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And So it Goes

Speaker 1

Speaker 1
Hello, aloha and mahalo. It is Monday, September 11, day of remembrance for all of us.

Speaker 1
My name is Thomas Farley, F-A-R-L-E-Y-I have a friend who is is dying and he has been dying for many years, but it is certainly the end of the line.

Speaker 1
It will be the end of the line very soon for him, it seems, unless there’s some miraculous intervention from beyond science.

Speaker 1
I and he’s a good man. He doesn’t deserve to die, die poorly like this. I would not trade places with him. I envy him, though, in a way, with the enormous amount of resources that he’s been able to get to apply to his condition. He has a physical disease.

Speaker 1
He has a number of things wrong with them, but they are in the end, all physical.

Speaker 1
He’s had good insurance with Kaiser and I’m sure some of his own money. Similarly, I’ve had good insurance plans and money and I’m actually paid out of pocket for nearly all of my mental health treatment because compared with physical diseases, you cannot get seen by a doctor routinely enough to do any good in mental health. For a psychiatrist. Well, he has Kaiser. I think under Kaiser, probably you wouldn’t be able to see a doctor psychiatrist more than once every couple of months.

Speaker 1
Instead, you’re kicked down to therapists and technicians. So I’ve always paid out of pocket for regular psychiatric treatment.

Speaker 1
So that’s one big difference between mental health and physical health. Another is that routinely, for years now, most of the major insurance companies have provided a 24 hours nurse talk line so that you can talk to a nurse at any time of day except that. And I’ve talked to these nurses on these health lines before. They say they’ve never, ever had a psych nurse assigned to one of these 24 hours help lines. They could have a psych nurse, a telephone line in addition to the physical, the regular RNS.

Speaker 1
They could have that. These groups, Intermountain, Southwest, Kaiser, multibillion dollar corporations, they could pay for a 24 hours psych nurse telephone line so he wouldn’t wind up at the emergency room or some other place victim of suicide. But they don’t because mental health does not exist for these people. They talk about these institutions, talk about the rising rate of suicide, and isn’t that awful? But they won’t fund for it.

Speaker 1
They will not fund for it. They will instead give out some pity, some false pity and give some money to other groups, other agencies that are working on the problem, but they themselves don’t participate. And in the last few years, we’ve all seen how they want to really focus. They really want to throw everybody into two categories that of depression or anxiety. And if you’re not in that category, then good luck to you.

Speaker 1
I don’t want to dwell on my particular problem, although I’ll just say that it’s severe insomnia and nightmares and yeah, you hear about research, say, into PTSD and related, but it’s not really in my opinion. And I’ve been almost become a professional consultant on this subject since I so much want to get better. And I’ve tried everything. So I’ve become sort of an expert on what’s current, and I’ve done everything, including electroshock, or ECT as it’s politely called. Electroconvulsive therapy didn’t work for me, paid for all that out of pocket.

Speaker 1
Physical diseases, especially the physical diseases that happen to a lot of people, that Big Pharma has a market for. Those seem hopeful. As far as research getting spent, I know there’s some incurable, seemingly incurable problems like autism, and so there’s just major diseases, although autism goes to great deal of mental health fields, so it’s inherently not going to see the amount of research or funding to begin with. My friend has got all of these resources now available to him as far as end of life treatments and hospice, just like my parents had hospice and people willing to help stepping in. And there’s nothing for end of life, for mental health problems.

Speaker 1
My condition is not livable, and all I get in a response as far as end of life is that it can’t be that bad.

Speaker 1
And I sometimes say, yeah, you’re right, it’s not that bad. It’s a hell of a lot worse. You live with this, you live with this. But it’s a mental health problem that they can’t capture with a microscope or a thermometer going up or down, or blood pressure they can measure or blood they can sample. They just have to take the word of the patient, and our word doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Speaker 1
And I feel for people with mental health problems that are not as articulate or verbal as I am, that can’t express themselves or they express the hell they’re going through. They really have. That just I can’t imagine the misery funding needs to be addressed for my friend. There’s all sorts of patient advocates available for him. He’s actually had genetic engineering things done for him at Stanford Hospital.

