Thursday, July 22, 2010

We Have No Budget

As a freelancer a common response I am getting to requests for work is:
"I'm sorry we don't have a budget to pay anyone right now. If you'd like you can still publish and get a clip. We have blah blah blah customers who read our publication and the exposure you will get for having your article in Blah Blah magazine will be payment enough"

Here is my response to that:
Hell no but thanks for the offer!!!

When you give away your work for free you are inviting the magazine to do a few things:

1. They might expect it all the time and thus you will never see a dime from them.

Example, you write the piece and after it's published you ask for a paid piece. The response of the magazine will most likely be something like, "We still don't have a budget and since you wrote for free last time, I'm sure you wouldn't mind doing it again" Sure they won't put it this bluntly...but you get the idea.

2. They might tell other people you are willing to work for free.

Like it or not, magazine publishers that don't hate each other talk. If the subject of how to get free content in their publication were to come up, it is possible that your name will too and you could get the dreaded call of, "Hi, I heard you wrote a free piece for Blah Blah magazine and I was wondering if you would like to do the same for us. We can offer more exposure and I'm sure it will benefit you."

Well- if you have more customers, why can't you pay? If you have more exposure, isn't it safe to assume that you have more advertisers and thus less excuse to not be able to pay?!?

3. They might expect other writers to do it for free.

More and more people want to be writers and there is an excitement that comes with having your name in a publication. Letting a magazine have your work for free makes them think that it is okay to ask others to work for free.

When is it okay to work for free?

If you are an intern working towards a degree. I still find unpaid internships unfair, but they can lead to work for pay.

You should be able to get all the clips you need for a respectable portfolio during your internship and after it has ended command payment for every piece you do after that.

The only other time I think it is acceptable to work for free is if it is for charity. At that point it is not work, it is volunteering for a cause you believe in.

What to do when someone asks you to work for free?

Here you have some options!

You could say no and never call them again.

Be a grown up and respectfully decline and mention that you would like to be remembered when the budget allows for paid writers.

Suggest alternative payment such as trade. Many publications I have encountered receive gift certificates for dining, a day at the salon, shopping or travel. If they insist they can't afford to pay you, ask for some trade that will be the equivalent to your writing rate. Beware of this though if you ever expect to get money out of them in the future!!!

Errors Spell Check Won't Catch

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED HERE

Its versus It’s (and all other apostrophes):
According to a copy editing instructor for California-based copy editing service provider Edicetera, confusing “its” and “it’s” is the most common error in the English language. That one minuscule apostrophe (or lack thereof) drastically changes the meaning of the entire sentence. “It’s” is a contraction of “it is,” whereas “its” refers to possession. Also, watch out for “your” versus “you’re.”

Sales versus Sails
Can you imagine writing on your resume that you “increased sails by 20 percent”?! Unless you’re applying to a job for a sail boat manufacturer, this careless mistake will probably get your resume sailing right into the recycling bin.

Affect versus Effect
There is a lot of confusion around this one but here’s the rule: “Affect” is a verb and “effect” is a noun. It’s as simple as that.

Would Have NOT Would of

The subtlety in pronunciation leads to the rampant misuse of this phrase; however “would of” is never correct and may make you appear as if you are not well-read.

Through versus Threw
“He threw the ball through the window.” “Threw” is a verb and “through” is a preposition. And speaking of “through,” be careful to make sure you don’t actually mean “thorough” or vice versa. The slight variation in spelling will not be picked up by a computer, but writing “I am through” when you mean “I am thorough” is quite ironic, don’t you think?

Then versus Than

Six is more than five; after five then comes six. “Than” refers to a comparison, while “then” refers to a subsequent event.


Supposed To NOT Suppose To

“Suppose” is a verb, meaning to think or to ponder. The correct way to express a duty is to write, “I was supposed to…”

Wonder versus Wander
You can wander around while you wonder why “wander” and “wonder” have such different meanings, yet sound oh so similar.

Their versus There versus They’re
OK, once and for all: “Their” is possessive; “there” refers to distance; and “they’re” is a contraction of “they are.”

Farther versus Further
While both words refer to distance, grammarians distinguish “farther” as physical distance and “further” as metaphorical distance. You can dive further into a project, for instance, or you can dive farther into the ocean.

Please check out all of my posts at www.thefamousashleygrant.com

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yesterday Was a Great Day



Very late on Monday/early into Tuesday I said I was going to be more optimistic and that I would praise myself for things accomplished rather than kick myself for things left undone and I gotta say it was a GREAT day!!!

I didn't get as much done as I would have liked, but I did get a lot done and am now motivated to get even more done today. I was able to publish a couple of articles, do a few blog posts, got a lot of errands done and purchased the main piece for a photo project I have been saying I wanted to do FOREVER!!!

