I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about freelance writing and how it’s evolved over the last decade. The freelance writing club used to be a lot more exclusive, they didn’t just let anyone in. Back in the day, it wasn’t as easy to make a living as a writer. Nowadays, it’s a little different. A Journalism or Mass Communications degree isn’t required, and freelancers don’t have to spend days chasing checks and scrounging the trades for the rare freelance writing opportunity.
In 2009, freelance writing jobs are very easy to find. Freelancers of all levels have plenty of work, especially on the web. This doesn’t make some people very happy.
I liken it to a favorite local band. Fans religiously flocked to intimate clubs to listen and enjoy their music. All of a sudden the band hits the big time. Their music is everywhere. So much to a point where it’s getting a little out of hand and the original fans can’t stand listening to them anymore. The intimacy is over. Writing is like that now.
I don’t know if I agree with exclusivity. Like music, writing is best shared with lots of people. My preference is for a “the more the merrier” approach. While I don’t think that everyone can simply become a writer, I do believe there’s room for everyone. The ArTEESTes (HT: James Chartrand) of the world may not like it, but times are changing and we need to change along with it.
It’s difficult for someone who has spent years struggling to find print work to see someone less trained and less seasoned earning $60,000 a year writing for places they don’t approve of. It’s not easy for someone who spends half of his time contacting accounting departments only to learn the “check is in the mail” to see so many writers paid on a weekly basis. The club isn’t so exclusive anymore, and some writers aren’t sure of what to make of it.
Yesterday, I participated in my most important speaking engagement to date. I visited with a classroom of second graders to talk to them about writing. It occurred to me that we’re all for encouraging young people to get out and write, but not so much with adults. Why is that?
What are your thoughts? Do you feel writing is sullied and crowded?
I’m all for getting a bigger clubhouse, how about you?