Why You Shouldn’t Write for Free

(That’s for if you’re any good at writing, though.)

Now, this article isn’t necessarily about money, and it’s certainly not some silly annoying dime-a-dozen post about how to make unrealistic amounts through blogging (don’t you just hate those?); heck, as a matter of fact, this write up is anything but! It’s the exact opposite, actually, because people who write for free put content writers like me out of business; and moreover, if I knew the secret to making millions of Naira at the blink of an eye, I’d sorta-kinda-probably-most definitely keep it to myself, so that my progeny could be rich without a single day of work, up until at least the fifth generation unborn. So, yes, this article is majorly for selfish intentions.

Well, at least I’m honest, aren’t I? Surely, that should count for something? *wink and evil grin*

Okay, back to the topic. It’s a no-brainer that people tend to value more, the things they pay for, as opposed to the things they get for free (excluding gifts from loved ones, that is), but that rudimentary premise, though strong, isn’t even the main point. So now, wait for it…

Not writing for free actually makes you a more serious writer.

Yeah, true story.

You find that you become more accountable, you put in way more effort because your ego and reputation are on the line, you have the moral burden to give your employer his/her money’s worth, and you get to have a source of transitory income.

But then, I have to say again, that’s if you’re any good.

You get better at something by doing it often (that’s probably why foolish people hardly ever get wise). You don’t become an expert overnight. The irony is that sometimes, most people who others refer to as “experts” strangely feel inadequate, because they always have this motivation that they still have that capacity to be much better at what they do. Some days, they feel like what they churn out is total crap.

But still, sell the crap like that, I say. If there can be found anyone willing to buy it, then it’s worth something. It might be shit, but look at the bright side: it’s gonna be expensive shit. (Shout out to my Nigerian “musicians” with the supernatural ability to transform a single line of lyrics into an entire 4-minute song, and the total inability to play a single musical instrument; yet still get paid enough ‘chedda’ to ball hard. ***now, if that isn’t artistry at its finest, tell me what is.)

“Good writing” isn’t necessarily about fancy words, esoteric ideas, trending topics, or generating internet traffic. “Good writing” is stuff that your target audience can relate to and enjoy, or can move them to a new way of thinking, depending on your intentions.

An article in pidgin can serve a much better purpose than one written in Queen’s English, depending on the audience. In fact, I strongly propose dat we shud all leave d encmbrance dat is gud gramma, strcture and dictn, ‘n’ solely focus on wrting wat sells, no mata how ridiclsly abbrvated, poorly. punctuat’ed:! And inco herent it is, bcos we ave a target audience of d cazual reedahs.

Na joke I dey oh.

In good writing, fluidity and constancy/consistency have to be maintained, and the rules for any form of writing have to be followed. If someone has to keep telling you in a critique that you didn’t capitalise in this, or you had recurring tense and grammatical blunders in that, then take my word for it: You ain’t a good writer.

Your idea goes hand in hand with your delivery. The regional branch of Mama Nkechi point-and-kill bars and allied industries international limited located on my street doesn’t serve their fresh catfish pepper soup in a plate rinsed with gutter water. That’s why all of us go back there every time; morning, noon, and night. Them think say nah jazz she dey use, but my brother no be so.

If the purpose of your writing was to do a special number for the masses, to make them happy and jolly, but you only ended up driving them to wide yawning and sleepy fits, as far as that piece is concerned, you ain’t a good writer.

If the only people who have “critiqued” your work are your mum, your best friend, your youth pastor from your church fellowship (…who that one time during night vigil when both of you were alone, wanted to show you a “special kind of anointing”… **!RUN!**), your English teacher from primary school (that you left about six years ago), your boy/girl friend, or the carefully selected crowd of erudite professors and literati who watch you stand and deliver in the comfort of your bedroom as you walk around in boxer shorts or pyjamas; whilst making power-filled hand gestures and sundry scholarly mannerisms (with the members of the audience all being a figment of your imagination, of course), then you probably ain’t a… Well, you know the drill.

And yeah, I must add… To get better, you don’t only just “keep writing”. You have to read more. It’s an egocentric person who reads only what he writes; or perhaps, a person who is perfect, though I haven’t come across anyone who is, but of course there are many who want to be, or subconsciously think that they are.

Oh, looordt! I have digressed haven’t I? But then, you really don’t have any choice (other than to read this as it is), now do you?

It’s maddening when you can’t get exactly what you expected, based on a title, or based upon whatever you know a certain author has written before. You don’t get to call the author out on misleading you with his words, or for stating his opinion as if it was fact. Yeah, well, there’s a comment box below if it makes you feel any better, but ultimately, all you get is the placebo effect of having said something which is entirely up to the author to take seriously or not, based on what you have on him; that is, what he has at stake concerning you. (The risk of losing his pay day, based on your hiring him, comes to mind here.) The man is untouchable. It is but, after all, A Free Article.

So yeah, keep writing… If you’re any good, that is.
———-

Copyright 2015 by anakadrian

anakadrian@gmail.com
This property is not for sale. Beware my son, Anak Jnr.



10 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t Write for Free” by anak adrian (@anakadrian)

  1. @anakadrain, okay I’m BUYING this. You shouldn’t write for free.

    1. going once… Going twice… SOLD to @musite . Thanks for reading, bro… and please, don’t write for free.

  2. Lol…funny on its own part. You did speak great sense…and I clearly got the message…even with the ‘rumble rambles’
    So it’s time we start converting those NS points to money…aargh…just joking.
    Merci, Anak.

  3. lolx…funny!!!!!!!! really enjoyed the piece thanks for sharing…

  4. This is funny, yet from the humor you get the truth. Thanks for sharing. And this shows you are a good writer….lol

  5. True talk.

    Thank you so much for this.

  6. je t’en prie, mon ami @praize. il n’y a pas de quoi. It’s a real pity though, that NS has stopped the monetisation of points. So, our ranks are basically just for bragging rights.

  7. always glad to make you smile @KyceeQ

    Lol, thanks @MaggieSmart. Usually, honest writing is funny writing.

    @namdi thank you, brotherly.
    @ojestar always a pleasure, bro.

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