How to not get paid writing work

still from my short NIGHT DUTY
writer trying to focus

Zero. That’s how many replies I received for my hustling.

Not even a no-thank-you-no-unsolicited-material-but-thank-you note. Well, it either went straight into the trash or to the wrong person. And they deleted it. Or to the right person. And they deleted it. Or to no person at all but a spam blocker which nervously flashed a red warning light when it saw my email coming and shredded it before it could clutter anyone’s in-box. Or, rather more prosaically, the intern was having a bad day.

However, when I really think about it, zero is way more interesting than having editors clamouring for my work. I’d be faced with a bidding war and, negotiating without an agent, would be promising everything to everybody. Breaking into a cold sweat just thinking about it.

Honestly, zero is preferable to abundance as it could quickly become overwhelming. The silver lining on this particular cloud is that I can learn from it. Grow. Go on a Journey and ponder what it is the universe wants to tell me.

The list of possible messages is long. The favourite and most soothing for my bruised ego naturally comes first.

  1. I’m simply too good and keeping me out means other writers won’t lose their jobs.
  2. My writing sucks but no one wanted to tell me.
  3. My writing is interesting but no one needs it. Especially not in August.
  4. Previous means of making a living weren’t too bad after all.
  5. I have to try again. And again. And.
  6. The unemployed writers’ diet of baked beans was good for me and I should continue.
  7. Get a one-way plane ticket and stay there.
  8. When I’m there learn what I was meant to learn from this experience.
  9. Figuring out that there isn’t such a bad place after all.
  10. Get a job in a hipster café.
  11. Write about life in a hipster café.
  12. In my spare time go fishing and on safari.
  13. Meditate to make it all go away.
  14. Have a good think about life and what it all means. Or doesn’t.
  15. Eventually go to bed, hoping that tomorrow will be filled with orthographic miracles and ice cream.

Once I have learned all these lessons on my Journey there will be nothing left to do but rewind my life and do it all again.

Only differently.


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