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at bitter-girl :: musings



Have you heard my new theory of life? It’s right there: Shakespeare got to get paid, son. Been there, done that, own the t-shirt.

I’m tired of doing things for cheap. Over the past six months I’ve hired a literary agent, started charging for things I used to do free (even if it’s only a token amount), and I’m actively taking on projects that are going to pay more, not to mention expanding my business in such a way that it can’t help but be more profitable than it is now. I’m actually using QuickBooks, for heaven’s sake. I have an accountant. Look, ma! Your barefoot hippie kid grew up and became a capitalist while doing artsy stuff in her pajamas!

The funny thing is that I was still all about the process and education and la di artsy-da when I was a stockbroker. It took being a full-time freelancer to turn me into a mercenary.

You know what? I’m so totally worth it. I turn work in on time. (Want to hear a good one? I’m the only contributor who did, out of an entire print magazine’s pages earlier this year — I even turned it in early!) I write well, I’m organized, I’m creative. Editors know they can count on me. Not that I have a big head about it or anything…after all, organization isn’t rocket science, and the rest of it stems from being able to juggle multiple thoughts and concepts at once. Also, I think that a lot of people allow themselves to be underpaid in my line of work, which isn’t good for any of us. (Though given the flakiness some people exhibit, it’s hardly surprising no one wants to pay them more…)

I hired my agent when I got sick of chasing down checks from major corporations — if I do my part of the work on deadline, the least you can do is pay me in a timely fashion. A friend of mine who runs a successful design business summed it up nicely: you don’t have time to deal with that nonsense, pay someone else to do it for you. She was right, of course.

So that’s what’s taking up space in my head these days: making sure I get paid for the work that I do, with a premium for good behavior. Seriously, I think more time is spent looking for work and trying to get paid for it than is spent actually writing, designing, whatever. Next step: streamlining that process even further, so I can spend more time on the stuff I like better than accounting. QuickBooks is going to help immensely — I’m never going to sit down and write checks to 45+ book contributors by hand again. Ach.


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