Build Your Vocabulary:  

DID YOU KNOW that there are more than 40,000 characters in Chinese script?

The "Sorensen formula" for speechwriting:  brevity, clarity, charity and levity.

A freelancers' time is generally spent 50% in actual writing, 25% marketing, 
          and 25% on adminstrative tasks, such as bookkeeping, filing, computer
          maintenance,  buying supplies, etc.  If you reduce the time you spend on
          e-mail, stop downloading games, music and new programs you don't need,
          and keep up with filing so it doesn't pile up, you'll have more time to write
          and market your work.

63% of all new magazines will not survive their first year:
          a good reason to avoid start-ups.  If you want to write for a brand-new
          magazine, make sure your contract ensures payment within two
          weeks of publication, and do NOT submit the next article or column
          until you've been paid in full for the previous one. Don't accept excuses
          for late payment. Their landlord won't wait for the rent, nor will the printer
          or other suppliers wait beyond 30 days for payment of their bills. Magazines,
          like other small businesses, ought to have sufficient capital to pay for two
          full years of operation before starting up. If the magazine fails owing you
          money, you will be an unsecured creditor and probably never recover a penny,  
          regardless of the contract they signed.

There are a few things every freelancer needs to do regarding payment.  See the paragraph above, and if the client tells you to that payment has already been authorized (the old "The check is in the mail" reply), find out who issued the check, the check number, and if it's yet been put into the mail. If the person you're dealing with says it's being handled by "accounting," make sure to get the name of the person in that department, and obtain answers from him or her. In your standard contract, may sure the client will be liable for  your legal fees if they renege on their side of the bargain.  But most of all, don't wait too long before following up. The more the client gets to stall your payment, the more time they have to go further into debt, and pay others who are more demanding before they pay you. 

An example of the current problems with freelance contracts: CanWest has just handed  freelancers another contract that takes away payment for the use of articles in papers across the country, asks freelancers to "assign" moral rights (which isn't possible under Canada copyright law) and  requires freelancers to "indemnify" them from any damage that the article might cause.

Meanwhile, the Professional Writers Association of Canada reports that, according to the survey they conducted in 2006, freelance rates have dropped a whopping 163% in the last three decades.

The CBC solicited submissions for a new feature last spring, saying on the submission form:  "By clicking on the Submit Your Essay button below, you are transferring to CBC all rights, including copyright, in your essay and are waiving your moral rights in the essay. As owner of copyright, CBC, and third parties authorized by CBC, will have the exclusive right to make unlimited use of all or part of the essay in any and all media in perpetuity worldwide."


Five Fast Steps to Better Writing