The Dig’s newest resident advisor answers your burning questions
about the writing life.
Introducing our new advice columnist:
Welcome, Dig readers, to Freelance Lady! My name is Karyn Polewaczyk, and I’m known for writing about topics that are mostly of interest to women—think dating, periods, and what kind of clothes will make a large-breasted gal look not pregnant—in places that are of interest to women, like Jezebel, xoJane and my dating column at Boston.com, Let’s Go Out.
But Freelance Lady isn’t concerned about the crow’s feet around your eyes or whether your boyfriend will propose before your 30th birthday. Here, I’ll be focusing strictly on what the pros call “The Craft”: how to balance deadlines with your day job (yep—I’ve got one of those, too); what goes into a good pitch (and what a pitch is to begin with); quiet places to get your work done when your neighbors aren’t; and other writerly gems that (I hope) will keep you feeling creative and inspired.
I don’t have an MFA, or even a degree in English—but I do have hustle and natural talent, and seem to be good at figuring shit out as I go along.
Tweet/DM your questions, complaints, and love notes to @KarynPolewaczyk, where I’m prone to using hashtags with rhetorical questions of my own. (#yolo)
And since it’s Valentine’s week and all, I figured I’d start off with something practical, like Freelance Lady’s Sexting Etiquette Guide. Because let’s cut to the chase:
DO pay attention to timing. Morning people should generally sext in the morning; night owls, in the witching hours. Spontaneity is great and all—but if your target isn’t used to receiving an alphanumeric spoonful at noon and it throws him or her off guard, don’t be surprised if your game of cat and mouse screeches to a soundless, awkward halt.
DON’T worry about location as much as perceived location. For example, I’ve sexted something about a bathtub and one of those terrycloth turbans while cruising the frozen food section of Whole Foods—and no one was the wiser, save for the guy restocking the mixed vegetables who always eyes me suspiciously, anyway.
DO sext responsibly. Shield your screen from onlookers when in public—especially from that guy on the Red Line who just needs $1.25 to get to Worcester, tonight! because he seems nosy—and especially if you happen to be embroiled in a heated sexting sesh with a person not sitting directly across from you over a candlelit dinner, take your phone with you when you excuse yourself to the restroom.
DON’T abbreviate words, especially when it comes to body parts (no pun intended). If you wouldn’t say it IRL, then don’t put it in a sext. Freelance Lady has no comment about the etiquette behind sexting photos of actual body parts, except to proceed with extreme caution and the suggestion that maybe it’s not in your best interest to do so, lest you hope your cleavage winds up an Internet star one day.
DO use spell check, if your phone is equipped with it. Nothing dampens the mood as much as receiving a grammatically incorrect sweet nothing; then again, I’m weird.
DON’T plagiarize. Even if you suspect your sweetie isn’t a Harlequin connoisseur, tossing in a lot of adverbs—angrily, happily, patiently, lovingly—is a red flag that perhaps you’ve got a glossy paperback propped in your lap as you type.
DO, DO, DO triple check—even quadruple check—you’ve got the right contact in the addressee line. What’s your mom wearing? Does your dentist like having his hair pulled? Who’s big and strong, Zipcar? These are all hapless errors that can be avoided, dear sexter, by exercising a bit of caution and dry digits. But you don’t have to take my word for it.