Why are writers so strident about getting paid?

money At least, paid decently. And on time.

Mainly because writing is work. It’s real work. It’s not easy work.

Anyone can bang out 500 words. But how many people can do that and come up with something that’s of professional quality, that can be published? Not many.

Writing well takes thought. It requires research. It involves rewriting, revising, and making changes based on feedback from clients or editors. And all of that takes time and effort.

I don’t expect writers to make thousands of dollars per article or six-figure sums for gigs. That would be nice, but it’s unrealistic.

On the other hand, I do expect writers to make more than up to $5 for a 500 to 800 word article or blog post. And if someone expects a professionally-written piece for that fee, then they’re not going to get what they expect. Not even close.

One argument that people who pay writers little or nothing is that it’s a good opportunity to get some exposure. That’s a crock and a half. If you want exposure, you can set up a blog and publish your work there. You’ll have control over your work, and you can probably make more money with ads than you would on a low-paying gig.

I’ll leave you with the words (many of them not safe for work or sensitive ears) of Harlan Ellison on this subject. As usual, Unca Harlan doesn’t hold back.

Thoughts? As always, your comments are welcome.

Photo credit: dhester

Creating a rate card

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA If you’re a professional freelance writer, chances are you do more than blog or write for newspapers and magazines. You might also, for example, do copywriting, technical writing, editing and proofreading, and more.

The question that potential clients always ask is How much do you charge for x? You might have committed your rates to memory, but if you offer more than a couple of services that might not be a good idea. Many potential clients (and returning ones) want something tangible (or, at least, digital), to which they can refer and compare.

That’s why you should have a rate card.


A few links for the end of the week

Note taking tools: a graveyard for ideas

Writing by hand As I’ve said countless times in this space, and elsewhere, notes are essential to the serious writer. And, over the years, I’ve taken notes in a variety of ways: in physical notebooks, using plain text files, and digitally on the various mobile and smartphones and tablets that I’ve used.

A good note taking tool is a boon. When I say good, I mean a tool that’s easy to use and with which you can interact whether you’re using a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. Two such tools are Simplenote and Evernote.

But a tool is that. Just a tool. I was reminded of the dangers of using note taking tools when I saw this tweet earlier in 2014:

Doing the work

I wonder how many of those 356 ideas that person has turned into actual blog posts. One? Two? Half a dozen? None? And what’s the chance that person will ever turn all (or even a portion) of those ideas into posts?


Going off on a tangent

C. Duiven Doing an interview can be a lot of work. Researching your interview subject, coming up with questions, and sometimes getting your subject to open up. But it can be worth it in the end, when you wind up with some great information and quotes.

Something I like about interviews is what can happen unexpectedly. I’m not (just) talking about when your interview subject lets his or her guard down and says something unexpected. I’m talking about when an answer takes you off on a tangent.

What do I mean by a tangent? A direction that an answer takes which diverges from what you were intending.