Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm becoming a commenter!

This isn't a byline, but I'm acting like it is -- I wrote a Letter to the Editor of the NYT Magazine, and it got printed! I sent it in via email and thought nothing of it, since I thought they called to confirm before printing anything, but a friend posted it on my Facebook wall on Saturday. I'm pleased as punch!

I'll admit that I almost said "kittens" instead of "marshmallow Peeps" as a nod to Zooey Deschanel, but thought I would be the only one who noticed.

In the olden days, I used to listen to my then-local daytime NPR shows (Brian Lehrer and Leonard Lopate) in lieu of chatting with office mates. It's an old freelancer trick. And when the loneliness (and need to procrastinate) got to be too much to bear, I would call in and lend them my thoughtful thinky thoughts on whatever they were talking about that day. I did this so often that my friend Cindy would tune in while dropping off her kids just to see if I was on that day. I'd call in, yap, then watch my email to see if she was listening. (Freelancing is very, very lonely, people.)

I've called in to the local shows here, too, but it's not as satisfying. But since my friend KJ has been writing for Motherlode at the NYT, I've been commenting like crazy on her posts. Lucky for you (and my pride) that i can't link directly to them. Go on over to Motherlode and read and comment for yourself, and see if you can spot me there.

Meanwhile, back to work. Actually, I'll have to work later -- I have an interview today with a really terrific kids' clothing company that needs a copywriter. If they pay me in pinafores, I'M IN!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Deeper Pitches

This week was much improved. I've been hitting deadlines and getting promising responses to better-paying pitches, and had a terrific tryout for a new copywriting client. Oh, and another client -- a startup -- was just "acquired," and I'm being called in to discuss the new playing field (and pay scale) with the new owners.

But daily blogging v. reporting an article are two different skills. Back at home, I would bounce back and forth, every few years, between writing and editing, and it was always a relief no matter which way I went. Change is refreshing! It's harder now, though. I don't know if my brain has atrophied like my hamstrings, or if these two skills are farther apart, but it feels like more of a challenge to shift from "poop out this blog post NOW!" to "Do several layers of research, work up a deeper pitch, get approved, and then put the rest of the research you already did into the article. Then revise it."

Wait, it is more of a challenge. That's why it's better to read ... and why it pays more. RIGHT. News flash to Arianna Huffington: you get what you pay for.

Okay, off to do some actual research. Oy, my brain-hamstrings.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Adjusted expectations

Phew. I have changed my schedule around a bit so that I can hit my deadlines, and it feels a lot better than, you know, not doing that. But I'm feeling a bit forlorn about two recent job prospects that didn't pan out.

Plus -- and this is weird -- someone in the internets got upset about an article I wrote in -- let me check. March of 2005. I interviewed I guy about some singles parties he was running and wrote a very brief article about the trend. Six years later, the online magazine was still using the content, and another guy who eventually bought the rights to these parties (this is a living?) started harassing me on LinkedIn and Twitter because he wanted me to change something in this six-year-old article.

First of all, seriously? Why do people think the writers with the byline have the least bit of control over what happens to this copy after we hand it in? In the olden days, if you had an embarrassingly bad story under your byline, meh, big deal. The issue would be gone in a month and nobody would remember. Now it's all trapped in amber and on view for all time, like Han Solo in the carbonite. Uch, it was just annoying to deal with this doofus complaining at me.

Meanwhile I'm pitching an old contact at a site I loved writing for -- gotta keep plugging away. Oh: the girls fell asleep an hour early because I haven't changed the clocks in my house. Everybody's happier this way, and I'm pitching and posting like a champ. For now.