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Should you write on Spec?

There are many reasons that you may want to become a freelance writer. For me, it is a fun job that pays well. For this reason, I tend to take on projects that will be interesting while also paying at a reasonable rate. This leads to the question of whether or not you should ever write on spec.

Generally speaking, writing on spec is not difficult to understand. This is when a client will say something to the effect of, “write a sample article for us, and if we like it you will get paid or we will offer you a paying job in the future.” Believe it or not, this is something that happens quite often. And the problem with this is that it can be difficult to decide when to write on spec and when to say no.

If you accept a spec project, it is a given that you are not working for any specified amount of money. Is this something that you are willing to do? If not, you never want to give this type of assignment a second thought. Of course, there is a positive to writing on spec. If the client likes what you have written for them, they will pay you for it. And not only will they pay you for it, they now know that you are a good writer and may hire you for future work.

Should you take on these types of projects? In my opinion there are two reasons that you may consider doing so. First off, if you are new to the industry, writing on spec will help you to get your foot in the door. Even if the client does not use the work you deliver, at the very least you will have a sample to add to your portfolio. Additionally, if you really want to do business with a company and the only work they are offering is on spec, you may consider moving forward. You never know when you will forge a lucrative and long lasting relationship.

There is no way of saying for sure whether or not you should write on spec. Some freelance writers have no problem with this, and others are totally against it. Early in my career I took on a couple of jobs like this, and none of them turned into anything in the long run. Of course, you may find that your experience is entirely different.

The main thing is that you know what writing on spec means, and that you consider the pros and cons of doing so. 

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4 Comments »Freelance WritingNovember 27th, 2007

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