Friday, August 22, 2014

Nine Reasons Why Professional Writers Should Write for Free—Part Two

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

As promised, here's the second part of yesterday's post. If you missed yesterday, here's a link to Nine Reasons Why Professional Writers Should Write for Free—Part One

As I mentioned, life as a professional writer hasn't gone exactly to plan. But it's been full of a lot of opportunities that led to exciting things. And some of those opportunities have included writing for free. So here are reasons six through nine to consider following my path.

Reason #6: Writing for free allows you to benefit individuals, groups, and ministries you.
I’ve donated my writing to our church, my Toastmasters’ club, and our missionary friends. One of the most significant opportunities I’ve ever had was the privilege of crafting a eulogy for a beloved friend’s daughter. Using my skill to paint word pictures that captured her personality, life accomplishments, and faith was one of the hardest assignments I’ve ever had, but also one of the most rewarding. To know that in some small way, my words helped lighten my friend’s heavy load was humbling and precious.

Reason: #7: Writing for free allows you the freedom to write outside your genre.
I specialize in non-fiction devotions. I post 5-minute devotions for busy women on my blog, Hungry for God…Starving for Time. My books are also devotionals. Most of the content I’m paid to write is devotional in nature. Are you seeing a pattern here? By establishing myself as a non-fiction devotional writer, I’ve created a brand, and this is good.

Every now and then, however, it’s fun to write in a different genre. Take this post for example. As a magazine editor, I also know a lot about the print publishing world. My blog readers don’t really care about noun/verb agreement or how the rising numbers of e-books affect the market. Nerdy writers like me, however, find these subjects fascinating. By busting out of my devotional niche and offering articles free to my blogging compatriots, I enjoy the privilege of waxing eloquent on another topic about which I’m passionate.

Reason #8: Writing for free helps you network.
Being willing to guest post and supply content for websites helps writers network and build community. I follow several blogs devoted to writing, speaking, and spiritual life. Occasionally these bloggers will invite guests to contribute content or be part of their blogging team. Dialoguing and working with these committed writers helps build friendship and community. It also gives us a network to support each other. If I hear of a writing opportunity, I pass it along. They do the same. And I don’t know how many talented writers I’ve “discovered” for the pages of ROC because they’ve guest posted (for free) on someone else’s blog.

Reason #9: Writing for free allows you to tithe on the gifts and talents God has given you.
Bottom line, the ability to string words together to impact lives and change hearts comes from God, the giver of all good gifts. When we use the talents he’s given us to bless others with no thought for gain or advancement, we embrace the chance to reach those who might not otherwise benefit from our words. Many of us write to earn a living, and there’s nothing wrong with this. However, a publication or individual’s ability to pay shouldn’t prompt an automatic no. Instead, I encourage you to prayerfully seek God’s direction for how and where to use your writing gift for greatest impact.

As of this writing, I’m eagerly awaiting my invitation to write for World Magazine. In the meantime, I plan to continue writing for pay and pleasure, profit and platform building, prestige and the promotion of other writers, publications, and ministries in which I believe. Sharing my time, talents, and knowledge is part of how I pay it forward. In the oxymoronic way of faith, God always blesses this. 

Sometimes writing for free is the professional thing to do - via @LoriHatcher2 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Advance your writing career by writing for free - no kidding! via @LoriHatcher2 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Lori Hatcher is the editor of South Carolina’s ReachOut, Columbia magazine, and the author of two devotional books. A Yankee transplant and a Christian Communicators Graduate, she uses her speaking and writing ministry to encourage and empower women. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God . . . Starving for Time. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter


  1. Another great post, Lori. I especially agree with #9. I believe tithing our time, gifts, and talents is just as important as tithing our money. Seeds sown into good ground produce a bountiful harvest, and sometimes the blessings are far greater than what we could have ever imagined.

    1. You're right, Andrea. God always blesses a generous hand with an even more generous blessing. Sometimes his blessings are tangible, other times not, but there's no question that he takes good care of us if our hearts are dedicated to serving him and serving others.