One of my pet peeves is not being
valued as a writer.
What I mean by this is that people
think you’re "just" a writer, so your time is worth far less than
theirs. And we both know that’s so far from the truth it isn’t
As writers, we are professionals.
We offer a professional service and charge accordingly. We run a
business, and have overheads, just like every other business.
And like other professionals,
we’ve had to pay our dues by learning our craft. We’ve attended
classes and workshops, studied and practiced. But unfortunately most
people still don’t get it.
They think because we are writers,
our time is not worth as much as theirs.
I recently attended a business
meeting where I was approached by another business owner. She asked
how she could write, create, and format an ebook she wanted to sell
to her clients. I gave her a very brief overview of what would be
required, but added I could consult with her on this.
She gave me a very strange look
and said "Oh, but I don’t want to pay. I was hoping you would
do this for free."
I explained that I wouldn’t ask
her to supply her services free to me, and don’t expect another
business owner to ask me either. I know this business owner was very
taken aback by this, but before anything else, we must value
ourselves and our services.
Of course bartering is always an
option, but it doesn’t pay the bills.
Obviously everyone will be
individual in their needs, but as a full-time writer, I simply
cannot afford to write/work for free. I learned a long time ago that
doing so devalues your worth, not only to potential clients, but
also to yourself.
How much is your time and
expertise worth? Would you give away your services for free to your
employer? Would you expect your plumber to repair your pipes for
nothing? Does your solicitor spend an entire morning in court on
your behalf, and expect nothing in return?
As writers, we sometimes tend to
forget that our own profession and skill is just as important as
that of other vocations.
This usually comes from other
people’s perception. They put us down, and they don’t see why we
should earn (or charge) as much as other professions.
Mostly they believe anyone can
pickup a pen, or sit at a computer, and simply write. And of course,
our words are perfect first time every time!
Just like a doctor, solicitor,
plumber, electrician, or other professional, we’ve studied hard and
practiced for years. Our skills have been learned and refined, not
simply handed to us on a silver platter.
Next time your value as a writer
is taken for granted, think about the work involved to get to this
stage. Think about the "apprenticeship" you’ve served. And think
about the time, skill, and effort involved every time you sit down