While I’m perpetually overbooked and overworked as it is, something in my brain isn’t happy until I’ve filled every spare minute, and plenty of minutes I’d have if I could freeze time with my brain (which I am working on), with work. It’s not a desperate quest for relevancy or wealth, but I’d like to be able to make enough money to survive nicely. The only way to do this is to throw myself down as many avenues as possible until something sticks. Ten years later, nothing has really stuck.

I joined eLance a month ago and paid the $15-per-month registration fee, which allows me to work in both graphic design & writing categories. For ten bucks, I could only choose one category, and I needed to access both. It also allows me to have 25 ‘connects’ per month, which are essentially points which you need to use to bid on projects. Projects that are budgeted under $500 cost one ‘connect’, while others cost more. Any unused ‘connects’ are supposed to roll over to the next month, but you’re also not allowed to have more than your allotted connect limit. This means that someone at eLance flunked common sense, because if you have ten connects left at the end of the month, and they roll over into your 25 connects, you’re left with 25 connects – which nullifies the whole ‘roll over’ thing completely. Sucks to your ass-mar, eLance.

You might also bid on projects that the employer never decides to award. They can politely cancel the project, at which point your connects are returned to you, but if they just leave the project dormant, you never get your ‘connect’ back, which you’ve paid for. eLance doesn’t seem to care either way. So, that’s how eLance works, if you were curious.

After a month, I’ve actually made one solid connection through a contact I made on eLance – but only after I pursued him outside of the eLance structure, due to the client’s inactivity on the site. I also had made a fiction writing contact through Freelance Writing Gigs, which I check religiously for work (though it’s recently been sold and the job leads have become very sparse). This will be the first time I write fiction professionally, so I’m very excited about it – especially the format I have to write in. Think ‘Dungeons of Dread’. Due to signing two NDAs and one contract, I’m obligated to say nothing until these projects go live.

Work at Splice is going well, with a lot of positive comments coming in, and my stories routinely scoring 250+ Diggs. The site seems to be skewing towards local Baltimore stuff and sports, so I’m not completely sure where I fit into it all, but so far, so good. And I’m paid regularly, which is great. I was also completely thrilled to see myself on the front page of Graphic Novel Reporter as the top two stories, as well as three more stories down the page. I’ve yet to actually add up my freelancing revenues, but I think I’m doing pretty well after the collapse of last year.

Of course. as you trawl through eLance, there are a ton of really, really awful, ridiculous jobs.

One job offered the amazing prize of $5 per week for five 450-word articles, or ten bucks for a logo design with five revisions. You might wonder how these are acceptable terms to anyone, but there’s a huge Indian and Pakistani population on eLance with a very low cost of living, and these folks create design farms which can afford to underbid all of the other working artists and crank out a mediocre product. Honestly, most people who are looking for designs have a terrible sense of aesthetics. Just deplorable and sad. They don’t know what they’re looking at. I’m sure they’re charming people, but when it comes to accepting bad design, they are clueless. Like whoever designs the covers of the Charlaine Harris books – I want to smack that person. On their drawing hand. With a cleaver.

Sample freelance jobs have recently included :

“draw a character. Client has scethes as to what she wants” [Your client has scethes? Are they itchy?]

“we need origional interpretation and dont forget I am Irish” [I won't forget. I promise. Just don't drunk me.][PS : I'm Irish so I can say that, and also use 'drunk' as a verb.]

“I need a cartoon that represents the idea that a slender, fit, healthy, sexy woman lives inside an obese woman and is ready to come out. My idea is that the healthy woman is unzipping and stepping out of a fat suit. I will provide a photo of the obese woman.” [I don't want the job, but can I borrow the photo? Just for 15 minutes.]

“The designs are very simple, and I can provide sketches and explanations for each of them. I put one together myself using Inkscape in about 45 minutes, and I don’t really know what I am doing. It shouldn’t take someone practiced very long at all. I figure, approximately 25-30 minutes per design, and I have between 4-6 that I want done.” [The appropriate response to this is 'Then do it yourself, fucko.' The implication that 'anyone can do this, even me' undermines the amount of skill and work that artists put into their own jobs.]

“I want someone to use photos of myself and draw them, as well as re-draw my face on the body of very musclar body builders (Superhero cartoon characters are fine too.) In other words, i want to see photos of MYSELF with my “IDEAL” body I am 6’2 and muscular already, but this will help me in my visualization process…” [Is there even a word for when you pay someone else to be narcissistic FOR YOU?]

There was also an ad to co-blog with this man [BLOG DELETED]. I think there’s a picture of him next to the word ‘incoherent’ in the dictionary, except someone got jelly all over it and tried to redraw it before their mom found out and got so nervous that they just puked on the whole freaking book. This is the test on the ‘About’ page.

People come to see me and they want to know “are you somebody special?”. Man I’m not freaking bull. “I’m the man of all mans the cool of all cool and especially the true of all true and definitely the king of all kings.” “What?” “You don’t believe me then stop asking me man.” Man plenty have asked that and they asked “freaking true are you truly the truest of all people fool?” “Fool?” “Once again never man no but I’m truer than most people ever man slow.”

And then there’s this one. It’s bad news when the person you outsource to needs to outsource as well. Maybe because ‘making fucking sense’ isn’t her native language.

“Hi there,
I have a request. This file contains smileys for a poster i am making. But now they want 5 or 6 happy smileys :
It would be great if you can make them for me…. you can use the eps file/….
…Two shake hands
Two are building something
One female version
I have to propose these as well, so i hope I an make adjustments later?
Could you do anything for me with this….
Hope to hear from you
Thanks”

At least the jobs which are actually reputable are worthwhile, thus far, and each job leads to a greater amount of credibility, and better work. It’s been a slow climb, but here’s hoping for the best.