Why Writers Today Should Be Accepting More Jobs for Less Money

482101323Yes, I know that it sounds counterproductive, and many writers out there loathe the fact that we are saying this, but in this day and age it is very true, and needs to be accepted by more writers. Writers work very hard at what they do, and put their soul into their work, and should get paid well for what they do. Unfortunately, the way that media has shifted in recent years — less print, more digital media — the budget simply is not there to pay writers top dollar on their writing


Writer’s Pay in the Past Vs. Writer’s Pay Now

In the past, writing an 80,000 word novel could earn you millions of dollars in the advance money, royalties and publication rights; but you have to realize that the revenue brought in from those 80,000 was much higher in the decades and centuries passed. If you are writing for an online magazine that is raking in the advertising revenue based on the content that has been written for that specific magazine, than yes, you should get paid more. However, the reality is that even though more content and writing is needed all over the web, on blogs, in magazines and in other locations, the revenue tied directly to several hundred words of writing does not match.

Write More For Less Money

All of the greatest writers throughout time have always told their apprentices to write everyday… it doesn’t matter what you write, just write every single day of your life. This is so true, and has never been truer than it is today. Today, a writer should accept every job opportunity in writing that comes their way — even if the job is only paying a few cents per word. The trick is to have has many low-paying writing requests as possible in order to make a decent living as a writer.

Do More Writing Work For Less Money?

Exactly, for new writers or those that are working towards getting into the writing business, it may not be what you want to hear; but this strategy WILL lead to more pay for less work, advancement in the industry, and praise for your work as you slowly begin to hone your craft. The problem with writing right now is that companies that will pay you for your writing have often very small budgets.

As an example, let’s say that a company that sells real estate online needs to keep their blog constantly updated in order to maintain their visibility in web searches. They need to have fresh content from a talented writer to not only show their authority in the space, but to keep readers interested and coming back. Now, that real estate company can’t directly correlate a $500,000 home sale with a single 350 word article from a writer, though the writer’s article may have been the one thing that attracted the buyer and eventually led to the sale. Instead, the company has a very small budget that allows for payment to a writer of — let’s say — $15.00 for a 500 word article. It is tough to make a living on that, but if you can get that same deal for 4 articles for the month, you have made $60.00 and it should not take you all that long to write.

“It doesn’t have to be great, it just has to be done”

The above quote was a popular one in the heyday of publishing and newspapers. When on deadlines, the editor would most often take this stance when it was nearing time to print. It basically means that while he/she doesn’t expect the article to win any awards or go down as a life-change piece of writing, he/she expects it to be done on time and without spelling/grammar errors.

The Problem of Low Writing Budgets Vs. Today’s Need for More Writing

We will be the first to admit that today — when more writing and content is needed than any other time in human history — the need for more writing coupled with lower pay for writers doesn’t seem to make much sense. This problem came about because of how quickly the writing and media industries changed in just the past 25-30 years. Right now, the two industries simply cannot match the worth of the writing to the budgets set for writing. While we are very confident that this will change — for the benefit of writers — soon, it is going to take some time for everything to adjust.

One of the biggest problems with online content today, is that it is just not that good at all. Why is that? Did the world run out of anything good to say, or anything good to write about? No, it is simply that when companies are only offering $2-$20 for a 350 word piece, there probably aren’t going to be a lot of bidders for that article. This is one of the many reasons writing jobs (especially for company blogs and online articles) are being shopped in countries such as India, Philippines, and other countries where “writers” are desperate, and — cleverly — follow our suggested model of “take every job, no matter what it pays, and learn from every single word written. The problem with this is that many of those that accept the jobs are not 100% fluent in English, and may not even be “writers” at all.

Follow Our Writing Model and Prove the Worth of Your Writing

If you really do consider yourself to be a writer, you should be accepting jobs with fairly low pay. The more you write these low paying articles — the easier it gets — the more jobs you can accept — the more money you make — the more the industry changes and begins to understand the worth of the writing and the worth of the writer. So don’t think of a low paying writing gig as beneath you as a writer, think of it as paid practice as your skills are being sharpened, and eventually you will be making a living as a writer and making headway in the entire industry.

  1. Wendy Bricker said:

    I have not been paid to write yet, so I will hold onto your words until I have a finished product.

  2. Great advice for writers like myself trying to break into the freelance market, thank you!

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