Trapped Behind a Screen.

writer at computer

Do you ever feel like the banalities of daily life just get too much and your inner id is clawing to get out and experience the world beyond your computer screen?

That’s how I’m feeling at the moment. It’s not like I wake up every morning and dread going to my day job, which I certainly have in the past, but work, am I right?

I think it’s more of a FOMO thing that’s making my inner child scream from within me. Walking to work, I pass buildings that I’d rather be inside of or would rather be passing in another city. At my desk, I check Twitter and catch up on blogs and it feels like everyone is doing much cooler things than I am, making their dreams come true and contributing to society in a way that I can’t when I’m trapped behind a screen in an unfulfilling job.

FOMO is new to me. I’m rarely envious of other people save for the passing pang of professional rivalry when an acquaintance has a piece published somewhere I’d like to be published or the good-natured “I’m sooo jealous” when a friend is off on an overseas trip. And spare me the “maybe you need to switch off from technology and social media and get out and do something”; social media is often the only thing that keeps me connected to the things I want to be doing, the places I want to be and the people I want to meet. The job I’m in pursuit of doing full-time—freelance writing—will see me spending more time behind the screen so that’s not an option.

This discontentment is a finite state: I have plans in place that will see me living my best life. Unfortunately, said day job is an integral part of those plans because money. And time to make that money.

In the grand scheme of things the time I’m biding is a drop in the ocean. That’s a good analogy, actually: you know when you’ve just pulled up at the beach after a long road trip to get there and the water is calling to you and you just want to run to it but your mum’s there insisting on another sunscreen application and dad’s unloading the trunk with towels and eskies and the like. My future life, the one I’m yearning to be living right now, is calling to me like the ocean from behind the windscreen.

Image via Sarah Ayoub.

Hustle, Loyalty & Respect: Where I’m Taking My Career in 2015.

hustle business

When I told a friend I’d given myself two years from the beginning of 2011 to break into the freelance market, he wondered what that meant for me as a writer if I didn’t meet that deadline. (I had my first paid, freelance piece published on TheVine in mid-2012, just under the wire.) “Would I just give up” if I wasn’t published by that arbitrary date?

I’m not a quitter and I have been known to stick things out well past their used by date due to loyalty and the notion that they might get better. My freelance career has left much to be desired since that first piece, and I still haven’t given up on it, so no, I don’t think I would have chucked it in. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about that.

As I wrote earlier this week,

“This year has been one of professional development. I’ve completed two unpaid internships at Meanjin and The Lifted Brow, I’m working for Outback Championship Wrestling as their TV show’s host (which I have no idea how to do!) and I’ve spent my fair share of dosh on both in-person and online workshops…”

But I feel like I’m as professionally developed as I can get. While I’m glad I attended those workshops, on the whole, I didn’t get a lot out of them. All the suggestions and guidelines provided to further my career I’m already doing. No one can accuse me of not working hard or hustling to get my shit seen by the right people.

I guess, at this point, it comes down to luck and my writing being in the right inbox at the time they have some gaps in their editorial calendar. I think I may also need to branch out and find some other “right people”. But it can be quite disillusioning when you feel that you have a readable idea or a damn near perfect piece for the platform you’re pitching but they don’t want it. I don’t want to just post a piece I’ve spent weeks or months working on on my blog (not the best attitude for someone who just spent $800 on the Blogcademy workshop to have!).

Maybe I need to change my attitude and a) not spend so much time and energy on pieces that aren’t sure things, b) not be so attached to said pieces and be willing to put them out into the world in whatever capacity just so they’re c) able to be read by people regardless of whether I’m getting paid for them. Because they are pieces that I would love to read if I wasn’t the one writing them.

Whatever the case, my “New Years resolution” of sorts (which I don’t really believe in, but I digress) is to hustle hard. Pitch relentlessly. Not take no for an answer. Seek out alternative publications I may not have thought of. Do whatever it takes. Lay out my intentions and strive to deliver on them. Kind of what I’m doing here, I guess.

Related: The Blogcademy Melbourne.

Elsewhere: [The Vine] All Dogs Go to Seven.

Image via Pinterest.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

carrie bradshaw writing

Was Sex & the City all in Carrie’s head? [Salon]

Follow the parody Twitter account, Sex & the City 3, by the same author. (While you’re at it, follow me, and stay tuned for some more SATC musings.)

Playboy: thanks for the memories (SFW). [Daily Life]

Bleak, but inspiring: “Freelancing & the Mythical Work/Life Balance.” [This Ain’t Livin’]

Why do they hate us? Christos Tsiolkas on Australia’s asylum seeker problem. [The Monthly]

Femen from the perspective of its activists (NSWF). [Vice]

I reviewed Domestic Warfare at Gasworks Arts Park as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival for TheatrePress.

