I can’t believe I typed that. Saying “hashtag” anything has become one of my pet peeves lately, and now it’s dropping out of my own fingertips all of a sudden!
Anyhoo, it’s been a long time since I talked about my freelance
indentured servitude career. As most of you know, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to support yourself with the income from fiction writing. Unless you are one of those lucky souls that gets a ginormous contract and becomes the beloved of a ton of fans that auto-buy every book, you have to spend money and time not only writing, but promoting, as well as have some kind of outside work to generate that money. You must be in fiction writing it because you love it, because if you’re in it for the money, the glory, or massive fame, you’re in for a shocking surprise. Unfortunately, if you’re a single person with no other means of support, that’s not going to work.
Buckle up, there’s a rant coming!
Since I became disabled, I’ve been scrambling my butt off to make money doing online freelance work. Which pays WORSE than fiction writing, and is far less fun. The only thing it has going for it is that if you pound enough virtual pavement, it’s fairly regular work, and most of the time, if you do the assignment, you get paid for it. If you’re fortunate, you get a few clients who really like your stuff, and both of you know what to expect from the other. Some job boards expect less and pay more for your work than others.
Then there are times like mid-summer and mid-autumn, when assignments all but dry up (advertising budgets run out around then), and you have to pretty much sit on your email 24/7 in order to jump on the skimpy pickings before the other 100,000 freelancers looking for a job do.
One site that I used to write frequently for rarely has any jobs for over $10 (for about 400 words) anymore. I keep looking there because it’s given me a lot of work over the years, but most of the time lately, if you’re not willing to make $2 for an entire piece of writing, you’re out of luck. So when checked there last week and found a $40 assignment requested by a client I had written for previously, I snapped it up.
Wow, was that a mistake. I was familiar with their ridiculously detailed and micro-managing instructions. I was prepared for a round of revisions, as I’d done last time. I wrote in the same format, with the same kind of information and the same general tone, as it was the same kind of product as last time. I carefully researched each and every ingredient in this product and wrote what I thought was a pretty good piece. (Their requests are basically, “Write a bunch of marketing bullshit without it sounding like marketing bullshit.” But when you do this kind of work, you learn to do it.)
I got the expected request for revisions — that were more ridiculous than the initial instructions, which I followed to the letter. Fixed it and resubmitted it. Fine. Right?
Just got ANOTHER request for revisions, even more ridiculous and pickier than the last! I had to vent here on my blog so I wouldn’t go off on the client. No wonder nobody else ever picks their assignments out of the pool! I must have gotten extremely lucky the first time I worked for them. So I took another hour out of my day (and editing my story due Saturday) to make MORE changes (and not remind them that they shouldn’t be hawking this product to begin with, since the previous version of it was taken off the shelves of national retailers because it was causing adverse reactions in some people. It’s not quite right, but it’s not illegal, so not my business.) and resubmitted.
But I am telling you right now, if it comes back for more revisions, I will have wasted a good four or five hours of my life, because the assignment is going back into the pool. I will not spend one more second on it. And, in fact, I will throw a hissy fit like nothing you’ve ever seen (from me, I can’t speak for the rest of your life. :D), and since I’ve had some doozies over the years *cough*last night*cough*, that’s saying something. I will lose. My. Shit.
Yes, I am extremely low on funds, and I have stuff coming out soon that I need money to promote, not to mention, you know, basic living expenses. Sometimes, though, I’d rather just eat boxed mac & cheese and live by candlelight than put up with this crap (I need internet, but I don’t need TV. You can watch pretty much anything online now anyway.). As far as I know, the client can just sign in, swipe the article, reject it so they don’t have to pay for it, and use my hard work anyway. It’s certainly not difficult to do a screen print, right?
I need to get an agent. And a contract (for fiction). I don’t care about being rich, but I really don’t want to do this freelance crap anymore. Just enough to get by. I need to become one of those writers that cranks something out every couple of months. GODDESS, I WISH I DRANK WHEN UNDER STRESS!