08 October 2009
The Nasty Side of Unpaid Writing
I've been watching a lot of Californication lately. Californication is a television program on showtime with David Duchovny where he plays a writer who is having trouble writing. I heart David Duchovny.
Anyway, there was this one scene where he was talking to his daughters class at career day about being a writer. He said (and I'm summarizing because I can't remember exactly what he said) "Do not become a writer. If you've ever wanted to be anything else, do that. Being a writer blows."
And you know, I kind of agree with him.
I should clarify, I don't hate the act of writing, I hate the business of writing. For one thing, nobody feels like paying a writer what they're worth. They feel like writing is just soooooo easy and anyone can do it so there's no point in paying what the writing is worth.
I was commissioned to do 5 articles everyday for $1 an article where I would write 350-400 words per article. So basically I was being paid dirt. I only took the job because I was told there'd be more high paying jobs in the future. I delivered the 5 articles every single day. But every single day the person would hassle me in the morning about where the articles were. I had the entire day to get them in, there was no set time to get them in.
So here I was, writing for dirt and being hassled about getting the articles in which put stress on me and soon I began to hate writing.
I said forget it. I love to write and this assignment was sucking the life out of me and my writing. I began to realize that no matter how long I wrote for this person that they would never pay me more than $1 for a 400 word article. My writing is worth far more than $1 per article, not to sound conceded or anything.
The moral of the story is, even if there's promise of higher paying gigs in the future, don't sell yourself short. It's just not worth it. I spoke in my previous article about selling your soul, this is the same concept; don't do it.
I know as writers we're all desperate to be rich and famous and be well known for our writing, but you can't do that when you're letting everyone walk all over you. Your writing is worth more than dirt. Don't be a victim. Stand up for your writing and maybe then we can all love to write again.
Labels: freelance writing