Image via I’m Charming You.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

One Direction and performing straight-queer masculinity. [Daily Life]

Why India is the worst country in which to be a woman. [Daily Life] 

FOMO (fear of missing out) on YOLO (you only live once). I can totally relate to Mia’s predicament: at the moment I’m kind of experiencing a guilt or anxiety about not getting out and being social enough and doing things, but at the same time, as Mia writes, no matter how much you want to want to do something, you can’t force yourself to want to do it. So I’m taking solace in that fact. [MamaMia] 

I’ve been in two minds about the show in recent episodes, but looking back, I’m sad to see Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 go. [Jezebel] 

We need to talk to our partners about porn. [Jezebel] 

Gala Darling has some fab tips for getting inspired and your time organised as a blogger. For those of you who visit this site regularly, you’ll have noticed that I’ve been pretty slack with content over the past couple of months, and that’s because I’ve been so uninspired. Now, as I start to get back into the swing of things and I’ve made a concerted effort to get inspired and start thinking of blog and freelance ideas, I think The Scarlett Woman will start looking more like the blog you know and (hopefully!) love. Thanks, Gala!

On the (Rest of the) Net.

What it’s like to be an empowered sex worker. Yes, they exist. [MamaMia]

Stella Young prefers to be called a “disabled person” than a “person with a disability” despite the government’s Reporting It Right guidelines, thank you very much. [The Drum]

A recent altercation with a friend over something I wrote about them on this here blog has formed the basis for an “Ask Rachel” post. [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

The opinion piece in last Saturday’s Good Weekend by food critic AA Gill about how men think women should dress was one I skipped over—I don’t really need to read yet another article about what men think women should do. Lindy Alexander takes Gill to task for it, though, saving me from having to rummage through the newspaper stack in my pantry to retrieve said article and get all riled up about it. [Daily Life]

Leave Lindsay Lohan alone! [TheVine]

“The A to Z of Freelancing.” [The Loop]

On the older virgin. [Daily Beast]

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is the latest woman of note to shun feminism. [Daily Life]

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Rachel Hills answers the age-old aspiring-freelance question: “When should I stop writing for free?” [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Last week, I emailed Hills to get her thoughts on feminist author Erica Jong’s assertion that the “younger generation” (she references her daughter, who is in her thirties) isn’t interested in sex. [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Also at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman, check out these reblogged images above.

Why is there such a big problem with porn? There’ll be more to come on this next week. [Jezebel, via The Scientific American]

Feminism, not enough sex, too much sex, and Muslims were the cause of the Norway terrorist, according to the Norway terrorist. [Jezebel]

Check me out: I’m Girls Are Made from Pepsi’s “Lady of the Week”!

Amy Winehouse VS. Norway: “On Caring About More Than One Thing at Once”:

“If the only world event worth commenting on is the most severe tragedy, then where does the pissing contest end? Yes, what happened in Norway was terrible, but what about what happened in Japan? What about what happened with the Asian tsunami? What about 9/11 here in the good ol’ US of A? (You said you’d never forget!) What about everything bad that has ever happened?” [Jezebel]

Girl with a Satchel’s Erica Bartle gets her faith on on MamaMia. You go, girl!

Also at MamaMia, Mia Freedman’s stirring the pot this week! She writes on Cadel Evans’ Tour de France win and if sportsmen should be considered heroes, the News of the World phone hacking scandal, and runs a guest post by Tony Abbott on why the carbon tax is a bad idea.

“What Your First Screen Crush Says About You.” [Jezebel]

Despite its misogyny, does hip hop actually promote lady love? [Jezebel, Autostraddle]

10 easy steps to radical self love. [Gala Darling]

Why rape cases don’t get prosecuted, parts one and two. [Jezebel]

“The 10 Coolest Witches in Pop Culture.” Where’s Teen Witch? And the Halliwell sisters? Disappointed. [Flavorwire]

“How Not to Propagate Bad News.” [Girl with a Satchel]

She’s out of your league. Kind of relates back to this article from a couple of weeks ago. [Jezebel]

I’ve just signed up to RSVP.com, so this article is kind of appropriate: “Questions We Wish Were Appropriate to Ask on a First Date.” [Jezebel]

Body image, burgers and the First Lady. [WSJ Speakeasy]

Four commentators, including a mum and a teen, weigh in on the Lady-Gaga-as-role-model debate. For more on this topic, check out this article. [Sydney Morning Herald, Girl with a Satchel]

Hugo Schwyzer in defence of talking to girls about beauty. [Healthy is the New Skinny]

“Does Free Birth Control Stand a Chance” in the USA? [Jezebel]

The problem with Black Swan. [Persephone Magazine]

What exactly is a “Mama Grizzly”? And no, I’m not talking about bears. [Newsweek]

“Born This Way” or choose to be gay? Does it really matter? [The Bilerico Project]

Do most men pay for sex in some way, whether it be porn or prostitutes? [Jezebel]

Images via Haley Tobey, Musings of an Inappropriate Woman.

