Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My freelance group

When I started the Freelance Writers and Editors group on Ryze in 2005, I had high hopes for finding freelance writing and editing work. I felt the same way when I moved that group from Ryze to Yahoo in 2006 (it was free; you'd do the same thing).

It hasn't happened, but I've learned a bit about freelancing, and I've enjoyed the camaraderie. The group — with tons of freelance links to writers' guidelines and resources — has turned into a powerful resource for freelancers (I hope that someone other than me has used them).

One of our more talented members was a real pain in the butt when we started. He used foul language for shock value and to draw responses — he got plenty of both — and he often urged me to kick him out of the network. I told him I wouldn't do it, and he kept trying for a while. Finally, he quieted down a bit (not altogether) and became a resource for others. When he had surgery last year, his partner (now wife) kept us apprised of his condition, and you could almost feel the prayers in the messages.

He's back — not quite as spirited or as sprightly (spritely also comes to mind) as before — but he's getting better. And it's almost like having a brother return to the fold. (Note: He died a few years ago; and, yes, it was almost like losing a brother.)

We've have talented people come and go. One left because she was asked how she found work; she believed she had earned her success (she had), and she didn't want to give her "secrets" away.

Others have left because they didn't have the time. Some probably got tired of the arguing; yes, we argue at times. And still others probably realized it wasn't what they were seeking.

If you're looking for tips on finding job openings, you'd be better off trying PayingWriterJobs on Yahoo. I suspect that most of us are members of that group; I often see familiar names or IDs on there.

I've heard newcomers ask the same questions over and over, and I've heard veterans either show their displeasure over answering the same old questions and I've heard them patiently give quality advice. We've argued about or discussed points of grammar (apparently I'm still struggling with passive voice), and we've talked about our favorite books for writers and editors.

My role? I'll advise newbies or veterans on occasion. I'm probably a little too patient before refereeing disputes (sometimes people accuse me of favoring their opponent). If I find a new resource or web site or whatever, I'll throw it out there. I occasionally ask questions to stir up discussion (I think some of the network members think that's funny, but they respond.) The rest of the time I marvel at the diversity and enjoy the patter that we didn't have on the network on Ryze. We have dozens (maybe a couple hundred) lurkers, but there's quality participation. Sometimes I'd like to see even more.

(NOTE: I've since gone to a new network, also called Freelance Writers and Editors. You can find it here.)

No time for more ... gotta finish editing a book.

Contact: I can be reached at tgilli52@gmail.com or nc3022@yahoo.com. Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.

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