Saturday, March 15, 2008...11:44 am

Money, sex and power

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That’s what we all want – and basically that’s what you won’t get as a freelance writer/journalist or sub-editor. Not directly, anyway. And in the case of money, not promptly.

So why bother? Why put in the hours of creative fervour and spend all that time parsing sentences correctly in order to turn in polished prose about a trade show you would crawl on your hands and knees on broken glass to avoid visiting in real life?

It’s called professionalism, people. And that’s what this is all about.

Freelance Unbound is all about that code – get the work done; get it done right, and get it done on time. Or earlier.

It aims to dissect the world of the freelance in publishing with forensic precision. To get under the skin of the business and look at how it works, why it works and how we, humble freelancers can exploit it for all its worth. Or at least blather about it.

I sort of know what I’m talking about. I’ve spent pretty much two decades in publishing – magazines mainly, trade and business press mostly – and most of that time has been freelance (or self-employed as I sometimes like to call it, though that definition has been disputed over the years as employers and the Inland Revenue try periodically to tax us at source as if we were – shudder – employees).

I’ve moved from subbing and layout to features writing and editing. And now, thanks to one too many encounters with young journalists fresh out of a journalism degree who can’t actually string a coherent article together, I’ve moved into training.

So Freelance Unbound will cover stuff to do with the mechanics of producing content profitably and competently, as well as ranting about the fact that yards of copy is produced for the national media without the writer once engaging their brain to think about what they’re saying, or researching the background. Have I done it too? Of course. There’s still no excuse.

Unbound is also an exercise in exploring the wonderful world of Web 2.0. That’s all that social networking malarkey the kids are into these days for anyone over about 30. As I’m starting to work on training material to help people rework printed editorial content for the web, blogging is a useful tool to understand the web as a medium better. There’s a heap of material online about writing for the web, but doing it is much better than reading it.

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