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Standing Out As a Professional

Copyright: Cheryl Wright – All rights reserved


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 funny.

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 to write.



About the author: Cheryl Wright is an award-winning Australian author and freelance journalist. In addition to an array of other projects, she is the owner of the Writer2Writer.com website and the Writer to Writer monthly ezine for writers.  Her publications include novels, non-fiction books, short stories, and articles. To keep up to date with her publications and new releases, visit Cheryl’s website www.cheryl-wright.com











         Last updated: August 04, 2008