Are We Working for Free?

There’s this idea out there that if you blog (especially if you do it well) you’re working for free. However much time and effort you put into it, you get nothing tangible back in return. I’m gonna call bullshit on that. I’ve got over 2,000 followers and counting. People comment. People read what I write. And while I probably won’t get well paid for writing for a long time (if ever) there’s another side to working “for free” that some of the snobbier people out there don’t seem to understand. Yes, you’re technically working for free, but that also means you’re not obligated to do anything a certain way. Hell, you’re not obligated to do anything at all. You’re free to sink or swim on your own terms.

To write and publish something every day or to go months without offering anything. You are putting in all that work without any cash to show for it, but you’re also free to do whatever you damn well please. More than that… just because you aren’t selling anything now doesn’t mean you won’t later.

If someone likes what you’re writing for free odds are they’ll like some of the material you’re brazen enough to put a price tag on. Every soul you manage to touch with your words is a potential buyer in the future.  You’re working for free now, but… are you really? Or are you putting pieces of your heart on display, for sale to anyone willing to pay with a piece of theirs? A piece of their life, a moment of their time, a fragment of the very limited time they have on this earth? I mean sure, we ‘work’ for free… But not really. What we’re actually doing is investing.

The freedom is in being able to do it however and whenever the hell we want to. Maybe I’ll cash in on that investment at some point and use the money to expand my reach or maybe it’ll wither and die. But it’s only costing me pieces of myself that’ll be gone anyways; the aging process only goes one way. Why not spend my time on something I love doing? This is unpaid work, but the truth is we’re working on a barter system. A piece of my soul written and presented. The price you pay is up to you. A moment of your time (a very small piece of your soul) or many moments, depending on how much you like something here. If you like what you see, chances are we’ll be doing business again.

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16 thoughts on “Are We Working for Free?

  1. I think it’s also a way of letting ideas/thoughts become flexible so that they can grow. With comments, I sometimes see things in different (and more interesting) ways, and it becomes a process which evolves. Sharing within a community beats a diary.

    Liked by 3 people

    • For me I think the community aspect of it is just… a necessary part of the package. I kind of started this blog to get away from communities, ironically enough, and while I’ve found there to be a huge difference between toxic communities I’d gotten sick of and the one I seem to have found on wordpress… I try to give respectful consideration to comments, no more and no less. If, for example, someone wanted to stop in at one of my posts and go on a rant about how full of bs I was, I wouldn’t really care much ’cause there’s an undercurrent of community, but at the same time my post is at the top, up above those comments. Of course reflecting on this because of what you’re saying offers a strange perspective to look at it from because I created this blog seeking rigidity and confidence in a lot of ways.

      I guess, really… I’d have to say I like this platform because it allows for the kind of flexibility you’re talking about (I’m free to consider, respond to, and entertain the things people say), but since this is my site rather than a message board, the ball is always in my court. I am ultimately just as free to shrug off someone’s comment and leave it at that – that’s not really in my nature, but sometimes it’s necessary. I just happen to be lucky in that with this blogging medium, that need seems to be a true rarity.

      Just… wow haha, I didn’t mean for that response to be so long or reflective, but yeah, the short version of my response can probably be summed up like this:

      “Sharing within a community beats a diary.”

      Most definitely 🙂 .

      Like

  2. I have to say this… opening up my inbox in the morning and seeing you have posted a number of entries- makes my morning coffee experience so much better. I truly am a fan of your writing, and your ideas! And I don’t usually fan people, you know?!
    If you ever doubt whether you should write or not (which is unlikely, right?) then stop! World needs people like you… people who dare to speak their mind and showcase their intelligence… intelligence, which necessarily isn’t to the beat of the mainstream drum… *high five*

    Liked by 2 people

    • 😀 You have no idea how flattered I am that you get so much out of it 😀 .

      Seriously, you made my day twice over 🙂 .

      No worries haha, I can’t promise I’ll always be a pleasure to read but I’ve got no intention of hanging up my pen (or keyboard) 😉 .

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This post is spot-on. Not everything we do should be measured in money. In fact the most important thing we get to do in our lives simply can’t be measured in money. People seem to forget that money is just a unit of exchange, not the purpose of our existance.
    Also, thanks for visiting my little space in the blogsphere!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad it resonated with you. We’re definitely in agreement about the money; besides, it seems like people generally tend to make as much money as they need to stay afloat when they follow their hearts, and often they make more.

      “Also, thanks for visiting my little space in the blogsphere!”

      You’re welcome 🙂 .

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The way I see it if you’d do it regardless of whether or not you’re getting paid for it then that’s all that matters. Like you say, it’s awesome just to have people communicate with you over something you’ve written, even if it’s just with a like rather than a comment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s definitely the way I look at it. I probably don’t say it often enough, but the fact that they read it means a lot by itself. The like button adds to that, and the kind words.. well hell, there aren’t really words to describe how much I appreciate them when they’re offered. Like you said, it’s awesome 🙂 .

      Like

    • That’s definitely something I’ll be glad of when or if I publish something. I’ve gotta say though, it would be kind of nice to have something lengthy enough (and coherent enough) to have out there for sale, with my name on it.

      I’ve got to say though, I’m betting it won’t make much difference for you in the long run. In the short term, yeah, but if you’re posts are anything to go by I can’t see it holding you back much, not when all is said and done.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the kindness, I still have trouble thinking of myself as an author, or even a writer at times, so I appreciate the compliment.

        As for the difference the blog might have made – I agree that it would’ve likely been a short term, time limited difference, but it would’ve made the launch a bit bigger than it was as there was another community that was made aware of it prior to publication.

        Ultimately, the biggest thing I learned with my book was to get excited and let people know more than a couple of weeks in advance. Build some anticipation and get people as excited about it as I was.

        Like

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