March 24, 2009

The New Me

We chatted about new school vs. old school erotica last week. But today I'm thinking more about new school vs. old school me. I mean, I've been running over and over into the same situations lately, and I'm trying to revamp. Not my wardrobe, but myself. My friend Georgia calls moments like this "personal growth opportunities." Which makes me shudder. Personal growth? I'd rather buy a pair of boots.

But here's the thing. I keep finding myself in situations where I know what I should do, but out of what? Fear? Respect? Manners? I just don't. For example, last year, I had agreed to do a book. The money was set. The amount of work was set. Right before I started, the editor doubled the work load. "But the money stays the same, of course," she told me in an email.

Why "of course"? She'd doubled the work from 150 pages to 300 pages. The deadline and payment didn't change. This is the project I complete fucked up. I mean, I failed so totally miserably that I still have nightmares I'm working on it. But my mistake was in not shooting back an email to say, "I need twice as much time and money, of course."

What stopped me? Well, last year, I did a different freelance job for a big company. When I asked if I'd get credit (truly, out of curiosity), my editor said her boss met the question with "a stony silence." And that's the thing. Writers are treated so weirdly. If you ask a question, you're a diva. If you ask for more money, you've got attitude.

To be honest, I would now rather not get a job than sign something I feel is unfair. But it goes beyond that. I also want respect. Not scream it at the top of your lungs respect. Just a little fair play. Welcome to the new me.

Now where are my boots?
And what are *your* "personal growth opportunities"?



probitionate said...

“It’s an accepted fact that all writers are crazy; even the normal ones are weird.”

William Goldman

Part of our craziness is no doubt due to how many people diminish our roles/values/contributions. But then, they don't start with a blank page, do they...?

Shanna Germain said...

-as stolen Alison's boots in lieu of her own personal growth experience-

It was a good choice.

GingerSnap said...

Yay for you! You're awesome.

I have been on the receiving end of: "Sorry, all writers for this magazine are going to get a 60% pay cut--take it or leave it." You know, an artist can create a work of art and stick a $3000 price tag on it. We as writers don't get to determine the monetary value of our work, and we don't tend to get much respect for it either (at least, from the industry. The readers are another matter, fortunately.) By demanding fair treatment, you're not only claiming the respect you've earned, you're improving things for all of us.

So, thank you, and post a pic of the boots when you get them.


Alison Tyler said...

The thing is that I often do work for free. And I am even fine working for very little money if the situation appeals to me.

Just depends on the job.

But I'm kind of done with the "bend over and spread 'em" philosophy.

And Shanna?
Give me back my boots!!


Cora Zane said...

You need an cape to go with those boots, Wonderwoman. You rock.

And you're right, it's not always about money, particularly if it's an interesting project. However, no job is worth being taken advantage of, especially when those over you are aware they're doing it.