Freelance Round-Up: This Month in Writing

Freelance writers urged to relax about low rates

A freelance blogger has urged her colleagues to break the habits which are holding back their business. If you ever get annoyed at people working for low rates (i.e. if you have ever dabbled with freelance bidding sites), Jennifer Mattern is talking to you!

Although the issue can be frustrating, Jennifer’s post on All Freelance Writing provides another, more positive, way of looking at it and one that is less likely to have you bursting a blood vessel. She urges freelancers not to worry about other content providers undercutting the market with rock bottom rates and, in fact, not to worry about what other writers are charging at all.

She concludes by warning freelance whingers: “No one owes you a living”.

Much as what Jennifer says is true, you still can’t help but feel Lori Widner’s pain in her Open Letter to Bad Job Listing Owners and, as she points out in the comments, it’s a useful signpost for newbies who might not know the pitfalls to avoid.

The alternative guide to being a freelancer

There are lots of ‘how to’ articles around on freelance writing, but Susannah Breslin’s ‘pithy’ take on the subject in a Forbes blog offers some advice it’s safe to say you probably haven’t been given before. She explains that she’s been freelancing for over a decade, but now “the rules have changed”. Tips for making it under today’s system include “be young or be stupid”, “marry rich” and ditch all of the following: journalism courses, print and blogging!

A few posters in the comments section are adding some less cynical, more common-garden tips if they’re more your thing.

Majority of news journalists are men

A new survey, commissioned by Women in Journalism, has found that almost three-quarters (74%) of news journalists in UK newsrooms are men.

The study found that women account for only a third of business and politics writers and 3% of sports writers. The Daily Mail and the Observer were found to have the highest proportion of female journalists, whilst the Independent had the lowest.

The report also revealed that women don’t necessarily dominate the journalistic areas you might expect them to (if you were stereotyping!). Almost half (49%) of lifestyle journalists and 70% of arts journalists are now men. Women are also less likely to hold senior positions, the report said.

Rowenna Davis, committee member of Women in Journalism who led the research, said: “These results raise serious questions about the meritocracy of our national press. The UK’s media contributes a huge amount to our democracy by holding others accountable, but it should not be beyond that scrutiny itself.

"With such gaping underrepresentation in hard news, business and politics, we have to question whether the absence of women is effecting the content and slant of our news.”

Website set up to help Christchurch freelancers

The creative community has rallied round Christchurch freelancers by setting up a website to help self-employed people in the New Zealand city who have been affected by the recent earthquake. Since the earthquake took place on February 22nd, work has had to stop for many freelancers who have lost equipment and premises.

Stephen McCarthy of McCarthy Design, who set up Christchurch Creative Website, said: “ aims to give those outside of Christchurch a way to help. The site provides a database of Christchurch-based freelancers so that companies from other cities may be able to supply the much needed projects that will keep us going through this difficult time.

“We ask if you have excess work, or a job that would suit one of the designers in the database then please get in touch directly and talk with them about how they can meet your needs.”

Freelance designers,illustrators, web, video and audio professionals, copywriters and photographers have all registered so far.

Sarah Wray


30th March 2011

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