Writer’s Log #11: No Re-SPEC-t

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business, and I just don’t know if I have the time to work on articles that I won’t get paid  for and/or will go unpublished.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!

The Links:

Yuwanda Black suggests using postcards to market your freelance writing services.

Amber Adrian offers up five tips to make money freelance writing.

Jodee Redmond explains how to deal with difficult freelance writing clients.

Susan Johnston shows how you to tell if an online publication pays well.

Joe Dyton (@dyton99) is a freelance journalist and copywriter in Washington, DC and co-host of The GD Podcast with Mike Grant and Joe Dyton. He can be reached at dytonwande@gmail.com.

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Writer’s Log #19: Better Late Than Never | The Aspiring Freelancer

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