4/1/10

Writers Who Won't Work

I've learned in the past couple of months that there are thousands of writers on the Internet, all searching for ways to earn more money from their writing efforts. They spend plenty of time online, trying to learn all about how to earn money from freelance writing. They try to source new clients and new work avenues. They really dig in deep and research how to make it all work for them.

Unfortunately, there is also a large percentage of writers who have access to all the work they want or need and they simply choose not to take it because it might look like they have to do some work.

It's so surprising how many writers beg for help and tell me how hard they're struggling with money - yet when the work is handed to them on a platter, it all becomes too hard for them to cope with. They'd rather sit around and fantasize about writing the next big novel, instead of accepting real paying work that will pay the rent right now!

Freelance writing is about accepting writing work for clients, completing that work and getting paid. If you have the dream of sitting around signing autographs on the inside of your best-selling book cover, but you don't want to write what clients want, then you're in the wrong business. That's novel writing - not freelance writing.

Don't get me wrong - I'd love to write a novel too. But I'm funding my novel-writing dreams by doing the real freelance paying stuff that gives me the time to be at home doing what I love first. I'm not shirking the 'work' side of this writing thing as I keep seeing so many people doing, day in and day out.

So my question to you is this: Is there really any point trying to help people who simply don't want to help themselves? Or am I banging my head against a brick wall over here?

I'm going back to writing my assignments that really do pay my bills. When I'm done with covering the bill payments, I'll spend time writing my novels. I won't be spending my time answering emails from people who beg me to help them, only to learn that they don't want to do anything that looks like they have to do anything for themselves.

Till next time, be good and if you can't be good - be good at it.

11 comments:

MJ O'Dwyer said...

Hi Bianca,
Don't get discouraged! Your work has helped me to successfully publish for Bright Hub and also obtain editing and writing work with Delegate 2, as I would never have found them without your blog. I agree with your comments, writing is hard work and there is no such thing as easy money. Those who expect it are dreaming.

I intend to link to your blog (listing yours as a valuable resource) from my newly created one (which documents my ongoing struggle;-)).As favourable mentions can only benefit you, I hope this is okay with you. Thanks again for creating this blog which I check regularly (has pride of place on my Explorer/Flock and Firefox toolbar).
I did not put my URL(I hate sneaky promotional attempts)but you will be able to see it later when I link to you.
Please update your site with leads as you qualify them, I have given up rearching online due to the large amount of BS contained. Revenue sharing sites and cents per article site can (expletives deleted in advance). But you know what I mean.

lastlittlebird said...

I'm totally going to use a sneaky promotional technique here and let you know that I linked to your blog on my squidoo page

http://www.squidoo.com/notanamericanfreelancer

which is mainly a list of different websites that accept international freelancers, but also has a section on useful (awesome) blogs and forums.

This post makes me think of something Neil Gaiman said recently in one of his appearances (I was lucky enough to attend) when someone asked him how to be a writer. He said people always ask him that and seem to expect an answer like (paraphrasing here) "first you take a goat, then sacrifice it at a crossroads at midnight and wait for a knock at your door, when you open in, Stephen King, JK Rowling and I will be there in black robes..." then he went on to say the only way to be a writer is to write. There are no shortcuts.

Likewise with the freelancer. Half the job is looking things up through search engines. If you can't manage it even to investigate the job itself, maybe it's not the right job for you.


In other words, I guess I think most of the time it's not worth helping people with repeatedly lazy, asinine questions.


Still, sometimes I have asinine questions... but I also have a witty turn of phrase :)

MJ O'Dwyer said...

lastlittlebird.
I couldn't be bothered responding in detail to 'witty turns of phrase'as none are evident. Some people have their methods , I have mine (maybe I shouldn't be a writer if I can't involve myself in pointless tasks, when info is already provided). If you want to waste your time 'researching'fake or low-paying job opportunities then go ahead.
As for me , I'm quite happy to take advantage of tips provided by a working freelancer, who makes a living from her writing. I'm also writing full-time, and my opinionated student days are but a distant memory. There are many professionals who are qualified to indicate whether someone is suitable for writing or not, but I don't think you are one of them.

