To a struggling writer, there isn't anything more valuable than tear sheets. Visible proof that you write well enough for someone to print it. We'll do nearly anything to get them... write for free, write about people and things we hate. We'll meet ridiculous deadlines, go to the ends of the earth to get that story our paper is asking for. For me, six months worth of tear sheets from just about any paper equals hallways full of portals opening. I have lists of jobs I've applied for, received a positive comment back immediately followed by "send your tear sheets". It was frustrating and felt like a vicious circle I was never going to escape. But today I can hear the bolts being thrown back, the creak of old hinges as the heavy wooden doors slowly start swinging open, today I start writing for Our Town News. A little paper, but a start and a paying job. Woohoo! What's more important than money? Tear Sheets!
Before I start prostituting my talent for a by-line, a centering moment of rational summation is necessary. There are, of course, other things more important than money: the love of family and friends, a good dog, honesty, an amusing cat, a great hair day (which isn't today, but I think I saw one around New Years)... I have an embarrassment of riches. Okay enough rationality.
Woo HOO, I've got a paying writing job!!!