I’m human. And like every other human on this planet, I’ve had my share of embarrassing moments. I’ve mispronounced a word while talking with a group of writers, tripped and slammed into the ground walking over a completely flat surface, temporarily misplaced the name of a GOOD friend. Normal, uncomfortable stuff. But one in particular just happened to transpire in front of dozens of reporters. In fact, for months after, I found myself chasing YouTube to see if I was captured in all my glory. Now, it certainly wasn’t skirt-tucked-into-the-top-of-my-pantyhose embarrassing, but still . . .
About 10 years or so ago, I was a writer for the Southeast Outlook, a paper published by a Christian mega-church in Kentucky. One of my beats was the worship ministry, which included any musical news throughout the city. And that is how I came to be sitting at a press conference for Michael W. Smith. He was recording a live album at Southeast Christian Church . . . and he was my beat.
There were quite best online casino a few of us there, but I was determined not to waste what might’ve been my only opportunity to interview a celebrity. After all, I was living in Louisville, Kentucky. I was most definitely going to participate. I remember that it took me quite a while to formulate a question, one that hadn’t been asked already but wasn’t out of left field either. When I found one, I spiked my hand in the air with the other reporters, falling just short of shouting, “Ooh, ooh, pick me, pick me!”
Two things happened. The first is that it took him 10 minutes to acknowledge me. Ten minutes is a long time when you have Attention Deficit Disorder. A loooong time. I forgot my question. I had nothing to say. Nothing.
Secondly, when Michael W. Smith finally called on me, anticipating the question that I had forgotten, oh, I’m guessing, about five minutes earlier, I got starstruck. The closest I’d ever been to a celebrity was the time Gene Hackman followed my husband into a liquor store in downtown Los Angeles one night while I was sitting in the car “watching it all go down.”
When I think back on that press conference, it was a blur. I don’t remember much, but I believe my participation in it went something like this:
“Ooh, ooh, pick me, pick me!”
“Yes, woman in the back who now looks both stunned and nauseated at the same time?”
“Oh, me? (giggle). Uh, hi, Michael W. Smith . . . uh, Mr. Smith . . . (giggle) Michael . . . Um, well, um. Yes. Um, did your wife come with you to Louisville?”
Yes, that was my question. And it took me several awkward minutes of hemming and hawing to ask it. I had one moment, one question to make the difference between “That one time I sat in on a press conference for Michael W. Smith” and “That one compelling question I asked that left the entire room breathless with anticipation.” And I failed. Monumentally. I didn’t ask, “What made you decide to use Southeast Christian Church as a recording venue?” or even something with a little edge to it, like, “Is there ever a concern with live recordings that the audience participation will somehow disrupt the audio on the tracks?” No. I froze and asked the first ho-hum question that popped into my mind while giggling like a teenager. Cameras were flashing and videos were rolling.
I never found myself on You Tube, but I’ve since stopped looking. And while it’s probably a distant memory, if even that, for the other reporters in the room, to me it happened just this morning after breakfast.
And THAT was one of my most embarrassing moments. All six or seven of you folks following my blogs are invited to submit your own.
Really, how often does one get to put a price on their expertise? Most folks just tell an employer what they want their salary to be, based on previous salary and current demand; and if I have the methodology correct (I could be wrong!), the employer takes that number, cuts it in half, tacks on an up-charge, twirls it over their head four times so that the numbers transpose, and voila, that’s your value as an employee! Or some such process . . .
Since deciding to chuck everything and become a freelance writer, my momentum has built up amazing speed. Website, portfolio, social media. Bam! Bam! Bam! Advertising, blogs, pricing. Bam! Bam! Huh?
I had no idea the value of my writing. I knew what I would’ve liked it to be, but common sense told me that I needed to pull over and ask directions. So I decided to take a peek at what other freelancers were charging. This is what I found:
You get the idea. Why such a discrepancy? What does that even mean? Are website pages only $25 if you’ve spent a total of four minutes on it in the morning before your first cup of coffee and a whopping $2500 if you have to write it lying on a beach in Maui? I can theorize that it has to do with the length of the work or the research time involved or maybe even how cleverly you can string words together. But really, I have no clue.
So here I sit with no “price” page to be found anywhere on my website. And the only answer I’ve managed to find to the question of my value as a writer is a bit, well, abstract.
As a newly-established professional writer, what’s it worth to me? Is getting my name out there more important at this moment in my career than raking in the dough? Yes. Yes, it is.
So here might be the only instance where you’ll see anything having to do with pricing on my website: Call or email me for a price quote while I’m still cheap!
Well, actually, I DO have something to say! And while it may sound a little like I’m whining (I’ll take the sympathy, please), I’m actually more tooting my own horn.
Turns out, I’m something of a website genius. Wait . . . maybe that’s too strong. Turns out, I’m something of a desperate, website-capable novice.
I have two sons. Both sons are website developers. I feel I need to reiterate that in capital letters. WEBSITE DEVELOPERS! Who made Mom’s website? Mom made Mom’s website. Granted, it was WordPress, so maybe a lizard with opposable thumbs could have made it, but still . . . I have two sons who are web developers!
My website took me two weeks to simply fill in the blanks. I had to find and crop some pictures, copy old newspaper articles and rewrite them all, outline my pages, make a billion “view” buttons, tag my pictures so they didn’t show up as “email-slingshot.jpg” (or some such idiocy) when someone scrolled over them, format my pages with “heading2″ and “paragraph” and “bold” and some line thing to separate my buttons from my text, pad the margins using HTML, and a dozen other nitnoidy things that I feel certain my sons could’ve completed in a day.
But they both go to school full-time as well as work full-time, so I understand. And I did get SOME help from them. I guess the point I’m trying to make is this: Had they made my website for me, this first blog would’ve probably been about something interesting rather than an opportunity for me to dump on everyone. So in a very circular and ironic way, we all have them to thank!