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The last few days have been tense. I’ve been checking my email and PayPal account obsessively. You see, last week I wrote a freelance article for a new website and after a few days of not hearing from the editor, I was starting to worry that I wasn’t going to get paid.

For every story of a writer who turned their passion into a living, there are a hundred horror stories about a poor sucker who was taken advantage of. The Internet changed the way writers work. On the one hand, it opened the floodgates of global exposure for your work. On the other hand, it cheapened the craft. More than a decade of free online news dragged the market price of a superbly written article down to zero. And when everyone expects your words for free, it gets hard to make a living.

So, for five days, I worried that my paid gig wasn’t going to pay off after all. That’s the trouble with online freelancing — you put in a lot of hours on the promise of . But if you want to be a writer, a real, published writer, it’s the risk you have to take.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I found a reliable client who honored our agreement. And she liked my work on the first article enough to hire me to write regularly for her site. I’m a long way from being a full-time freelancer, but one article leads to another. That’s how careers are built.

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Jonny Eberle is a freelance writer in Tacoma, WA who will gladly edit for food. Follow him on Twitter or find him on LinkedIn. Thanks for reading!

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