This crappy economy has taught me a valuable lesson in self-worth. It shed some light on something Mami tried to explain to me when I started freelancing, but didn’t notice until I was really starving for funds: Employers really don’t think much of writers. And you can really see evidence of that in the various writing mills around the internet.
Currently, regardless of what people are willing to pay, I am worth a pretty penny on an hourly basis. I mean, not as much as a hooker (those bitches make sooooo much more than I do...got me rethinking my life choices n shit) but still, a good lot o’ dough. These writing mills (Demand Media Studios [although Demand now offers SOME per-hour writing opportunities], Suite101, etc) claim to offer writers great opportunities but if you ask me it’s somewhat of a legal scam.
In my experience the jobs up for grabs on those sites, at most, pay you about $25 per article. Total. At first you think, “Ooh, I can knock out four articles this week and make a cool $100!” Then you realize, had you really itemized the expenses you incurred for writing said article, you end up losing. Besides, I made way more than $100 PER ARTICLE freelancing for Batanga Magazine and PCI Journal. Even working in The Basement paid $100/day, and that was one shitty ass job. How can I afford to take such a huge pay cut?
Even the best writers need at least 3-5 hours to produce a good article. This includes research, fact-checking, interviewing, writing and editing. For argument's sake let’s say you can create a really good piece in five hours...what have you to show for those five hours of your talented time, wear-and-tear on your computer, electricity, internet service, time away from other opportunities or family and friends, maybe even ink and paper if you’re the type that can’t read off of a screen for too long? $25 lousy dollars. That breaks down to $5/hour— LESS than you’d earn in five hours at McDonald’s. WRITING MILLS ARE PAYING YOU LESS THAN MCDONALD’S! If this was Gone-With-The-Wind, Georgia, sure, take the $5 and run. But my name ain't Mammy. You're gonna have to pay me a real, 2010-2011 living wage.
Sure, there’s the argument that some money is better than no money, and in this crippling economic climate we have to take what we can get, but that’s what writing mills are counting on. They hope and pray and KNOW that a lot of us are broke, in debt, young, stupid, starving artists, and are exploiting us. They are telling us we’re worth less than $5/hour. “Fuck your degree, your experience, your connections. Take these seven pennies and get the fuck outta here!” I don’t take too kindly to that kind of disregard for my hard work.
Hookers know what their vaginae and mouths are worth, especially for bareback encounters. Why should us writers settle for less?
*smooches...refusing to compromise*
you let ONE writing mill walk all over you, next thing you know you're working around the clock, producing all this collateral for them and you're still broke. Fuck that!