Monthly Archives: October 2014

PAID OR PLAYED?

Andrea Freedman

Recently, I was offered a writing job which paid next to no money.

At first I was gung ho to accept the job, as I looked at the positive aspects – being paid to write, and meeting a new challenge. Once I really thought about it logically though, I decided that it would not be the best use of my time or efforts.

Luckily, it did not take me long to wake up and come to my senses, and realize that I was about to be taken advantage of. When I sat back and really thought of what was being asked of me, and how much work I would have to do in order to earn a few measly dollars, I became a bit depressed. In fact, for a couple of weeks, I found myself nearly unable to write a thing!

While getting paid to write may well be one of our main goals as writers, we must not forget our true value – even if there are others out there ready and willing to exploit us and make us feel less than what we are truly worth.

Brace yourself: I actually turned the job down. That’s right folks. I who is constantly on the look-out for more paid writing jobs, declined to do this particular assignment.

After I had politely informed the client of my decision – saying as things turned out I was too busy to get the job done on time – an immediate sense of relief washed over me.

As it turned out, I was struck with a nasty cold that took me out of commission for almost a week during the time that I had considered doing this job. I didn’t have the energy to do anything and I knew for sure I had made the right decision.

To drag ourselves through what feels like quick sand and not be appreciated or properly rewarded for doing so can sometimes do more harm than good to our self-esteem and motivation.

Since then, I have had many moments of self-doubt, despite the fact that I should know better. I have even had days when I asked myself if writing is all worth it; if there will ever be a light at the end of the tunnel as a working writer.

While I have made significant progress since I wrote my post Am I Getting Paid? Why Do You Ask? (https://andreafreedmanfreelancewriter.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/am-i-getting-paid-why-do-you-ask/), I still have a ways to go. That does not mean, however, that I should take any scrap that comes my way, when I know in my heart that what is being asked of me and offered in return is just plain unreasonable.

There are many of us out there trying to make a living as writers, and we can’t give up or allow others who try to demean our value by offering substandard pay to stand in our way. I realize we are in a profession that has moved further and further away from traditional publishing, not to mention newspapers and magazines that have shut down or are no longer hiring writers. I do not expect to necessarily become rich from writing (but there’s no harm in dreaming), but I know that what I do has merit, and is at least deserving of decent compensation.

Getting paid for our work as artists in any capacity is not easy. Although we may jump at any job when we are starting out, no matter how little it pays, we must eventually give ourselves permission to expect reasonable remuneration for our work – and yes, it is indeed work when we are writing for clients, no matter the passion we all bring into each and every piece we create.

Onwards and forwards; it is time to stop feeling sorry for myself and move on. I know that there are in fact people out there who don’t seek to take advantage of others, and who are in fact willing to pay a proper fee for a job done well.

Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I’ve got work to do.●

Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2014

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The Mad Rush

Andrea Freedman

One morning, just after I had stepped into the shower, the phone rang.  I knew that it probably was a call I had been anxiously awaiting and I was not going to pass up the opportunity to answer.  I ran out of the bathroom, not even sparing a second to turn off the water.  I knew that the caller would go to voicemail after the third ring and that the cordless phone was hung up at the far end of the living room; I had no time to spare.

As I flew at breakneck speed – no pun intended – across my apartment, oblivious to the fact that I had not stopped to grab a towel, I suddenly realized that the blinds were wide opened and that I was visible to everyone in the opposite apartment and office buildings.  Just as I did, my wet feet slipped on the carpet and I fell, face down, one side of my face banging forcefully into the television.  As I heard the beginning of the third and final ring, I somehow managed to crawl across the floor and pull myself up, oblivious to the pain I felt in my face, wrist and knee, desperate to make it across the room before it was too late.

The good news is that I actually did make it to the phone just in time before the end of the final ring.  As thrown, literally, as I was by the incident, my irritation would have been that much greater had I missed the call and made everything I had just gone through for naught.

“Hello?” I answered the phone in tears, my husband pressing an ice pack into my free hand after having been woken by the sound of my crashing into the television.  Just as I had hoped, it was my sister on the other end, who felt partly responsible when she heard what had just happened.

You might say it was something of a freak accident, every part of my body scraped or bruised, not to mention my embarrassment when I thought of the people who had witnessed the whole thing from their windows.  The tone of my entire day was set from the time of the incident on, what with the pain I was feeling on one side of my upper body and shaken as I was at how quickly and suddenly everything can change.

