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I just dropped a Linkedin discussion thread because it was filled with woe-is-me complaints about how experienced writers were getting undercut by newcomers who were willing to write for $3 an article.
Before I quit I did suggest in a couple of posts that said:
- No one needs to look to content mills for income.
- There are more paying opportunities today than there ever have been because of the internet.
Both statements are true, but the real problem that group pointed to is the fact that each of us really is responsible for our own success, or lack of it. The writer who started the thread was proclaiming loudly that it was someone else’s fault that she was being forced out of the business. While I don’t deny her feelings of desperation, or that she really believes that’s what’s happening, I reject her notions – not her, you understand, but her premise there is someone outside of herself to blame.
If I’d had a chance to have a cup of coffee with her, this is what I would have done and said:
First, I would have just listened, deeply so I was in touch with her fear and pain.
I would have acknowledged her fear and pain and then asked her if she wanted some suggestions. I know that not everyone wants a solution to their problem. I don’t understand that, but it seems to be true.
If she wanted my suggestions I would have done something like this:
- Determined what kind of writing she wanted to do.
- Determined where she had been looking for writing gigs.
- Shared with her the way I would approach the search so she could see there are a variety of possibilites.
- Emphasized she gets to set her own rates and that she doesn’t have to compromise – at least not much.
No one can undercut you except you. Oh sure, you may bid on a piece of writing and lose the work to someone who is willing to do it for less.
When that happens I figure it’s for the best, and move on to find other writing work. No one can force me to take less. No one keeps me from changing the kind of writing and marketing I’m doing so I earn more.
The only times I’m tempted to worry about what you charge is when I’m feeling less than confident in myself – and that’s something I need to fix.
Self-worth problems are not always easy to fix, but fix them you must if you want to be truly successful and happy at writing or anything else for that matter.
How do you see competition?