Mark Terry

Friday, July 18, 2008


July 18, 2008
I am probably not an optimist. I don't think I'm a pessimist, either. A friend once said I was a "realist" of the Hope-For-The-Best-Expect-The-Worst Sort.

That may have been true then, but I'm not sure it's true now. Things changed, my life changed, I changed.

So maybe I am an optimist.

But let me tell you something about freelancing for a living, and this applies to novels or magazine articles and everything in between.

1. You have to be optimistic and have faith that something good is going to come along. Things have been a little dry lately since bailing on the full-time gig, exacerbated by some slow-pay clients, which is frustrating the hell out of me. But I sat down and started hunting for more work. There has been a little voice in my head that says, "You're not going to get work, the economy sucks, it's July and everybody's on vacation, you blew your good karma in New York when you turned down the job..."

And you've just got to tell that little voice to SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP.

And today it looks like I've probably picked up a new client. I expect it to be the first through an open floodgate.

2. Put it one of two ways: things change and/or shit happens. Magazines go belly-up (so do book publishers), editors change jobs, publications decide to stop working with freelancers, etc. Aside from my contract job crisis this summer, I also did some work for a lab company that wanted me to write copy for their website. Alarm bells should have been going off, but I did some work for her although she didn't seem to be answering my questions or putting me in touch with the people I needed to be in touch with. I finally pulled together what I felt was 95% of the job and sent it to her. She came back with, "Oh, this is good, about 20% there." To which I responded with an invoice and the comment, "I can't go any further until I have feedback from the company."

Guess who hasn't paid the bill or gotten back with me? Sometimes you just have to wash your hands of a client and say, "Enough of that shit." Thank God I only spent about 5 hours or so on that gig.

But overall, if you want to keep your sanity, you have to convince yourself there's more, good work coming, that the checks are in the mail, that by God, things will work out.

Mark Terry


Blogger spyscribbler said...

And you also need good friends to remind you of that when you get down, LOL. The universe always seems to come through somehow. It's a mystery.

Thanks! :-)

6:52 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Glad the timing was right. :)

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

I'm kind of a pessimistic realist. Expect the worst and don't allow yourself to hope for the best because you'll probably be disappointed. :) oh, wait, I mean :(....

The last couple of months I've been having to turn work down. I've been offered enough work to last me for the next year, if I had a time machine so I could do the work in December and send it back in time to the deadline in September. Now you just know that a fallow period is sure to follow. So far though, something has always turned up in time. I guess if really believed things wouldn't continue to work out I'd be applying to greet people at WalMart.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Isn't it tough to turn work down? Man, that's hard to do.

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