Today's economic climate can kill a good idea. It can hurt your bank account. It can even cost you your job. It can be one big obstacle that gets in the way of your success.
But that's only if you let it.
If you think you have no control over this deflated economy, you'd be wrong.
I nearly felt like that last week. I got caught up in the negative frenzy. What happened? I was really upset!
You'd probably be upset, too. It's not so unusual. You see, I was confronted with a payment problem I wasn't expecting. And instead of just being truthful about the whole situation, the publisher who owed me the money--along with my editor who works for him--were just feeding writers a bunch of lines. "Your check's in the mail tomorrow," they said, when they knew it wouldn't be. "We'll process your check in 10 days," whatever that means. Either way, the checks still have not arrived. I'm on a list, I was told, but I don't know how long, or what it matters.
What I do know is that the publisher is avoiding paying me and at least six other writers who I know have written articles for him. We've been told there is a cash-flow problem, and that we should be patient. But then I heard he actually put payments on hold--in December--yet is still soliciting new work for an upcoming issue!
They've been giving us all the run-around, some of us for several months. It's a painful and inconvenient process to have to keep calling, e-mailing, and doing whatever it takes to get that paycheck.
But you have to do something. You can't let someone not pay you for work you've done. In most businesses, this wouldn't even be possible. You have to pay your dentist, for example, on the day she cleans your teeth. You have to pay your utility bills, or they get shut off. And if you go to the post office to buy a stamp, well, they're not going to give it to you if you don't pay the 42 cents.
Unfortunately, writers generally get paid after the work is done and turned in, which leaves some wiggle room for publishers to delay or avoid payment if they want, this despite what the contract states. It's a payment process is industry-wide and won't be changed. It's been this way for as long as there have been independent writers, I think.
So what I've done is turn this ugly situation into an opportunity for me to get to know some of my fellow writers better, to make a personal connection that wasn't there before. I contacted my writers' groups to let them know this was happening. And, in return, I heard back from several writers who were experiencing much the same as me.
We forged a bond, and we'll keep each other informed. If one gets paid, we'll have hope another will, too. If one does something that works, another will try it as well. We may not wind up getting paid. We may wind up having to contact a lawyer to take care of this for us. But whatever happens, we know we're not alone. It's a lot easier to deal with challenges in life when you know you're not alone.
So this obstacle have given me the opportunity to open my world up just a wee bit more. And I took it.
Writing from home can be a lonely experience, but not when you reach out, not when you use your E--that Expressive voice that is meant to be your watchdog. It's there for good reason, but you have to use it to get full benefit.
So what obstacle have you turned into an opportunity lately? Could you use some advice on how to do that? I'll be teaching a class this spring that might help. Keep coming back to learn more.