From Designers who Blog comes the story of a now-anonymous article repeatedly copied and reposted on Craigslist – one aimed squarely at those who expect creatives work for free.

Though focused primarily on illustrators, it should be a mandatory read for any artist selling their work at rates that won’t buy a fast food dinner (and yes, I think $5 for a 400 word “article” qualifies).

Here’s a small taste:

In this country, there are almost twice as many neurosurgeons as there are professional illustrators. There are eleven times as many certified mechanics. There are SEVENTY times as many people in the IT field.

So, given that they are less rare, and therefore less in demand, would it make sense to ask your mechanic to work on your car for free? Would you look him in the eye, with a straight face, and tell him that his compensation would be the ability to have his work shown to others as you drive down the street?

Would you offer a neurosurgeon the “opportunity” to add your name to his resume as payment for removing that pesky tumor? (Maybe you could offer him “a few bucks” for “materials”. What a deal!)

You’ll want to read the whole thing at Designers who Blog. And then start building a creative practice that offer the potential for a sustained, reasonable living.

I’m working on a few posts to help that process along.

Remember: writing may be a calling, but freelancing’s a business. And no business survives overlong when those running it can’t eat, heat, or pay the bills.

[tags]illustrator, freelance, writer, writing, copywriting, [/tags]