Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Why I do it (Or, am I banging my head against the wall? I hope not.)

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

This is the entry I've been trying to write for nigh on a week. Hopefully I'm past the drug-induced, sleep-deprived stupor that is part and parcel of dealing with a cold. Blame the roving typos on me. And blame the topic drift on stuff still in my system. Yeah, that's the ticket.

You may notice that I spend a lot of time talking about writing scams along with other talk about writing in general. Why do I do it? Simple. I'm a big believer in paying it forward.

Once upon a time I was young and hungry. And clueless. I thought I had a pretty decent BS meter, but one lesson I learned then is that it and the scam-dar need constant tweaking.

I've told my stories about being taken before, but I'll do a quick recap. My first job after I got married was working for a small ad agency. Small ad agencies abound, and probably moreso today than they did back then. The Internet has been a boon to many small businesses. I trusted the agency that placed me. My mantra later was trust, yet verify.

To this day I'm still not certain whether the guy who ran the agency was totally clueless or a scam artist. I tend towards the former, but when it got to the point where he was sinking vast sums of money into toys instead of paying his employees, the time came to cut and run.

In my years of freelancing I've also had my share of non-paying clients. Most of the instances were magazines that just got in over their head financially. That kind of things still goes on today. Again, the only thing to do is cut losses and move on.

These are the kinds of experiences that happen to us all. I was fortunate that my financial losses in terms of compensation was small.

The big difference between then and now (besides years) is that there was no Internet. I hung out with other writers. We knew how literary agencies were supposed to work and how publishers worked. When I was in college I started attending Trek and SF conventions. Even then there was a writing component, which was one big reason I went. Still, there was no online network, no Writer Beware. Still, we had a strong network and the more experienced writers (even the big names) were more than willing to help out the newbies.

I promised myself that when the time came I'd pay it forward. So that's what I'm doing.

I've had some modest success in the publishing biz, but still make most of my money from writing copy. I'm not a guru, but I do have a desire to help others.

And you know what? I still have a lot to learn. And I intend to pay THAT forward for as long as I can.It's the least I can do to thank those who helped me.

Filed under: Writing            
4/9/2007 4:48:39 PM
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