What Is a Professional Writer – Should You Write For Free? (By Luthando)

Why are so many writers and authors so broke? I’ve asked myself this after attending writer groups. Sure a few of us have made some money in this venue, but most are broke. Why? Often it’s because they have low self-esteem and won’t ask for payment that equals their work or value. This is a personal problem, but there are other reasons as well. Another reason is because of simple economics; supply and demand. Today anyone can be a writer or an author because of word-processors, software and the Internet – and that means more writers, and although there are also more venues that require this skill, even poor writers look okay considering all the crap online. Okay so, before I go into any sort of tirade, let’s talk.

Not long ago, an acquaintance of mine, Dr. Gary S Goodman, asked; “Should You Write For Free?” Next he asks a more in-depth question: “One clear sign that you are a pro is that you are paid for your work. If you are not paid, does this signify you are something less?”

My view is that if what you write is of value, then someone will be willing to pay you for it, unless they can get it somewhere else cheaper or free. In that case the buyer of such written material is either getting something inferior due to their price adverse nature, your marketing is insufficient, or what you write isn’t needed. In this day and age information is very cheap, sometimes free.

Writing in my view is not usually a very wise profession to be in, however every industry needs writing and the written word (currently) to get that information out to willing buyers and sellers. So there is room, lots of it, for writers, at least right now, in our pre-Artificial Intelligent age, as soon writers will not be needed, not even fictional writers – that is the way such technology is headed and so the professional writers days are most likely numbered.

As I look at my personal library of some 4600 books and growing, I realize that there are plenty of published writers and authors out there, all of which sell their work and have sold books, thus by definition are professional writers and authors. Still, since those terms are loosely defined, anyone who authors an essay online on their blog, which happens to have advertising on it, is indeed getting paid to write, right? Thus, the definition of professional writer or author applies. Interesting, maybe we need clarification on this topic. Your thoughts, comment below.

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