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May 31, 2001
Writing, Because You Love It
By Donna Wilson

Several years ago, our oldest son came to us with a question about his
future. He wanted to know what to do with his education and was having some
problems with the major he had chosen. The young lady that he had been seeing and was smitten with wanted him to go into accounting, but he was miserable with the courses and flunking. Our answer was a question, "What did he really want to do with the rest of his life?" He wanted to coach and work with young people. His one-true-love was sports, and he felt that he could do his best in that field.

The dilemma was monetary; coaching was a much lower paying occupation.
We, of course, realized that the young lady in question was the real problem,
but when you have to work forty or fifty hours a week to make ends meet it is
imperative that you love the job you do. He became a coach and the girl went
on to greener pastures, so to speak. Writing is a job that must have passion and skill. The average person has little or no instinct as to how to begin or what to write. I have an e-book of poetry that is being published and have signed the contracts without the least intention of having the poetry produced in this fashion. The poems were written for my pleasure not for publication. It was upon a whim that I ask an editor to look at the poems. She did, and liked them very much, so much so, that she wish to put them into book form. Some of these poems had been lying around in notebooks for over twenty years, unpublished but most cherished. The point is that if you write for the love of writing it will have worth. There is an old adage that states, "Love what you do and do what you love, and others will too." It is the secret to success no matter what chosen field or occupation one practices.

I've heard a lot of disgruntlement among the writing community as to the
pay or no-pay jobs available, and my thought is that the pay should be a
second consideration. I know that a good many of these writers make a living
by what they produce and a no-pay job will not put food on the plate. Some
have spent several thousand dollars on education as well and this has to be
compensated, but the real problem with freelancing is the economy and the
necessity of the written word. Writing, unlike medicine or law, is an art and
therefore a luxury. There are fields of writing that require a degree of education, such as textbook or journaling, but for the most part the average writer will construct essays from everyday living, romance, family and these categories.

Anyone considering the freelance field should think of it as a part time job in the same category as a hobby, until they have become established at which point the monetary demands can then be made. They need to consider the degree of skill that they possess and should also think of the market around them. The nonpaying market is a labor of love, while the lower paying markets are as much a sign of the times as the closing of factories and stock failures. However, the ten cents a word, that is fairly standard amounts to a very rational pay scale. Depending upon the amount of time that it takes to complete an article, this can be as much as $20 an hour and there are not that many jobs available at such a wage. If it takes two or three days to produce a piece of writing that is suitable for publication, then this figure is much lower. How and why you write will determine the finances accumulated.

Writing for love is the only way that I could consider freelancing. While preparing an article there are two very important things to consider, "is it well written and has it been edited properly?" I am not an editor; my husband does this for me. A well-written article should have a good deal of thought before there is words put to print, and a good program such as Microsoft Word, will do the average writer a decent service. The worst mistake that may be made is to misspell words and I do this with the knowledge that it is a fault in my writing. The easiest words, most frequently misspelled are words that sound alike but have different meanings (waist and waste). Often my characters have a belt sitting by the curve instead of trash.

Always remember, that the publication, whether it is books, magazines, or
newsletter, does not pay for the thought process but for the written word.
They pay for articles, poetry, manuscripts and these may take several days,
months, or years to produce. Write because you love it not because you want a
vacation in the Bahamas. If you can't do the editing yourself, find someone
who has the ability so that the love you have put into the piece won't have
been wasted. Also realize that if you think that a job is beneath you, there
are several thousand freelancers on the web who won't feel the same way.
Our son, after six years of college, started his first coaching position for $22,000 a year, which amounted to approximately $15 dollars an hour, but
he has never worked a forty-hour week. Coaching and lesson planning, grading
and having to construct a viable test are all done after hours in his home or
on a field. And with advancements to his career there is added responsibility
and time.

Donna Wilson is a freelance writer and staff writer with RITRO.com. Excerpts from her e-book "Silence In a World of Noise," may be viewed at http://www.author-network.com/poets.htm.

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