Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Should You Write For Free?

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In the writing world, there is a never-ending debate on whether to write for free or only when paid. It is almost a given that, if they had a choice, most any writer would opt for being paid for their work. 

Those who say to never write for free have valid points. Why give away something that you've worked hard to produce? A writer deserves to be paid for work rendered. No one will take you seriously if you write for free. Writing is a job and people get paid for jobs. We've all heard writers make statements like these. Is there any truth in them? Yes, of course, but there is also another side to the argument.

New writers have a difficult time getting clips. If they write for free at first, they are going to find it easier to get published. Once published in several places, they'll have clips to add to their bio when submitting work for pay.

Some writers want nothing but being able to say they've been published. There's no law that says they have to add ...but I didn't get paid. If publication is your only goal, it's fine to write for free.

There are times when we write as a help to a charity or group that we support. If you agree to write a newsletter without pay, you're doing it out of the goodness of your heart and because you care about whatever the group may be. There's nothing wrong with writing for free for this reason. I submitted to an anthology last year that accepted my story but there was no pay. Instead, all royalties went to an internationally known charity group.

I write blog posts five days of the week for no pay. No dollars, that is. I do get benefits. It pleases me to help other writers in some small way. It helps me promote my own writing. Writing something five days a week keeps my writing muscles in good working order. I can't pay guest bloggers, nor do I receive any pay when I write a guest blog for someone else. That's fine. Often, it's a good trade with unseen benefits.

I have to agree with Mark Twain's quote above. Go ahead and write for free but keep working to find that editor who is willing to pay for your work. That will happen when you grow as a writer and fine tune your writing to bring it up to the professional level.

Don't let the naysayers about writing for free get you down. We all have choices in life and they have chosen to never give away something that they worked hard to produce. I respect their decision but it doesn't mean that I have to do the same at all times. I can choose to write for free and so can you. Even so, I love it when an editor is willing to pay for my submission.



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