Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Panties in a Wad

Well, I've ruffled feathers and rankled sensibilities with my latest post about writing. Let me clarify before all the panties in the world are in one big wad. (Don't you just love tired cliches?)

If you think it's just loads of fun to spend your free time writing for your friend's webpage for free, great. Have at it. I might suggest you could find better things to do with your time, but that's really not my place. Do whatever you want to do. It's probably a thousand times more productive than a lot of things other people are doing. So, have at it. BUT, please, neither refer to yourself as a freelance writer, nor refer to the writing as a job. Jobs involve payment. Freelancing involves payment. This is a "favor."

You may be the expert in your chosen hobby. Great. I'm happy for you. You may want to share that with others interested in the hobby. Wonderful. Do it. Just don't be kidded into thinking that you're going to be "discovered" and suddenly be asked to write books for a mainstream publisher. Some people who run speciality websites need a LOT of content and don't want to create it themselves. (Damn, why didn't someone tell me it's a lot of work to maintain a website?) Instead they want to get you to do the work for them. If you want to do that favor for them, go ahead, just don't be duped into thinking it's going to manifest a new career as a writer for you.

I'm a firm believer in volunteer work - I do a lot of it and I benefit from it in others since I run a non profit. But, if you have time to give, seek out non profits in your area, call your local volunteer center, and look for opportunities to help people. Meeting other like minded folks is always inspiring.