Event: The Blogging Economy.

Last Tuesday night I attended the Meanland event, The Blogging Economy, at the Wheeler Centre.

The panel was hosted by Zora Sanders, deputy editor of literary journal Meanjin, and consisted of ThreeThousand editor Penny Modra, journalist for New Matilda and Crikey, among others, Ben Eltham, and Jacinda Woodhead, associate editor of Overland, who is working on a PhD in the politics of abortion. Count me in for that one when/if it gets published!

I was expecting a bit more content on how to make money from your own blog, in terms of advertising, but I was pleasantly surprised with the advice and opinions Modra and Woodhead, especially, had to give on writing for other blogs for money.

Modra said she insists on paying for contributions to her Melbourne city guide website, even if it’s just a small amount (around $25 for a 100 word review/preview), as that’s all she has to work with as editor of ThreeThousand.

But such a small amount of money for such a small amount of words doesn’t mean you can slack off: Modra’s had freelancers submit previews for gigs, in which they didn’t even Google the address of the venue to make sure it was correct! She muses that “words should cost more” to counteract this but, by the same token, “everything you do has to be good… I just want the writing to be good!” How else do you expect to make it in the freelance/blogging economy?

Woodhead brought up The Huffington Post, soon to launch in Australia, which sold to AOL for $315 million, and who doesn’t pay their contributors. She urged Australian freelancers and bloggers not to write for them, because if they can afford to be sold for mega millions, they can afford to pay their contributors. Fair’s fair.

Some of her other points, though, I didn’t agree with. I’ve always been someone to follow my dreams and find a way to “make it work”, as Project Runway’s Tim Gunn would say. Woodhead believes, however, that “just because you want to do something, doesn’t mean there’s an economic system to support it.” This didn’t go down too well with the audience, and one woman asked Woodhead to clarify her statement in the Q&A portion of the event.

She also asserted that the blogosphere is “evolving” into a “discussion”; it’s not like traditional print in that you pay the writer to actively inject their views and opinions into the passive audiences’ brains (if you were going with the high school media studies model of the hypodermic needle theory of consumption). At the Overland blog, they don’t—because they can’t afford to—pay their bloggers, but Woodhead wonders, if you pay bloggers, should you pay commenters for their contribution?

My money’s on no. Most of the comments I get here on The Scarlett Woman do further the discussion, but this isn’t true of a lot of other blogs. Also, I think the more successful the blog/blogger, the more it/they attract the psychos! Especially when it comes to the more controversial topics.

Eltham spoke about a recent study that showed that artists in Australia—including writers—earned less than $10,000 for their work. It’s a bleak outlook, indeed, but I refuse to be disheartened! It just means you might have to supplement your artistic income with a less-artistic day job. Or marry a rich sugar daddy!

But, seriously, the unpaid blogosphere is about “citizens engaging in democratic discussion” that doesn’t always happen in paid writing. For every Gala Darling, there are 10,000 (probably more!) languishing bloggers going nowhere. And that’s fine; maybe that’s the way they want it. Hobby blogging!

We didn’t get into writing for the money. If that were true, we’d be in the business of hedge fund managing or some other über-rich-sounding Americanised profession. We got into it for the love of the craft; for getting our voice out there and, for some, making a difference.

I refuse to hop on Woodhead’s bleak bandwagon, and subscribe more to Modra’s sunny outlook: if your work is good, recognition for said work will come.

Related: The Evolution of the Bookshop at the Wheeler Centre.

“Who the Bloody Hell Are We? The Sentimental Bloke at the Wheeler Centre.

Is There Really a Beauty Myth?

Elsewhere: [Meanjin] Homepage.

[The Thousands] Melbourne.

[Overland] Homepage.

[Girl with a Satchel] An Unpopular Culture Niche (+ HuffPo of Oz).

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

“The Class Boundaries of Veronica Mars.”

Why the Body Image Advisory Group’s voluntary code of conduct didn’t work.

Rachel Hills on the internet, artifice and being fake.

“The New Middleton Class”.

Speaking of the Middleton’s, Melinda Tankard Reist takes issue with the admiration of Pippa’s ass online:

“The FB site provides an opportunity for men everywhere to share their sexual fantasies for the young maid of honour. Knock her up, bash her in, cause her injury such that she would not be able to walk. Wrecking and shredding a woman’s anus is a popular porn script.

“And all this is supposed to be accepted as a compliment. Of course there are no ‘Pippa the Wonderfully Supportive Sister Appreciation Societies’ or other pages lauding her gifts and character and other non-body related attributes.”

