Um, Seriously?

Overall, I really try not to complain. I love that I have the opportunity to pursue my life dream of being a freelance writer. I love that I have friends and family that support my decisions. I love that I can work from home. And I love that I have already gotten a few clients. But…..

This week I have been applying for jobs like crazy, mostly off the typical job boards and lists. Among some of the responses I got, one completely shocked me. Mind you that this job advertised for a “Professional Writer” with a college degree. So you would think, anyway, the ad went on to request a resume, three samples of work, a summary of my work experience and why I think I am qualified for the job. All in all, thanks in part to my new Web site, applying for the job took me about five minutes. But five minutes of my precious time, only to be told that after reviewing my resume and samples, they felt that I was very qualified for the job and they were willing to offer me, wait for it, wait for it…. $1-4 dollars per 500 word article depending on the exact length, plus a whopping $2 for editing other people’s articles. WHAT!?! Seriously people. Do they really think that I went to college, put together a resume, collect perfect samples of my work and take time out of my day to seek out opportunities only to be offered that? What an insult.

Now, I know at this point you are probably thinking “welcome newbie”, but I have heard the horror stories. I know that some places really do offer writers this measly wage; I just haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing it firsthand. So thus ensued my first moment of weakness. As I sat there dejectedly reading the email again, I just felt my self-worth going down the drain. But I didn’t let it keep me down long, soon I was able to brush it off and move on.  However, later that night as I was telling my husband about it, it dawned on me that somewhere out there, someone will really accept that offer. Which truth be told is what is going to drive down the rates for all of us freelance writers. Oh the injustice.

How can companies really think that it is okay to offer someone that amount for their precious time? In my previous full-time job, at least they had the decency to compensate me well for my time. No way in the world would they have thought to offer an employee $1-4 for an hour of work. That is why we have a minimum wage in this country, so people can actually support themselves. And, what so called freelance writer would actually accept that wage for their precious time? I think the minimum wage should apply to freelancers of all fields too. Can’t we all join together, not accept these crap jobs and demand at least a minimum wage for ourselves?

Do you have any horror stories about searching for jobs?

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Do Writers Need a Niche?

Here is one thing I keep questioning. I keep going over it in my mind and it just keeps drifting into my thoughts. Do writers need a niche to be successful?

The thing is, I don’t have a niche. I don’t even know where I would start. I like to write on many different topics – actually, a lot of times I choose to write about things that I know nothing about, just to gain more knowledge and broaden my horizons.

Of course, there are topics that I choose to write about more often than others, but that’s mostly because I have the most experience in those areas and therefore the articles are easy for me to research and write. The closest thing I can think of as being my niche would be event planning or marketing writing. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t write on other topics. When I look for clients or jobs, I look at each option separately, I think about what they are asking for and if I think I would be able to meet their needs. If I think I am a good fit for a client or a job, I apply.

I’ve read lots of articles and blog posts lately on choosing a niche. They all recommend that you select what you like to write about, research the topic and then select a way to make yourself unique in that niche. First of all, I like to write about almost anything, so that leaves me pretty open. Every topic I think might be a good fit seems to be overly crowded and it seems very difficult to make one self stand out. Not that I’m not up for the challenge, but is it worth it? Or would I be better off getting experience in lots of areas, while working on developing a brand for myself as a good, reliable and easy to work with writer?

Sure, there are writers out there that have created a great niche for themselves, but a lot of times it seems like they didn’t necessarily go out looking for a niche, it just kind of evolved. So maybe, I’m just over thinking this. Maybe if I’m meant to have a niche, it will evolve over time and when I realize what it is, then I can work on developing it. Until then, I think I’ll keep my options open, I don’t think it hurts my chances of making it as a writer to have experience in many topics.

What is your niche? How did you find it and develop it?