Not long ago, somebody linked me to this, as a tale of a fellow freelance editor/writer with a chronic illness who was struggling in the current economy. And instead, I came away with a very different response.
Dear Fellow Writer/Editor:
Why are you making less than $20,000 a year? Because you are selling yourself short. You are probably taking $8 an hour jobs on eLance or oDesk, which means all you are doing is driving down the market for your fellow writers. Stop that. For your own self-worth, and that of your colleagues. just don’t do that. You are worth more. Raise your rates accordingly.
You mention you work eight hours a day, seven days a week, churning out “as many freelance articles as I can convince anyone to pay me for.” On any and every topic, I suspect. And I understand the need to convince people that you can “write on anything!” I’ve fallen into that trap myself, more than once.
But see, here’s the thing. Find your niche. Find that one area that you can write to *better than anybody else* and target yourself there. For me, it’s medical/healthcare. You might find it to be academia. Whatever it might be, focus on being the best in that specific area. You’ll get better results with far less effort.
Before you think otherwise, I too, suffer from a chronic autoimmune condition. It’s so easy to think that because you are not healthy, you are worth less, both personally and professionally. This, I know all too well. I’ve spent far too much of my life convincing myself that I am the Misfit Toy that is not worthy. Society tells us we are. We hear it long enough, and we start to believe it.
It’s a vicious cycle. We are told we can’t, so we don’t. We are told that there’s something terribly wrong with us because we cannot do everything, so we see ourselves as terribly wrong.
And there is anger. At bodies that betray us, doctors who cannot cure us, and people who do not believe us. Terrible, raging fury at what has been done to us. This, too, I know.
But here’s the thing. Be angry. Be furious. And then take that anger and that fury and use it to prove wrong those who disbelieve you. And it starts by believing that YOU are worth more. That you deserve to be properly compensated for your skills and your effort.
In short, fellow writer/editor. up your standards. And anybody who tells you that you are not worth it? Up theirs!