The Glamorous Life Of A Freelance Writer
I have changed my bio. It now simply says, “will write for cash”.
No one cares that I was once a stand up comic, that I have written a sketch show, that I have ghost written best selling ‘biographies’ of the rich and surgically enhanced. Or that I have performed on stage, produced and written endless pilot television shows and written what comes out of the mouths of your favourite celebrities when they appear on game shows. They say my words and everybody says, “wow, him out of Emmerdale is actually really witty” when in reality, all he’s done is learn a script, like a robot.
None of that matters at all when I am constantly chasing an article to write for a penny a word or if I am lucky, one hundred and fifty pounds for one thousand, five hundred words that will take me a day to research and write.
And lets not forget all the offers to do writing work, for free, for exposure.
Why is it acceptable to ask a writer to work for free? No other profession would stand for it.
When I tell people that I am filming, or that I have a meeting about a project, they assume it’s glamorous and enjoyable. It’s neither.
They assume I am rich, too. Last week a friend got really annoyed with me because I couldn’t go on her hen weekend. I had a fiver to last me three days at that point and not a sniff of work coming up. She didn’t believe me, given some of the work I do.
I felt like shoving my bank statement up her backside.
It’s a constant game of chasing work, chasing the toddler who I can’t afford to send to nursery, doing work, cleaning the house as my husband works all day in a job he loves (which I am thankful for).
I’ll write all the words for your website – for a fee. Hey, I will even help you redesign it.
I will edit your stand up routine and polish it to perfection.
Need help with a script? I’m your writer.
I am constantly balancing my intake of Red Bull against how many words I have written so far (2,000 words and I am allowed another can) and weighing up if I should spend the weekends having fun with my family, or letting my husband take all the slack while I squeeze every word out of my head I can for a penny each while he’s here to entertain the children.
If I juggle anymore I’ll have to start dressing as a clown.
I get invited to all sorts of cool events, but I can’t afford a can of coke on the way home.
I get invited to cool events and have a panic attack about everyone else being all hipster and cool and I am the one in a Primark dress wearing Superdrug lipstick and pants that are older than my children.
I get invited to cool events and have to turn them down because I can’t afford to top up my oyster card.
I get a commission to write an article and the subject cancels. I don’t write a word so I don’t get paid. It happens all the time.
And then I wake up to another blogger on morning television and I think “why them? I am better than them? Why aren’t I cosying up to Piers and Suzanna?”, like a jealous bitch.
And it’s because I write a blog that isn’t a blog, so the PR people don’t know where to put me.
“Keep it about parenting” they tell me.
“Make it shocking and opinionated.”
“Don’t swear so much.”
“Make swearing your thing.”
To tell you the truth, it’s all soul destroying.