Once I took my writing seriously and set out to build a freelance writing business, it took me several years to figure out what sort of writing jobs I could and should take. I spun my wheels a lot; I learned a lot too.
Since it’s possible you can learn form my mistakes, here are six writing jobs I won’t take again, no matter what:
- Write a book for a client on a promise of cash rather than cash up front. Yes, I did this, but only once. (blush)
- Write magazine articles for pennies or for exposure – okay, we often have to do this in the beginning. I’d suggest no more than two, and today I’d probably put them on a site where I might earn some money. Not much exposure, but a credit for sure.
- Design web sites – when the web got started I knew a bit about coding and graphics. I still know a bit about both. What I didn’t understand is that it’s impossible for me to please a client about design. I even hesitate to write content for anyone but me.
- Write SEO articles. Yes, I’ve done my share of those, although I don’t think I’ve ever gone below $10 for each one and often got $20 or $25. It’s one of those things I know how to do but find so boring I’d rather work on my own stuff or find clients for other writing
- Write newsletters for non-profits for free, except, of course, the one I’m doing right now. This is one of those things I say I won’t do again and yet I still volunteer to do them every now and again.
- Work on spec. I require at least some payment up front – usually enough so if I don’t get the balance I don’t feel totally ripped off.
Yeah, I’ve done it all. Life is, after all, a learning experience, or should be. But as someone said, I don’t remember who, fifty percent of success in life is knowing when to say ‘no.’
Write well and often,
Image from http://www.sxc.hu