Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Laying it out, 140 bits at a time

Saw this at both Jacket Copy and The Elegant Variation, this AM.

Dispatched (as in "canned) writer, Dan Baum, is using Twitter to regale his followers about his tenure with The New Yorker.

Gawker had a piece about this, yesterday, also.

One bit that I found particularly interesting, was Baum lamenting life as a freelancer--it took him seventeen years of pitching stories to finally break through with the magazine.

From Baum:

First, a little about the job of New Yorker staff writer. "Staff writer" is a bit of a misnomer, as you're not an employee, But rather a contractor. So there's no health insurance, no 401K, and most of all, no guarantee of a job beyond one year. My gig was a straight dollars-for-words arrangement: 30,000 words a year for $90,000. And the contract was year-to-Year. Every September, I was up for review. Turns out, all New Yorker writers work this way, even the bigfeet. It's Just the way the New Yorker chooses to behave. It shows no loyalty to its writers, yet expects full fealty in return. It gets away with it, because writing for the New Yorker is the ne plus ultra of journalism gigs. Like everybody, I Loved it. More later.

I freelanced. I never even came close to landing a gig like Baum's, at The New Yorker. Still, I can appreciate the tenuousness of that life, and it's one of the reasons I have a f/t day job to pay my bills, and pursue my own writing/publishing in my "free" time.

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