I talked a bit last week about the feast or famine syndrome of freelancing. I was referring specifically to the amount of work, but the same tends to apply to paychecks as well. When they come through, they come through at once. When they don’t, they don’t.
Most professional journalists work with the goal in mind to have as many regular clients as possible, who they can depend on for regular work, say a feature a month or week (depending on the frequency of publication). Once you’ve reached that step, the next is to start getting regular paychecks, in the form of either monthly retainers (where the client pays you a set amount per month or week for a certain number of pieces) or the prestigious Contributing Editor position (called the Contributing Writer position in India) where you get not only a regular paycheck (and work), but a slot on the masthead, invites to the editorial meetings if you’re keen on it, and typically a choice of stories you want to cover.
I am very pleased and excited to tell you that the Editor-in-Chief of the Indian edition of ELLE magazine, with which I got started on the path of journalism, offered me a Contributing Writer position last week and I have accepted. I write for them pretty much every month anyway, so little changes in that department, but I’m interested in the future of the magazine and hence have decided to participate in edit meetings and the like now and again. The monthly paycheck and raise can’t possibly hurt either.
Starting next month, look for me on the masthead!