When a freelance writer is having trouble finding work or things have slowed down they can sometimes feel like they should just take any job that comes their way, whether it pays or not. As tempting as it is, freelance writers should avoid the urge. You will never get ahead again if you start selling yourself short and settling for less. Being selective about who you write for is not being picky or selfish. It’s being smart. If you are a freelance writer then writing is your job. You wouldn’t work any job for free. Why should you write for free when that’s your job? Explain this, in a courteous and firm manner, to any client who wants you to write for them for free.
Writing for websites or clients that don’t pay is fine for those writers who simply want to gain more experience and build their resume. Writers can write for whomever they please. It’s their choice. And sometimes those free projects can still give some newbie writers an opportunity to network to find future paying clients. However, those who refer to themselves as freelancers need to take their work and their writing seriously. Not only does this make them look more professional, but it is also more likely to keep food on the table.
Freelance writers sometimes have a tendency to sell themselves short, especially those who are just starting out. Just because it’s different than showing up at an office or greeting customers at a store does not make it any less of a job. Your time and your work are no less valuable then anyone else’s. You need money just like everyone else does to pay the bills and writing if your way of making that money. And when you put time into a project that doesn’t pay you you are taking time away from those projects that do pay. If you depend on that income you make from freelance writing then taking on free projects is a waste of time. It will cut into the time you spend working on paying projects and it will cut into the amount of money you can make from writing. You especially can’t afford to take on free projects if you depend on that income from writing.
Consider this. When you meet someone who wants you to write for them for free think of how many other people might be out there who have the same need but could actually pay you for your work. Isn’t it worth the time to go find those people instead of working for nothing?