Monday, November 13, 2017


––start here.

The idea of writing a duper (I’ll tell you whose word that is later, much later) important blog post crossed my mind, you know the one, that meandering, stream-of-consciousness piece about:
(drum roll please …)
Why it’s important to break your anxious trigger finger and avoid hitting that “send” button too soon.

But then I found someone who could say it better.

It doesn’t matter if you are submitting promotional work as an ad rep, your best cartoon that surely deserves space in the New York Times, or a fictional story taking place on the planet Who Cares
Don't submit too soon. Here’s Anna Sabino to tell you why.

I also considered doing a little public whining in behalf of the many artists not getting paid adequately, or at all, for their work. But then I found somebody who could say that better, too.
Introducing: Jon Westenberg

And then I considered a fine point about the correlation between these two articles. You should definitely read Anna’s first, because if you are lazily thinking of submitting that crappy first draft, you won’t really have the right to jump on the bandwagon of not-so-happy artists speaking out to get paid for what they do. Who’s going to pay for a practice piece?

On the flipside, once you have your artistic gift to the world truly ready for the taking, then read Jon’s article, because you certainly shouldn’t be working for free. Well, you know. Unless the whole world turns that way, and the electric company no longer sends you a bill, and your accountant goes over your expenses and sends you a note stating, “Thank you for letting me serve you. It’s been my honor,” with no invoice attached.

Until that day comes, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and attach your own invoice to all those favors of long hours of work many folks ask of you.

That’s all I’ve got to say for today.

Happy reading, and if you like this article, please share it.


  1. If you want to be taken seriously as a professional, always put your best foot (work) forward, and don't underestimate your worth. That even works in the world of being a housekeeper/janitor.

    1. Sure does. I think it even works in the nonprofessional world. Say for instance, making friends. Nobody's going to be anxious to befriend a jerk, and on a first meeting, listening to someone in a bad mood wouldn't entice you into keeping that person's number. So, yeah – put your best foot forward in anything you do. Sound advice.

  2. Both good articles! Thanks.

    I must say that there's an inherent mistake in submitting anything you yourself don't really believe in where its quality is concerned. If you don't think it's good enough yet,why the hell would you submit it to someone else and expect them to want it?

    A far as insisting on being paid for doing actual work, I can't count the number of times someone has said "Oh, you're a writer? People are always telling me my life's been so interesting, I should write a book. If you'll write it for me,I'll split the profits with you 50/50 when it's published!" I try to find a polite way of saying "Oh, really? What if it doesn't sell? What if it's not the huge best-seller that you assume it'll be? And most importantly, how do I eat and pay my rent while I'm working on nothing but your biography?" Once I say that I need money upfront, the "deal" falls through.

    1. I hear you on that. People always say money talks. Funny thing is, sometimes it's bringing up the subject of money that shuts a person up. :-)

  3. Great articles. I have worked for free. There's a big difference between being shafted and choosing to do pro bono work.


    1. I agree, and I certainly believe in pro bono work. I don't know any writers who haven't done a wealth of pro bono stuff, and a few of the artists who paint or do other crafts have donated work to charity auctions. My husband and I do this at least once or twice a year, donate a big item to auction for a worthy cause.
      But it's important to keep in mind that a person can pro bono himself to death, and pretty soon he needs a third job to pay his own light bill. What makes it worse is that some of the recipients never consider this. So I think there has to be a healthy balance.

  4. Jon Westenberg's piece was interesting to me, but I don't 100 percent agree, since sometimes it can be very interesting working with someone even if you are not paid - for the experience. Course I'm not talking about someone who wants stuff to drum up money for themselves. But there are some really creative people out there who don't have money but are fun to toss thoughts around with. It certainly doesn't count as "professional writing experience" though - just fun. :)

    1. Sure, tossing ideas back and forth shouldn't have a price tag on it, unless it's considered a professional consultation, and the consultant has to make a living. Even then, giving a few freebies now and then is good for the soul. But there does come a time when too many acquaintances have asked for said freebies, and pretty soon a person is drowning in promised favors with no light of ever digging out of the tunnel. Especially since he can't afford to pay his electric bill. :-)

  5. Always put your best work out there, I agree. There's the occasional stubborn mistake/typo that makes it through no matter the number of edits, but we should always show the world our best effort.
    Not writing for free -- true, and like with everything there are exceptions. So many non-profit journals would not exist if not for writers donating work. So, maybe a personal choice. Certainly true when it comes to novels. A writer should be paid (if the work ever moves off Amazon shelves:)).

  6. I love your last comment. :-)
    And yeah, I think all writers have contributed to nonprofit journals, because we love them. We want to see them continue. We want to see them flourish. But I think in anything a person does, whether it's painting a picture, editing for writers, writing, proofreading, fixing computers, or unplugging a drain, you need to keep a healthy balance between giving out favors and making a living. If you do too much of the first one, you'll never do the second. It's as simple as that.
    And I can't imagine never donating to a worthy cause – I wouldn't want to know a person like that. At the same time, if I were the one asking the favor, I wouldn't get ticked off if someone didn't have the time right at that moment to dole out a freebie. Not to mention, as anyone who gives freebies knows, you can only give out so many and still have time to make a living. That said, you might give someone who makes only 25,000 a year a freebie before you give to that person who's dressing or living like Trump. :-) Likewise, you'd naturally give to worthy foundations when you can, because it's the right thing to do. But note the keywords – when you can.