids are still dying from hunger and preventable diseases. To be trite, I want to change the world and have a life rich in experiences. I suppose I could just get a lucrative pr job and give a lot of money to UNICEF; but I am selfish and that really wouldn't make ME happy.

In the short term, though, till I get my RN, freelancing might be a little more lucrative than working for minimum wage as a nursing assistant, which is the current plan when I get the CNA cert in June...



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