Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Babies, Writing Conferences, and more

It’s official. Writer Abroad is now also Mother Abroad. Her little daughter was born a couple weeks ago and now her time management challenge between writing and mothering begins.

Not surprisingly, Writer Abroad has been inspired by Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions: A Journal Of My Son’s First Year. So while taking a break from both her memoir and her novel, she’s decided to try a similar kind of journal, but with a living abroad twist. So far, the most she’s written at one time without being interrupted is about 1300 words. But the average seems to be more like 200 words. But at least she’s never searching for inspiration…

Speaking of inspiration, there’s an interesting literary festival going on in Lisbon next summer, July 1-13, 2012. It’s called Disquiet: Dzanc Books International Literary Program. The program features workshops in poetry, fiction, nonfiction and photography. It also features Philip Graham on faculty, who was interviewed on this site last year.

At the end of this month, Zurich’s first weekend-long book festival will bring more than 100 events to the Switzerland region. To add some English-language spirit to the festival, the Zurich Writers Workshop and the Nuance Words Collective have arranged an event at Widder Bar on Saturday, October 29, starting at 18:00. The event will lead you to Orell F├╝ssli for its ‘Welcome to the Night Circus’ event at 20:00.

Well, that’s all the news for now. If you have any links to share or news about a writing conference or event, please leave a link below or contact me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Do you write for free?

Lately, I’ve been getting a stream of emails from editors of online magazines asking if I would like to be a contributing writer.

These emails have a few things in common:

They often praise my blog or other articles I’ve written.

They say I’d be the perfect writer for their website or magazine.

They offer no mention of payment.

When and if I inquire further, the answer is usually, “Well, we hope to pay our writers in the future, but for right now, we pay in links.”

My response?


My feeling is, you want a professional writer? One that would be perfect for your website or magazine? Then you should pay them.

Would you approach an IT professional and ask for free services? Or a lawyer?

Case closed. This is an overused topic on most writing blogs, so I won’t say much more. Except to encourage all writers to know your worth. It’s not necessary to write for free even if you’re trying to build a writing portfolio. There are local newspapers. There are trade magazines. And yes, there are even websites that pay.

What’s even more amazing is that editors are even asking established writers to contribute for free. I’ve been writing for magazines and newspapers for seven years now, and the requests to write for free still keep coming in. Luckily though, to balance out these requests, there are real assignments that get offered as well.

Have you gotten requests to write for payment in links? If so, how do you respond? Should writers write for free?


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