Word Prostitutes: the Pros and Cons of Selling what you Write

I sell my words. I’m a freelance writer, a guest blogger, and a ghostwriter- which are all fancy ways of saying I sit in front of a computer and write things. And people pay me for it. So all things considered, it’s a pretty awesome job. Sometimes I like to brag about it (I know, I’m awful). The other day I was telling one of my friends what I do and she was like:

“So basically, you’re like verbal prostitute.”

“What? No, I mean not really…”

“Think about it. Prostitutes trade their body for money. You trade your words for money, letting the buyer do whatever they want with it. You’re a word prostitute.”

The more I thought about it, the more I agreed (once I got offer the initial offended feeling).

Cons of becoming a Word Prostitute

No ownership: As soon as I sell what I write, I lose any claim of ownership. It ends up on other people’s blogs or company websites. Most of the time I not only have no idea where it ends up, but I have no way to manage who claims ownership or what they decide to change. As soon as I ghostwrite something, I lose all ownership. I’ve seen a lot of my stuff end up one someone else’s blog: the same title, the same body paragraphs, but instead of my name, it has “written by John Smith” on the top of the page.

I don’t mind it most the time; John Smith usually pays well (wow, I really am a Word Whore).

No fixed schedule. I have a couple constant jobs. Every Tuesday I have a post due for Tokyo Cheapo; every Friday I have a piece for AG Budding. All the other companies are very flexible. Some weeks they will want ten or fifteen articles written; other weekends they won’t contact me. This, compared with the fact I’m still a full-time student, means I occasionally have to turn down profitable writing jobs because it conflicts with my class schedule.

I hate turning down (basically free) money.

No stability or guarantees. Anything I write can be rejected. If I’m lucky, someone will tell me why my pitch got rejected, but most editors are not required to.

I can spend several hours working on a 2,000 word informative piece, only to have it rejected. This is not a stable “job.” And I’m awful at handling rejection, so when one of my pieces is turned down, I get depressed.

Not to mention I’m stuck with a useless piece, like the benefits of dehumidifiers, or why you should but a safe to store your wedding bands after your wedding. What am I supposed to do with that…? I can’t put it on my own blog, so it just sits in limbo until I can “resell” it to a different company.

Pros of becoming a Word Prostitute

I love writing: I didn’t realize how much I loved writing until I had been blogging for several months. I love having a job where I can learn – I love spending all day writing about “Tips for after your Wedding” or “How to pack for your summer vacation.” It’s fun. When I research, I learn.

I’m not a fiction writer. I don’t know how to. I stopped reading fiction sometime in high school – now I’m stuck on autobiographies, self-help books, and psychological economic books.

In a documentary about prostitutes in Nevada, several of the women claimed they were prostitutes because they loved sex. If they would make money doing something they loved, why not? I think the same concept applies to me. I love writing. If can make money writing the kind of thing I like to read (short self-help articles) of course I’m going to be happy.

Flexible hours: I’m a full time student. I don’t have time to work a regular job. Also, I don’t like working regular jobs.

I can write from anywhere: In the beginning, a lot of my articles were written in between classes (during breaks) or during my presentation-based classes. For the last five weeks of one of my classes of nearly 200 students, we had group presentations. I couldn’t skip – but showing up seemed pointless. So I wrote.

I can write articles while I watch TV, while taking a break from classes, or while I’m bored.

It’s a job: I’m a full time student. I can put this on my resume AND it’s a job I actually like doing.

I am proud to be a Word Prostitute (or Word Whore). I like writing. I think it is awesome companies and bloggers like my writing style enough to shell out cash and buy the rights for it. It is also nice know I can do this job for as long (or short) as I want. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not rolling in cash. Freelance writing is not a quick get-rich scheme; there is no way I can do freelance writing as a legitimate job.

But it is a fun side-job.

And I will probably keep doing this until I eventually get tired of writing.

Add me on Google Plus: +Grace Buchele

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One response to “Word Prostitutes: the Pros and Cons of Selling what you Write

  1. Pingback: The Negative Side of Blogging: Things to think about before Starting a Study Abroad Blog | Texan in Tokyo·

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