Post-A-Day2011 – Exposing myself

Reading other bloggers is inspiring. Today I visited Practically Twisted and discovered once more how many other artists and writers deal with being asked to work for free. No more giving it ALL away so often. I remember this line from “The Color Purple”. “Stop givin’ away all your shit!” Maybe I am becoming more forceful. Seeing purple? (It is after all a healing color…LOL!)
Harlan Ellison says it all very clearly, in words I have spoken. He says it clearly and forcefully!
Hearing the words “but it will be good exposure for you” one too many times prompted me to say quite clearly, “If I simply wanted more exposure, I could take off my clothes and run down Main Street. You know people can die from exposure!” I try to keep a sense of humor about it all – to a point.
A few years ago, I, too had a very brief career as a professional photo journalist.
After the publication of my poem (yesterday’s post) I was asked if I would be willing to write some short farmy feature articles for a newspaper. Yup.
After the first article was published I was paid – $40.00. It was short, so okay, I had agreed ahead of time to that. They liked my work and ideas so much they asked for more. I agreed to produce more. They loved them. They were popular… their readers responded positively. The last article I wrote for them was about an outdoor adventure with a local organization. I wanted to go on it anyway, so I did. After three days on the road (2 in the rain), interviewing people, documenting their adventure in words and images and joining in, I then wrote the story, which took three days of writing, selecting and editing photos and soggy notes.
When it was published, a full page plus, a lot of people called with positive feedback. The pay? Still $40.00. At that rate I figured it out – 3 days of expenses for travel, camera equipment, roughly 40 hours of writing and editing… what’s wrong with this picture? Less than 50 cents an hour, I quit. I made more baby-sitting as a teenager with few bills to pay!
$40.00 per article. That was their policy. Didn’t matter how many photos, how many words. $40.00. The saving grace in this story, I did sell a few photos to some of the adventurers from that last article, and will probably sell more. After I quit writing features for the paper, the editor offered to hire me – full time. A nice man, an excellent writer, who became a friend. The pay was modest. That was an issue and the bigger issue came when I asked what I would be expected to write about. The answer? Murder, accidents, court cases. “No thanks, ” I answered. “I intend to write about the positive things in the community. I believe that when we focus on the negative, for shock value or whatever, it encourages more. I want to encourage families to do things together, for people to appreciate this countryside and see the opportunities around us. Thanks, and no thanks.” He understood and I appreciate that. He said he envied me for not selling out.
As an editor he gave me support, encouragement and words I will never forget. “Everybody has a story. All you have to do is ask the question and listen.” Thanks, Tom, that was worth the $40.00.

Yesterday, I wrote “Why do we write? To remember, to capture a moment, a feeling, a smell of something or someone we love and then… to share it.” I also write and make art to be paid. Compliments and admiration are encouraging and do not pay the bills.

Yep. (and a note to my friends… don’t worry, yes, you will still receive gifts!)
May your day be filled with everything you deserve – we all deserve the best. Follow your bliss and be sure you keep your clothes on… most of the time anyway. 🙂

Namaste~Star Bear

Advertisements

4 responses to “Post-A-Day2011 – Exposing myself

  1. So well said. Thanks.

  2. I enjoyed your post enough to check the link which I also liked. And your poem which I read on Summer and Hay humbled me. I’m a struggling Film Director. I like to think I’m good but I’m very bad with people in power. Anyway…I volunteered work once… A Wedding. Once.

  3. Very well said. Thank you. 🙂

  4. I appreciate you story about giving stuff away. When people give something to me, I often wonder what’s wrong with it – why is it free? It must not have any value.

    So I agree that once you value your work and put a price on it then it becomes valuable to others too.

    Thanks from Marge in Colorado

Your comments are appreciated!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s