When I got home this rainy evening I found a check in the mail. It was payment from a publisher for an encyclopedia article I had written 1 1/2 years ago. It totaled $12.50. I have written about a dozen such articles over the past 2-3 years to build my resume and improve my writing chops. Usually these projects are 1,000 words. My great friend Charles Hirsch always told me that these were great projects because they teach you how to write to spec. As usual he was correct.
If it is for a non-profit publication, which a few of them have been, I usually forgo the symbolic payment. Still I figure for the ones published by a publishing house I might as well take the cash. I have already told the Hayfoot that the burgers and fries will be on me this weekend.