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A Somewhat Controlled Rant

From time to time, we check craigslist and the freelance jobs boards to see if there are any writing needs we can cover. Some of these postings do recognize the value of quality writing and pay accordingly, but way too many offer shamefully low wages; we’re talking .01 cent per word and even lower.

We assume there are people who accept these insulting jobs, but we’re very curious to see the writing that they produce. In order to make even enough money to keep these cheap writers in Ramen noodles, they need to churn out content so quickly, there’s no time for fact-checking, revising, or proofreading, let alone pride of craft. It’s difficult to see how they would want to work particularly diligently or carefully for someone who views their efforts with such disregard.

Writing is a skill, not a magic trick. Good writers don’t just pull quality content out of their ears. They conduct research, pay attention to the client’s requirements, revise at least once, check for typos, and so on. Yes, the craft of writing is accessible to most anyone who wants to put in the time and effort to learn how to do it well, but that doesn’t mean that clients should hire just “anyone.” It’s a mistake to assume that pitiful wages will result in quality work, in any industry. Would you offer someone $1 to cut your hair? Rewire your house? Babysit your children? It’s hard to understand why so many employers are content to pay virtually nothing to a writer whom they expect to properly represent them or their organization.

Many of the writers who accept these pitiful assignments are located overseas, and spend most of their time spinning old copy with awkward phrasing and poor grammar. This is in no way a dig at people who do not speak English as their first language; we respect the time and dedication it takes to learn another language, and English in particular is so tricky that even many native speakers have difficulty with some of the rules. It's just that if clients are interested in polished, original writing that meets their specifications, paying beneath the poverty line is not the way to go. As a general rule, you get what you pay for.

If you’re a good writer with experience writing in diverse areas and a strong command of the language, please don’t settle for these miserable gigs. We know it can be hard out there for a freelancer, but there are employers and clients who recognize your worth, and are willing to pay for your high-quality writing and the peace of mind that their needs will actually be met. Stay strong!

Posted by: ADMIN



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