05 October, 2011

It's a Free Country, Isn't it?

Writers' Wednesday!

Never write for free.

In case you missed that:

Never.  Write.  For.  Free.

That's my new mantra.  I have been willing to do all kinds of things for free in hopes that someone will see my genius and make it up in spades.  Have you ever seen a music video directed for free when the group didn't take it seriously and the manager and producer wasted the better part of two days changing the plans, only to call the whole thing done when less than half of the shots were in the can?  Let's just say no one would be knocking on my door (they were too busy locking theirs).

I've also acted for free (well, for a copy of the finished product to add to my reel), giving my best work and doing very physical stunts.  I never received a copy.  The work never snowballed into easy street.

I can't even count the times I've written free copy to help someone out (and hopefully get samples to use to seduce paying clients).  What happened was I made myself into a creative whore.  That's probably not the best term to use...  whores get paid.

Regardless, (as I will undoubtedly be telling the bug when she's older) no one will respect you if you don't first respect yourself.  Why would anyone pay good money in an economy such as this when they can get your best efforts for the cost of the air they breathe?

Novels, screenplays, articles, short stories, and (to a much, much lesser extent) poetry should be considered deferred pay.  No one's paying me now, but just wait fifteen years...  or more.  I'm not even writing this blog for free.  You think it's free because you haven't paid any money to read this.  Still, my blog is upping my potential earnings from hopeful to possible.  (hey, I've got the bug and wifey to consider)

If you've ever asked a writer to work for free, or questioned why writers should be paid at all, shame on you! Would you expect that of any other profession?  Have any of you writers turned free work into financial independence?  (didn't think so)

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