Cheap Freelance Writing Needs to Stop

I just read a great post on Tumblemoose.com. It cited specific examples of the types of cheap projects that freelance writers have been willing to settle for, and notes that this is the reason why it is difficult to get paid well in this career (at least online). George writes:

As long as writers are willing to whore themselves out for less than one-half a penny a word,  things will never change. I know that there are folks bidding from other countries that are ok with that kind of wage, but in looking at the bidders, there are far fewer of those folks than one would think. I wish I could organize a freelance writer’s strike.  What do you think? Writers Opposed to Piss Poor Offered Rates (WOPPOR)  How about organizing Writer’s Tea Parties?  Maybe some folks could draft a Writer’s Declaration of Independence? – Alternatively, we could go to our windows and shout, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!!!”

Freelance writers have definitely sold themselves short. We should not stand for less than minimum wage, and far too many writers respond to $1 per article offers, and practically slave over articles for a few dollars per day. I certainly wish there was a way to revolutionize freelance writing and put an end to the insulting pittance that writers are offered. The problem is that we all work for ourselves, and some writers will simply take whatever they think they can get.

The only thing I can do is encourage writers to stand up for themselves, and refuse to accept tiny payments for their valuable work. If you are reading this, and you are accepting work that doesn’t pay your bills, STOP IT! You have to set a standard for yourself and don’t compromise it. Your talents are needed, otherwise there would not be so many projects posted out there. Freelance writing seems like the only business that has a high demand, yet there is never inflation. Writers work hard and should be rewarded for it. Freelance writing should pay the bills, and we should never have to settle for less than the average office clerk makes.

Do your part and consider the writing community: demand to be paid what you are worth, or at least say no to projects that offer less than a cashier at McDonald’s earns.

As long as writers are willing to whore themselves out for less than one-half a penny a word,  things will never change.
I know that there are folks bidding from other countries that are ok with that kind of wage, but in looking at the bidders, there are far fewer of those folks than one would think.
I wish I could organize a freelance writer’s strike.  What do you think? Writers Opposed to Piss Poor Offered Rates (WOPPOR)  How about organizing Writer’s Tea Parties?  Maybe some folks could draft a Writer’s Declaration of Independence? – Alternatively, we could go to our windows and shout, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!!!
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Unfortunately, this is a case of supply and demand. The Internet has made it very easy for all writers to market themselves to all buyers of writing. There may likely be far more writers offering their services than there is demand for the writing, so payments drop.

    That said, I appreciate you and many other writers making a concerted effort to create an informal union of sorts.

  2. I totally agree, but at the same time I am grateful. The writers who pimp themselves out for cheap are, and I’m being brutally honest here, often cranking out such poor quality work that by comparison an accomplished writer is obviously worth their high fees. I have been in my share of situations where my work was called upon–at higher rates–after cheaper writers bungled the job. In these cases the company had to pay twice for their mistake. Bad news.

  3. Someone told me the other day, “You’re a great writer – why don’t you write for Textbroker and make some money?”

    I almost choked on my coffee. I’ve been getting paid to write for a lot of years – and never, ever have I written for what people are happily accepting out there these days.

    It makes me angry when I see writers taking pennies for words, but my husband put it very well the other day (his vocabulary was a little rougher around the edges, but…) – he said, “Don’t be mad, honey. Why would I go buy a piece of crap old car for a thousand bucks when I know a decent new car is going to cost more, but it’s not going to break down outside the dealership?”


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