Bret Easton Ellis on the spectacle that is Charlie Sheen.

“Filling the Gaps” in the online feminist community’s “call-out culture”.

In what was Elizabeth Taylor’s last interview, with Kim Kardashian for US Harper’s Bazaar, she divulges her thoughts on living like a queen, the Krupp diamond and Twitter. I was never a fan of Taylor, but this interview made me one.

What does it mean to be a feminist today?

Is the male body “Repulsive or Beautiful?”

Ever been hollered at in the street as you walk past a construction site? “Why Men Cat Call” sounds interesting, but is disappointingly dismal.

Amélie sex (noun): intercourse undertaken in the classic missionary position which, by itself, is not objectionable—during which the male is impervious to the female’s lack of enjoyment.”

The bromance VS. Bridesmaids“Homance”.

Don’t give up your day job: “Freelancing on the Side.”

Images via I Just Have So Many Feelings, Sydney Morning Herald.

Magazines: All the Single Ladies.

 

I’m in the process of shopping around a freelance article on Coupledom VS. Singledom. Partly because I actually believe in the benefits of flying solo, and partly to make myself feel better as a long-term single!

But reading Georgia Clark’s article in Sunday Life this weekend was just what I needed to hear. Or see. You know what I mean.

She quotes the poster-girl for single life, Carrie Bradshaw (God help us all!), who once said, “Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.” Wise words indeed.

But Clark raises another very interesting and valid point: what makes someone’s single status gossip fodder for everyone they know?

She writes:

“We know that when you tell us we must be too smart, or too funny, or even too damn attractive for most men—to the point it sends them running screaming in fear—you are trying to flatter us.

“But the majority of such comments are rooted in the assumption that there’s something wrong with us. We’re too picky. We’re too independent. We’re not out there enough. Or we’re out there too much—we need to relax and let it happen. We’re not doing that. We’re not letting it happen.

“You know what? There’s nothing wrong with us. Actually, we’re just fine.”

Personally, I think long-term singles make the coupled up, or the perpetually-boyfriended (jumping from one boyfriend to the next), nervous. We’re not “normal”, according to someone’s warped idea of what constitutes “normal”. We don’t conform to societal norms, and quite frankly, we’ve got more important things going on in our lives than who’s going to keep us warm at night. I keep my own damn self warm at night!

But if you really want to get back at those who seem so invested in your personal (read: love) life, why don’t you try what Clark suggests:

“So while single people may not have a partner, this means we have time to excel in other areas: pursuing our dream job, hobby or bod. (Anecdotally, it seems that singles hit the treadmill more often than their coupled-up counterparts.)

“If you’re still convinced that our singledom needs to be constantly referenced and lamented, imagine this: svelte Liz joins you at lunch, and in the whisper of a co-conspirator says, ‘I just don’t know why you’re a little pudgy.’ Her brunette head shakes in disbelief. ‘You just don’t seem like a size 14. So, really, when do you think you’ll lose those few extra kilos?’ You glance nervously at the Kit Kat in your hand and stutter out, shocked, that you don’t know.

“‘Don’t worry,’ Liz says, patting your hand gently. ‘It’ll probably happen when you least expect it.’”

Cruel, but oh so effective!

Related: My Name’s Scarlett, And I’m a Fat-Shamer.

My Inspiration Has Run Dry…

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit disillusioned by writing.

Not by this blog, as I’m coming up with new ideas each day and don’t know what I would do without it.

But I set a goal for myself in 2011 (yes, just one); to break into the freelance market.

I thought I had an idea in very early January for an article for Jezebel, however that didn’t come to fruition, and my inspiration has been dried up ever since.

In order to make my “career” as a writer viable, I need to start getting freelance work. I know it’ll be a few years yet til I can completely subsist on freelancing alone, and even then I hope to be working on my own business (I thought I knew what I wanted to sell but, low and behold, I’m having a bit of an existential crisis in that department, too!).

But there’s a line between what I write about on this blog and what people want to read in magazines.

And then there’s the matter of being motivated enough to do the investigation required to pitch and properly publish a magazine-quality article, as opposed to the maximum of one hour’s research that goes into one of my blog posts.

AND THEN there’s the fact that I have no freelancing experience whatsoever, and it’s hard to break into that market without it. Online presence will only take you so far…

I’m not always this down on myself, but it comes and goes, you know? I’m going to work on two pitches this week to two mainstream publications and see how I go. I’m not expecting anything, but at the very least I’ll get some feedback, and at the most, I can retrieve that elusive and much needed inspiration…

Any other suggestions as to how to get it back?

Elsewhere: [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] Hola 2009: Meditations on a New Year.

Image via Empire Online.