I am a writer. I write for a living…well I did before I went off to college. For the niche I wrote in, independent roleplaying games that never got published, I was a well paid writer. I knew I could get paid more, a lot more, but I was writing for a few reasons:
- Pay check, no lie I want to get paid for writing. If you do something well you should get paid for it in some form of remuneration (cash, barter, or whatever terms we work out)
- Love writing, I love writing. While I have not been able to write nearly as much as I used to, school is out and the keyboard calls to me. When I got paid, I was writing because of love.
- Exposure, back when I was getting paid, I was new to the whole writing for a living thing, and thought, rather incorrectly that I, via my writing, needed exposure. That, through the act of writing, getting paid, and getting published people would notice me and offer me more work. It does not work like that.
Never did. A lot of my early writing was done for less than it was worth, because I believed that exposure was needed to hit the big time. Something that will never happen again, unless I choose to, such as this blog. I have a blog not because I am seeking exposure. That I get exposure is a by-product. I write here because this is my outlet, my hobby place, my relaxation, and from time-to-time I have something I want to share with more than just the voices in my head.
Because I write and blog, I have gotten opportunities that I would not have gotten if I did not write or blog. I did not get them because of exposure gained by posting. I got them because when I put my skills to use, I am very good at my chosen career, writer and blogger. People seek me out for my expertise. I blog, for free, for me. Nothing more.
Which bugs the shit out of me when people want my writing and offer up exposure as compensation. What is exposure? Tell me. Someone? Anyone? And while you or whomever is explaining to me what exposure could mean to me, allow me to retort with, “Will exposure pay my bills or put food in my belly?”
Exposure means, dick. More views or more contacts does not mean more work; it means the possibility (potential, chance, percentage, or whatever term that means not concrete) for more work or job offers. In the same way that Linked In offers me a chance to network for work or Facebook offers me a chance to meet people, which could mean…blah, blah, blah. Exposure is a promise of nothing.
Writing is hard enough as it is. Yes, I know everyone can write. Thus, everyone is a writer. Bullshit! Time for the truth to be handed down, just because you can string together some words that approximates a sentence, does not mean you are a writer. Let alone that anyone other than someone who has too wants to read what you put to paper or screen.
Being a writer means dedication and time at a minimum. For example, these blogs I post everyday, do not magically happen. There have been plenty of days where I have not wanted to write a post, yet I do. Why do I? Because I am a writer. From here we can get into all of the usual BS that writers have on what is a writer and what it means to be a writer and what qualifies you as a writer…blah, blah, blah…
What matters to me, is that you believe that you are a writer and you put the skills of a writer to use. What matters to me, is that if you believe you are a writer, you understand your skill has value and that value is worth more than exposure. Expose yourself in other ways, but before you handout some bit of writing for free (exposure is free), have an idea of how much your time is worth. If at that point, you think it is worth handing out your work for free, then good on you. However, if the cost analysis does not add up, ask for something in return. There is nothing wrong asking for what you are worth. Exposure, by the way is not something you should have ever have to ask for or be offered.
- Are they printing/publishing your material?
- Will your name be attached to your writing that they will be printing/publishing?
If the answers are yes, then there is your exposure. Now pay me what I am worth for what I do.
Brought to you by the various people and organizations that keep offering bloggers and writers exposure instead of remuneration for work.