Speaker 1
There’s been housing available for family and relatives nearby, just on and on and on. And I am glad that he’s had that care. It’s extended his life for many, many years. It’s just there is no equivalent in mental health for this. And it just devalue you.

Speaker 1
It devalues a person over and over and over again. You’re not worth it. And if you want something done, you got to pay for it yourself, because we can’t see it, so we don’t think it’s a problem. I’ll give you a simple example of how much I often have needed a patient advocate to deal with people just on the phone, for example. One of the things that really induces my nightmares is being a mean person and having to argue endlessly.

Speaker 1
And if anybody’s dealt with any customer support, any healthcare organization over the last many years, you’ll know that it is impossible sometimes to get across what you’re trying to say to a person that keeps falling back on a script will not transfer you to a supervisor about the websites and email addresses that they hand out that don’t work, telephone numbers they never call to make sure that they actually work. It just goes on and on. Well, that all forces me to get service, forces me to be a mean person with these people. And I don’t want to be a mean person. It’s toxic.

Speaker 1
It’s toxic to everybody, but especially in my condition. And I can’t tell them that that just engendering more and more nightmares. And it would be great if I had a patient advocate that would be able to speak for me and would be able to sit for hours and hours on a phone trying to get something arranged and it’s just not possible, not even with paying for it out of pocket. These people don’t exist. And it is very frustrating every step of the way you’re told that your condition doesn’t mean anything and it is indescribable as I try to make myself, as I try to make other people comfortable with me.

Speaker 1
You can’t mention, for example, that you have violent nightmares anymore. They’ll call the cops on you.

Speaker 1
People today are so scared by corporate media that they associate mental health with violence when in fact the mental health are far more likely to be victims of crimes than actually committing the crime. But corporate media doesn’t want to hear that. And it is the more and more I try to make other people comfortable around me, the less credibility I have, the more well spoken I am, the less people think there’s anything wrong. If I keep up appearances, then just what’s the problem? And I’ll try to say, well, how many times do you have to watch your mother or your best friend get chainsawed to death?

Speaker 1
Well, it’s not real. No, it actually feels real. And shock after shock and this has been going on since 1988 with me and it just breaks you down. I probably have less than 4 hours of sleep every night and tell you this is how these professionals, they just want a measurement. How many hours of sleep are you getting?

Speaker 1
And their limited thinking is insane. Well, four or 5 hours, it doesn’t matter. It’s the quality of sleep. It’s all broken up. I’m pacing around at 233 30 in the morning, waking up every other half hour.

Speaker 1
It’s the quality of sleep. But they can’t measure that. They have to rely on your word. And your word doesn’t count. Your word doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Speaker 1
Well, we’re sorry for you, but there’s no at this point I’ve tried literally everything, including, like I said, ECT. And that program when it first came out, using the Apple Watch, which is a dedicated Apple Watch and a dedicated iPhone that goes with it called nightwear. I’ve written a multi part review on YouTube about it that also failed.

Speaker 1
But in the end in the end, my friend has a ton of services he’s going to have measured, respectful, end of life experience, I guess you would call it. But no, I’m going to have to take care of things myself. And it’s tragic, but it’s consistent with the disregard that mental health gets in this country. I’m not sure it’s that much better anywhere else, and I don’t have any suggestions other than fund, but it’s all about money, and so I just don’t especially Intermountain. They’re an incredibly toxic group, incredibly damaging to mental health people.

Speaker 1
And you can read on my website,, what they did to me, how they treated me. I think a real fundamental problem in healthcare is how the line personnel, or the people responding to their Twitter and social accounts have no idea what duty of care means. We are patients first and then customers. This is not a typical industry where you have a customer. No, we’re patients first.

Speaker 1
When you extend the duty of care, if you have to explain what duty of care means to somebody picking up the phone, they need some real training or they need some days in the hospital tending to patients. Once you accept the duty of care, again, it’s just not my dad was a brilliant physician, brilliant doctor, and his colleagues were all well mannered, neat, professional, all of them caring. And they accepted the responsibility for a patient once they took them on. And once a system takes them on, like Inner Mountain or Kaiser or what have you, that duty of care is extended. That umbrella applies to everybody under their name.

