Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How full is your plate?

I am a full-time freelance writer and editor. This means that I make my living by working on different writing and editing projects for a variety of people, and it also means that I have several projects on my plate at any given time.  These projects range in their difficulty, length and deadline. Most of them are not one-day projects if they are for other people. Therefore, when I get a new project, I am often not able to complete it that same day, but I am always up front about how long I think it will take, and I ask when the person needs it by...if at all possible, I try to accomodate their deadlines.

What gets me, however, are the people who don't seem to think I should have anything else to do. They have an assignment, and it seems easy enough to them (event though they aren't capable of doing it themselves), so why can't I do it by tomorrow? Honestly, wouldn't you be a little concerned about a contractor (assuming it's a one-person or one-team type business like mine) that was available to start immediately? If they are, maybe they don't have any other work...and why don't they? If you hire someone to put in your pool, and he's ready to come over immediately, wouldn't you worry that he isn't good enough to have other customers? Think about that.

On the same note, these people are often not willing to pay much for said project. I have a skill many people don't. Why, then, shouldn't I be paid a decent wage for it? I have bills to pay, yet there are people who think American writers are lazy and demand too much money for their services. My rent on my apartment alone is $925. If I were to pay that strictly on $5 articles, I would have to write 185 articles in a month just for that. That's six articles per day just to pay my rent. To pay all my other expenses, I would have to double that. How can you expect any kind of quality at that rate?

You get what you pay for. If you want cheap labor and don't care about the quality, there are writers outside of the US who have lower living expenses who can write in English for less. The grammar is generally bad, but, like I said, you get what you pay for. If you want a quality product in good English, be willing to pay a decent rate for it, and be patient. It shouldn't take months to get a project with a few thousand words for someone, but give them more than a couple days!

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