@SidAndFinancy Joke understood! I was trying to respond wittily and ended up deleting all the "wit" before clicking reply. But I think Slate would hed it, "XXX Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means: Why You've Been Reading Roman Numerals all Wrong"
@SidAndFinancy Just another Gen Y scribe.
LV Anderson is a scourge on Slate, and needs to go. Her recipe column is called, unbelievably, "You're Doing It Wrong" — like a Slate junior assistant with no culinary training is going to finally educate you on the proper way to cook spaghetti, which you've been fucking up this whole time. Her recent article calling for restaurant reviewers to pay for meals out of their salary likewise made no sense (and thankfully lots of people called her out on it). And now this. (And we haven't even talked about the pretentious "LV" - your name is Laura, live with it.)
In this economy, there are plenty of real food writers out there. Maybe hire one? (And why doesn't Sara Dickerman write about food more? She was great!)
@Claire Zulkey I'm on the same page as you. I've probably written 15-20 magazine pieces over the last year, and made around $5,000 all together. I write at nights and on the weekends. Were this my full-time job, I would be miserable. As it stands, when the checks come, the money is gravy, "mad money," whatever. The cherry on top. (And it takes forever for the checks to come - that's something this discussion should have covered, cash flow issues for freelancers.) My quality of life is MUCH better with a full-time job that is mercifully unrelated to journalism, and I presume that rubs off on my writing.
No such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing choices.
I hear you, Bethlehem, as I was recently in a similar position. I lost my (poorly paying, but high status) job as an editor for a great publication after a couple of years, and after filing for unemployment and lamenting my sad state for a few days, I had a choice to make: seek another low- to mid-level editorial position, become a "freelance writer" somehow, or go for a big reset. I chose the last option. I'd always been interested in cities, had a good head for numbers, and after two years of grad school, took a job in real estate consulting. Meanwhile, I maintained my contacts with a couple of publications I'd freelanced for when I worked full-time as an editor.
The result has been better than I could have expected. My "day job" works a part of my brain than never got worked as an editor, and puts me in touch with a whole ecosystem of professionals from whom I've learned a lot. I still contribute one or two articles a month to a couple of magazines, usually writing on the weekends and at nights. I find that my writing is better, since I can focus more clearly on a single assignment, and the money (when it comes, months later) is more of a cherry on top — call it "mad money" — than something I need RIGHT NOW to pay the rent.
To that end I would encourage you to do two things, both of which have helped me greatly and neither of which was particularly intuitive for me. One, consider yourself a writer no matter your day job (or lack thereof). Writing requires no money or professional licensure, only a little bit of time. My new gig has inspired so many ideas - for books, journal articles, etc. - that I never would have had otherwise, and I hope to see some of them through. Sure, I don't tell people I'm a writer at parties, but that's okay, those people don't need to know anyway. Second, try not to characterize office jobs along a fake scale of "accounting" to "advertising" as if one were inherently more creative and inspiring than the other. It's really about one's own preferences, and I know many people who find "soulless" number-crunching to be intellectually stimulating in a way that, say, writing copy would not be. For them. Not you.
For me, there was freedom to be gained by earning a more comfortable wage, getting paid on time, and working within an organization and profession that allows upward advancement. It left the remaining hours of my days and weeks a little less fraught and panicked, gave me a bit more balance, and allowed me to plan for life in 5, 10, 20 years. This has only helped my writing and my self-definition as a writer.