Speaker 1
Well, that’s enough for now. I wish I could give you some hope, but there really isn’t any. Not at least for people with my condition. And I think that they would actually prefer a lot of us just to die off so they don’t have to deal with them. I think that’s what’s going on with a lot of the homeless, with mental health problems.

Speaker 1
It’s just get these people off the books and we can go back to treating people for just anxiety and depression and everybody else is on their own.

Speaker 1
But if you know more about the subject, let me know. But there’s no dignity in this, not for people with mental health.

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You’re Not Worth a Minute

You, I’m going to try to limit my remarks right now to something very specific. And that is a fundamental problem with health care today. And that is a completely solvable, a easy to do solution that nobody wants to do, nobody cares enough to do it. And that is repeatedly. Over the last several years, I’ve encountered healthcare organizations, medical groups, the line personnel, the staff handing out telephone numbers that they’ve never tried before, or websites that they give out the URLs, and yet they don’t test them to see if they’re working, or they never try to register as a patient.

They’re usually looking inward at their own system. And particularly with telephone numbers, you have people that are sitting, working a desk for 8 hours a day, and they’re handing out these telephone numbers, not knowing if they work or not. And you comment on that and they say they’ll make a note to their supervisor, which is absolutely bizarre. Any small business that I’ve ever been, if somebody reported a problem with the phone number, they would call it up immediately. And they don’t do that in healthcare.

It’s not their problem, the person handing out the numbers, it’s the supervisor’s problem who doesn’t want to be told what to do. That never gets done. It’s all crazy talk. I just spent ten minutes on the crisis line with this woman who kept giving me this telephone number that she’s never dialed. She was saying that these people are staffed during the day up to like 08:00 at night.

I came back and said, well actually I’ve called them several times at two in the morning and they’re there. And she said she would make a note about it, blah blah blah. And I said, well that’s not getting you anywhere. She came back a little later and said, yes, my supervisor says that’s the telephone number. And I said, well have you actually called it?

Somebody needs to call it. You’re saying it’s not staffed? Maybe the telephone line is broken, maybe it is staffed, you don’t know. Why doesn’t anybody take 1 minute to call to verify this telephone number or this website that you’re turning patients to people that need help?

I said if you’re trying to fight me on this, because this is what she did for about ten minutes, I said you’re fighting against common sense. There’s no business that would operate like this except when you get to health care. They just simply do not want to call. They don’t care enough to call. They demonstrate this complete lack of caring by saying you’re not worth 1 minute.

“I’ve got other things to do other than check on the help numbers that I’m giving out to people. I don’t know if they work or not, but I’ve never tested them myself.” So the mental care industry, when you have to argue with people about something that simple, these people are, they have nobody testing the system. Frequently they give out these websites to patients. There’s all sorts of problems when a patient tries to move through the system.

But the person at the desk, she’s never registered herself. Her supervisor has never gone through the system. They just hand them out.

For any other business, Amazon FedEx, Whatever. I know they’re not perfect, but you know that if a customer calls in and says, I’ve got a problem with the website, somebody will at least look at it, even if they don’t respond to you. But, I mean, they’ll look at it because it means a loss of sales.

Here, they can’t make any money off of you when you call a help line.

It’s a failure to understand duty of care. In particular. If you have to explain what duty of care means to anybody working in the medical field, then everything’s lost. Everything is lost. And I did get transferred to this number.

Long story short, this person transferred me from this number to the number that she said wasn’t staffed. And in fact, there is somebody working now, so at least she knows that and the number is correct. But I had to really fight to get that far, and it just continues. We say we want to help, but not help you enough to actually make sure a telephone number works. That’s what you’re worth in mental health today.


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These Are the People I Deal With

I don’t expect anyone to read this except for search. And I don’t expect anyone to sympathize with my complaints, either, because this is the way the world is arranged. I’ve was raised to be a nice person but there are too many mean people to overcome. This is not something I can win. And, given my constant nightmares since 1988, not something I can cope with.


This weekend at a community picnic, I was introduced to an old cowboy who asked me what I did for work. I told him that I work part time online, at which point the conversation quickly drifted south because of him. He told me that the greatest computer was between our two ears, the human brain. And I said, I agree with that.

He then went on with a whole series of statements and questions that were aggressively going after. I think I think when I start talking about computers and what I do online, it’s so far out of reach of most people that they think that I’m trying to be smarter than them, or somehow they feel inferior. I think that’s a great deal of it. They have an inferiority complex to anybody that’s working with computers. They act as if I’m trying to prove that I’m smarter than them, when in fact, I usually don’t start the conversation at all because I’m so far out of reach with what I’m doing, with what most other people do that it’s not even worth bothering to talk about.

Like all of the work that I’m doing with AI and Chat right now. And it’s very discouraging because I had a friend say to me recently that it was possibly economic, because not everybody can afford a computer or the resources that I have, and that’s not really the case at all. I should probably stop at this point and refresh everyone’s memory that early on, before the Internet went commercial, back in about 94, 95, with the advent of Mosaic. Mosaic was the first graphical based Internet browser that you could see images with that became relatable to people. Images provided a boost to advertising, but librarians had been on computerizing, their catalog, card catalogs, for years before.

And so when personal computers came out, they started populating libraries with them. Especially, really around 84, when IBM came out with its own personal computer for the masses. There was this Charlie Chaplin advertising campaign that was hugely successful. But years before, Apple had been trying really, really hard to place computers in the school to get these lucrative contracts, and they did a good job. They started about 1980 with the Apple II.

So by the end of the 80s, computers were basically in every library and school. And so everyone’s had an opportunity since then to use computers in one way or another. Night school classes, adult education classes since really the late 80s, early ninety s. And I’ve actually been on computers since 1978. Over 40 years.

Everybody’s had a chance. But an idiot like this that I was talking to, he doesn’t want to go to the library. I’m sure he hasn’t been to the library in decades. He probably can’t remember when he checked out a library book last. I have many computers.

I think I have two desktops, two laptops, two tablets. I also have a library card from Pahrump. A library card from Goldfield and a library card from Tonopah. And I am in those libraries, actively. I’m checking out books.

All of those libraries have a computer. I think it’s just laziness on most people’s part and not having an interest. It’s easier to put down somebody for what they do than to ask about it or just say simply nothing at all. These are the people that drive me crazy. There’s so much amazing stuff going on and I don’t mind if they’re not interested, but it’s the librarians that I’m infuriated with.

They’re the gatekeepers in education and they don’t want to know about Chat or AI. So it’s not really economic. It is a deliberate decision on many people’s part not to engage, not to learn, to let the things go by. And people that are actually interested, that are burning to create, that are trying new things, that are experimenting with new things, those are people that are something to be put down on because I think it might remind them of how little they want to know, how content they are with their own little world. And that’s fine as long as you don’t go out and bully people or put people down.

This is the way I can make some money. I can make this money part time. I’m doing a good service and yet I have people people commenting who don’t even know the basics of writing and business writing.

Self-sustaining freelance writers are maybe four or 5% of the population. That’s it. Everybody else is doing a second 3rd, 4th job to enable their hobby or their passion the and as far as nonfiction writing goes, nobody understands that. As far as business SEO, there’s nobody that I know, haven’t known for a couple of decades that has any idea of what I’m doing. But if they ask, if I try to explain, it’s just an immediate putting down of what I do.

It’s just this prejudice against the unknown, which is really the root cause. If you don’t know something, if somebody knows something you don’t, you don’t want to hear it. Instead of asking questions about it or letting it go, they want to put it down because they’re bullies. That’s all they can do. They’re trolls.

And maybe it reminds them of the fact that they’re dead to the world, that they have no interest in inquiry.

