Doing freebie articles and blog posts is almost universally considered a terrible move for your career and for the entire writing trade. However, there are times when you should take off your Serious Ethics hat and try giving away your thoughts.
Picture: r3v || cls/Flickr
Ann Friedman writes at the Columbia Journalism Review about her own dilemma in wanting to get paid for her work as a freelance writer. Sometimes, she wanted to get certain pieces into certain venues, no matter the cost. She lays out what seems like a simple two-step test to determine if it's worth the sweat of your word processor to post for free. One of them:
I, for example, make these silly, hand-drawn charts, which I publish at The Hairpin. This is something I do for fun, and I'd make these pie charts whether or not anyone wanted to publish them. After I published a few and people seemed to like them, I made it a goal to find a publication to pay me for similar work. And I did -- a monthly magazine commissioned me to do a recurring chart feature for its front-of-book. It's a paid gig I never would have gotten without an unpaid one.
Have you flipped around an unpaid obsession into a paid gig?
Freelancing for free : Columbia Journalism Review [Columbia Journalism Review]