Are you making more per word or more per hour now than you did a year ago?
This morning I happened on an old post about writing pay that inspired this post. In the beginning of my freelance writing career I couldn't believe I was being paid to write. At first, I was willing to write for nothing---for experience and exposure and the glory of seeing my words somewhere other than in my journal or unfinished novels. I even got lured into doing a free 'internship' where a popular online magazine offered me the promise of possible paid work later if I'd populate their made for Adsense sites with travel articles. When I relized how much they were actually scamming me I told them I had enough paid work to keep me busy enough. They were indignant that I'd leave the "opportunity" without giving notice and tried to dangle a carrot. It didn't work and I was suddenly wiser.
It feels like forever ago even though it's only been 2 years since I first launched my writing career. Today I have a figure in mind for how much I will write for. It's essential that I spend my time on either making money or furthering my career or preferably both. It's come to a point where I won't write for less than a specific rate per word or rate per hour. Some writers make .01/word and some make $1/word. After you've been writing for a while you have to set goals for yourself financially and in terms of what writing you want to do. Today instead of taking anything thrown at me I only spend my time on lucrative and fun or very lucrative (if not fun) writing work.
How do you take your writing career in a specific direction?
After you've been learning the ropes for a while it's time to decide what to do next.
Decide how much you will write for and come up with a rate per word or better yet... a rate per hour that you want to earn. Higher rates per word don't always dictate how much time it'll take to earn it so look at more than just the rate. Look at research, revisions and ease of doing business with the client.
Try to find your niche so you can be known as a specialist. Some writers are known for autoesponders. Some are known for press releases or SEO or sales pages. Some writers become specialists in a specific topic.
By finding a niche that you're really good in and that you enjoy you can systematically raise your rates. By showing clients how great your work is, you can raise your rates and by not allowing yourself to become complacent you can raise your writing rates too. I have an old post somewhere in this blog that talks about my average rates being .01 to .02 a word and at the time I was very proud of those rates. Today I don't have to write for those rates and sometimes have to stop myself from accepting low paid work because I like the subject matter. Instead of doing low paid work during idle time, if I spend time on self promotion and my own internet marketing efforts for multiple income streams my time is better spent.
Starting out at .01/word was great for my career and taught me a lot about how to write for the web, how to get paid to write and how to get repeat clients but in order to move forward in your writing career you need to continually work to learn more about the industry, raise your rates and do the type of writing you enjoy.
It was interesting reading that old post this morning about how much I earned writing for a living a year ago and it'll be interesting to look aback in another two years and see where my writing efforts have taken me too. I'm looking forward to the journey!