Just to fill you in on a bit of background to the whole bitter pill episode (it also tells a bit about how I got to start freelancing, actually). For about 2 years now, I’ve been employed by woman who runs a cooking school from her kitchenware store/café. I worked in the kitchenware store for a few months, and thereafter worked from home as her in-house researcher/writer. It was a bit job, averaging perhaps 4 hours a month, and I was paid retail rates for writing work. But I was happy to do it because I got to work from home, and I got to write about food.

 

When I started the freelancing business at the start of this year, it was partly because I figured that my boss had already had as many cooking class topics as she needed (I’ve written around 20 different topics for her classes), and wouldn’t have anymore work for me. So the last thing in the world I expected was to have her ring me at the start of last week, just days after I start the freelancing business, asking me to help her re-write materials her cooking classes.

 

I half expected that she wanted me to help her  “re-write” more of the work that I had already done for her, so she could submit it under her name to this magazine that she contributes to. I gathered that she was under a fair bit of stress and needed some writing done, and obviously had little or no time to do it in. I agreed to head in and see her at her store.

 

When I got off the phone, I wondered briefly if I should simply continue to write for her under her employ (I was still technically employed by her on a casual basis). But I decided that that would be silly, and I should be brave enough to tell her that I’m now freelancing, and if she wanted me to write for her then she needs to pay me my freelance rate. And while I was there, I decided I would also ask her to acknowledge that I was the one who wrote the ‘The Art of High Tea’ that was credited to her in the magazine.

 

I spent a fair bit of time praying very, very earnestly before the meeting. I was worried that she would refuse to pay my freelance hourly rate, and I was petrified of making the request that she acknowledge that I wrote “High Tea”. More than anything else, I wanted to trust God with whatever the outcome would be.

 

Immediately when the meeting began, I told her that I now freelance. She asked as to what my business name was, then asked who my other customers were (it occurred to me later that she probably thought I decided to ‘freelance’ to get a higher hourly rate from her, and probed to find out how genuine this whole new business was!). But she seemed to accept my fee and we spent a bit of time discussing her new class format and what she needed me to do. To cut a long story short, she has decided to run new classes every week from mid Feb onwards, and commissioned me to write booklets for each class. So. Not only do I have a client for my new baby business, but it is steady work for at least the next few months, if not the rest of the year. I was happy and excited.

 

The meeting looked like it was just about over and I still hadn’t had the opportunity to bring up her submitting my article to the magazine under her name. I had just decided to leave it for now especially since she’d given me so much work to do, when suddenly she mentioned ‘the magazine’. I immediately offered to write any future articles for her, for the magazine, and she nodded willingly and said they only wanted 300 words. I then said that the by-lines had to be under my name (by-line is the one that gives credit to the author of the article, as in “Written By….”), and she said that no, she can’t have someone else’s name on it, that it has to be written by her. We discussed the copyright issue a bit and I think I’ve just got her thinking she needs to be more careful about it. But that was as far as it got.

 

So, on the whole, I wasn’t going to push the issue, as she has commissioned quite a bit of work, and it will be work that is interesting and a pleasure to write. I do wonder though, as I write for her now, if the words that I craft will one day be published under her name – again. But I guess that beggars can’t be choosers, and beggars also had better not bite the hand that feeds – so I’ll just keep that bitter pill down, keep my nose to the grindstone and keep an eye out for bigger dish to fry. At the end of the day, I’m a new freelance business with a client who is offering steady work. It’s a lot more than I could have asked for. I need to see the plagiarism as a minor issue, keep working and trusting God that he’ll work things out for the best.

 

Sorry about the spate of clichés at the end, it’s late and I’ve had an enormous day. Thanks for coming by. Drop me a note, I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

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