Finding Your Worth

I am a writer. I have been a writer for a very long time. When I was a child, I would frequently write my own little fanfic stories, though the term "fanfic" wasn't as widespread since the internet didn't really exist yet. In high school, I majored in English. I took every English/Literature class that I could. In addition to the general academic papers we had to write, I was also writing speeches and drama scenes and poetry and, occasionally, a creative story. When I got to college, the major changed to Theater Arts and Communications. I wrote a fairy tale play for children.

I am a writer.

In recent years, I have been writing reviews. Some of them I have been paid for, many I have not. While searching for paid writing jobs, I have found that many people don't want to pay writers very well. I frequently see job listing advertising to pay a penny per word. That would mean a 500-word piece would pay a whopping $5.00. I know that sounds like an easy five bucks to the average person but it's not. That 500-word piece will likely require some form of research - be it actual fact-finding or having to try out a product to review or even just fact-checking your sources. Let's say you have no other disturbances (no cell phones ringing, no checking emails, no grabbing a snack) and you are able to churn this out in an hour. (Depending on the topic, it can easily take me at least an hour to work on a piece. If it is an entire album I am reviewing, it will take longer since I will need to listen to each song more than once.) The only other job I know of that get paid less than minimum wage is restaurant waitstaff and that is because they get tips. Almost no one is tipping their writer.

People need to find their worth. The reason these penny-per-word ads keep popping up is because someone is actually taking them. Someone somewhere is spending their precious time working for literal cents. Why? Refuse to work for so little. Your time and your writing is worth more than that. I know mine is. I absolutely refuse to work for pennies. Figure out what you are worth and stick to it. If clients really want someone to write well-written articles for them, they will pay for it. But not until we stop accepting chump change.