Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Price of Quality

When I first began trying to freelance I have to admit - I was clueless.

My first gig was writing various articles about wedding favors. I had to focus each article on a specific keyword, and write 50 articles all essentially about the same thing.

At the time, I didn't realize I could be doing much less work for MUCH more money. I was just happy to be doing something I loved and getting paid something.

Luckily, I started researching freelance writing and reading everything I could get on the subject. I talked to more established freelancers and realized: "Hey, I can do better!"

While I am constantly learning something new all the time, I am happy to admit that my low-paying, keyword writing days have long been finished with. Thankfully, my ignorance didn't last as long as it could have! To imagine I could still be stuck in the low-paying rut makes me shudder.

What am I getting at, you ask?

I realized that while I was churning out those annoying keyword articles, the quality of my work started to suffer. I became more concerned about hitting the word count than about the fact that all of my sentences began to sound boring and repetitive.

I know now that I was suffering from what I call "writing burnout," and had I actually been paid what I knew I was worth, burnout probably wouldn't have happened.

It's a problem I am constantly seeing across the spectrum - new writers jump on the freelance bandwagon, not knowing how much they could be getting paid, and end up letting the quality of their writing suffer just to collect a paycheck.

So, my question to you - what is the price of quality writing? I realize it's a very loaded question, and the answers will probably vary from writer to writer.

In order to answer that question, first we must determine what the word quality means to us. It's such an overused phrase now, it almost ceases to have a real meaning anymore! "High Quality Writing Services" is now the catch-phrase for every wannabe writer competing for peanuts.

So, what does quality mean to you? And then... what price does quality come with? It's something to think about, and I'm interested to hear your thoughts.



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At 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

High-quality definitely has different meanings to different people. I've noticed exactly the same thing as you - the less I'm paid, the less I care about a project, unless I care about the client. (I have more than a few friends online where payment is not the only reward for the professional relationship - networking is huge. :) )

Good Stuff! Keep it coming!

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Denise said...


I definitely agree with you. I have worked with clients in the past who might not have paid my usual rates, but offered benefits in different ways - and they were also great to work for.

At 11:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Denise

My first time here!
I am glad you spoke about benefits other than in monetary terms. I write for a client (my very first one actually) who pays me less than my new rates, but am I going to get rid of him? No way! He's a graduate from Harvard, and each time he notices something off in an assignment, he'll send me an email along the lines of "small grammar note" or "use this word instead" or something like that. Suffice to say, a lot of my experience has been with the "stuff 15 keywords into 500 words" webmasters and working with my client has done a lot for my writing skills. Plus he's terrific to work with!

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Denise said...


I'm glad you decided to stop by!

There can definitely be other benefits in working with certain clients - even if they don't pay your standard rates.

It sounds like the client you currently work with is great for your writing skills! That's definitely a side benefit that may be worth it to a lot of people.


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