Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Aspiring Freelance Writer's Catch-22

Writing is work, and to come up with original work is not easy and to work just to get clips or for small pay is wrong. Have patience and the work will come in time.

What are clips? Clips are samples of your writing, so the client can see how you put words together to create tone, and to check your grammar and punctuation skills. Clips are samples of your published writing, No clips. This might be true for aspiring writers. Anything you have written, letters to the editor, a newspaper column, or something that shows you can write.

A prospective client may ask for a writing sample when applying for a job.

The Catch-22 comes from clients wanting experience when you have none, and how can you get experience if no one hires your for a job. This is something that many new freelance writers face on a daily basis. The best thing you can do is to write something every day while you continue looking for someone to hire you. This does not mean to hire out for peanuts or free. Freelance writers, whether new or seasoned should never write free, or for low pay.

Writing is work, and to come up with original work is not easy and to work just to get clips or for small pay is wrong. Have patience and work will come to you in time. One thing writers need is a boatload of patience, and a thick skin.

New writers have a tendency to be willing to work for any amount just to become a published author. This is wrong on many levels. The main thing this does is to diminish the work of all writers by working for an unrealistic amount for your hard work. Some clients love to find someone they can take advantage of, if you write for a pittance, they are taking advantage of as a professional.

This is another point of the Catch-22, taken advantage of because you want to gain clips.


Andrew Modro said...

Obviously there's no hard-and-fast track to success in writing, else we'd all be doing it and nobody would be asking questions like this one. However, do you have any recommendations for the kinds of things an aspiring writer can write while seeking a hire? You mention letters-to-editors and columns. Would blog posts and other internet media also count?

R.J. Medak said...


Blogs, social networking, Helium, and places like that are good places to hone one's writing.

By writing something everyday, writing will improve, and once an aspiring writer is noticed, things will begin to take off.

I would not recommend that writers write for nothing or for low pay.

Many times that is what aspiring writers do, which lowers the concept of what a writer is and what they are worth.