People like my resume—here's a PDF! But a resume is only the skin of a career. And, even then, it's skin with a lot of make-up on it. People live their lives, knowing the interior of their existence, and can only compare it to the exteriors of the lives of others—so, as a public service, here's a look at the interior of my seven years as a freelancer. That is to say, seven years as one of the choosiest beggars imaginable. The Devil does not wear Prada. The Devil wears Times New Roman. Or Arial Narrow. And he shows up in my inbox every hour on the hour. [...]
This is how the Freelancer’s Panic works: Checks that are supposed to have arrived get lost in the jaws of payroll processing, leaving you without any money and, worse yet, a sense that no money will find its way into your mailbox, ever. Days are spent alternating between considering the poor life decisions that have led to this point and sending out mass emails to friends and strangers looking for any leads. Which is how, one day last week, I found myself responding to an ad on the “Writing Gigs” section of the Los Angeles Craigslist that was, most likely, a scam. I mean, it definitely was a scam. Completely. [...]
After publishing Richard Morgan's account of his life as a freelance writer, we heard from someone who'd been both a freelance writer and an editor at a major newspaper. "Was there a time, a long time ago, when editors and writers weren't at war with one another?" he asked. Although one would think a congenial relationship between the two would lead to clearer and more cohesive writing, writers and editors do indeed seem to be locked in perpetual conflict. How did we reach such levels of animosity? I looked to the historical record.