I’m very much in love with the fact that this current project is still in the developmental stages as opposed to the documentation stages. Although, one could argue that documentation plays a part in the development of the work which I suppose it does, to an extent.
“Quant à écrire, j’y ai totalement renoncé, et je suis sûr que jamais on (ne) verra mon nom imprimé. Je n’en ai plus la force, je ne m’en sens plus capable, cela est malheureusement ou heureusement vrai. Je me serais rendu malheureux, j’aurais chagriné tous ceux qui m’entourent, en voulant monter…
“Or nos gauches bien-pensantes ne se sentent pas tellement gênées pour cracher à répétition sur l’individualité d’Ilham Moussaïd. Pour elles, Ilham Moussaïd ne renvoie pas une personnalité unique, métissée de différents traits et expériences (…), mais est réduite à un objet (en tant que « femme objet » ?), un foulard. On piétine, on méprise, on caricature, on essentialise, sans vergogne. Au nom de l’émancipation, on écrase l’émancipation.”—Le NPA, le foulard et l’émancipation : avec Ilham Moussaïd (via cercamon) (via erwm)
Andrew McMillen writes: “That is - dealing with periods of silence, inaction, rejection from editors, etc. In my limited experience, it is the worst part of being a freelancer. Until you’re established, it is a tough, reactive situation to be in: always waiting for others to react, before work can commence. Someone told me that it’s 90% pitching and 10% writing, and that is the truth.”
As I often speak about in workshops I run, editors are naturally cautious when it comes to hiring new writers. They don’t want to commission someone who can’t get their facts right, or whose work will take some poor sub four hours to copyedit (and believe me, such situations are not uncommon), so they tend to gravitate to writers they’ve worked with before or writers who’ve accumulated enough clips that they seem like a “safe bet”.
Which is to say that as you accumulate more clips, it will get easier (my ratio at the moment is probably more like 20% pitching, 80% writing, but I’ve been in this game for a while, and I don’t freelance fulltime). It’s also to say that it can (and is) bloody hard when you’re first starting out.
Oh yes, I remember well the fear, the frustration, the sobbing about being “unemployable”, the spending $4 on a Saturday night out (the issue was partly, as I will expand on further in a future installment of this column, that I didn’t know how to pitch properly - it really is an art that you refine over time).
But how did I - and should you - stay motivated?
My first piece of advice is to find an editor or publication who likes and supports your work, and build that relationship. It helps hugely to have someone who says yes to most of (or at least a decent proportion of) things you pitch them, even when everyone else is saying “thanks, but no thanks”. When I first started out, this was the Sydney Morning Herald, which sounds great, but quasi-monthly Fairfax columns are not enough to live off (hence the $4 nights out).
This is a bit of a task in and of itself, but if your work is good, there will be some editor out there who likes it and wants to publish it. It may not be someone who pays well - or even pays at all - but having an ongoing, supportive relationship with an editor can do wonders for your self-esteem and motivation. And it goes without saying that you should be pitching other publications (not your “champion” publication’s direct competitors) at the same time - and that goes quadrouple if they’re not paying you.
But even editors who work for non-paying publications often go on to work for ones that do pay (myself being a case in point) - and editors tend to like to take their favourite contributors with them when they move. They also know other editors, and make recommendations to each other.
My second tip is a bit more romantic: it’s to let yourself be driven by the stories you want to tell rather than by racking up clips. These days, my main source of motivation is the glut of potential stories I have bubbling away in my mind. Sure, the “shooting hoops” feeling of breaking a new publication is exciting, but focusing on the story allows you to divorce the pitch from your self-esteem. Of course, this too can be frustrating - there are stories it has taken me literally years to get off the ground.
Le chercheur refuse notamment un système dans lequel des “capitaines de recherche négocieront leur salaire à l’embauche tout en ayant à leur service une armée de contractuels taillables et corvéables à merci”.
“[Chatroulette] A new website that has been described as “surreal”, “addictive” and “frightening” is proving a sensation around the world – and attracting a reputation as a haven for no-holds-barred, explicit material. Chatroulette, which was launched in November, has rocketed in popularity thanks to its simple premise: internet video chats with random strangers. When users visit the site and switch on their webcams, they are suddenly connected to another, randomly chosen person who is doing precisely the same thing somewhere else in the world. Once they are logged in together, chatters can do anything they like: talk to each other, type messages, entertain each other – or just say goodbye, hit the “next” button and move on in an attempt to find somebody more interesting.”—Online voyeurs flock to the random thrills of Chatroulette | Technology | The Observer (via transnets)