It’s a scary world out there for aspiring writers. Even though there are millions of blogs and websites out there that need content, it seems like legitimate, paid paying writing jobs are few and far between. If you can’t find work, you might be tempted to build your portfolio by writing for free. If you’re thinking this way, stop immediately. You should never write for free, and here a few important reasons why.
It Devalues Your Work
When you write for free, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Do you really think you don’t deserve to get paid for your work? If you do, maybe you shouldn’t be writing at all. As a writer, you have to remember that your skills and efforts are valuable. The work you create is a product that you should never just give away. You wouldn’t do it in any other industry, so don’t do it for writing. Set higher standards for yourself, and don’t devalue your work by doing it for nothing but a byline.
It Hurts the Writing Market
Writing for free doesn’t only devalue your own work, it devalues the work of all writers. Why would someone pay for an article when they can find someone to do it for free? The writing market is in dire straits right now because too many people are willing to write for free or for an extremely low price. If we ever hope to see writers getting paid what they deserve, we simply can’t accept less than what we’re worth, let alone give our writing away for free. Refusing to write for free won’t only benefit yourself, but in the long run it is a step toward helping writers everywhere.
It Won’t Lead to Better Things
You might be tempted to write for free because it could lead to a paying position. Who told you that? In most cases, if someone tries to lure you with the possibility of a paying job somewhere down the road, you should run far away. If they can’t afford you now, there’s no guarantee they will be able to later. And if you’re willing to give it up so easily, they have no reason to buy you a steak dinner in the future anyway. Starting off as an unpaid writer is a surefire way to remain an unpaid writer.
You Can Get Paid to Write
The fact is that there are paid writing jobs out there. You should never settle for less. It’s certainly a lot harder to find a paid gig, but it’s possible. If it’s possible to get paid for your writing, why would you do it for free? There are people out there who value your work as a writer and will pay you for it. They’re fair and honest people, and yes, they do still exist in this world. There is absolutely no reason you need to write for free. It’s such an important thing to remember that it bears repeating: There is no reason for you to write for free. Don’t do something when there’s no reason for it; it’ll make you seem crazy.