Thursday, September 08, 2005


I spent most of yesterday gathering some of the research articles I'll need to begin answering the questions for my Ph.D. comprehensive exam. The exam consists of four questions (topics, really), and I basically have to write a five-page paper on each. I'll have to do an oral defense of each question once I'm finished. I have about a month to get everything done. Once I pass this hurdle, I need to (re)write and defend my thesis proposal and I'll finally be admitted to candidacy.

I was able to do a lot of the research on-line, thanks to the advent of full-text electronic versions of the main educational journals, but I had planned to drive down to ASU to hit the library for the rest of the articles I need today. Last night, my wife pointed out that our son has a half-day at school today and she would need me to pick him up. Enter the rapturous beauty of freelancing. "No problem," says I. "I'll write the magazine article I was planning on doing Thursdayand just go down to ASU on Friday." The flexibility to re-arrange your schedule at a moment's notice has to be one of the greatest benefits of being a freelance writer.

I'm writing an article for a gaming magazine that was once in print, but for the past two or three years has gone to exclusively on-line format. They pay 3 cents/word for up to 5000 words, which isn't terrible. I can do my own graphics and artwork (Adobe Illustrator is your friend), so I actually can get paid extra for that. The magazine comes out every two weeks, so I plan on submitting an article every two weeks. If they reject one article, I'm going to have a second article available for review the following week. My long-term plan is to become such a regular contributor that I get offered my own column, but that's just a hope at this point. I'm going to be writing articles for other magazines, too, in addition to working on fiction, of course, but I'm going to use this magazine as my experiment in regular submission. We'll see how it turns out. The magazine's writer guidelines says they don't have a very large slushpile, so this may be a good way to get some writing credits ("clips," they're called).

Have I mentioned lately that I love my job?

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