Anyway, I just wanted to put down what I have to deal with almost every day in my effort to be creative. I really have to keep it hidden. Can’t discuss it because it’s like we’re going back to the Dark Ages. One idiot, in fact, who’s in charge of something historical, he was talking about computer literacy, computer literacy in such a way that I asked him this:

You’re not holding out computer illiteracy as a point of pride, are you? And this guy’s a former engineer and he thought about it and said, that’s a good question, actually. I am. This is a living, breathing, talking luddite. He doesn’t want to learn.

He wants to put down people for learning. We’re going to go back 300 years into the Dark Ages when people were prosecuted and killed for trying to learn things, for trying to advance science. We’re going to try to discredit them. Or Mao’s Cultural Revolution, in which anybody with higher learning or higher ambition was killed. That’s what we’re going to get.

We’re going to go back to the Dark Ages and then we’re going to take 300 years to come back again. At the end of the Dark Ages, they had to reinvent all the math that the Greeks had done, what, 1500 or  2000 years before, because people were criticized and killed for trying to learn new things. And now we have people writing about chat and AI who don’t actually use it, haven’t experimented with it, but don’t want to learn. They just want to put it down. So it’s frustrating, but that’s the world we live in.


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That’s What I Remember Most from the Movie

A beautiful girl eating breakfast while sitting at a corner view window and dressed in a man’s shirt. San Francisco transitioning from the Beats to the unwashed Hippies, who introduced their grime and the acceptance of same to that magical set of streets and hills.

I vividly remember as a young child how suddenly everything changed. One summer, undoubtedly 1967, the playground equipment at Golden Gate Park near the start of Haight-Ashbury was no longer occupied with children but taken over by filthy young people dressed in rags and stumbling about in a daze. One guy wore what looked like a World War I aviator helmet with spectacles, the kind Snoopy had on when he battled the Red Baron in Peanuts. What was going on?

After that it was anything goes. North Beach sleaze branched out of its accepted borders, the bath houses came in, AIDS, Golden Gate Park filled with the homeless camping, used needles everywhere. I spent a lot of time in The City around Y2K when a friend lived a few blocks from the Park. Now, I only go back to visit a certain dentist and I no longer know the skyline.

Herb Caen once said that he felt sorry for any child growing up in San Francisco. They’d go out in the world expecting every city to be as beautiful.

We used to dress up before going into The City. Now, you’d just be a mark.

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Going Beyond Optical Code Recognition for Writers

Tremendous amounts of primary research material in newspapers, books and magazines continues to fall apart in libraries and warehouses around the world. Much of it won’t physically survive much longer. And much is still unrecognizable to the best OCR software. What to do? Read it!

I use HappyScribe: – (external link) to transcribe what I have read to my iPhone or Mac. Both can generate an .mp3 file which is all HappyScribe needs. From there, you upload your file to HappyScribe and it produces a nearly flawless transcription of your reading. (Yes, automated transcription services have now become that good.(

Let’s say I had a badly aged edition of the San Francisco Chronicle in a reserve reading room at a library. Most of us can still read what the best OCR software cannot. Read that article into your phone and then onto HappyScribe or a similar service. Far, far, far easier than typing, especially for long pieces.

You’ll still need to correct and polish the resulting text but at least you will have the article, much of what I see today is simply not possible for any present or future OCR software to read, most often gray smudges too indistinct for anything but the human brain to bring out.

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Can Writing a Certain Amount of Words a Day Improve Your Writing?

Can Writing a Certain Amount of Words a Day Improve Your Writing?


Can you improve as a writer by writing a certain amount of words every day? I have heard this advice over the years or read this advice over the years. I remember Ray Bradbury in particular. I think he was encouraging a thousand words a day. There are other great writers that said similar things. The problem is in this equation is that these writers usually were very well educated, really well grounded in the classics, and they had. A much deeper well of inspiration than most of us do today, I think.

That that time, if you were going for a thousand words a day, I think a lot of that time would be better spent reading great writing or great poetry. There has to be some source of inspiration. There has to be some sort of background. And without it, then if your background is only, oh, I don’t know, newspapers today and blog posts like mine, if you’re not reading Melville and Conrad and Tolstoy and wanting to read those writers, Huxley I.

