Pay the Writer

To all freelancers out there I’d like to share this… It’s not about writing only I guess. I sometimes feel Harlan Ellison‘s anger, too, and he describes the current situation very precisely:

As long as we need money for translating work into food or other goods we all have to get paid for our work. Writing, designing and even thinking can be valuable work. This is about mutual appreciation, and about esteeming somebody’s experience and talent. Isn’t it?

What are your experiences?


As you may have read up to now Shelley Noble and me shared some more thoughts on this post’s comment section. My dear friend Simon of Freelance Unbound is writing regulary on this this subject and I really would recommend his collection of ideas.

Normally I would send him articles relating on paying and getting for (online) works and jobs but today it suits into this post as well, sorry, Simon! Andrew Keen wrote the article Why are artists poor? which is the total opposite of Harlan Elliot above.

Feel free to discuss it in the comment section.

25. August 2009 by Jessica
Categories: Stuff | Tags: | 5 comments

Comments (5)

  1. I think he is utterly wrong on all counts.

    He’s welcome to think as he likes and he likely has more money that I will ever imagine having myself. But his approach here is petty and off-target from my values and principles.

    I believe one does what one feels correct to do and asks for the compensation one feels appropriate rather than grub for every penny one can get.

    There’s a terrible greed in his approach, whether he should be paid or not. I can’t get excited or driven by money personally.

    And that is why I live very bare bones vs. affluently.

  2. Shel, he really annoyed you, didn’t he? I know exactly what you mean being in a pretty similar situation like you I guess.

    I know that I’d work even *without* money, just because I love my work so much. Being able to do my work means affluence to me.

    But around me I see a lot of people who want my experience and motivation but who aren’t willing to give *anything* according for exchange. And that means exploitation and no recognition. I’d prefer a much more balanced situation.

    I’m still not sure if he’s just greedy. I suppose it’s his way expressing his wish for recognition…

  3. I assume it’s not a monetarian problem here, first and foremost it’s about fairness and partnership.

    Especially in his example, the company is going to sell the DVD, so they *are making* money of *his* work. That’s just inequitable…

  4. Not annoyed, disgusted. People with his attitude disgust me. Or I should say, I find that attitude about money disgusting. And that’s why I will always be absolutely money poor.

    I don’t think of it in terms of “well, ‘they’ are making money, so why not the same value for what I do.”

    I’d much rather grow my own food next to a shed and do as I please (when not exhausted from growing the food).

    Anything else other than a fair modest amount of compensation seems gross to me. I guess the difference between myself and most others is the opinion of what is a “fair” amount and the virtue of the amount having to be kept modest.

    Most seem to say “Gimme mine, and make it a lot.”

  5. It’s funny, I just started growing food myself…

    And I absolutely understand both ways of living – apart from be being undecided now which path I’d like to follow…

    My brain says, “hey, charge money for your work!”, the rest of me (stomach and heart) says, “well, take it easy, you hadn’t been seriously hungry so far.”

    But deeply inside I know that the money thing can’t make myself happy.