Need work but afraid of looking desperate?

A post on Freelance Switch caught my attention the other day. Susan Johnston writes about how to ask for work (referrals, mostly) without looking desperate.

Of course, it always depends on how you do it, so I agree with her guidelines. But I strongly object to the premise that asking for work (i.e. marketing!) has anything to do with perceived desperation. (And I wrote about it earlier this year in my Quick Tip:

But if you struggle with this, let's brainstorm some ideas right now about what to say that won't sound "desperate."

In her post, Johnston suggests being specific about what you're looking for (not just any old project).

I think there's a difference between desperation and what many people are experiencing right now, which is the slowdown. I suggest letting people know things have slowed down and you have time to work on projects. It's human, it's real, it's happening to many people and you are one of them. They might want to help and go out of their way to do so. But if you don't say anything, you're essentially not allowing anyone to help you.

What do you think? And what other ideas do you have?