All artistic endeavours are disrespected at times, but writers face a special challenge. Almost everyone believes they can write.
And they’re correct, up to a point.
Most literate homosapiens can, indeed, write. Does that mean they are gifted when it comes to the writing craft? Of course not. Writing is a talent like anything else. It has to be honed, nurtured, practiced, perfected.
Just as being able to bounce a basketball will not qualify you for the NBA, being able to compose an email does not mean you’re the best person to write web copy, journalism articles, or novels.
Very few people assume they could suddenly be cardiac surgeons, but many think they could write a best-selling novel if they only had the time. This can be a continual source of amazement, amusement and frustration for the writers who are slogging it out in the trenches.
So here’s the most important thing writers have to know.
Know your worth, even when it seems that everyone around you doesn’t.
Several things happened recently that really brought this home for me.
During a lull in my freelance work, I was offered the possibility of doing some writing for a new client. I was excited. It was a creative project and a chance to get involved in something where my talents could make a real difference.
And of course the money would come in handy.
The project was massive. If I decided to take it on, it would involve editing and rewriting the equivalent of a full-length novel, but I was game. Only one question–what was the budget?
There was no budget. The client hoped to trade services, which was a nice thought, and it may even work sometimes. I’m certainly not closed to the idea. But, at this particular time, I didn’t have need of her services. What I needed was income.
The expectation that I would do huge amounts of work and receive no money in return is not an unusual one, unfortunately. I’ve had several potential clients disappear once they realized I actually expected to get paid for my work.
I’ve also had to fight for my pay cheque when disreputable companies decided not to fulfill their end of the bargain.
And then there’s the people who want you to spend hours, weeks, and months of your own time helping them write their “sure-fire bestseller” for a cut of the potential profits.
Or the ones who assume that because you work from home, you’re not really working.
The list is endless, and I’m sure most writers can relate.
When it happens to you, take a deep breath.
Remember your worth.
Maybe everyone can write, but you do. And you do it well. You deserve to be paid for your work.
Don’t settle for less than you deserve.
And if all else fails, rant to another writer.
We’ve been there.
Anyone else care to share their experiences? Have you ever been undervalued? What did you do?