As I soaked in a bubble bath after I somehow managed to get myself out and make it through the rest of that day, I realized how lucky I was but I was also somewhat disturbed when I thought of how much more seriously hurt I could have been.  What if the television had fallen on me?  What if my husband, who is usually a sound sleeper and very difficult to wake up, had not heard the crash and I had been trapped under there?

Only a week earlier when I opened the utility closet in the kitchen a broom flew out of nowhere and struck me right in my eyeball.  Anything can happen out of nowhere (just look back at my July 3, 2014 post: https://andreafreedmanfreelancewriter.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/please-dont-give-me-the-finger/) and while I certainly do not want to live in fear of my every move, I think that slowing down just a bit might be worth it if it means avoiding potential accidents.

Since I was okay more or less, at least I was able to have a few laughs about it when I related the story to friends and family later that evening and for days afterwards when I was asked what the bruise on my face was from.

Days later, a small bump remained to remind me of how much worse it could have been and how fortunate I really was.

Since then, besides extending the ring tones on my telephone to give myself more time to answer it, I have tried to slow my pace down and not panic or rush as I normally would.  There will always be another subway train, another, perhaps less crowded elevator, and even the most important of callers, if worse comes to worse, can go to voicemail.

Sometimes when we rush carelessly through our day to day activities, we end up doing ourselves more harm than good in the long run.  Calls can be answered and returned and we can get to where we need to go just as efficiently without causing ourselves undue stress or, in come cases, injury.  I learned something when I had that startling accident in my living room.  Becoming so flustered and hurried that I do not pay attention to my surroundings and absentmindedly stumbling, literally, through life doesn’t necessarily do me any good.  By approaching things a little more calmly and less recklessly, I can actually achieve just as much and probably more, and remain in one piece while I’m at it.♦

 

Copyright © 2014 by Andrea Freedman.

Bag THIS!

Andrea Freedman

Has anyone else out there noticed that ever since the plastic bag fee was introduced, that the quality of the bags has gone down dramatically? In fact, it seems as though I can hardly get a plastic bag to make it home after only a five minute walk from the grocery story without that bag having at least one or two holes in it.

You could put a piece of paper in one of these bags and it would rip. Okay, perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration, but it is not that far off from the truth either. The irony is that some stores who still include a plastic bag with a customer’s purchase – free of charge – offer the best quality bags.

The bag fee does deter me from purchasing bags and encourages me to bring my own shopping bag from home. I find I can carry much more in my shopping bags. However, there are times when I do need a plastic bag, and when those times occur, I would like to be able to use that bag again, for one thing because it is good for the environment to re-use, and for another, because quite frankly, when I am paying for something, even a plastic bag, I would like it to last or at the very least, make it home.

Instead, most times I am forced to buy two bags, where normally I would have only bought one. It could be argued that this is a waste of a plastic bag, therefore defeating the purpose of saving on plastic bag use in the first place.

If we are supposed to re-use the plastic bags, why is the quality so ridiculously bad enough to make that virtually impossible? I re-use my bags, especially for garbage. As I live in an apartment, my garbage goes down the incinerator, contained in a plastic bag. When it comes to disposing of garbage, it is obviously as a matter of hygiene, especially if one lives in a multi-unit dwelling. That garbage needs to be disposed of in a plastic bag. If I do not use the plastic bags I get at the store, then I will still need to go out and purchase actual plastic garbage bags. I will still be using a plastic bag.

I have also often used plastic bags to bring lunch to work or elsewhere in. Never is a bag – that is, one without a hole in it – only used once or thrown in the garbage in my household.

I do not think I should be punished with an inferior bag – a bag that I am paying for I might add. To me it simply does not make sense and it actually sabotages the purpose of re-using bags. They cannot very well be used when they are full of holes.

In no way am I trying to suggest that five cents is an exorbitant amount of money. It is just the principal. The other day, it was the last straw. I had specifically asked a cashier’s opinion as to whether I should purchase one bag or two. She confidently told me that the one bag would be sufficient, even after I had blatantly told her that I was sick and tired of purchasing bags that immediately tore. It was almost as though she did it on purpose.

When I got the bag home a very short while later and – what a surprise – it was torn to shreds, I went right back to the store and asked for a refund of my five cents, and I told the cashier exactly why I was doing so.

Like it or not, plastic bags are sometimes a necessity. Having to pay for them should not be synonymous with bad quality. It may sound silly, but that’s my five cents on the subject.♠

 

What’s your five cents on the subject? Do you mind paying the plastic bag fee? Are you bothered by the thinness of the new bags?

 

Copyright © 2014 by Andrea Freedman