I’m an Underpaid Writer – Hey I Resemble that Remark

10 Oct

Okay, here is how it is supposed to work…
1. You get a new client
2. You negotiate a price for their project
3. You do the work
4. You get paid

Here is how it often works…
1. You get a new client
2. You negotiate a price for their project
3. Your do the work
4. You have to redo the work because the client wasn’t clear
5. You have to redo the work again because the client changed their minds
6. You have to redo the work again because the client has changed their minds again
7. You have to start from scratch because the client’s friend had a better idea
8. And it goes on and on…..

I would love to tell you that this NEVER happens to me but…I’d be lying. It’s happening to me right now and, to be honest, it’s a little like watching your own death scene that never ends. I love what I do so in a way I don’t mind the work except that now I have 100 man hours into a project that was supposed to only take 20…I’m now losing money. And the sad thing is…the client will continue to do this as long as I allow it.

The problem with us writers is that we are…well…writers. We aren’t business people, we are calm, writer types who hate to send a hamburger back at Burger King because they left the pickles on when we asked for no pickles. (Admit it, you pull the car over, gripe about the pickles and then removed them still enduring the yucky pickle taste still embedded in the burger….yeah me too) Ask for more money? MMMMMM…nope. We expect the best in people and hope desperately that the client will do “the right thing” and just offer us more money….folks…it ain’t gonna happen.

You, as a writer, have to take the reins of your projects or they will ride you all the way to the poor house. Most clients are first timers who have never actually hired a writer before so they too have no idea how it works; you have to educate them. Set an actual date by which the project needs to be done, if it passes that date charge more. I have been in this loop now for over a month and this project should have ended two weeks ago. I am now into it for about $500 over what I actually charged and it is maddening. To be honest though I have to take some of the blame; I didn’t control the project.

So don’t cheat yourselves folks, control the project so that you don’t look up one day when you are 80 only to discover that you are making yet another change to the project you began 8 years ago. You owe it to yourself and your work to make sure that clients honor you.




© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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2 responses to “I’m an Underpaid Writer – Hey I Resemble that Remark

  1. October 12, 2022 at 6:51 am

    For as much as I love to write, I love to get paid even more. Sometimes in full, always in advance. A nice sit-in restaurant is about the only place I can think of where you get what you ask for before you pay for it. I take a very business-like approach to writing for hire. More often than I care to admit, it has cost me a client or two.

    Your time is not free, nor are a lifetime of skills developed through telling stories and giving a voice to someone elses thoughts. These things are precious and should not be taken lightly. I hope this one somehow works out in your favor. Good Luck!

    • thewritersadvice

      October 13, 2022 at 5:43 pm

      Thanks Josh, I hope so too. Keep on writing my friend.


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