30,000 Words, 700 Jobs, One Year

A few months ago, a friend considering a freelance writing career asked me how much money I make as a writer. I wanted to say, “You mean, what’s the going rate for a human soul?” But I wasn’t close enough to this friend to be certain she’d realize I was mostly kidding. Instead I said, “This month, I made between $25 and $2,000 for individual stories that were about the same length,” to indicate how unpredictable rates are in an industry that is hemorrhaging money while flooded with qualified candidates.

I’ve produced more than 30,000 words of original and highly job-specific material without pay in an effort to prove myself a capable and good sport to the handful of companies that have reached back out to me from the black hole of resume inboxes to give me a chance.

– Prospective employers demand full-time freelancers to produce inordinate amounts of writing as part of their applications, in addition to the usual cover letter and resumé. From sample tweets to an entire magazine, Alana Massey experienced this firsthand. Read more about her experience and the ethics of freelancing at Pacific Standard. 

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