Do yourself a favour, and just write something tangible in a paying market, rather than criticise what was simply an encouraging comment to Bianca,for the valuable resource she has provided. When providing future material for review I would suggest that terms such as 'totally' and 'awesome'are omitted since they betray your student roots, and hardly place you in a position to preach to others.

Don't worry , some day soon you too will grow up, and be in a regular job. Perhaps the phrase "Do you want fries with that? " will serve you well. At least , I hope so.

lastlittlebird said...

To MJ O'Dwyer,

I'm very sorry, I realise now that in saying 'this post' I left my comment too ambiguous and easily confused as being critical of your own comment.

Aside from a flippant quote of your comment ("I'm totally going to use a sneaky promotional technique"), I meant to respond to Bianca's post of "writers who won't work", and not to your words.
I respect the fact that you, myself and many others are making a living from freelancing and that we all need help from the more experienced who kindly offer it.


It wasn't you, or I, that I was referring to with some criticism, any more than I think Bianca was, it was those people who, as you say "expect easy money", or as I said expect shortcuts, and seem to be nagging Bianca to provide them.

I apologise again if you think I gave you any disrespect, that was certainly not my intention.
Rachel

MJ O'Dwyer said...

To Rachel,
Thanks for your apology, and I also apologise for being overly sensitive. I certainly hope Bianca will remove my previous comment, as based on your explanation, it is totally unwarranted.

This is a failing on my part, and I aim to improve as writers should be able to take criticism. I'm still a bit touchy when it comes to that, I guess.
Thank you for taking the time to put up a sincere response and not allowing this to degenerate further, as could easily have been the case.
I guess I should look at adding ranting to my repertoire ;-)

Michael

To Bianca ,
Please remove my previous comment as based on Rachel's reply, on reflection, she really didn't deserve such a caustic response.

I wish you further success in your future writing projects.Suffice to say, writing is hard, stressful work and it is easy to get carried away with responding to perceived criticisms, whether valid or invalid.

Michael

Genesis said...

It's worth helping those who just need a little push, but the ones who refuse to work . . . not so much. I teach an online writing course that costs $200, so you'd think the people who sign up for it would want to make sure their money wasn't wasted. But no, nearly 50% of my students don't do a SINGLE assignment or respond to any of my emails! I believe they fall firmly into the group you're talking about.

Bianca Raven said...

It really does discourage me some days when I receive so many emails from people wanting me to give them that elusive 'magic button' that will turn them into best-selling authors overnight. They simply don't want to lift a finger to help themselves. These are the people I was talking about.

I'm always happy to help anyone who really wants to learn and improve. I'll always encourage other writers who are working hard to get where they want to go.

And I'll even encourage writers to leave URLs for their own blogs/sites simply because networking between writers is a great way to learn about new leads, new work, new publications and meet people who understand this crazy industry ;)

Di said...

I am sure you know that I seen tons that want a magic button but the sad fact is, there is not a magic button. Work hard and play hard, you get out what you put into your work (and sometimes more). :)

Keep up the blogging too, looks good!

Magnolia said...

Love your blog. You're right about "dreaming" about writing versus, um, "writing"

It's been quite a lesson for me to realize that I can either sit around and whine and complain or I can get off my ass and start writing.

There are no paths of least resistance. People get where they are by, ahem, working.

I'm late to this game, but it's a great trip and I'm learning a lot.

Master Dayton said...

I definitely understand this frustration. It's extremely gratifying to me whenever I get comments about how much I helped someone get started, but it is aggravating when you say "get started" and many people simply won't. JadeDragon at his Innovative Passive Income blog and I both had a discussion on Constant Content sign ups as an example: only 10% ever publish a single article, but most of them who do sell something. It's always up to the person to make things happen, because freelancing is great - but it's a ton of work and no one should think any differently. Thanks for the great blog!

absolutluv said...

I want to thank you for sharing something valid in every post! I quit my job two years ago to begin writing from home. However, I was an idiot. I only focused on the" content mills" and wrote my fingers to the bone to not even be able to pay the bills! I took a year to learn and eventually took a full time position to cover the bills. But the love I have for the written word has never died. I felt like such a failure that I have avoided your blog for a bit. The past few days I have read about a years worth of posts and my hope is restored. Thank you for encouraging people to look past 2 cents a word and make a real sustainable income..