Today I am pumped and looking forward to a great Wednesday! Happy Hump Day ya'll!!!

Article Spotlight: Coffee Without Chains

So excited that a business review I wrote got published on the Creative Loafing Blog!!!

Read the entire article HERE



Move Over Starbucks! In today’s economy people are looking to save money. One way they are saving is by foregoing the latt├ęs and overpriced coffee chain specialty drinks. The good news is that smaller non-chain coffee houses are offering many craved caffeinated beverages for a fraction of the cost. One such place is Felicitous Second Hand Shop and Coffee House.

See pics of the place below!!!






Blog post spotlight: How to Get the Most out of Swagbucks

Read the entire post HERE

Swagbucks is becoming all the rage throughout the blogosphere. Freebie hunters everywhere are using it and talking about it every chance they get in order to pump up their referrals and to show off all the free stuff they are getting by using Swagbucks.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Creativity is Key in Freelancing

I was reading this fascinating story today about two women that took a regular kitchen tool and turned it into a lifesaving device. If you haven't read the story, read the story HERE The reader's digest version of the tale is that Rice University undergraduates Lila Kerr and Lauren Theis were given an assignment to "diagnose anemia without power, without it being very costly and with a portable device."

What the girls did was transform a simple salad spinner into a centrifuge which "separates blood to allow diagnosis of anemia with no electricity."

The story got me to thinking about how crucial creativity is with freelancing. There are literally thousands of story ideas out there, but coming up with a creative angle is the key to getting your name and your story into the magazines and newspapers.

I used to write business advertorials for a local Tampa magazine and three issues in a row we has to write stories about tile. Yes, boring tile. How did we write three different stories?

The first story was about using tile to be fashionable in the home. You could choose colors and patterns that could transform a room for blah to fabulous.

The second story was about the background of the tile store's owner. We mentioned the fact that he had all kinds of patterns and colors, but focused more on how long the company had been in business and the reputation the company had built in the community.

Last but not least, the third story was about how tile could give your home a cleaner look and upgrade it's value.

One story can have multiple angles. Your job is to find a different one from what has already been published. Sometimes the same angle can be rehashed, but wait a while before suggesting it again. The same story every three months will get old. Give it a year if it isn't timely.

A brainstorming technique that we had to do in one of my journalism classes is find one classified ad and come up with 5 story ideas based on it.

Example- I found an ad for a single man seeking a single women that liked dogs.
5 story ideas I generated from the ad:
-do relationships that start from a want ad ever work out?
-having things in common with your partner will help the relationship last longer
-how does one go about putting a want ad in the paper? what words work best? what do all those abbreviations mean?
-who likes dogs more? men or women?
-does owning a dog mean you're responsible?

Happy Brainstorming everyone! Be Creative and get more gigs!!!

You Should Always Write in Public

Found this online finally and had to share. Love always, www.thefamousashleygrant.com

Glass Half Full

As per usual I'm reflecting on the day since it is late at night and kicking myself for all the things I set out to do and then didn't do.

Here's what I've realized today. When you wake up in a pissy mood, it's easy to stay in a pissy mood. I let myself believe that the day was already ruined because of my mood and thus ruined my entire day because I didn't kick it in the ass upon realization.

What I could have done was gone for a jog, written an article, something proactive! Hmmm...reminds me of a post I read at The Crooked Table about fifteen minutes ago by the fabulous Robert Yaniz Jr.

I actually did accomplish a few things today though. I went grocery shopping, threw out some crap I don't need and began to see the light at the end of the tunnel of disorganization and lack of motivation.

Early this morning I sent off sets of galleries that were going to be published today. I sent off an invoice that has been needing to be sent for a few weeks. I also finished burning 9 CDs worth of images tonight that should have been done a couple of days ago.

Okay, I have huge dreams, but the thing I have to keep in mind is that it is progress to be taking baby steps. I have held onto my dreams for more than 4 years and they are not just going to come true over night. The fact that I did do a few things even though I didn't accomplish everything I had planned to do today is a step in the right direction.

On the docket for tomorrow?
I will be performing as Bubbles the Clown at AMC Regency 24 in Brandon and after that I have a long list of plans towards my dreams and career. I would love to post tomorrow night that I checked off every single thing on my list, but rather than beat myself up for missions unaccomplished, I have decided I will instead praise my self for things I do get done.

Hopefully in praising myself for the stuff that does get done I will encourage myself to continue on and eventually my dreams will come true and then I'll have a chance to come up with new dreams.

What do you do when you don't accomplish the tasks on your to-do list? If you beat yourself up, take a moment and think about the things you did do!!! Positive reinforcement will go a lot further than feeling like a failure.

