What Money Can’t Buy

A few days ago, Mentor in My Head (MIMH), Aliya S. King asked for topics for the Writing 101 section of her blog. I had plenty of questions, but some things, I think, you should just find out on your own. Experience is the best teacher, right? I kept my mouth shut. It wasn’t until I read a story in yesterday’s L.A. Times, “Freelance Writing’s Unfortunate New Model,” that I changed my mind.

In a nutshell, the story says freelance journalists aren’t being paid haf as much as they were a few years ago for their services, if at all. Since money is running low, publications are no longer asking for long,  in-depth stories. Instead, writers are producing short, to-the-point stories. Hey, they (we) aren’t being paid much anyway. Journalists who were once able to make a great living off of the stroke of the pen are scrapping and scraping for income now.

How depressing it that? My answer: Hella. I knew then, what I wanted to ask Aliya:

@aliyasking: Re: dig mags, at pt. do u think u should be compensated? Do u think u should be paid or if u do what u luv, $ will come?

Her response:

@Alisha8151: the latter. my first gig paid 18k

Foreal? 18,000 a year? That’s saying a lot, coming from a respected, award-winning, journalism vet turned bestselling author. But still, the Impatient Patty in me said, When’s the pay-off? Literally. I’m sure you heard the quote that goes something like: Find what you would do for free and make it a career. Not in those exact words though.

Sounds shaky, but it’s true. How many people truly do what they love for a LIVING? I’ve some paid writing gigs (thank God), but I’ve had many more non-paid gigs. Even the ones that paid were no more than a couple hundred dollars, but no signed check has ever compared to the feeling I get seeing my words in print…on the page and now on the computer screen. I’m a newbie to the writing game so who could ask for more? The day I saw my editorial on Honey’s makeshift website in 2006, I held back screams in my office. The day I saw my first article published in Clutch in 2007, I did scream (No one was in the office). And today, sitting on my sofa, playing with my iPhone, I screamed again.

Right there on Twitter, for the followers to see, was a tweet linking my story on actor Brian White for Honey Magazine. I opened my laptop, clicked the link and screamed again. Loud this time. There were my words and there was my name at the bottom. That’s a feeling no Benjie can buy. Though I’ll be honest and say, I hope and PRAY my efforts lead to dinero, even if they don’t, sharing my work and seeing my dream come true before my very eyes is more than enough.

Shoutout to God! Thank YOU!


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