PAID OR PLAYED?

Andrea Freedman

Recently, I was offered a writing job which paid next to no money.

At first I was gung ho to accept the job, as I looked at the positive aspects – being paid to write, and meeting a new challenge. Once I really thought about it logically though, I decided that it would not be the best use of my time or efforts.

Luckily, it did not take me long to wake up and come to my senses, and realize that I was about to be taken advantage of. When I sat back and really thought of what was being asked of me, and how much work I would have to do in order to earn a few measly dollars, I became a bit depressed. In fact, for a couple of weeks, I found myself nearly unable to write a thing!

While getting paid to write may well be one of our main goals as writers, we must not forget our true value – even if there are others out there ready and willing to exploit us and make us feel less than what we are truly worth.

Brace yourself: I actually turned the job down. That’s right folks. I who is constantly on the look-out for more paid writing jobs, declined to do this particular assignment.

After I had politely informed the client of my decision – saying as things turned out I was too busy to get the job done on time – an immediate sense of relief washed over me.

As it turned out, I was struck with a nasty cold that took me out of commission for almost a week during the time that I had considered doing this job. I didn’t have the energy to do anything and I knew for sure I had made the right decision.

To drag ourselves through what feels like quick sand and not be appreciated or properly rewarded for doing so can sometimes do more harm than good to our self-esteem and motivation.

Since then, I have had many moments of self-doubt, despite the fact that I should know better. I have even had days when I asked myself if writing is all worth it; if there will ever be a light at the end of the tunnel as a working writer.

While I have made significant progress since I wrote my post Am I Getting Paid? Why Do You Ask? (https://andreafreedmanfreelancewriter.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/am-i-getting-paid-why-do-you-ask/), I still have a ways to go. That does not mean, however, that I should take any scrap that comes my way, when I know in my heart that what is being asked of me and offered in return is just plain unreasonable.

There are many of us out there trying to make a living as writers, and we can’t give up or allow others who try to demean our value by offering substandard pay to stand in our way. I realize we are in a profession that has moved further and further away from traditional publishing, not to mention newspapers and magazines that have shut down or are no longer hiring writers. I do not expect to necessarily become rich from writing (but there’s no harm in dreaming), but I know that what I do has merit, and is at least deserving of decent compensation.

Getting paid for our work as artists in any capacity is not easy. Although we may jump at any job when we are starting out, no matter how little it pays, we must eventually give ourselves permission to expect reasonable remuneration for our work – and yes, it is indeed work when we are writing for clients, no matter the passion we all bring into each and every piece we create.

Onwards and forwards; it is time to stop feeling sorry for myself and move on. I know that there are in fact people out there who don’t seek to take advantage of others, and who are in fact willing to pay a proper fee for a job done well.

Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I’ve got work to do.●

Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2014

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About andfreed

I am a Toronto based writer of articles, columns, essays and novels.

Posted on October 29, 2014, in Weekly Thoughts and Observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I have developed a bit of a sixth sense working through odesk and elance, particularly those who I think are seeking to take advantage. They know my rates and when I am offered a “test” of a small fee, I always ask whether they are happy with my standard rate. Most say yes they are, but some fudge some semblance of an answer about how they “might” be able to pay me what I ask in future. When that happens, it’s kind of obvious their budget is not going to be what I want and I turn it down.

    I’m thinking of turning down all tests now and offering a full refund if they don’t want to use it (which means I get to keep ownership as a portfolio sample). That’ll also stop the pretend test articles wanting to get skilled work on the cheap and have no intention of paying full rates.

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    • Good for you Matt, very clever; I will definitely keep this in mind in the future, thanks! Andrea

      Like

      • You must never give up hope. One day when you least expect it, some wonderful opportunity will arise and you will be happy for the choices you have made not to sell yourself short. You’re worth it!!

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