ProBlogger and Writing

Hot off the ProBlogger Training Event in Melbourne, it’s time to throw light on what I gained from the experience.  I won’t be attempting to put all the information I absorbed into one blog post because a) I have to make that baby work for me and b) it would probably be boring.  So today I’m focusing on one of my goals which was to clarify some issues surrounding freelance writing.

Building your freelance writing opportunities requires building a portfolio.  Taking on unpaid work is actively encouraged in Communications (Journalism) and there are many online publications that will provide you with exposure in exchange for your writing.

Freelance writer and editor Karen Pickering recently stated that it was ‘unfair to your fellow writers to write for free’.  I agree with her that writing is a trade and where you take work for free you are possibly empowering a publication not to offer rates to the next person.  But it’s a trade I’m still working on and a competitive one at that.

I’m a firm believer in writing for free where there is a mutual benefit.  Learning your own value takes time to establish and if journalists are struggling to get paid at The Daily Telegraph, I consider myself lucky to get published at all.

One thing that came out of the conference is the demand for content creation.  I think a side effect of this is that occasionally bloggers are being exploited to do this for free.  It was a question raised during the ‘Get Paid to Write’ panel at ProBlogger and so obviously not a revelation to others.  It has the potential to aggravate conflict between writers/journalists and bloggers and I’m not entirely sure that I’ve reconciled this one.

Sarah Wilson gave the final keynote at the ProBlogger event and she spoke a little about trusting your instincts.  Asking yourself if what you’re being asked to do makes you feel ‘grubby’.  She was certainly one of the highlights of the event for me (aside from Kim from All Consuming’s impromptu show tune) and I think it pays to regularly assess your value.

If you value your writing and you’re not sure what to expect in regards to rates, use your contacts or two great resources are here and here.  Ask yourself what the mutual benefit is and try not to empower others with the liberty of exploiting others.

How do you feel about blogging and freelance writing?  I would love it if you could share some tips with readers.

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for putting these thoughts together after PB Carli…I wish I could have been there and I was worried that my only insights would come from the fifty billion IG pics of the last few days! I write for free from time to time but first and foremost I try to make sure that what Im producing is good. Once I got a few paid gigs under my belt then the path to more paid gigs seemed to open up. I don’t think that with a creative talent like writing you can ever have definitive do’s and donts but writing good stuff takes time and research and skill and expecting payment shouldnt be a something that you have to consider in order to do it.

  2. Deb_BrightandPrecious says

    So interesting to read your thoughts on this, Carli. I wish I was there to have absorbed the information myself – so thank you for sharing a bit here. I have yet to reconcile this issue myself. It’s a fine balance of being asked to be paid what you’re worth and valuing exposure as currency too. No great insight from me. Learning from research and observation. Will be interested to hear some more comments from your post.

    • says

      I’m hoping there will be some insight from more experienced bloggers too. Missed not seeing you there but I’m sure there will be other opportunities.

  3. says

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Carli, very interesting indeed. I’m just beginning to dip my toes into the freelance writing waters and have been lucky enough to write for a few online sites, however unpaid. I see both sides. At the moment I am happy to be building my portfolio and learning. Look forward to reading more of your thoughts x

  4. says

    “I’m a firm believer in writing for free where there is a mutual benefit.” – I think that’s exactly it. I listened in on the session that you’re talking about. I really think it depends on what’s in it for you. I still see myself as a beginner and someone who’s working their way through somewhat of a writing apprenticeship. It’s a really tough question – but I think what you’ve said is excellent. Look at the situation, go with your instinct and only do it if it’s of huge benefit for you.

  5. bachelormum says

    It seems freelance writing is the new mummy currency because it’s something that can be done relatively easy from home. The phenomenon of self publishing/blogs etc has opened this up which is fantastic as I think so many people benefit from written self expression as can be seen. And if they can turn it into a buck then fabulous. As a journo who has freelanced and worked on the payroll for about 15 years I don’t feel my livelihood is threatened by this new wave of writers/competition either. As long as the quality of writing is good for me as an audience member to consume (and at the end of the day I pick and choose who/what I want to read), and that the blogosphere does not end up becoming one big advertising space (this is perhaps more of a worry for me personally as I find reading posts that are ads generally boring) then I think there is room for everybody. As for writing for free, it’s not really free if it helps a budding writer develop their resume, instead it’s a quid pro quo where both parties can benefit. Will that reduce the opportunities for writers to get paid work? I doubt it, no experienced writer worth their salt will only write for ‘free’ because it’s not free, the cost is their time. The market knows that and, at the end of the day, the market will get what it pays for.

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