Raising Awareness One Writer at a Time

This is it – my self-proclaimed first annual day to celebrate what we writers are worth. If you have a blog, please join me in saying yes to competitive wages and no to accepting what isn’t worthy of our talents. Share your experiences, your advice, your support to all writers in hopes that we can convince our counterparts to appreciate themselves as paid professionals. Visit other blogs or forums and leave comments or links to this or any other site singing the praises of decent pay for decent work. We can’t stop the crap jobs from coming in. We can, however, stop dragging down our industry by reducing the number of people responding to these ads.

Beginning writers, look. I know where you’re coming from. I used to be a beginner myself, you know? I took jobs that paid somewhere around 50 bucks for more work than you can imagine. I’ve been where you are. You think you need those clips so badly that it’s okay to take that job offering $5 for 50 articles.

No. No you don’t. Those aren’t clips – those are a serious waste of time and talent. If you were to point a potential client to those clips, you’d be shooting yourself in the foot. Why? Because real employers know what crap websites look like, and your work plastered all over it, even if it’s good work, is going to reflect very badly on you. Suddenly this otherwise seemingly intelligent person has shown a lack of sound judgment. Whom you affiliate with is as important as any clips you might have.

Do yourself a favor – take a freelance job at the local newspaper. I’m serious. You get paid something for your efforts, and you build credible experience. Who cares if your community is your only audience? Believe me, it’s much more impressive to show newspaper experience on your resume than it is to show that you churned out articles for an article mill or for a foreign-based “employer” who never did pay you those 40 rupees… Newspapers are where most of us started out. They speak very well to your ability and your reliability, as most newspapers have short deadlines.

Think you can’t do a newspaper? Then find yourself a print publication (not online – not until you have the experience to discern viable jobs from trash) and start submitting paper/email queries. Do your homework (we all have to) and learn how to submit properly first. You can find lots of links (here, too) on this site and others that will help you.

If you need help or guidance, ask. We’re always here to help. By all means, make sure you place a value on your work that allows you to earn the wage you deserve (note – that’s much more than you think). Your career, and all of ours, depends on it.

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  • Devon Ellington May 16, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Way to go, Lori!

  • Jennifer Williamson May 16, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    I just joined in on my blog. Great post!

  • Tei May 16, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Oh, hurrah, Lori! I’ll try to do something on this tomorrow.

    I’m writing for a newspaper. Does that mean I win?

  • Nichole May 16, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    I got my post up Lori! I did get my start at a newspaper! My experience with low paying gigs is on Pledge Post.

  • Shannan Powell May 16, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    Great post and wonderful idea, Lori! I’ll join in the crusade later tonight!

  • lastminute spanien May 17, 2008 at 10:14 am

    I saw your nice post

  • James Koopmann May 18, 2008 at 12:57 am

    Totally agree! Don’t know about everyone out there but my jobs are typically a set number of pages or a set number of words for a set number of dollars. Once I equate this to BOTH cents/word AND an hourly wage I can then begin to realize if I am making good monies. Depending on the work, I’ll often put up with a bit less cash if I know I’ll bring in a bit extra elsewhere to cover the slack.

  • Lori May 18, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    That’s exactly how all writers should look at it, James. Thanks for posting!