Welcome to Writer Rants–where every Friday a writer just lets loose on whatever the heck is bugging her this week. Enjoy.
I cannot count the number of times this EXACT exchange has occurred in my life:
- I meet a friend-of-a-friend.
- We make small talk. “Oh, you feed your cats the cat food that makes them poop smaller? I do too!”
- The topic turns to jobs.
- They work in a doctor’s office, paint turtle shells, attend school to become a chiropractor, or some other job that does not involve being paid to write about “Garage door repair Austin, TX.”
- New friend says: “Maybe you can help me with my blog/dissertation/website/resume.”
- I change the subject back to cat poop.
The problem is not that I am an unhelpful, mean ogre. The problem is that EVERYONE wants help writing something. When I am with friends, freelance writing rates are not my favorite topic. When I’m working, I need to be pulling in money—otherwise my time could be better spent marketing myself, building my web presence, or even doing something that doesn’t involve staring at Microsoft Word.
For your average professional turtle shell painter, my rates (while reasonable in my field) may seem a little high. After all, I am just sitting in front of a computer screen typing, right? Writing does not seem like a skilled profession to many people. After all, unlike repairing a car or creating a divorce decree, everyone can do it. However, not everyone can do it well.
Some of my non-writer friends seem to think that I sit in front of the computer playing Candy Crush all day and money magically appears in my bank account. They don’t realize that I’ve taken classes (at school and online) that boost my marketability—not to mention the blogs I read and podcasts I listen to that help me keep up with the industry. They do not understand that I have spent WEEKS of my life hunting down new clients and bolstering my profiles online to attract others. Friends do not know that I am spending time on my vacation writing each morning because I don’t want to disappoint my long-term clients by telling them I am taking a week off work.
I work hard. I deserve to be paid fairly for my work. I’m not the girl with the sample trays at the food court. I do not give freebies.*
*Except to my husband–he’s a teacher and soccer coach, and that little middle school team is going to have the BEST blog ever!
Tracy S is a content writer and blogger who specializes in home improvement-related topics. When she’s not working, Tracy loves playing pool, watching cheesy reality TV, spending time with her family, and dreaming of the beach.