Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Anger (mis) management

Yesterday was not what you'd call a wonderful day. So far, today threatens to be even worse.

I have yet to hear back from any of the clients who owe me money. They all have better things to do, it seems, than to talk to me, respond to emails or simply send checks.

Likewise, I cannot get a couple of clients who either have ordered or supposedly have ordered articles to talk to me.

The last requires some explanation. In previous entries, I've mentioned the eager-beaver photographer I sometimes work with. He hustles stories to editors based on the promise that I will write them, and hustles me by telling me this or that magazine wants the stories. His batting average is somewhat south of .500; he doesn't always listen to what he's told.

And that brings us to today. He thinks he has sold a research-intensive story to a client that is not among my favorites when it comes to communication or getting paid a fair price for my work. But I cannot get a call back from the editors to confirm that they want the article at all or, almost as important, that they understand what the story can and cannot include.

The result? I will spend some six hours today going with the photographer to get photos and gather some preliminary information for the article. As of now, I have no idea whether this will pay or, as has happened too often with him, be a waste of time.

And even if it does pan out, the hours I'll have to spend on research will make this, almost literally, a minimum-wage job.

PARENTHETICAL THOUGHT: I have tried to talk with him about this kind of crap, but he is a real babe-in-the-woods. He believes what everyone and anyone tells him. Unfortunately, he is also a good friend, so I can't express my displeasure with his un-businesslike ways as forcefully as, perhaps, I should.

The other catch to the lack of communication is that those few occasions when I've been forced to rewrite/add to/revise my work have been the result of dealing with editors who can't or won't be specific about their needs.

If -- there's always an "if" -- the people I'm dealing with would act in an ethical, businesslike manner I would be, if not wealthy, at least unconcerned about how I'm going to pay my bills.

Tomorrow, I head to Las Vegas for a day-and-a-half business trip. I'm not terribly thrilled about that, either.

Of course some of the discomfort would be lessened if this wasn't the sum total of what goes on in my life these days. I have neither sex nor drugs to take my mind off the pressure, and rock & roll won't do it.


lowandslow said...

How frustrating. Remember when people would do what they said they would? No more. I've learned to create a paper trail for EVERYTHING, just to protect myself. Your photographer friend does indeed sound naieve. Do you have any recourse to collect your money, or would that just scuttle all chances for future work?

MrScribbler said...

L&s -- one of the peculiar aspects of this "business" is the unofficial network among the publishers. Anyone who rocks the boat too much -- as in demanding payment (regardless of how late it is) instead of meekly waiting for it -- is likely to have trouble getting future work from anyone.

gillardia said...

Oh Scribbs, my heart breaks for you. I wish I had something comforting to say, but I just suck at this. *HUGE HUGS*


HarpO'Fly said...

Sex and drugs are readily available in any city. Quality may vary with price and other factors.

Why do you go with this guy before he has solid proff that he has landed the gig? If they said yes shouldn't he be able to at least get a confirmation email?