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Undervaluing the Writing Profession

While I am still writing subtopics in my outline, I thought I would mention the online writing world.  Writing has always been a noble profession.  It is a skill which needs to be continually developed and honed.  Not everyone has a good grasp of the English language (or their native language) and knows how to use it properly.  However, with the increased popularity of the Internet, there is also an increase in online writing gigs.

The Internet is a fantastic vehicle since it reaches a worldwide audience.  It allows would-be writers a wide audience to showcase one’s work. Every where you turn it seems there are promises of becoming a “published” online author.  Even though it may be true that by writing online, one becomes “published” – it comes at a detriment to the writing profession as a whole.

The writing profession, as we have traditionally known it, has become devalued.  There are numerous writing gigs offering less than $.01 per word for online writers. This is absolutely absurd! There are “research articles” required to be written that take anywhere from 3-5 hours to write.  Pay is $10-20.  And, writer wannabees are grabbing them.  In fact, there are waiting lines for assignments.  What gives?! (What gives is the fact that the online writing world is a global marketplace. U.S. citizens are competing with lower-income/paying nations like India).

As another example of the deterioration of the writing profession, I recently got online to a blog which was advertising for “professional, experienced” writers who had a command of the English language.  When I reviewed this blog, it contained nothing but misspellings, improper grammar, and improper usage of the English language.  In fact, the writing looked like it was written by someone who did not have English as their main language.  It was atrocious.

There are online freelancing sites which offer writers the chance to be “published”.  There is no pay, but the compensation is the “free advertising” of your writing skills.  Spare me. The people who own the sites are making money off of your writing, though. You can be assured of that.

In the U.S.A. “real world”, writers can earn between $.35 to $2 per word.  The actual amount depends upon the type of writing gig, amount of research, and location of payor (i.e. city, state).  Of course, there are other factors which come into play. Or, some publications prefer paying a flat fee.  For instance, some business journals pay a set fee of $50-100.  Some magazine articles pay $350, as another example.

Writing a simple article which does not require any research is a good way to get started publishing your work online.  This is simple creative writing, or the expression of an opinion. Even then, don’t settle for $.01 per word.  Don’t undervalue yourself or the writing profession.

Writing is a skill which one needs to be proud of.  It takes work and time to improve this skill.  Not everyone can do it (nor will do it). Do not undervalue it. Please.

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1 comment to Undervaluing the Writing Profession

  • Hey, Booktoots,

    I agree with everything you said in this post. Elance and other such sites sicken me. I don’t know why people are willing to sell their writing for peanuts, placing bids for as low as $25 for a press release.

    Even though press releases aren’t terribly difficult to write, they do require your time. Unless you’re writing one for yourself where the information you need is already in your head, a well-written release is going to require time for researching, interviewing, analyzing, and synthesizing all the info into a coherent body of writing. All for 25 bucks? I don’t think so.

    I think those low-wage people would be better off establishing themselves in their respective fields by writing a series of well-researched, well-written articles and posting them on or some other article repository. Perhaps they could even try getting them published the old-fashioned way, in a print medium of some sort.

    Why are non-writers unwilling to pay a reasonable fee for writing services? Obviously writing is neither brain surgery nor rocket science, but we deserve an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work.

    When non-writers read (if they do) a piece of writing that captures their attention, transports them to a different time and place, flows like a gentle stream, and/or leaves them satisfied and with a changed perspective, do they stop to consider the difficult process the writer went through to make their reading experience enjoyable? Hardly!

    I don’t mean to make it sound as if writing is the most underrated and disrespected job in the world, but I believe it certainly is one of them.

    I see that I’m on my soapbox again…better get off of it.


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