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On Seven Years as a Freelance Writer, or, How To Make Vitamin Soup

You may not have wanted to lose friends and alienate people but I ended up having a movie made about my unsuccessful efforts to "take Manhattan" whereas you've ended up in ... Memphis. Maybe you shouldn't have played so nice.

Seriously, though, good piece - and I should fucking know. I've been freelancing since 1985 on and off. One caveat: You didn't make enough of the revolving door policy most publications have. Those four editors you have a good relationship with - one of them will still be around in five years' time if you're lucky. When you get to my age (46) the bit that sucks the most is having to cold call 23-year-old deputy features editors who have no fucking clue who you are. As the late, great Ernest Lehman said about Hollywood, it's getting to the point where I don't dare shake the hand of an executive for fear of being arrested for child molestation.

And I often think: If this is what it's like for me, God knows what it must be like for someone just starting out.

Bottom line: Anyone embarking on a career in journalism at this point in time is either a moron or a romantic (probably both).

Posted on August 3, 2010 at 10:59 am 0