Em Dashes do more than break up thoughts

I’ve been a freelance writer now for about 12 years. I’ve had the opportunity to work on quite a few neat projects: a wine magazine, some cd/concert reviews, writing about a swimming school, and lots of real estate writing. I choose my gigs very carefully and try to find something to suit my personal interests. But what I don’t understand is all these jobs out there on sites like odesk, craigslist and what not, that want to pay writers (and good writers at that) as little as $2 per hour. Today i saw a job for 80 cents for 300 words. Not 80 cents PER word (I’d take that in a heartbeat). But the entire 400 word blog post would be 80 cents.

Do people not understand the value in the written word? The need for being a good communicator? As the product of many lay offs, I often wonder why people take writers with such a give or take attitude. The creative groups I’ve been a part of are often the red-headed step children of a company. People think all we do is make things pretty or play games and juggle Squoosh balls. Guess what, there’s more to it than that.

Do you know how many times a day I try to explain to coworkers the difference between an EM dash and an EN dash? Do you know? I’m not writing to present myself as holier than thou, I just mean to illustrate that dissecting grammar to its core is not as colorful or “pretty” as one may think.

Alas, I sit here today, listening to my grammar girl podcast, researching some freelance jobs that hopefully will allow me to buy more than bread and water with the paycheck and hope that one day people out there will understand what we writers do. Thankfully, I love being able to communicate, love being able to choose one word over another and will not settle for 80 cents on the 400 word count.

Image At least he says, “if you don’t like my rate, don’t apply.”

2 thoughts on “Em Dashes do more than break up thoughts

  1. Whoever wrote that ad NEEDS a real writer in a bad way.
    I always enjoyed working with you! And you’re right, we creatives don’t just sit around kneading those squishy ball things…we also take trailer-park mug shots, laugh til we can’t breathe when we view the worst album covers ever website, and design and model rain wear made out of bubble wrap. It IS a beautiful and glorious job!

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