Sunday, November 9, 2014

Freelance Writer Problemz

"I would suggest not making a living as a freelance writer." -my features writing instructor my last semester of college.

Yes, that instructor warned the class against becoming a freelance writer and he probably also warned us against quote ledes, but apparently I don't listen.

At some point, I was really, really, really worried about getting a job. Thinking about it consumed a lot of my time during college and after college, I would often have terrible breakdowns when anyone asked me about the job search.

"Have you tried this website??? There are a ton of jobs on there!" -people, relatives, homeless people on the street, etc.

Yes, jobs that don't require a college degree and that are more than likely a pyramid scheme.

But at some point, kind of accidentally, I found six, SIX, jobs and it's exhausting. None of them are full-time and they're all basically freelancing gigs. While trying to find a full-time job, I realized I didn't want to give up writing, so I said, YOLO I'M YOUNG AND BROKE ANYWAY, LET'S JUST MAKE IT A CAREER.

But it's hard and most of my days are me sitting in my room, trying to think of a lede that won't piss my editor off.

Carrie Bradshaw makes it look glamorous, but she also sometimes makes me want to have an affair with my married ex-boyfriend and start smoking cigarettes, so really, Carrie Bradshaw is not an ideal role model.

I don't have a business card/press pass
The only publication that has ever given me a press pass was my high school yearbook. Since then, I haven't seen one. This is frustrating when you're trying to talk your way into free parking because you're the press and they're like, We need to see a badge, blah, blah, blah. Luckily, I can pretty much flirt my way into anything and also: smartphones. I can just pull my byline up on my phone and that's the same as a press pass????

And no, none of the publications give me business cards either. So when PR people ask me for one, I'm like, hahahaha. Help me, I'm poor.

I'm always eating in my car
No, seriously. I have it down to a science now. I know not to eat a Chick-fil-A sandwich because that's hard. When I'm eating and driving, I order the nuggets.

My gas tank is never full
Never. I usually only have time to fill it up $10 worth and then I'm like, I have an interview in 20 minutes across town! Gotta go, bye.

My phone is never completely charged
I am constantly checking my email to see how much my editors hate me/what they want me to do next/how many hate emails from readers I've received for something stupid I wrote/etc. Also, Twitter. Twitter is essential to me or else I literally wouldn't know anything.

Calling a source
Anytime I call a source, I say, "Hi, this is Paige Skinner with ______" AND I HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT. What publication is this for again? I literally don't even know.

They're all different
Anytime I tell a source that I'm a freelance writer, they all of a sudden want their story in every publication I write for. It doesn't work like that, but your persistence is admirable. Every publication I write for is seriously so different and a lot of stories just wouldn't crossover.

"I'm writing about an 89-year-old woman who volunteers for Meals on Wheels." -me
"For the Observer?" -my dad
"Do you think the Observer cares about an 89-year-old volunteer woman?" -me
"Only if she's also a stripper." -my dad


I work every day
10 a.m. Saturday morning for an interview? Sure. Why not.

Does this publication use says or said? I don't remember. When I link things, does this publication want it opened in a new window or not? IT'S ALL SO EXHAUSTING, Y'ALL.

I'm basic and oftentimes write at Starbucks because their sandwiches are good and even though I don't like coffee, I can stand Starbucks. But I'm that girl who asks for her receipt so I can deduct it from my taxes or something????? I don't know. My mom told me to do that and being an adult is hard.

Starbucks is also nice because there is one on every corner and sometimes after an interview, I'll be driving home, but get the sudden urge to write. I ask Siri to take me to the nearest Starbucks, pull out my laptop, and find a place to sit and write.

Sometimes when I'm driving, I talk to Siri to write down my thoughts because texting and driving is dangerous, y'all. I look like a freakin Kardashian holding my phone and talking into it.

It's hard. Feel sorry for me.

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