For a few weeks now, I have been consistently applying for writing jobs in various places. Remaining confident that something is bound to come up isn't always easy, but so far, I'm managing to stay strong. While it's true that in a previous post, I said my inbox was "flooded" with possibilities, some have panned out and some have not. One of the opportunities that did work out is on a very limited basis, so back to the job boards I go...
But something I have recently realized, is that I am ready to fully commit to my writing career. My time is now spent focusing on establishing a solid and steady writing income that I can be proud of. As you may or may not know, I have spent the last nine years as an Independent Retailer (or in other words; selling stuff online), and while I will continue to do this in the foreseeable future, it is going to take a back-seat to my writing. This decision comes after years of struggling financially (more like beating a dead horse) in a fickle and depressed market, but aside from that, it comes from the desire to write and somehow be heard.
With my first real freelance writing job came the first real money I've made from writing, and boy did that feel good. Knowing I had this allotted amount of work and income for a period of time was so refreshing from what I have become accustomed to with the roller coaster that is retail, online or otherwise. While I understand that being a freelancer means constantly looking for jobs and assignments, having even a little stability for a couple of months makes a huge difference to me (and my quality of life). So, going forward, I am doing my best at accepting no less than the pay rate I received with the first big gig. Armed with a glowing recommendation from that editor certainly helps, especially when one of the top qualities she lists is 'good value'. This tells me I deserve at least what I was paid for that assignment, if not more.
So as I continue to apply to numerous freelancing opportunities, I am sticking to my guns about my rates because:
1.) I know I'm a good writer
2.) My time is valuable
3.) My knowledge is valuable
4.) I will work really hard to provide the best 'product' I can
5.) My rates are more than fair for my experience, but a bargain for my talent
There are many content mill sites out there where the level of work required for the meager level of pay is rampant, and I have chosen not to continue with those sites. For example, Textbroker 'grades' me as a 3-star writer, for which the pay is .01/word--IF you can get the work. This is their highest demographic, therefore the work that is available is snatched up in the blink of an eye. Now, I probably was a level 3 writer when I first signed up with them, but I have since improved my abilities a great deal. But even level 5 writers are only paid .05/word, and level 5 writers are reserved for professional/technical writing! So think how grossly underpaid those writers are for giving up their precious knowledge, time and skill. It was a great place to start and 'get my feet wet', but I have gratefully moved on.
Believe me, it's hard to turn down low paying writing gigs when bills are due and income is scarce. But the cycle has to stop somewhere, and at least for me, it stops at giving my work away for 'free'. I have spent my lifetime giving my work, time, expertise, knowledge and skills away for free, and it has gotten me nowhere. From this point on, I will accept no less than my last paid writing job, and will continue to strive for higher pay and better work. How about you? Happy writing!