Assuming we all make it into 2013, I’m looking forward to the world economy picking up. Not that I expect that to happen in 2013 – I think we have some tough years still ahead of us – but, as and when things do improve, I am hoping the freelance writing landscape will also change.
The economic downturn has caused a whole bunch of shanty towns to spring up and encroach on my ivory tower. It’s all very upsetting for me. Masses of plebeians who would never have loaded Word onto their laptop when times were better have settled in my back yard, erected flagpoles, and unfurled their hastily-painted old T-shirts, daubed with the insidious lies with which they aim to steal my livelihood from me: Freelance Writer for Hire.
Oh, I know times are tough, and – to shift my land-based analogy to a maritime one – any port in a storm, but this is my port, that’s my yacht, and I’m getting sick of all these $20 kids’ dinghies rubbing up against my hull, leaving unsightly orange scuffs.
Yes, I know: you heartless bastard, Pepper. I’m kidding. It’s a free world and you do whatever it takes to put food on the table, even if that means you have to bluff your way into work with forged (and poorly spelt) credentials. Like it or not, freelance writing is one of those professions you can wander into without any checks or qualifications or even any discernible talent.
The global economic crisis has left many people with little option but to try and work from home, because the job they used to leave their home for no longer exists. A laptop and an internet connection and you’re all set: you’re suddenly a freelance writer. Our ranks have swelled, and those extra voices crying out for work have inevitably made it more difficult for all of us to be heard.
A better economy should also see an increase in the rates offered for our wares. Clients will have more money to spend on their businesses. They won’t have to write the content themselves or farm it out to someone in a dinghy, or offer amateur prices to time-honoured professionals. And those clients who never stopped having the money will no longer be able to hide behind a veil of bogus poverty, using the economy as an excuse to also drop their rates.
With the dark times behind us, the T-shirts can be run back down the flagpoles, the shanty towns can be deconstructed and returned to pasture, and the dinghies can be deflated.
Now, let’s just hope the North Koreans and the Iranians don’t screw it up for us.