Freelance Favors For Friends

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Hi Angela!

Happy thanksgiving to you and your whole family. You, and your wonderful newsletter, are two things I am very thankful for this year!

I wanted to comment on last week’s letter to the editor from Kevin Murphy. I want to tell Mr. Murphy that he has hit the nail on the head, to use a cliche, because that attitude of “anyone can write” is one I’ve encountered over and over during the last 20 years that I’ve been a professional writer/reporter. It’s so infuriating because, as the astute Mr. Murphy states, plumbers, doctors and lawyers don’t have to put up with that kind of ridiculous attitude when plying their trades.

As a person with a degree in Drama/Speech and history, I can also empathize with Mr. Murphy’s frustration with people thinking that such degrees are worthless, or easily gotten. I worked my rump off for four years getting that dual degree, and then worked harder for another two years to get a master of arts degree in writing, and I still get the kind of ignorant comments from laypeople that Mr. Murphy spoke of in his letter.

I’ve recently had employers tell me that I should leave my graduate degree off my resume, because, at best, it would intimidate the human resources managers and, at worst, they’d laugh and consider it just another worthless degree in line with my other two “worthless” degrees. I feel that all knowledge gained during a lifetime is useful, so I ignored this advice, but it stung that there are people who don’t consider theater, history or writing useful.

Thank you, Mr. Murphy, for saying what needed to be said in defense of an honorable profession and useful degrees!

Sincerely, DeAnn Rossetti

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Hey Angela!-

I just read folk’s comments about that topic and I’m facing the same challenges in my field of Cosmetology- customers STILL paying very cheap prices or wanting something discounted or for nothing. Friends and family constantly bugging us to do their hair or whatever for no charge, etc. It happens in this business, too, all too often.

As a professional, I feel that as a service worker that deals with the general public – folks that are from various walks of life – should be paid prices that are based on professional service, our education and experience, our updated licensure (we have to keep tested and paid up every two years here in FL) and the sometimes upgraded equipment that we use to make these folks look great.

Jana in FL

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The statements about friends and others asking a writer to write something for free reminds me of a phone call. I’ve been a journalist most of my life (as well as a book author and playwright). I had sometime before written a newspaper magazine piece about a scenic creek and deep gorge near my home.

The phone call was from a man who had read the piece. He was trying to sell a piece of land on or near the stream and asked me if I would write another piece.

“I might, if the pay was right and there was a publisher.”

“You want to be paid?” the voice changed to surprise. “I thought you wite because you enjoy it.”

Joe Ritz Author, I NEVER LOOKED FOR MY MOTHER and Other Regrets of a Journalist

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Hi Angela:

Kelli’s ordeal with that gentleman inspires me to tell you something which you should feel free to pass on to your other readers, if indeed you haven’t mentioned it to them in the past.

There is only one appropriate response to a help-wanted ad which does not specifically state the name of the publication or business that seeks a writer or writers. It is:

Cordial greetings.

I am intrigued by your help-wanted ad (here one may place a brief description of the ad).

May I ask that you let me know the name of your publication (or business)?

Having that information helps me to present you with my most fitting samples.

You may in the meantime view general samples of my work at (such and such URLs).

Many kind thanks for your consideration.

Anybody who has placed a help-wanted ad for a writer but won’t respond to something like the above isn’t worth bothering with. If it is a term paper mill or some other undesired entity, one learns that without wasting time by writing a cover letter to a low-life. Additionallly, in the most absolute terms, nobody should ever send a sample paragraph or page or whatever to a writers-wanted advertiser who asks for such material without revealing the name of their publication or business.

Hugs, Scott Rose