Fri. March 15, 2013: Thank Goodness Mercury Retrograde Ends Sunday!

Friday, March 15, 2013
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Meetings all day yesterday.

I got to meet with one of the actresses on the show at her day job, which is working over at WHOI in Woods Hole — and I got to see the Alvin! The Alvin is a deep submergence vehicle for oceanographic research. It’s been getting an overhaul at WHOI — and is an awesome piece of equipment! The people who work on it are the best in their field. What a great experience, to get to see the Alvin live! If you want to get an idea of what it’s all about, this is the link.

Then a meeting at the Marine Life Center, which went well, and we pulled more props.

Came home, sent off a few things that needed sending off, judged some of the pieces for the contest.

Still chasing down missed/late payments. Very frustrated, because I still have to pay MY bills on time, or else. This attitude that people can pay writers if and when they happen to get around to it, no matter what the contract, has to stop.

Need to spend time on the book today, and then rehearsal is at my house tonight. I’m so exhausted, but I can’t stop, because I have to make up for those missing payments and still stay on track with current deadlines.

This has been one of the hardest Mercury Retrogrades of my life.


There’s still time to sign up for the Query Clinic on March 23 and get line-by-line support on your query letters! Information here.

Published in: on March 15, 2013 at 8:19 am  Comments (9)  


  1. Alvin looks very cool!

    • Alvin is awesome! I feel so lucky I got to see Alvin in person!

  2. This has been one doosey of a Mercury retrograde. I’ll be very glad to see Sunday roll around. Best of luck with chasing those tardy clients. I’m in the midst of similar late payment drama. Oh and happy belated birthday!

  3. Just curious… do you require a portion of your fee upfront and hold it in escrow until the work is complete, say, two-thirds or one-half? Feel free to respond via email if you’d rather not answer in this space.

    • Hi, Elsa, great question. For business and editing clients, it’s usually 50% up front, 50% upon completion (with “completion” defined in the contract). Longer projects are usually 1/3 up front, 1/3 at an agreed-upon (in the contract) half-way point, and 1/3 upon completion.

      The monies are NOT held in escrow until completion — I am already putting in the hours — it is paying me for the work I’m doing on the project, just like anyone is paid AS they work.

      Unfortunately, there are a tier of “client” who will have you do the work, then claim it’s not what they want and refuse to pay. Ethical clients tend to know and understand the protocol of the 50% up front as a show they’re serious on their part, and they understand that they’re paying for you to get to work on their project, rather than someone else’s. He with the highest fee and the closest deadline gets my first attention on any given day.

      Magazine contracts are different, as are book contracts. But monies are not held in escrow — I’m being paid for my work.

      • And, further to the above, I learned the hard way to have private students pay for the session (the month, the three-months, whatever) in full up front. They are less likely to quit in the middle if they’ve already paid for it, and if I’ve put them in the schedule, that means I’ve turned down other work, and I shouldn’t have to take a financial hit because a student can’t keep a commitment.

  4. Interesting question about escrow funds. Never had that question myself, but please allow me to add a response. It’s as Devon said; the money is an agreed-upon fee between the client and the writer. There is no agreement to return anything — the work has already been done and the time spent on it. It’s backed up by the contract, of course, but having had clients try to wiggle out of payment in the past, I can’t express how important both that upfront payment and the contract are.

    If the question is about courses one attends, which it seems it is, there would be no refund. There are just too many unscrupulous beings out there who would attend a course and claim nothing was gained by it just to get a refund. Also, I’ve heard of “students” swiping an instructor’s content AND asking for a refund. The sole intent there was to gain access to proprietary information. The fee charged doesn’t guarantee that won’t happen, but it gives the instructor recompense for both time and the risk of that happening.

    Does that help, Elsa?

  5. Devon and Lori, the specificity of your thoughts on this topic is much appreciated. Your responses are quite helpful.

    It’s the type of information that’s somewhat more challenging to ferret out, unless one apprentices with a more experienced contractor.

    People are less likely to discuss such a granular aspect of running one’s own writing/editorial shop, as it falls more on the business side of operations. Yet understanding how to approach it is so critical to success when working as a sole proprietor.

    Both of your blogs are regular stops on my web-reading rounds. While I rarely comment, I always enjoy absorbing your views on the writing life. Thank you!

    • Thank you for stopping by — always glad to help. There’s far too prevalent an attitude that we shouldn’t be paid a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and that “anyone” can write, when, in reality, we are just as specifically skilled as the plumber, the doctor, the accountant, and anyone else, and deserve to be paid a living wage for said skills, and be paid that in a timely manner.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: