How to Procrastinate Procrastinating, Part 2

This article is part 2 of 2 exploring procrastination avoidance. It’s written by Dr. Nadine Robinson, DBA, International MBA, B. Comm., a freelance writer, professor, and keynote speaker based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Nadine is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the Canadian Freelance Guild. Join her on her adventures by following her @theinkran.

How to Procrastinate Procrastinating, Part 2

An unknown author said: “Procrastination taught me how to do 30 minutes of work in eight hours and eight hours of work in 30 minutes.” As the quote says, some procrastination can help us write well in a short amount of time, but for other tasks, it can waste a lot of precious time.

In part 1, we went into the importance of unpacking why we procrastinate, and changing our thinking about the tougher tasks, including using positive self-talk. In this piece, I’ll focus on my favourite procrastination avoidance tips. In no particular order, I:

Make Yourself Accountable to Someone

I love working from home for the short commute and the comfier clothing, but an unstructured work day sometimes gives me too much freedom to flow between personal and my professional to-do lists. Without a boss looking over my shoulder, I feel less accountable. Now I have a couple of friends who I can call or text when I’m stalling. If they are tight on time, I simply ask them to tell me to: “Get to work!” Otherwise, they ask me what’s on deck for the week, and offer to follow up later in the day or week, depending how stuck I am.

I rarely need a follow up once I have committed verbally to my plan out loud. Sometimes, I don’t even need to have an accountability buddy, I simply have to state my plans out loud. There is academic research that points to this aloud approach working, and I am also living proof. That said, as much as crossing an item off a to-do list makes me mildly giddy, if I get to text my friend to let them know that I’ve achieved a milestone, it’s even better because I typically get a “congratulations” message back.

Productive Procrastination

After writing the heading for this section, I got a call asking if I wanted to go to the gym. Of course my answer was yes, as that allowed me to delay writing (and working out is important, right!?). The difference here is that there are some forms of procrastination that I’ll call productive, as they end up helping us, if used strategically.

Looking to delay writing an article about procrastination? Go to the gym. Are you avoiding sending that pitch email? Make a healthy dinner. Don’t want to open the email from the editor that you recently pitched in case it is a rejection? Do the dishes. Or, in trying to keep it in the work realm, if you don’t want to send a pitch, do some research on another article, or set up an interview, or ask a generative AI bot for interview questions.

As long as your productive procrastination isn’t ‘paint the house’ or read War and Peace it can serve a couple of good purposes. Firstly, you need to do the other thing regardless. Also, in crossing one item off the list, the dopamine released by your brain typically fuels the desire to cross off another task (often the one I was initially avoiding).

Hold Your Nose and Do It

Some work stinks figuratively. It’s natural to want to avoid it. Eat That Frog, a book by Brian Tracy, suggests that you do your toughest task first everyday. That way, if you get nothing else done all day, you’ll have still accomplished something important. I’m not partial to the analogy of eating a frog, let alone a live one, so I call them “Hold Your Nose” tasks. If the work stinks, plug your nose and follow Nike’s tagline of: “Just Do It.”

I made a commitment to myself to do one task that “just stinks” every day, but if they are really emotionally challenging, I will settle for at least three a week. Doing this for a month would mean that somewhere between 12 and 31 uncomfortable tasks were completed. Contrast this to delaying some of these tasks for weeks or months, and you can already see how much you can advance your business and take control of your life. Plugging your nose and getting a task done that you’ve put off for weeks will make you proud of yourself and will free up your mind from worrying about them for weeks to come.

The Seinfeld Strategy is taking this one step further. It involves posting a visible and prominent wall calendar, and x-ing off a square each day that you employ the new strategy. The goal of which is then not to break the chain, once you start. It’s accountability to the wall, and yourself every time you walk past it. Habit research shows that people who start a “streak” of any given task are more likely to continue it, which leads to the next topic.

Gamify Work and Challenge Yourself

If you use Duolingo to learn languages, or you use Snapchat regularly, you are already familiar with the concept of a streak and how it can motivate you to complete certain actions. I don’t like to fail, so I am now on day 497 of my language learning streak, and day 15 of my do one “Hold Your Nose” task a day.

It’s fair to say that I love a good challenge. To use this to my advantage, when I’m avoiding a task, I compete against the clock by setting a timer for an hour to see what I can accomplish. The Pomodoro method is similar in that you repeat cycles of 25 minutes of work, followed by a five-minute break that is used as a reward and to clear the mind.

The side benefits of this gamification of work are that I get more done in one hour than I normally would, and I keep going on the task that I was prepared not to start before I set the timer. I also tend to do less editing when I’m in “challenge mode,” which links to my love of the adage: “Done is better than perfect.”

Not unlike the Pomodoro method, gamification requires a reward. I often pair the timer “game” with whatever I’d rather be doing. I tell myself: “finish one hour of writing, and you can make a healthy lunch, or check social media, or watch an episode of Ted Lasso, etc.” Similarly, a streak of one month of daily “Hold Your Nose” tasks should be rewarded with a small purchase, outing, or perhaps a movie night.

And while these were the four main procrastination avoidance strategies that worked for me, if those aren’t your hot buttons, go back to the list from part 1 and do something else. The wonderful thing about all of these ideas is that you can start to employ them right away, to help you move towards the life you want and deserve. And when it comes to any fear of rejection, I’ll leave you with Marianne Williamson’s words:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? …Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do… As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.

So, let’s get writing, and shining!

Posted on June 28, 2024 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: 

Balancing freelance work with creative projects

by Robyn Roste 

One damp, dreary winter’s night I sat in bed staring at my phone. I felt the same as usual—bored and listless. On paper everything was great, my days were filled with work, friends and activities. The problem? I fell into bed each night drained rather than energized.

I did a quick review of my average day and realized I was stuck in a passive routine. Each morning I dragged myself out of bed and got ready for work. I spent my day pouring myself into my job before going to the gym or out with friends, followed by watching television until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

Even though I loved my work, I was in a rut. I needed something that would fuel my creative spark and refill my energy.

The problem with work

No matter how amazing the gig, over time everything becomes a job. At some point in my work life I had set aside my personal projects, not realizing it was those creative exercises that gave me drive and passion. I was relying on work to energize me but it was doing the opposite.

Read the rest of this post »

Posted on June 18, 2024 at 5:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: 

How to Procrastinate Procrastinating, Part 1

This article is part 1 of 2 exploring procrastination avoidance. It’s written by Dr. Nadine Robinson, DBA, International MBA, B. Comm., a freelance writer, professor, and keynote speaker based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Nadine is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the Canadian Freelance Guild. Join her on her adventures by following her @theinkran.

How to Procrastinate Procrastinating

Have you ever spent three weeks avoiding a task that only took you 20 minutes to complete? And when you were done you laughed at yourself for being so anxious for so long about something that wasn’t that bad? What’s worse is that you also probably worried or stressed about the task 10 times longer than it took you to complete it?

Overcoming our human desire to sometimes put off work, called procrastinating, all comes back to Sir Edmund Hillary’s quote: “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

On my journey to conquer Mount Nadine, I realized that while everyone is prone to procrastination, freelance writers, who are drawn to a world of deadlines, are often some of the best put-er-off-ers out there. I crave the last minute rush to shift my brain into high gear, and I feel like I do some of my best writing last minute. Academics call this purposeful delaying of work “active procrastination.” I don’t see active procrastination as a problem, since it is thoughtful and purposeful.

On the other hand, there are plenty of freelance writing-adjacent activities that I don’t like, and avoiding them due to some negative association is called “passive procrastination.” Whether it’s me not wanting to have a talk about my business and personal finances, or needing to draft a pitch or a book query that I’ve been putting off, I needed some help.

Strategies to Procrastinate Procrastination

Through a number of online searches, and viewing generative AI bots’ results, I boiled down the majority of passive procrastination avoidance advice to this list:

I’ve used all of these methods to varying degrees, and I’ll go over my favourites in more detail in Part 2. But to begin the process, I needed to start with some introspection, as current research is pointing to the importance of positive self-talk in minimizing procrastination. I set out to unpack why I procrastinate, and I did an overhaul on my thinking about the tasks I was tending to avoid the most.

Unpack Why You Procrastinate

We all have parts of freelance work that make us feel like we’re trying to put two north magnets together. For me, I dislike pitching, and then later opening the emails from the editors I pitched. When diving into why I was procrastinating, insecurity and fear were at the source. The anxiety of being told that “they” don’t want me and my writing, or that my writing is no good, can be debilitating. This is the same reason that I shelved a book that is 70 per cent done.

Statistically though, I have quite a good rate of acceptance for my work, and I have to remind myself, “What if they accept your pitch?” And as Wayne Gretzky once said: “You will miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.” Every pitch you don’t make will shield you from rejection, but it will also keep you from success.

Another reason for procrastination can be medical. For people living with ADHD and depression, you, like me, may need professional help to develop sound strategies or consider medication to address procrastination and other symptoms. This is nothing to be ashamed of, as some of us are simply wired differently.

As someone living with depression, I am also kind to myself when the black dog shows up. I forgive procrastination and do my best to get back on track as quickly as possible. Otherwise, it can be too easy to get in a delay death spiral, guilting myself for not starting sooner, causing me to avoid the task further.

Thinking Differently About Unpleasant Tasks

There was a quote attributed to David Barr Kirtley that really hit me (pun intended): “Wanting to be a writer and not wanting to be rejected is like wanting to be a boxer and not wanting to get punched.” If you’re going to write, unless you never try to be published, you will face rejection. Research now shows that positive self-talk, and being kinder to ourselves helps not only in dealing with rejection, but also in reducing passive procrastination. (Positive self-talk has also been linked with reporting lower anxiety, and higher satisfaction with life. [source])

Earlier this year, while submitting articles for an award (a task that gives me great anxiety), I caught myself thinking: “There’s no point…last year I wasn’t shortlisted.” Negative self-talk can become self-fulfilling, so I quickly refocused. I reminded myself that my articles are like Picasso’s paintings, and the judges were probably looking for a Monet. It doesn’t make my work any less important, and it’s not a reflection of my talent.

Don’t tell yourself that you are a bad writer when in truth most rejection probably has nothing to do with you or your skills. Zig Ziglar, the sales guru and author, said of rejection: “You’re one ‘no’ closer to a ‘yes’.” To reframe negative to positive self talk, remind yourself instead of the times when your pitches were accepted, and when you were published.

For me, procrastination has always been rooted in fear, and I’ve definitely self-sabotaged with negative self-talk. The most profound difference for me in finding happiness with my chosen freelance writing, which is steeped with rejection and deadlines, was adjusting my thinking about my least favourite tasks and being more self-compassionate. As I climb the mountain to conquer my procrastination, now I lean into Erin Hanson’s prose:

There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling, What if you fly?”

Posted on May 30, 2024 at 5:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: 

Webinar: The Battle of the Bots—Best Bets for Freelancers

As if having to learn how to use ChatGPT wasn’t enough, a new A.I. tool seems to launch every 15 minutes.

The Battle fo the Bots - Best Bets for Freelancers

Some are free, some are freemium, some are hellishly expensive.

If you create or manipulate words for a living, join our A.I. team for The Battle of the Bots and find out which of the popular chatbots might work best for you.

For instance, a LOT of freelancers are looking for the best tool for creating transcripts. We’ll sample a few.

Register today, and keep the bots at bay.

Our Presenters

Dr. Nadine Robinson first learned about ChatGPT from her college students, and works hard to stay one step ahead of them.

George Butters uses multiple bots daily to speed up routine tasks for the Canadian Freelance Guild, and works hard to reign in rogue virtual assistants.

Which one is best for…?

You can register for this webinar right here.

Learn more about the cost and benefits of membership in the CFG on this webpage.

The link to the Zoom webinar will be sent to you via email about half an hour before the start time.

Please check your spam or junk folders if you can’t find the email, and contact if you haven’t received the link 10 minutes before the scheduled start time. This webinar will be recorded and posted to the CFG Video-On-Demand site. Once posted, all paid registrants will receive a link and instructions on how to view.

Posted on May 21, 2024 at 5:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT

Find Your True North: With a Little Help from Douglas Gibson, “The Cartographer of Canadian Publishing”

This article about The Cartographer of Canadian Publishing is written by Sheila Pinder, college course facilitator, proofreader, school principal (occasional) and aspiring novelist.

Douglas Gibson

Douglace Gibson, Canadian editor, publisher and writer.

Writers, have you ever questioned yourself? Wondered if you’re writing for the proper audience, in the right genre, market, format for you? Could you, should you, change direction? Would it help you to know that even the late Alice Munro struggled with the same insecurities? On May 9th at Wolf Hall in London, Ontario, I had the great good fortune to speak with Munro’s former editor and publisher, Douglas Gibson.

Gibson was joined on stage by his friend and fellow author Terry Fallis, who introduced his mentor as “one of the great legends of Canadian publishing—he also edited me.” Fallis is a two-time winner of The Leacock Medal for Humour, and the author of nine national bestsellers, the first six of which were edited by Gibson. From his role as a junior editor at Doubleday Canada, Gibson was recruited to fill in temporarily for his boss and remained head of Doubleday’s editorial department until he moved to MacMillan and finally settled at McClelland & Stewart where he edited for the likes of W.O. Mitchell (whom he refers to as simply Bill).

“Bill was a larger-than-life character,” perpetually reworking his last manuscript and the final chapter in particular. “It should have been easy enough except that he was very very slow,” Gibson says. Mitchell would send in messy, hand-written work that was frankly “disappointing. Finally, he sent in the final chapter. Now, editors have to be honest with their authors. In this case, the honesty was very difficult for me.” Gibson visited Mitchell in person, to gently advise that “Bill, I’m no good to you if I’m not honest with you. This last chapter just isn’t good enough.” Bill replied, “Oh, [heck] I know that. That’s why I’m rewriting it now.”

Gibson recognizes “the uncertainty, the insecurity that affects so many writers.” From Morley Callaghan, who insisted that Gibson come straight to his home to read his newest manuscript over “right now, yes, now,” to “the last upper Canadian, Robertson Davies, who as you know looked like God, but was breathing hard before a performance while I was pacing, so I asked him “Butterflies?” and he said “oh yes, always” and then came gliding onto the stage like a galleon,” to Alistair MacLeod who “was writing wonderful short stories but at the rate of one per year,” and ultimately delivered the manuscript for his first novel, No Great Mischief “literally page by page,” we all need a compass to keep our true north in sight.

Douglas Gibson even helped Alice Munro to stay on course. “The first time we met,” says Gibson, “at that point, she was a great short story writer. And everyone, I mean everyone was convinced this was a terrible mistake. They told her she should write a novel. No more short stories. So, she stopped writing short stories and found she couldn’t write anymore. I said to her, ‘Alice, you’re a great short story writer. You must keep writing short stories. And I will keep publishing them forever more.’”

And when she won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature, it was Gibson and his wife who travelled to “the heart of Stockholm” on Munro’s behalf, “where everyone, even the cameramen, wore white tie and tails and the windows of the bookshops were filled with Alice Munro titles.” Thank goodness Munro found and followed her true north. Today, she is “revered worldwide as master of the short story” (CBC News—May 14, 2024). Tragically, she passed away at the age of 92, on the very day these words were written.

Fallis notes that “Doug had a unique relationship with his writers.” He called, cajoled, visited their homes, and wrested words on crumpled sheets of paper from their very hands. Perhaps it was a sign of the times, or perhaps it’s testament to the man himself that Gibson “took the wide ranging view of things that editors could and should do. By temperament, I would want to continue to do things the same way.”

Whatever you write, follow your path. Find your north. And if you’re anything like Gibson, along the way you’ll help another weary traveler to find their own.

Posted on May 15, 2024 at 5:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT

3 Social Media Posting Formulas for Service-Based Freelancers

by Robyn Roste

3 Social Media Posting Formulas for Service-Based Freelancers

Having an online presence helps potential clients learn more about who you are, what you do and why they should hire you.

And while most freelancers understand this, it’s still easy to overlook social media as an important piece of any online content marketing strategy.

Regardless of its positive or negative impact, social media is one of the main ways we connect with each other. And it can be a significant business tool for freelancers.

For example, in the last week I received an inquiry through LinkedIn messaging, responded to a call for pitches on Twitter and negotiated an assignment using Facebook messenger.

Despite people’s claims of quitting social media, BroadbandSearch estimates, “the average person will spend more than 3.4 million minutes using social media in their lifetime.”

From a marketing perspective, having a social media presence makes sense. This is where people gather in the digital landscape. For many prospects, social media is the first touchpoint they’ll have with a business and it’s where they’re comfortable interacting.

Being present and active on relevant social networks is a fabulous opportunity to help people as well as share your unique knowledge and expertise. Through authentic interactions, you build trust with your followers. People hire people they trust.

Choosing platforms

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Posted on May 14, 2024 at 5:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

The Born Freelancer on Writing for Inanimate Objects

This series of posts by the Born Freelancer shares personal experiences and thoughts on issues relevant to freelancers. Have something to add to the conversation? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

the born freelancer

Yes, I hereby freely admit it: I have written for wood, plastic and cloth that can talk….

I refer, of course, to puppets and so-called dummies.

The noble arts of puppetry and ventriloquism both have long and fascinating histories.

Puppets consist of both hand-puppets and the stringed-marionette variety. Dummies (or “ventriloquial figures” in more refined circles) may also be simply puppets but with their usually hidden human performers plainly visible and who have learned to control their lip movement when their puppets speak.

Think puppets and dummies and you may well think of children’s performers and juvenile birthday parties, etc. While many performers do perform for children, it’s still a large market, there are many more than ever today using puppets and dummies who appeal to strictly sophisticated adult audiences. They may appear in person, in the theatre, in night clubs, at parties or public events like store openings or large corporate events like trade shows. They may appear on TV and online and occasionally even in the movies.

If you have the right sort of sense of humour and can adapt your mind to their unique points of view, you may find yourself in constant demand writing for these inanimate objects. I have spent a number of years doing so, on and off, and have never had more fun or creative satisfaction.

Writing for inanimate objects in general

  • Puppeteers as a group are fascinating
  • Talented, full of good humour and usually highly intelligent, many are thwarted performers who—due to profound shyness—lack the necessary impulse to go on stage themselves. As a result they perform “behind the scenes” allowing their cloth and plastic alter egos to accept the applause.

  • Writing for puppets is a cross between writing for animation and writing live action
  • You can employ the imaginative qualities of storytelling usually associated with animation but it still requires live action constraints and realities (although this may not be as much an issue in a filmed project capable of special visual effects).

  • Writing for puppets ideally requires an understanding of the puppet personality as great as if writing for any stage character
  • All successful performers have developed characteristics for their puppets that allow for organic stories to unfold from (usually) the conflicts between puppets or between dummy and ventriloquist. It isn’t enough just to show up with an impressive puppet. To be successful, it needs a strongly definable personality encountering situations which allow its basic character flaws to emerge quickly and comedically.

Getting started writing scripts for puppets

If you’ve never thought about writing for puppets, and you know of none performing nearby, go online to toy stores. Find one that sells hand puppets and note the various generic puppets available. Choosing two or three, write short sketches for your target audiences (children, teen or adult). When the time comes to try to sell to an actual performer, they can be offered as a generic example of what you can supply. Of course, once commissioned you would customize them or (ideally) write something completely different especially for them.

Interesting fact: Puppets can say things regular human actors can’t. Because they are “make believe” their comments can be on occasion more provocative (depending upon context) and they can “get away” with it. Adult audiences will usually accept comments from a piece of talking plastic as greatly amusing (if performed brilliantly) that would most likely receive open hostility if spoken by a live actor. An interesting psychological aspect of the art.

Start by looking locally for freelance jobs

  • You might begin looking locally for performers still doing live gigs
  • Approach them directly and make your pitch. There is an enormous live performance market to fill. You might be asked to write generic scripts (such as for a birthday party for children or adults) or special occasion material (such as for a specific trade convention) or occasionally a more structured theatrical piece with which to tour and perform in local schools, churches or community centres.

  • Deciding on what to charge the local puppeteer or ventriloquist is hard to judge
  • A specialized work that can be used only once? You might try asking for half their fee and negotiating from there. A work they can use over and over again at various smaller parties etc.? If you hope to have an ongoing relationship with them (as their career grows) you might ask 10 to 20 per cent of their fee per performance. Or settle on a cash figure equivalent to such a percentage over say a dozen appearances. Hopefully by the time they’ve performed it a dozen times they’ll want you to write something new.

No lips were moved in the creation of this subheading

Ventriloquists generally only use only one dummy or puppet at a time although some may have more to “bring out” from behind a box or curtain.

Occasionally, they will have one puppet on both hands and have a three way conversation. They love to demonstrate they can speak without moving their lips so many scripts bring attention to it. Ventriloquists may also do what is called “distant ventriloquism,” which is when they appear to throw their voice. Many scripts may require a scene in which such skills are demonstrated.

Television…the final frontier?

If you see a puppet show on television or online it is easy to grasp the puppets’ chief characteristics and to then arrange a meeting and discuss ideas with them. A TV show may be run hands-on by its producer who will vet all scripts or by the performers themselves who will have the ultimate say in what material they perform. You should be ready and able to approach both with plenty of relevant concepts.

Such material will come under specific writers’ guild jurisdiction and your work will be contracted accordingly.

Sometimes life-like replica puppets have been used on current affairs TV shows to comedically illustrate some aspect of the news. This sort of project is always challenging. Your TV producer will most likely want a heavy satirical edge on the news; the puppeteers may want to explore the same subject in a style unique to themselves.

However, such a gig is to be much sought-after. It practically guarantees more work (if the initial appearance is successful) and as the news is constantly changing. So if you have a strong news instinct combined with a sense of satire do not pass up any opportunities to write for puppets in this context.

Writing for ventriloquists: the takeaway

If you have no experience seeing puppets or ventriloquists, I suggest you go online. You will find many clips of various performances both old and contemporary.

Among my absolute favourites:

  • The Muppet Show, which must surely be the most inventive puppet show on television ever designed for both kids and adults
  • Nina Conti—who is a devastatingly ingenious contemporary British ventriloquist whose comedic art becomes deeply surreal and darkly dramatic when you least expect it. Not for kids!

Between the Muppets’ wholesome family shows and Nina Conti’s psychologically complex adult performances lies a wide world of unlimited creative potential. If you can imagine it, some inspired puppeteer or ventriloquist can make it come to life and impact a whole new generation unaccustomed to such entertainment.

There is a good living to be made in writing for puppeteers or ventriloquists by the hard working, talented and slightly mad. Creatively speaking, of course.

Posted on May 7, 2024 at 5:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

Get Access to Access Copyright Royalties

This article about how to access Access Copyright royalties is written by Dr. Nadine Robinson, a freelance writer, professor, and keynote speaker based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Nadine is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the Canadian Freelance Guild. She can be reached at

Have you filed your Access Copyright claim for this year? The claim period opened on April 1 and runs until May 31. If you’re not sure what Access Copyright is, read on…

Get Access to Access Copyright Royalties

Get access to Access Copyright royalties

Freelancing can be a tough business where it sometimes feels like no one has your back. Access Copyright (known as CanCopy from 1988 to 2002) is one organization looking out for content creators by compensating them for peoples’ use of their works.

The national non-profit represents over 13,000 Canadian writers, visual artists and publishers, and their works. When work is copied and shared, by educators, students, researchers and corporate employees, Access Copyright sends their affiliates royalties.

If your work appears in newspapers, magazines, journals, and or books, you may be eligible for an annual payback.

Show me the money!

According to Robert Gilbert, Access Copyright Communications Specialist and Affiliate Relations, the average base payment for Payback last year was $51.74.

All registered affiliates are entitled to the base payment, which represents each content creators’ equal share of 40% of the Repertoire funds available for distribution. (That number has dropped significantly from $175.26 in 2010, since the government added education as a fair-dealing exception in the 2012 Copyright Modernization Act. Access Copyright has been trying to advocate to restore fair compensation since 2012).

There is also a supplementary payment representing the other 60% of the Repertoire funds, that, according to the website, varies depending on “what genre of work you published (books, magazines, scholarly journals and newspapers), how much you published and when you published. In order to receive this supplementary payment, you must submit a Payback claim.” (Source)

Title-specific payments will also be sent directly to you when Access Copyright is aware of specific titles copied, though less than 40 per cent of their licensees file works copied reports.

Who can apply to receive base payments?

Print and some digital content creators, including writers, editors, translators, photographers and illustrators who are Canadian citizens aged 18 or older, and have published work in books, magazines, newspapers or scholarly journals, and have retained reproduction rights can apply to affiliate with Access Copyright. If you reside in Quebec or are already affiliated with another reproduction rights agency (such as COPIBEC in Quebec), you are not eligible to apply.

How do I apply and how long does it take?

To begin the process, begin Access Copyright’s registration process available at After the initial screening, you will receive an email to submit photocopies, photos or digital copies of work you retain reproduction rights to.

Only one work sample (including the cover and copyright page of one published book) is required for a book with an ISBN that is not self-published. Otherwise, three samples from the following are needed:

  1. Cover and copyright pages of self-published books
  2. The first page of your article from three magazines, journals or newspapers
  3. The cover and masthead pages of the issues the three articles appear in

The articles in your samples cannot be from the same publication unless they are in separate issues, and at least one of them needs to be from a publication with an ISBN or an ISSN. Digital publications can be submitted, so long as in the case of periodicals they have an ISSN number.

You are also required to submit two pieces of acceptable identification, to prove your identity and mailing address, along with your Social Insurance Number (SIN) for tax reporting. These can be emailed or mailed.

Within eight weeks, verifiers will let you know if they need any further information, otherwise you’ll get an email when your application is approved. If you haven’t completed your application by the end of the calendar year, all incomplete applications are deleted from the system, and reapplication would be required.

In my personal experience, I was welcomed as a creator affiliate within four weeks, and will now be eligible for next year’s base payment.

When is the deadline to apply to be an affiliate?

While there is no deadline to apply, only creators with affiliation applications approved by the end of the calendar year are eligible for the annual payback payment the following year.

There are no retroactive payments for years you were not a member, but you can add older works when you file your first payback claim, which can increase your supplemental payback going forward.

Do I need to file an annual claim? How do I do it?

If you want to be considered for supplemental funds beyond the base payment, you need to file a payback claim.

You’ll get an email in March to remind you to submit your Payback claim for new works in the claim period. You have from the first business day in April through May 31st to submit your claim at:

According to Gilbert, for their first claim, creator affiliates are asked to provide, “the approximate number of pages published for each of the claim years (in 2024, it’s 2003 to 2022) in the following categories: books, magazines, journals and newspapers.”

He says payback claims are based on a 20-year period as their “statistical analysis of copying data shows works published more than 20 years ago are unlikely to be copied under our licences.”

In subsequent years, only the most recent year needs to be added to the claim, or any corrections can be made to previously submitted data, going back 20 years.

How and when are payments made?

Royalties are paid through cheque or direct deposit, but affiliates are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit to save costs.

Creator affiliates may receive up to three payments per year. There is the annual Payback payment distributed in November as well as royalty distributions in June and December, provided that royalties have been received for the copying of the creators’ published work for their distribution.

Do I need to declare income from Access Copyright?

Yes, Access Copyright royalties are considered taxable income. Your SIN is required in the application process, to mail out completed T5 slips to affiliates at the end of February each year.

What if you miss the claim period?

Eligible affiliates who miss the April 1 to May 31 claim period for Payback can make a claim or add to or revise an existing Payback claim during the following year’s claim period.

Bottom line

To help ensure that you are more fairly paid when your work is copied and shared, apply to affiliate with Access Copyright.

How do I contact Access Copyright and learn more?

Posted on April 30, 2024 at 5:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: 

4 tips for writing about me pages that work

This article about “about me” pages is written by Vanessa Chiasson, a freelance writer based in Ottawa who specializes in travel and human interest stories.

Tips for Writing About Me Pages that Work

Do you have an “about me” page on your freelancing website? I bet you do.

Do you feel squirmy thinking about that page?

And do you feel you should update it, refresh it, make it less awkward, more dynamic or just…something?

I’m guessing that’s a “yes” too.

“About me” page stress is one of the most common complaints I hear from my fellow freelancers.

And it doesn’t matter what kind of work they do or how long they’ve been doing it. It’s just one of those things that’s constantly weighing on people’s minds. Writing a great “about me” IS important. But there’s something that most folks are doing wrong, and it has nothing to do with the actual writing.

What most people get wrong when they write their about me page

Here’s what most people get wrong: they treat their “about me” page as if the page itself is the goal.

Reality? The “about me” page is a task, an action item—something that needs doing to support a bigger goal.

What IS the goal of an “about me” page?

What, exactly, will that revamped “about me” page support?

Here’s an example. If a travel photographer is keen on securing more press trips, an “about me” page would be one of several items needed to boost their position as a dynamic, adventurous worker.

Another example. A freelancer keen to improve their confidence may view a swishy page as just one part of a more extensive set of efforts that allow them to put their best foot forward.

A third example. A writer eager to make a strong impression on editors might view polishing their “about me” page as one step towards becoming a go-to contributor.

Updating a page or crossing something off your list doesn’t matter if it’s not part of a bigger strategy or serving a higher goal. This sounds like a lofty order, but identifying the goal you’re fighting for makes action items, tasks, and chores much more manageable.

Next time you think about your “about me” page and chide yourself for not updating it, take a breather and ask yourself why it matters.

What do you want more than anything else?

What is your goal for this week, this quarter, and this year?

Now, ask yourself what that page can do to help make those things happen.

Practical tips and common questions about “about me” pages

Should you mention where you grew up or other aspects of your personal life?

If growing up in coastal British Columbia informs your reporting on fish habitat or sets the scene for your mystery novels, it’s well worth mentioning in your “about page” and bios.

But, as a general rule, there’s no need to talk about where you grew up, who your parents were, or what your family life is like now.

Here’s a cool example from the biography of bestselling author Dan Brown:

The son of a mathematics teacher and a church organist, Brown was raised on a prep school campus where he developed a fascination with the paradoxical interplay between science and religion. These themes eventually formed the backdrop for his books.

No wonder Brown went on to write The Da Vinci Code!

One thing to avoid on your “about me” page: Cliches like “Nahla loves spending time with her family.” That’s a given!

Instead, try this on for size: “Nahla loves hiking with her children and their adventures in Algonquin Park inspired her latest travel guide.”

Should I talk about past bylines and clients?

Absolutely! It’s fantastic that you have bylines with The Globe and Mail and worked with the country’s best-known museums. But you shouldn’t open with that. This isn’t about what you’ve done in the past. It’s about what you can do for clients and partners now.

Instead of saying, “Omar’s photography has been featured in the Toronto Star, National Geographic, and Chatelaine,” consider the following: “Omar specializes in macro-photography. He combines his technical skills with a passion for food to create innovative images for recipes, cookbooks and chefs.” The first version talks about who they’ve worked with in the past but the second version talks about who they help and what makes that help so remarkable.

Should I mention my academic degrees?

Sure, if they’re a big part of your work or you’re in a field that demands extra credibility, but it’s not necessary.

A science writer’s credibility benefits from a degree in nursing!

A videographer who often works at festivals can leverage their training in early childhood education to prove how sensitive they are to the needs of families.

However, just like past bylines, you don’t need to lead with this.

What do I do if I’m just starting out?

What matters most is knowing who you serve and why, not showing off all your accomplishments. Lean into the things that made you start freelancing.

Why did you start blogging, editing, or creating social media content? Did your career as an illustrator begin when working the night shift as a security guard and you started sketching to pass the time?

Author Kevin Kwan was a relatively new writer when he wrote Crazy Rich Asians. He leaned into his expat experience to enrich the story and his biography.

Kevin Kwan was born in Singapore and left when he was 11, living in the U.S. since then.

Your career is constantly growing, your “about me” page will reflect that. What works for you today may change significantly in three years or even just three months!

How can I make this process easier?

Collaborate with a friend!

Writing someone else’s page is often much easier than your own. Partner up with a buddy to write and edit each other’s work. Don’t hesitate to take inspiration from another freelancer’s “about me” page, but remember that your story and voice make all the difference in the world. Dan Brown and Kevin Kwan lean into their own experiences, and so should you!

Posted on April 23, 2024 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: 

Freelancer Organization Tips

by Robyn Roste

Freelancer Organization Tips
When I began freelancing things were straightforward. Someone would ask me for an article and I would write it. I’d write whenever I felt like it and I’d invoice when I remembered.

It sort of worked.

But when I decided I wanted to make a real go of freelancing, I realized I needed a more professional approach. The first step was getting organized.

For me, the benefits of being and staying organized have been remarkable. I am less stressed out, I get my work in on deadline, I’m in sync with my clients and I am able to do my best work.

It took a while to develop the systems and habits I needed to build the business I wanted, one I was proud of and felt good about, but it was worth the effort.

Here are six areas I’ve found key to being organized as a freelancer.

Look at how you use your time

If you’re in a constant state of panic, racing from one deadline to the next and feeling like you’re failing at everything, consider conducting a time audit. You don’t need to get into the minutiae (unless you want to), but do take an honest look at how your days are spent.
Read the rest of this post »

Posted on April 16, 2024 at 6:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,