I consider myself reasonably intelligent but that doesn’t mean I can’t make an arse of myself from time to time. As recently stated, I’ve been looking at Craigslist where there is a constant ebb and flow of work opportunities, protests and scammers. It’s quite addictive actually, seeing how many people are paying a reasonable wage and how many are paying an unreasonable one.
Now, as both the novels and at least one of the humour books are doing the circuit with agents and publishers, I felt the need to keep my hand in with new writing. I prefer a goal rather than writing purely for artistic expression and I’d never tried rewriting articles to a format and timescale. I swapped emails with one ‘Freelance writer’ and agreed to look at a trial rewrite for $5. I have to say it was enjoyable to do – to take someone else’s brief and source material and just produce what they wanted to see.
Having been told my style of writing was good, I was offered another couple of articles to rewrite. Brian once said that he’d looked at a short story so often that he instinctively began to see the structure behind it. By the time I’d dealt with Finding a Private Investigator, How to Have a Cool Pool Party and How to Fix a Toilet, I have an inkling of what he meant. It’s not unlike the process of writing a certain type of comedy sketch.
So, there am I with three pieces under my belt and I realise I could do this from time to time, when the day work dries up. But we’re missing something, aren’t we? That’s right – I haven’t been paid yet! The smooth stroking of my ego has sent me into a stupor.
Another email comes in telling me that there is lots of extra work if I want it. Sure, I reply, just as soon as the first $15 has dropped into my paypal account. The weekend comes and goes; the Freelancer is nowhere to be seen and nor is my $15. So, I’m a professional, right? Albeit a stupid one. I drop him a line indicating that I expect to be paid for the work I’ve done and if I don’t hear back within a specified time I’ll take appropriate action. (Naturally, I’ve tracked down where some of my work has been reposted and taken note of the original Craigslist ads.)
Coincidentally, this morning I got an unsolicited email asking me to: Please confirm your request to join HotDirtyWebcams4u. Maybe this is the internet version of severance pay.