April 17, 2006

Follow the Freelance Road...and Other Unbricked Paths

My trusty brown suit and I took a turn this morning. The shoes with hidden scuffs, the hair curled just so (not Farrah Fawcett-esque) and the sedate, yet feminine necklace, went along for the interview ride.

Each newspaper office I've entered seems to have one little room where they grill interviewees for knowing their stuff. It usually has a desk with profuse amounts of paper on it and a computer. In the office I was taken today, however, the desk was covered, but the computer-- the damn Mac--had a mesmerizing pink and blue screensaver that made my eyes stray more than once toward its swirls of color. Damn it, I thought. A Mac was going to ruin my chances of getting a job at the Daily Courier for summer freelancing. Ah, well, maybe not.

I was confident this time around. I talked about software programs like Quark and Lotus Notes without the ums and ahs in my past experience. I didn't gloss over my inability. I could firmly establish that I understood what features and news stories are. Between the anecdotes about my experience at the Trib and my work on the Setonian, I handed each of my two interviewers copies of my resumee and clips of my work. SCORE!

They said they wanted me as soon as I finished with finals. Good to hear.

Funny thing, when they start handing over tax forms and contracts, you know you're in.

FYI: One of the contracts I signed was that my work could be syndicated and published online without multiple payments. Tricky, tricky freelances of yesteryear. Good paper for covering their arses.

As for this freelancer deluxe (haha), I read through it the whole way, a la the instructions by Arnzen in my "Publications Workshop" course.

The newspaper has a lower circulation than the Trib does, but it serves a wide readership of all of Fayette County, and parts of Westmoreland and Somerset counties. I would be working in the daily news sections and the Fay-West Sunday sections. And I'll get clips for my lovely lil portfolio. Clips! Clips! Clips! What a fledgling journalist won't do for those thin pieces of wood pulp.

While I was disconcerted that this summer I will not be interning at the Trib, I understood why. The sad fact is that they could only take two interns this year, and, having already done the internship last summer, I suppose I was pushed to the bottom of the pile. No bitterness. I'm just happy that I got my internship when I did.

I think I want to do this, too. Freelancing is a different kind of writing reality; it isn't solid. I think it will teach me a little more about the sacrifices that some writers experience. Get my sea(writer's?) legs, or something. See how far I can push myself to write every day for my proverbial bread and butter.

I also want to submit my fiction work to some publications and see where that goes. Dun dun DUN! I already have a place to put my rejection slips...and a frame for my most recent acceptance letter.

I'm really happy that I took on an incredible amount of credits during the past three years at SHU. During the next year, I want to chill a bit, try to focus my voice, network with various publications and look into grad schools.

WHOA! Grad school?! Yeah, I've been thinking about it and I'm thinking that this is a good step and a good direction for me. Though journalists don't necessarily need a master's degree, or a doctorate for that matter, I think I need it. I think this is something I would regret not doing down the road in my life. I think I can do it...I just don't know where or in what field of study... Oh sheesh! What would I think about someone who just has a vague idea and some pipe dream? I think my jaded self would scoff, but this other side of me--this still-a-dreamer side of me that I thought had gone to pot in the past year or so--says, "Live it, Amanda. One life to live and all that."

Posted by Amanda Cochran at April 17, 2006 8:28 PM | TrackBack
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