Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Why? Because I Can. It's My Property! - Writers Take Lots of Punches

Why?  Because I can.  It's my property!

When starting to sell articles, your nose will get out of joint many times due to a variety of causes.

  • You will get rejections from proofreading editors, publishers, and clients.  It will hurt.  When hit with the rejection punch you may want to cry.  You might want to walk away and give up.  Of course, most writers are right brained artist types who are known to have a starving artist archetype, so it only makes sense to beat oneself up.
  • When you gain a private request, you will spend time researching the topic, perhaps visiting the website or blog of the person you're writing for.  You will eventually realize you are spending more time researching for the article than you will be paid for.  Your nose skin starts to crinkle as you feel time ticking away.
  • Once you write the mammoth 500 word piece, you'll try a variety of phrasing, include some researched topics only to delete them later.  You'll move things around, read out loud, ask yourself if it makes sense, go have a shower, and a cold drink and come back to edit it again.  You probably will even leave it a day and edit it again the next, after all, you want to perfect your craft.  Then it dawns on you that hours upon hours have past and the client's quoted price will only clear $19.50.  Something begins to stink and your nose is met with another powerful punch:  You discover your client charges $39.50 per hour to her clients.  Your client isn't even willing to pay what she herself would charge!  By this time,you've written for 3 hours and still have to upload the piece, write a summary, add keywords, and so on.  You do the math and realize you'll make $5.50 an hour if it sells.
  • You hear back from the client that she wants something in it changed. She expresses disapproval of something you've poured your heart and personal time into.  At this point, your nose really aches it is so badly out of joint.  At this moment, you choose whether to agree and edit it further, to ask for more money to do so, or decide to withdraw it.  It is your privilege.   What would you do?
  • You decline and the article remains unsold, but to add an over-the-top response, the person who owns the third party site which you have given a percentage of your earnings to for several years doesn't stick up for you.  They don't just declare a non-sale and live with it, they threaten to not give you more work if you don't comply--as though they own you.  That could be the final knock out.  Or not.  You can choose to dust yourself off and keep setting boundaries instead.  Who needs to work for someone that doesn't appreciate them?

In a freelance relationship where no contract is signed or payment promised, you risk using your time for a maybe proposition.  But just as a client has a right to decline your article, you have a right to pull it.  You don't have to agree to anything that seeks to take advantage of you, your time and your skills.

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