This is the second of a two-part series dealing with situations in which an agreement to provide free professional work yields different results. In the first installment, my husband, Laurence Socci got cheated out of bartered compensation after having provided free lobbying services.
In today’s installment, I discuss how providing free writing services, as controversial as that is, has whipped up positive results. In both circumstances, faith is the sole factor that has stabilized us and helped us to see the rainbow in front of our eyes.
My writing career has been a series of ebbs and flows - - strong when I felt the courage to tell people that I was a writer, weak when I was filled with self-doubt and pity stickers. On November 5, 2011, God gave me a small push in the direction of my writing career.
The Patch Listing of a Free Event
In November 2011, I had seen a Patch listing about a taking place at Mount Vernon Unitarian Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Of course, I just had to go because at that time, I had just purchased my trusty Writer’s Market 2012 book and was actively seeking paying markets to sell my writing work. One of the topics that has fascinated me for years and years is environmental issues, particularly .
So, I dragged my two girls to Mount Vernon Unitarian Church’s extremely intriguing, educational, and informative free energy event on November 5, 2011, hoping it would spur some cool story ideas. I wish I could say I was a dutiful writer and took notes, but with two wriggly girls, I was lucky to not have been kicked out of this event, with all the ruckus going on.
Meeting Patch Staff & Proposing a Blog Idea
I remember collecting great paperwork at this event and seeing a table dedicated to Patch. Prior to November, I had heard of Patch but did not think much of it. On November 5th, it was different.
Nervous, shaky, and clearly lacking confidence, I walked up to former Belle Haven Patch Editor Brian C. Krebs, shook his hand, and did all I could from keeping my active baby from drooling on him. As difficult as that face-to-face meeting went, somehow, through a miracle known only to God, I was able to tell Brian about an idea that I had about blogging for Patch.
I had no clue that I would be meeting Brian that day, but I had already formulated a rough plan for creating a faith “blog” on Patch for some time. Mentally, I had prepared for a meeting I would have with a Patch editor one day. I was just shocked that day came sooner than I thought! I knew that anyone who would hear my idea about a faith blog would be put off by such a controversial topic, or bored by hearing some self-righteous fool (me) discussing religion in ways that made me superior. I know, negative thinking.
God somehow provided clarity, in the midst of my baby babbling and drooling, enough to allow me to concisely yet forcefully introduce the concept of a faith blog as being separate and distinct from anything religious. I mentioned to Brian that there was nothing like my proposed idea anywhere on Patch, a fact which impressed Brian because he knew I had done my homework.
I told Brian that I did not want my blog to attach itself to any specific religion, but to offer it as a non-denominational source of hope and inspiration in discussing my personal problems and the calming effects of faith.
My Blog on Faith is Approved for the Patch Site!
Brian was intrigued with my idea! And just like that, the momentum had fizzled out. For the next few months, I would be very busy with the Girl Scouts as a troop leader and when God decided it was time for me to , I had already begun my faith blog on Patch.
March 6, 2012 marked my for “A Slice of Faith” on Patch. It was a total leap of faith in proposing this blog, another leap of faith on the part of Patch staff in accepting and approving my blog, and a continuous leap of faith in writing very, very personal situations and sharing them with the public.
Unpaid Writing is a Positive Experiment
The writing of my faith blog on Patch is unpaid. It has been a huge risk on a professional level as well as a personal level in choosing to reveal intimate situations that are embarrassing, humiliating, and shameful. This experience has been sort of like my own version of a reality television experiment, but in writing.
I truly had no idea how people would react to the types of stories I would write about. I was and continue to be timid, if not outright scared, at the unspoken things that are being circulated in peoples’ minds as they read my blog posts. I have written with careful trepidation and sometimes, outright chutzpah, all in the name of promoting the one constant that has never failed me no matter what craziness I have gone through – the act of faith.
At times, I have received meaningful comments from people who have read my blog posts and appreciated them. In most cases, I have written blog posts to the tune of watchful, interested eyes, without receiving any comments. I never know what will move people or inspire them to comment on what I write.
In either case, I have felt since the beginning and continue to feel today that my blog posts on “A Slice of Faith” on Patch, despite the fact that I write for free, has been a positive experiment.
This has been a motivating experience for me because I have succeeded in gaining a captive audience of readers who are introduced to my writing work. Whether they know me or not, whether they choose to comment or not, or whether they agree with my viewpoints or desire to criticize the very story I write about is almost besides the point. The real issue is that my blog and writing are out there for all to see. It is both exhilarating and frightening at the same time.
I do not know where life will take my writing, whether “A Slice of Faith” will enjoy commercial success down the road. I do, however, have unencumbered faith in the knowledge that I was clearly meant to be writing this blog. God himself has told me (wink).
Which professional services have you given for free with a positive outcome?