Say yes: The benefits and risks of working for free
Inside Higher Ed - 09/20/2016
After earning my MA back in 2005, I decided that I wanted a change of pace from academic writing and decided to try my hand at what we in academia sometimes call “public writing.” In short, I became a freelance journalist. Though I wasn’t trained as a journalist, the path to publication seemed clear. I’d start a blog, try to attract a small following, write some pieces for small online magazines and websites, and, when I felt like I had enough experience and a good enough idea to pitch a mainstream publication, I’d go for it.
And that is exactly what I did: I wrote for free until I had the opportunity to write a book review that earned me $100. After my first paid publication, I hadn’t “made it,” of course, so I continued writing for free—saying yes to any opportunity that came my way—and occasionally getting paid. Eventually, however, I got to the place where I could stop giving away articles and only write for publications that would compensate me for my efforts.