By Joe Dyton
I made a decision today.
I’m not longer going to write on spec, take “writing tests, etc. Well, at least not for free. As I mentioned recently, I applied for a writing gig with a website that wanted to me to write three (!) sample articles to see if I was a good fit. I wrote those articles, the site used them and I never heard back that site. Another one wanted me to write a 650 to 1,000 word article (unpaid) to see if I was a good fit; at first I was going to do it, but eventually declined.
It wasn’t until Saturday that I started to think about giving up on writing on spec forever though. I spent part of my Friday night applying for writing gigs (exciting way to start the weekend, I know). I woke up on Saturday morning to see I had a response to one of my applications already. Wouldn’t you know the response was practically a word-for-word replica of the email I got the week prior that asked me for three (!) sample articles about things that were currently trending. Now, this was for a completely different company/site according to JournalismJobs.com, but they must be under the same umbrella. I mean everything was the same except who was sending the email and what the articles didn’t have to be about. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I was tempted to send links to the three sample articles I had already written as a reply, but I thought that would have been a little petty.
Instead, I just decided that I just wasn’t going to this anymore. I have been writing for 15 years and have had articles published in newspapers and magazines. I have spent the last seven years as a marketing copywriter for one of the largest auto insurance companies in the country and have written content for several websites. I feel like my work speaks for itself and if it doesn’t show if I’d be a “good fit” for a company, then I guess I’ll have to find work elsewhere.
Will this decision cost me work down the road? Probably. But, I have to take a leap of faith that there will be plenty of magazines, websites and companies that will be willing to hire me based on what I’ve already written. I’m doing a lot to build a freelance writing business, and I just don’t know if I have the time to work on articles that I won’t get paid for and/or will go unpublished.
Am I crazy for making this decision? Sound off in the comments section!
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