Monday, October 15, 2007

Write Your Heart Out...


As online publishing methods and techniques become more and more popular, the debate over writing for free has begun to heat up. There is no shortage of opinions on the subject across the Internet today, especially among the freelance writing community.

While some writers stubbornly refuse to write a word without getting paid for it, there is a growing segment of those that are willing to give their talent away in the form of free articles distributed through sites such as and other similar venues. As a successful freelance writer, and someone who often writes for free, I want to take a few moments to share some excellent reasons why you should consider giving at least a little of your talent away.

A Well Oiled Machine

One of the biggest benefits of writing for free is that it allows you to keep your skills sharp, especially during 'dry spells'. All too often, we venture off and do other things during those periods of downtime. As a result, we run the risk of losing the focus and tenacity in our writing. We certainly aren't getting any better during those times. As the saying goes, use it or lose it.

Experience = Opportunity

For many, myself included, the ultimate goal is paid, published writing. There is nothing wrong with this. But what if you are just starting out, or are just coming off an extended period of not being published? Writing for free offers you the chance to build your portfolio, or to bulk up an existing one.

Were it not for the fact that I had published several articles on the Internet and in print publications, I probably would not have snagged my first paid gig. Thanks to writing for free, I was able to point the editor to several articles which gave me a solid argument for why I should be paid to write. Writing for free provided me with an opportunity - to showcase the skills I knew I had - an opportunity I would not have had otherwise.

The Marketing Factor

Another opportunity that presented itself through free writing was the chance to market my skills. When you publish through the free syndication sites, you include an author biography at the end. This bio often contains contact information, such as an email or web address. The more authoritative the article, the better your chances are of being contacted by someone needing your services.

This is a fairly effective method of marketing, regardless of what business you are in. I have seen it work for a wide range of people, from personal coaches to roofing contractors. I have even had success with it, securing several copywriting jobs over the years. All as a result of writing for free. In all reality, I made quite a bit more from the resulting projects than I would have if I had sold the articles to any given publication.

Is It "Write" for You?

Whether or not you decide to write for free will depend largely on your own goals as a writer. For me, my ultimate goal is and always has been sharing my talents with the world. I enjoy the response I get from people, and like the fact that I know my work is being read.

Don't get me wrong. I was hooked on paid writing the first time I received a check in the mail. The fact that someone was willing to pay me to do something I love led to a huge sense of satisfaction. Even better was the pride of walking into Barnes & Noble, picking up a magazine off the rack and opening it to see my name in print. Nonetheless, I continue to write for free because overall, I love the art of writing. It is my passion.

Do you agree or disagree with me? I would love to hear your opinion on the subject. Once again, give it some thought and then write about it. As always, if you post it on your blog, be sure to let me know about it so I can link to your article.


Got a burning question? I would love to answer it in my latest blog, "The Geek Advisor". No question is off limits! I welcome your questions about EVERYTHING, from writing to politics, religion, sex, money - you ask it, and I will provide the very best answer I can, from a geek's perspective. What are you waiting for? You'll never know until you ask!


I hope you like what you have seen so far on this blog. I am currently working on several posts for the near future, including articles on writing for the web, blogging for cash and much, much more. I also have several good interviews with other bloggers waiting in the wings. If there is anything in particular you would like to see in an upcoming post, please let me know. You can leave me some comment luv, or drop me an email at

I look forward to hearing from you! Until next time...

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