Home > Questions to Ponder, Work-related, Writing and Poetry > Whether You Get Paid or Not

Whether You Get Paid or Not


There are tons of books on the market that instruct us on how to make more money, spend less of it, and where to stash what we haven’t spent. Like many, spending and saving has more than one meaning for me. We all must decide how much, where and when money comes into the picture and what we mean by money.

Monetary worth is often measured by $ saved in bank accounts. There are other measures as well, and other types of banks. A person can save herself from a variety of situations, circumstances, and disasters. She can save her energies for special occasions, and so on. Euphemisms abound regarding saving.

In today’s catch-as-catch-can world of finance, saving money in banks is getting harder to do. The meaning of “saving money” has shifted to refer as much to buying for less as is does “squirrelling away cash.” For those who’re trying to make it in the publishing business, demands on the wallet is as constant as those for any other self-employed entrepreneur. Most of us have a “day” job to make it through.

Ingenious writers and other artists work smarter to make gains. Payment for a job doesn’t have to go in the bank. For many beginners, and those who have a few sales under their belts, barter has become a mainstay of payment.

An artist, in one example, has her eye on a specific gallery to display her work. Such displays cost the artist money. The gallery has no Facebook account. She offers to trade her knowledge of the web for display space in the gallery. Each side gets rewarded for the deal.

At the same time, she can offer to advertise the gallery on her own website, FB account, and other outlets, for framing her work in the gallery. The gallery owner spends nothing for the advertising and minimal cost for the framing he performs already. The artist gets everything she wants: exposure in a smaller, but good gallery and free framing.

The same type of arrangement can be used by a writer. The writer goes to a small company that has something she wants. She offers to do some work for them in exchange for whatever product the company provides. They strike a bargain and do a short contract for the job; she will write two professional short (form) business letters for the company; they give her the product—let’s say wheel alignment on her car.

Use the cashless jobs to build your resume. If you know of an organization that has decided to create a newsletter for its members and friends, offer to assist or to do it for them. The project gives you practice in something you might not have done before. It could also land you a job writing the newsletter on a regular basis. At that point you could talk compensation. If you don’t get paid, you still have another skill credit and client on your resume.

What if your child’s school needs help creating a small play for the fourth graders? Are you able to stretch your abilities to help with that project? Have you ever tried to write a children’s play? You might be very good at it, and there are opportunities for sales of such plays on the market. Practice on the school’s project, grab a resume credit and see what the future holds later.

How about developing the types of puzzles, mazes, and games that fascinate and confound the players? Can you create crossword puzzles? Some of the most creative school tests are in that form.

What about Sudoku puzzles, word searches, and the like? Many people augment their income, putting together brain teasers. Practice on your family and friends, offer to supply a local newspaper—that doesn’t normally have puzzles—or a local newsletter, or play with the idea on your blog or website. At least on the net, you’d get noticed.

Whichever direction the writer takes for credits without cash, the result is experience. If the writer uses the excuse that she’s “never done that before,” she’s losing out. She’s fooling herself with a false excuse. No one’s ever done it, until they do.

Stretching one skill set comes with experience. Practicing on things that you aren’t being paid for is a surefire way to get paid for later jobs that take those skills. Nurses don’t get paid for graduating from school. They have to get a job first for the money to come in. Writing is no different, really.

The savvy writer makes her own opportunities, creates her own expertise which builds her niche in the market, and gets paid for the jobs she does after she’s established a bit of a track record. Smash deals in the writing business happen for a rare few. The rest of the runners have to appear on the track circuit often enough to know something about the meets.

The savvy writer also knows that whether you get paid or not, the performance you render reveals more about you and your skills than advertising. The professional attitude you bring to the job counts. The writer’s enthusiasm that tackles the opportunity gets remembered. Client lists are built with these writer’s traits.


  1. March 24, 2012 at 11:33 am

    This is a tough subject for me. I feel conflicted in this area because I write only for fun and am a stay at home mom so my husband, the bread winner, is in a position of loving to have me at home with the kids and other responsibilities but also feels the pressure of a one-income household. I often get the “speech,” that I should be making money with my writing, an unwanted pressure on my muse. But your article is very helpful and common sense, realistic. Thank you, Clauds. 🙂

    • claudsy
      March 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      You’re welcome, Hannah.

      I can understand what you’re saying, Hannah. Sometimes taking money takes the fun out of writing. Once you start, you feel you have to get more and more, produce more and more. Your personal desires get shoved aside sometimes when $ come into play.

      I have an regular income and still know how you feel perfectly. Take heart. There are ways to have both paying work and stay at home lifestyle. It’s the learning curve that takes the time.

  2. March 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Indeed, and time I have to learn from the experienced, like you! Thank you, Clauds!

    • claudsy
      March 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      You’re welcome, Hannah. Have a great weekend.

  3. claudsy
    March 26, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Thanks, Val, for the pingback.

  1. March 26, 2012 at 10:22 pm

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