To the People Who Keep Asking Me to Write for Free

RihannaHey, how’s it going? Hope you’re well. I’m glad you like my writing–I mean that truly– but I just wish you liked it enough to actually want to pay me for what I do. It’s not that I don’t appreciate your generous offer of “exposure.” It’s just that, well, after a long exhaustive search, I’ve yet to find a landlord, utility company, insurance provider, gas station, grocery store, department store, surplus outlet, car lot, restaurant, or any other good and service provider that accepts exposure as payment. So…

Ya know, I wonder, do you get paid in exposure? Does your employer withhold some of your exposure for taxes? Do you get exposure bonuses around Christmas? Is your exposure direct deposited? Nah, I bet you’re old school. You like your exposure handed to you in a paper check. Gotta feel it, know its real. Can’t risk some computer glitch making your exposure go up in smoke. That wouldn’t be good. Exposure’s important. You need it. I feel you on that. I need my “exposure” too.

Or is it that you thought I didn’t have those types of needs? Did you think I live in some Twilight Zone unicorn utopia where exposure is the currency of choice? Did you think I’d take all that exposure and go buy food for my house and then put the rest in the bank for a rainy day? An exposure nest egg of sorts. Sounds cool. And then I’d take just a little exposure and buy my son some new pants. He’s such a rough and tumble thing. Tears up everything I buy him. Thank God for all this exposure.

Or did you think I harnessed the power of Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant, Tony Robbins, Les Brown and the Dalai Lama to become a super saiyan who can manifest her every need with mental power?

super saiyan

Or did you think I was one of those extreme minimalists who lives without money? Honestly, those people are pretty intriguing, but alas, I am not one of them.  I haven’t learned how to get my needs met with plain on happiness, gratitude, sunlight, or exposure. Yea… crazy, I know.

So until I get to that point, I’m going to have to ask that you respect my decision not to work for free. You do understand, don’t you? You’ve got to because I have a sneaking suspicion you collect actual money for the work you do. And you’d probably quit immediately if your boss asked you to work for free, but still here you are in my inbox with generous offers of… eyeballs. You drive a hard bargain, my friend, but I’m going to have to decline.

It’s nothing personal. I’m certain you’re a wonderful person in real life. You just don’t understand what an offer of mere exposure means. You don’t see how you’ve created a totally different and unfair set of standards for freelance workers. You don’t realize the slap in the face when you pay for everything else but assume it’ll be ok not to pay me. You don’t understand the mixed message you send when you suggest that my work is good enough for you to use but not good enough for you to pay for. How does that work? How Sway?Kanye and Sway

Can be real with you? (I’ll go ahead and assume I can since you were real enough to submit such a disrespectful offer.) My main problem is this: you’re straddling. Pick a side. Recognize that my work has value and then pay that value, or write it off as worthless and move on. There are no other options. You can’t say my work is valuable but you don’t want to pay for it. That would make you the politest robber I’ve ever seen… but you’re still trying to rob me. You know I can’t have that. Now if you excuse me, I have bills to go pay.


P.S. If you find any retailers willing to accept exposure, please let me know. I may reconsider… Nah, I still want my money.

5 thoughts on “To the People Who Keep Asking Me to Write for Free

  1. Bigger Than Your Block April 29, 2016 / 11:51 pm

    This is amazing. I wish I could fit in all on a business card and hand out at mixers. Good job, ma’am.

    • N. Angail May 1, 2016 / 7:26 pm

      thanks! If you can find a font small enough, go for it!

  2. mygthurrock May 27, 2016 / 7:19 am

    asalamu alaykum
    that was funny to read! it’s true freelancers do have bills to pay,
    thanks nadirah
    (check out our blog for some FREE stuff ; )

    • N. Angail May 27, 2016 / 9:13 am

      wa alaikum salaam! Thanks for commenting.

  3. Daniel Moore May 31, 2016 / 1:17 pm

    Just had someone ask me to write for free as well and immediately searched for some online advice. This is perfect. Thanks!

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