The first piece I ever had published at University didn’t have my name on it. My reviews editor, a man who resembled Paul Weller after he plummeted out of a very tall tree, ‘edited me’. As I recall the largest edit job he did was removing my byline but still, apparently, that was enough to get my name taken off the piece.
So, I told on him. And the fact I use that phrase now, 20 years after the fact should tell you a lot about the fact I still feel guilty about it.
But I really shouldn’t. You could put the people paid to critique culture in this country in a medium sized village hall and still have room for a fete for them to be sniffy about. There’s a very, very small amount of people who are paid to do this and even fewer of them who can actually do it with any degree of worth. Don’t believe me? See how many critics, of any stripe, don’t open with 400 words of history or personal opinion.
Don’t be one of them.
It will suck. You will be overlooked for work you can do standing on your head, you will be paid late by organizations who make more in a year than you do in a lifetime and you will have to fight and kick and scrap for every single piece of work you get.
So fight. Dig your heels in, demand your byline and always ALWAYS be paid. Freelancers may eat last but we’re allowed at the table. Anyone says different, start throwing elbows. And don’t you dare feel guilty about it.