Your exposure to beautiful writing and beautiful turn of phrases, turns of phrases is going to be limited to none. And so. Your thousand words a day may just be. Reciting from a very limited vocabulary. I think it’s a well, let’s back up. If you are having to write, if you’re forcing yourself to write a thousand words today, then something right there and then is. Questionable, you, as a writer, like a bird, has to sing, you probably writing already.

I don’t play guitar, but I follow some guitar guitar players on YouTube and they want to practice. They want to play and no encouragement needed. I know in the third grade I tried to play violin. I was encouraged by my dad, thought a good idea at the time, had no interest in it. Learn to hate it more than anything else. I really wasn’t drawn to it. And so starting at the beginning, I think you have to want to write to begin the process at all.

If if you do find yourself naturally drawn to writing rather than that thousand words a day thing, I think. Direction is better and you can come up with any number of exercises on your own, try to write 750 words without any commas that will force you into thinking and looking at things differently, really practice journalism or newspaper openings in the old style, who, what, where, when, why, how. And you can look at any news report and try to rewrite what they’ve done and make it better.

And that can all lead into. I really encourage people that want to get into writing to get a relation going with a local newspaper, especially a weekly and. It’s take a look at how that’s done, because what happens is if you get on with the newspaper, even as a freelancer, even if you’re paid very little, you will be under deadline and you will be under somewhat of a style restriction. And that will help you improve much more than directionless writing, just simply writing to write.

You’re just going to be repeating your own thoughts. And that’s another. Speaking of deadline, if you’re going to do this thousand seven hundred fifty words, then try a complex story that probably needs three thousand words and put it into seven hundred and fifty or. You’re going to do a thousand words, try to do something in a half an hour. Something really readable, somewhat polished that quickly direction, writing with direction, but I’m not I’m not trying to organize your life.

I’m I’m just I think we’ll get back to what I think the question is originally is, does writing a certain amount of every day help you? And I think, again, you would be better spent. These writers encouraging it, had a great background in the classics. And I think that’s the missing part of the equation when they give that advice. So good luck to you and your reading and especially Conrad. Talk to you soon.

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The Greatest Challenges in Writing for Publication

The greatest challenge in writing for publication is word count. It’s set by the editor, it can’t be exceeded. A topic easily explained in 1,000 words becomes tremendously difficult given 250. A reader never knows your word count, only that you failed to be technically accurate, didn’t reference a particular work, or that you didn’t quote them extensively, even after spending an hour with them. So be it.

Producing ideas or queries (internal link) is perhaps next hardest. Big metro papers assign some stories but, generally, a writer must come up with ideas. Ten pitches to an editor may produce two assignments. Same thing with web writing. The company I work for has written, for example, on every aspect of Colorado divorce law, nursing home abuse, and slip and fall accidents. Yet, search engines demand continuing original content and these monsters must be served. Writing on exorcism and divorce probably awaits. Get more ideas.

Deadline may seem most onerous but not with newspaper work, web writing, or most magazine articles. Short deadlines focus. No time to wander. Short deadlines are more frustrating than difficult, as many people fail to respond in time. This leaves writing less full, less accurate, the reader less served. Long deadlines let work slip away, their length permitting life to intervene: hospital stays, death of friends, a family crisis.

A challenge to new writers is letting their writing go. Never fall in love with your writing. Words aren’t yours to keep, not when selling. Every editor edits. Don’t expect to see a newspaper article before it is published. Get ready for cuts, photo captions that make no sense, a missing paragraph and on and on. That’s the editor’s rush to deadline. Some magazines will check in before publication but don’t count on it. Only books dependably get an author involved in rewriting.

The last major challenge to writing might be photography, producing publishable quality images when a writer has no interest in doing so. None of us work for Nat Geo, photographers don’t get assigned to our articles. While most publications require but don’t pay for photographs, some do. My last article for Outdoor California paid more for the photographs than the article itself.

In the end, every challenge to publication is worth overcoming. Even if our work is reworked, we still have to write. A bird has to sing.

