By now, if you haven’t turned away and admitted defeat, your brain is full of rocks and your sack full of steel. But this is only the beginning for the now slightly hardened freelancer. You have now entered the nursing pool of freshly-pressed freelancers, desperately grappling at scraps sent down from the already established, much revered ‘staffers’. Make no mistake, these ‘friends’ and colleagues you may have met through various clans and groups in the nursing cesspit are not your friends. In a heartbeat, they would claw out your own eyes in a frenzied bid to get ahead. This is where you pay your dues; and for some, this is where the rest will leave your shattered, broken remains.
If you are lucky enough to weave bullshit into gold then you may grab the attention of a publication (or company with some disposable income to throw at you). By this point you may have already lost your will to live and have fallen victim to the dark side. Becoming a cynical, jaded, alcoholic freelancer feeling that no amount of work will ever be good enough to be paid for and that the bastard public has no interest in your ‘art’. This is a good thing. When they finally pluck you from the nursing pool they want you nice and squishy, and thoroughly broken.
Being a freelancer means that you have to provide something that an employer cannot produce themselves, so your shit has to smell sweeter than most. If you’re not passing rare diamonds then there’s no point in hiring you. In the perpetual fight to get noticed you will come to despise the staff writers as they recline in their cushy office chairs, drinking company coffee out of company branded mugs as you shuffle barefooted to the editorial desk to plead for beer money. Rejection is tantamount. You will need to curb your angst and desire to slap that mug out of the hands of the staffer and launch yourself over their desk crying ‘what makes you better than me?’.
This is simply another test. Learn to enjoy rejection. By this point you will no longer be able to afford that 40-a-day habit and the distraction of your stomach eating itself will propel you into becoming a better writer. The trick to getting noticed is to have all your little piggies in all the pies the staffers don’t want to touch with one hand, while the other is shamelessly buffing your own turd to a mirror finish. Hopefully by this point you can smell money, and if not then you’re not starving hard enough. (Continued page 3)