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A Cheat Sheet 7 Ways To Keep Financially Afloat Between Writing Projects
by Jennifer Brown Banks
If you’re like most struggling artists, you’re probably in
constant search of ways to create more paychecks between “regular
gigs.” Industry mishaps and Murphy’s Law often means that
even with contractual agreements, paydays are “irregular.”
Case in point—In February, despite promises otherwise, three of
my long-standing projects paid late. One by a few days, the other two
by a few weeks. As a veteran writer, it’s understood: it’s
the nature of the beast.
But my mortgage company and creditors, however, are a little less understanding!
For this reason, I have found the following practices and principles to
make a measurable difference in plugging the gaps. And you will too!
HERE’S HOW TO CASH IN ON MORE PAYDAYS
1. Consider "temping" with one of the many service agencies
for creative artists. Why not take some of the mystery and madness
out of searching for paying assignments? Signing up with these firms can
provide steady projects that last from 1 day to 1 month, and can be maintained
from the privacy of your own home, during slow periods.
Check out some of the opportunities listed through popular sites like
www.Copydesk.net and www.mediabistro.com.
2. Widen your net. A while back ago, I was having some
difficulty in scheduling a poetry reading at a local high school. The
person with whom I was speaking didn’t think it would generate enough
potential interest. When I mentioned to her that as a self-publishing
writer, I could also do a workshop on entrepreneurship, the idea sold.
3. Partner with an existing program—Your weekly
community newspaper is chock full of exhibits, book signings, and local
happenings. Sometimes complementary activities can happily co-exist, giving
the hosting venue more bang for their buck! For example, I recently contacted
an art gallery in my area to do a poetry reading for their opening reception,
which would provide patrons with something for the eyes and something
for the ears! Events can also be accessed on line via organizations’
4. Consider doing music reviews. If you’re like
most creative creatures, you probably appreciate music as well. Why not
get paid to groove? Look into www.indie-music.com
5. Join the BLOG craze. A “blog” is simply
an abbreviation for web log. These are online journals that record everything
from your daily activities, to political views, to rants. Many are free
and can be used to promote your event, garner publicity, or boost book
sales. The sky’s the limit! To get an idea of the many features,
6. Teach what you know— This is one of my favorite
stand-bys. Many people would be surprised to discover that the same areas
of “expertise” that lend well to articles and “how-to”s
can also be taught in a classroom environment. To date, I’ve taught
time management, creative writing, and self-publishing to eager, well-paying
audiences. Another great aspect of teaching, is that it often presents
networking opportunities for future work. Former students from my “Don’t
Query, Be Happy Workshop” and “How not to be a Starving Artist”
are now current clients. As a result, I have had the pleasure of seeing
the principles I teach put to practice, and to actually nurture others’
7. Don't be shy, peddle your products. Whether it’s
a book, a favorite poem placed in a plaque, or personalized greeting card.
These efforts help to get the word out and increase your fan base, and
your financial bottom line! Sometimes a few small sells can make a big
So the next time you find yourself with more month left at the end of
your paycheck, pull out this cheat sheet and pull out the stops!
© Copyright 2006, Jennifer Brown Banks
Jennifer Brown Banks is the former senior editor of Mahogany Magazine. She holds a B.A. in Business Management and blogs at Penandprosper.blogspot.com
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