There is no shortage of pro bono work out here for writers and editors. And at some point, we have to say whoa to giving our time and skills away for free. But there are some real rewards to pieces of this work we do gratis: building one’s reputation and resume is a given and a reason many of us start out doing so much for nothing; helping non-profits succeed, and seeing that in, for instance, a successful community building event for which you wrote the letters, donations requests, and promotional copy; the good feeling that comes from simply helping a friend; and finally, at least for me, FREE BOOKS.
I write reviews for Sacramento Book Review and now the San Francisco Book Review, and with that I get to check out the lists of available new books often before their release date. I got to read The Writers Notebook from Tin House before its release. This month I am reviewing a Pocket edition of Updike’s The Maple Stories, and get to keep it when I’m done. My son’s book shelf is growing with books for children on science and magic, space and how to make fudge. Of course there are some stinkers, and these I pass on diligently to my partner. Because he likes to read stinkers.
I figure I’ve got the reading and writing down, so down. And math has never been my strong suit. Why should it change now?