Eastern Meadowlark photo by Scott Helfrich:


Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

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Her Beautiful Death

Touching, tragic story of Toronto sculptor Gillian Genser, whose work with mussel shells is now killing her.

“I spent 15 years sanding and grinding mussel shells to create my sculptures. Then I was diagnosed with heavy-metal poisoning.”

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How To Make A Living As a Writer (Honestly)

How do you make a living as a writer? Get a full time job writing for a newspaper, magazine, or internet company. It’s impossible to make full time money stringing together part-time jobs. If you’re not regularly employed, view freelance gigs as supplemental income, not the way to pay your mortgage. There’s too much unpaid time looking for new work to prevent you from going broke. (internal link) Let me explain.

Query letters and book proposals take enormous amounts of time, only to have 90% or more of them rejected. A solid book proposal will take weeks, an article query (internal link) at least a day, if not more, to research and write. Travel may be required for both. A great deal of time is also spent investigating whom to send your proposal to, to see what title or publishing house you should approach. All queries must be well crafted and individually tailored to the person you are addressing. And all of this consistently rejected query work is unpaid. There’s more.

Right now I am waiting on a substantial check for the last magazine article I wrote. I submitted the article two weeks before last Thanksgiving. Yes, in 2017. The article has been published but I have still not been paid. While this situation is uncommon, you must be prepared for it to happen. You can only make a living at writing if you have money coming in to eat.

Aside from working for someone else on a regular basis, I have heard about another way. It demands that you have several book titles in print at once, and that each of these books needs revising every two years or so. Think computer books that go out of date when software comes out with revisions. Photoshop and Microsoft Word have undoubtedly provided many authors with regular income.

Writing as a profession is oversold, at least from a freelancer’s point of view. But there is no shame in writing for someone else. A guaranteed paycheck gives you the freedom to write in your spare time, without worrying if an article will be accepted, if it will only pay a hundred dollars, or if a check for it will come in soon.

Through my Vancouver employer I edit and post blogs and web pages for trial lawyers. I could see that kind of position being a full time job for someone who wanted it. Content creation jobs on the net are becoming more and more plentiful. Pick a profession that interests you and explore the possibilities if you want full time work. Otherwise, enjoy the tumult of writing part-time as a lower earning freelancer. Those hours and experience may eventually lead to the work you truly desire. Good luck.

newspapers Thoughts on writing Uncategorized Writing by others Writing tips

Why I Don’t Use Social Media to Promote My Work (yet)

Format Magazine (external link) is seeking people to write on this topic:

Opinion: Why I don’t use social media to promote my work

Are you an artist or creator who doesn’t use Instagram/Facebook/Twitter to promote their work? We’re seeking someone who can talk about why they don’t use social media to share their art or connect with clients, and how staying off social has even helped their career. This could be focused on one platform (“Why I don’t post my photography on Instagram”) or social media in general. Looking for a specifically professional, not personal, perspective on avoiding social media.

Social may be a way to promote existing work, but I’m doubtful it can provide new work. In the case of a writer, new work comes from an online writing portfolio, previously done articles, and from carefully crafted and well researched query letters.

I do not know any writer who has landed an assignment from a tweet or an Instagram post. I also do not know any editor who trolls social, looking for a writer. Writers come to them, not the other way around.

As my book nears completion, I am sure I will be drawn into the whirlpool of social to promote the title’s sale. I’ll have an existing product to sell. That’s quite different from having a service to sell, such as writing. In this case of future writing there is no product yet to sell, unless one wants to write complete articles, trying to find a home for them later on. Good luck with that.

In selling a service such as writing, getting new assignments takes the same old tack: reading writers’ guidelines, researching new periodicals, determining editors to correspond with, and, as always, making pitches.

As it is used right now, I see little reason to engage in social. Writing blog posts, as a way to keep a writing portfolio website current, seems a good method to keep a web presence. But it can only do so much. The best approach remains to determinedly and actively pursue work by developing contacts in the field and by keeping query letters and correspondence with editors coming. An Instagram photo can’t do that.