with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
It was kind of a surreal day.
We’d kind of been making all of these jokes about how you go do a shoot for six hours so that they can make a segment that’s ten seconds long, and then, well, they went and made a segment that included about ten seconds of footage from what we’d done. The fact that this surprised me is testament only to what a rookie I am when it comes to this stuff.
There was quite a lot of blog and Twitter chatter about how the segment was handled—more specifically, what a poor fit Kathie Lee Gifford seemed to be for this particular story—and I wrote about it last night over at BlogHer, just to address some of what was being said and also to give a little background on what we experienced behind the scenes. (Bottom line: We three “round table” bloggers were treated exceptionally well during our time with NBC, even if the resultant story didn’t reflect much of what we discussed.) That’s all about the segment, itself, and I have opinions (surprise!) on how it was handled, but that’s not actually what I want to talk about here, today.
Nope. Today I want to talk about what happens when your mug gets plastered on national television, even if it’s only for a few nanoseconds.
My site traffic on my personal blog spiked yesterday. The address was on television, plus lots of folks are blogging about the show, so that was to be expected, I suppose. A nice little side benefit.
I popped up my traffic report several times yesterday to admire my climbing numbers and think to myself “Oooh! People do actually watch daytime television! Who knew?”
The other thing that happened is that, um, my inbox exploded.
Oh, I had the standard “Yay! We saw you!” emails from friends and family. And comments on the blog, too, which was nice. But I also had a flurry of email from people who wanted to, shall we say, express their opinion, and wanted to know what I’d thought about the piece. And then the weirdest thing happened.
I started getting email from people asking me to tell them my “secret.”
If you watch the Today Show segment, you’ll see there’s a clip in there of me announcing that I make more money as a writer than I ever did as an engineer. The quote was presented devoid of any context and I’m not thrilled about that, but the effect was apparently that an army of would-be writers concluded that I am just rolling in dough. Dough that I apparently fell into in some sort of simple way that I could now explain to them. Step by step. Please.
I consider myself a pretty open and helpful person. And this blog is all about sharing whatever insight I’ve gathered as a freelancer; I’m not one to huddle protectively over my methods and announce that there’s nothing to see here, move along. I like helping other folks figure out how to make a go of freelancing. It’s not that I don’t want to talk about it.
But the sudden influx of “I wanna be a writer, too, tell me how to make money” emails bothered me.
It bothered me that I felt that the piece misrepresented—or, more accurately, didn’t represent at all—the real work that goes into being a successful freelancer.
It bothered me that people would watch the segment, take down my URL, go to my site, find my contact information, and then assume that I would like to tell them how they can also make the buckets of money I am supposedly bringing home.
It bothered me that I had been too naive to realize that this is what would happen.
The good news is that my fifteen minutes of fame didn’t even last that long, right? And by next week I’ll be a distant memory (thank God) and I will have lived and learned from this experience. But the discomfort I felt on multiple levels with all of this really makes me wonder if whatever benefit I’ll end up getting here was worth the subsequent aggravation.
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