Suppressing my economic insecurities is part of my daily routine as a full-time freelance journalist. It can be a profession with more caveats than tangible benefits, but the most brutal part of earning a living by writing articles is the actual process of getting paid.
I sell a variety of editors story ideas, I write those stories, I invoice for those stories, and then through some Rube Goldberg process, I’m eventually paid for those stories. Notice how that trajectory was all very straightforward up until the last part? Notice how that last part is the part that’s essential to my survival under the current economic order? Yeah, me too.
It’s no secret among freelancers that getting paid $200 for an article on, like, the secret marxist messages in Cardi B’s lyrics is a labyrinthian operation. The accounting department at major outlets are completely separate entities from the editorial wing. And since freelancers like myself don’t work at these places, we don’t have the same access to accounting personnel as staff members do. In fact, going from what editors have told me over the years, even they are often relegated to navigating an inane bureaucracy in order to file invoices for their writers. And then checking in on the timeframe for when those payments should end up in writer’s bank accounts can be an even more difficult affair.