Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Today, right now, I do two pieces: one and a corporate one. I am going to do both. This despite my spending 2 hours grinding through my in-box. I also applied for yet another job.

What's with recruiters suddenly being the new used car salesmen? Only used car salesmen didn't call you at home on a weekend to ask if you wanted this new car they just found. And then ask you to do all this stuff to GET the new car and then ignore you after you send them what they asked for, which took hours out of your weekend work days.


I'm putting it here and will report back when each thing is done. What are you going to work on today?
I'll race you.

UPDATE: Both pieces done, 3 hours later, not too bad. However, I thought one was being done a day early when, in fact, it was a day late. Editor forgives me. I love him. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


It's ever-fascinating to me, the things that I will find completely necessary -- nay, urgent -- when I sit down to work. I'll spend all night fretting about an upcoming -- nay, looming -- deadline, and as I walk into my office I'll be mentally calculating how much I can get done in my allotted four hours of desk time. And somehow as my butt lowers onto my yoga ball, I magically pass into an enchanted land where the only concievable problem is that I don't have a working printer.

Here are some ways I drag that out to fill my work time:
- Price-comparisons at different stores
- Price-comparisons within each store
- Searching for and entering various coupon codes
- Reading reviews
- Comparing prices of ink, to see if that offsets the cheapness of the printer

The funny part ... and there is a funny part ... is that I'm always just going to buy the cheapest Epson regardless of what any online review says.

Did I say funny part? That's the sad part.

Anyway. Once I realized that this expense would go into our new family business account, I somehow let go of the idea of doing it now and emailed the best printer to my husband, who's in charge of our bookkeeping. ooooookkkkkkkkeeeeeeee i love that word.

And now? Back to work. I have the exact perfect story to work on and I just realized I was totally looking forward to it, back when my butt was up higher.

Crap, I never found a place to say nay, something again just so it'd be clear I was kidding about ever saying nay, anything. Well listen, do you want me to go back and revise, or do you want me to make this deadline? I thought so. Thanks for your patience -- nay, forbearance. HAHAHA.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Pause That Refreshes

I Tweeted the other day that "broke is the new single." What I meant was this: when I was single, I felt shame, worry that I was a freak who would always be this way, envy that others seemed to have figured all this out, and determination that I would always, always remember what this felt like, even when I was no longer single.

I kept that promise to a certain extent. Part of me is just too freakin busy, at this point, to even notice that people feel at loose ends. Yesterday was Mother's Day, and as I lovingly nuzzled my daughters' hair, noticing the difference in their smells and the way their skin feels, I didn't remember -- possibly for the first time! -- that one Mother's Day twenty-odd years ago, when I trudged down into the subway and saw a beautiful family running up and out, the mom adorable in her hippie dress, the dad slinging kids one-armed like a pro, and sunk into a slough of despond. Never mind that that family ended up divorced a few years later (Park Slope is a small town, yo) or that, you know, it just wasn't my time yet, and it wouldn't have killed me to just Enjoy Myself rather than constantly comparing my life to everyone else's. My response to seeing a happy family was worry and a pervasive sense of inferiority.

Now that I really am that hippie mom (uh sorta), I don't miss a chance to feel grateful and lucky, rather than put-upon and resentful. But it's not a constant awareness. It's fading. The same way that "I will always be a smoker, even after I stop!" eventually faded. And that "I will always remember how annoying grownups are!" lost its charm when I realized how self-obsessed twelve-year-olds are. We can't stay frozen in amber. Our policies evolve along with our circumstances.

Anyway, so I'm not obsessively single anymore. I'm not a smoker anymore, not even emotionally. But I retain my outsider status by being hella broke, underemployed, and resentful of my friends who do zany things like have date night or buy pants. And I want to remember always how crappy this feels so I don't make broke friends feel worse when I'm feeling better. I seem to remember an essay by Anne Lamott on this theme -- having to cut off a friend who was kvelling too much about her own good fortune. At the time, I thought she was emotionally stingy. I still would not allow myself to do such a thing -- suck it up, I tell myself, because friends are harder to make than money. But I do see how the emotional energy required to negotiate being too broke to pay every bill, every month, can be so draining, there's no energy left over for applause.

Like a single person obsessing over a new potential mate, I spend so much energy hitting "refresh" on my email account that I have to force myself to actually take the steps to get new work and, you know, do the work on my plate. I'm sure that metaphor could be more elegant. But if I spend any more time on it, I won't make today's deadline.

So here's my vow: Universe, give me enough work to support my family, and I'll keep my mouth shut and clap for my friends when you do the same for them. Deal?

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Content Providers

For a couple years now, I've seen tons of ads for content providers, and have watched as potential clients slip away, seduced by the siren song of free or dirt-cheap content that pays writers maybe $5-$10 per 500-word post. I know plenty of people who've gone this route on lean months. I'm not gonna name names, but you've surely seen them listed on Craigslist, and it's not like it's really any worse than that unpaid internship you took in college, right?

Except we're supposed to be beyond the internship years and the desperation, for crap's sake. It seems like the longer I'm in this business, the more people expect me to work for free, for "exposure," for the sake of community or dialogue or any number of other buzz words. Blurg.

Thank goodness, some responsible content providers are entering the market now. Staffed by seasoned journalists, they don't take writers for granted -- and the gigs are fun, interesting, and pretty easy. I'm happy to outsource the search for clients and feel lucky to be on board. And the pay's not bad. So that's this week's adventure: new client, new delivery system. Fun fun.