This week my personal mission since I was not very nice to Monday is to look at the glass half-full.



IMAGE CREDIT CLICK HERE

Sunday, July 18, 2010

For Your Humor

THIS WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED October 13, 2008 AT WWW.THECROOKEDTABLE.COM

I saw a sign at Islands of Adventure on Saturday in line at the Spiderman ride that absolutely cracked me up!

Midnight deadline! You must turn in either: your final story copy or your resignation. It's your choice. Sincerely, the management.

I was so amused by this it lead me to find some other writer laughs...

Fun jokes about writing:

A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.

She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.

"Oh my," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."

A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.

"Wait a minute," said the writer. "This is just as bad as hell!"

"Oh no, it's not," replied an unseen voice. "Here, your work gets published."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer.

When asked to define great, he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!"

He now works for Microsoft writing error messages.

A screenwriter comes home to a burned down house. His sobbing and slightly-singed wife is standing outside. “What happened, honey?” the man asks.

“Oh, John, it was terrible,” she weeps. “I was cooking, the phone rang. It was your agent. Because I was on the phone, I didn’t notice the stove was on fire. It went up in second. Everything is gone. I nearly didn’t make it out of the house. Poor Fluffy is--”

“Wait, wait. Back up a minute,” The man says. “My agent called?”
------------------------------------------------------------------------

visit: http://www19.homepage.villanova.edu/karyn.hollis/prof_academic/Courses/common_files/jokes_about_writing.htm
for more humor

Getting That Big Break

As artists, we always are dreaming of the day that we will get our big break! It excites us to think of the moment we will have thousands of fans and finally have all of our hours of work somehow legitimized.

I found these two stories of art being made popular and I found them so inspirational I decided to share them with whoever is reading my page.

The first is an amazing story of an unknown waitress becoming famous overnight thanks to the show So You Think You Can Dance. Christina Perri wrote a breakup song called "Jar of Hearts" that inevitably ended up in the hands of a choreographer from the popular reality dance show. The song is played in the video below, but you can read the story HERE



The second, although not about a traditional artist, is about an artist nonetheless. A man who used to live in a 4,000 sq. ft. home has made his business, but more importantly his life out of now living in a home that is bare 100 square feet. Jay Shafer is showing people how to live with less. Do you think you could handle a life with less?

If you are anything like me you have too much excess in your life and there is a lot of downsizing you could do that would probably make you happier than you are now. See inside this man's tiny home below and watch his Yahoo! news story HERE

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A New Gig!

I went on a much needed vacation to Kentucky for a few days and now I feel recharged and ready to get my career back on track. Sadly, I have said this many times before but have been too damn lazy to actually act on anything I have talked about for the past 3 or 4 years.

The first piece of good news now that I am back in Tampa is that I am so excited to report that I will be taking pictures on Fridays and Saturdays at Club AJA at Wiregrass for the next several weeks and possibly even beyond that!
I've been looking for a little more regular income and this is truly a blessing!!!

I still have lots of plans rolling around in my head and I'm anxious for all of them to start being played out, but definitely needed to get some dollars in the bank before I could move forward.

I can't wait to see where the next few weeks take me, but here is a taste of what is to come:

1. Full redesign and upgrade of three of my websites:
- We Are Full of Bull

- The Photographic Times

- The Famous Ashley Grant

2. Official launch of Tampa Bay Freebies

3. More posting and linking to The Crooked Table

4. I don't know what else at this point...but I'm working on it =)

I'm also doing a body makeover on myself. In an effort to have the energy to do all of the things I want to do to make my dreams come true, I'm going to make a more valiant effort at getting my body in the condition it needs to be in. I got my hair did and I worked out today and plan on trying to get myself right in body and mind and hopefully spirit.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

When Work Gets Cancelled

A little bummed because a project I was supposed to work on this afternoon that would have paid me 1/3 of a standard week's pay got pushed back. On top of that I am waiting on 3 checks from 3 different clients and watching the dollars in my account keep going down. My husband Jeremy continues to try to comfort me by saying that when I begin to get regular work I won't feel the pinch of waiting on the money as much...but getting to the regular work part is becoming more difficult than the feeling of waiting on a check.

When work slows down for you, what do you do for extra money?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Article Spotlight: 5 Fall Wedding Venues in Tampa

Where it was posted: Associated Content
Whats its about: There are hundreds of places to get married in Florida. These are my picks (alphabetically) for the top five fall wedding venues in the Tampa Bay area.
Where to read the article: CLICK HERE

Article Spotlight: How to be the Cool Kid

Where it was posted: Associated Content
What's it about: The cool kids seem to have it all. This article shows you ways to be the cool kid.
Link to the story: CLICK HERE
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