I toyed with the idea of whether or not to publish this writing is work post but I feel things have been said about me that I need to address. I am not naming names, I don’t want people to go look for them and say something in my defence. I do not want them to feel “bullied” because people agree with me. Just as I don’t feel bullied by those who don’t. So here goes…
Writing is Work
We live in a capitalist society, there is no getting away from that. Everything costs money, we all have bills to pay. I have to cover rent, household bills, website costs, work costs, food, etc. The same as everyone else does. I would love to not have to worry about money, to live in a place where I could do the work I wanted purely because I wanted to, without having to think about whether I can afford to pay my bills this month. Where I don’t have to weigh up the financial ramifications of accepting a job that I want to do.
As a freelancer, my income comes from a number of streams. My biggest income is from copywriting work I do for other people (both in and outside this industry). This is pretty much 90% companies who have seen my websites and contacted me to commission work on that basis. They want my voice, talking about whatever subject they have in mind. This Writing is work.
My next biggest income is from the advertisers I have. These are companies who pay for an advertising banner on my website sidebar. This income is the one that pays for the content on here. Every post I do (including reviews, erotica, etc) is made possible by advertisers whose support means I can pay my bills and write for HGG. This is a reciprocal arrangement, the more I write (ie, the more fresh content I produce), the more visitors my site gets, and the greater number of people who will see their ad. This writing is work.
Despite doing all this work, I still have months where I am panicking because it’s two days before my direct debits are due out and I don’t have enough money to cover them. You might think, she just needs to learn to budget but it’s hard to budget when your income only just covers your outgoings every month. Maybe you’d say I should save but I have nothing to save. If I have a spare £5 it stays in my account so that next month I might be able to get a little more ahead. However, chances are it won’t happen because freelance doesn’t always mean regular work, it means taking little bit jobs just so you have money to live.
This often means when big events are happening (such as Eroticon or Woodhull), ones that are a good networking opportunity. A chance to connect with companies and writers, and to develop working relationships that might help me generate more income, I sometimes have to ask companies to sponsor my attendance at these events. Contrary to what seems to be the popular belief, when I contact these companies to ask them if they would be willing to sponsor me to attend an event, I do not expect them to just give me money and get nothing in return. I work hard to come up with a package (blog posts, advertising, social media,etc) that gives them something in return for their sponsorship. It is a reciprocal agreement.I am not asking for a handout. And if they say no, they don’t have the budget, I respect that. It is a business decision, and I understand it may not work for all companies. This writing is work.
This brings me to my last point. I would like to clarify something about being a Sex Toy Reviewer (and this is also why I don’t do as many reviews anymore).
As a reviewer I don’t “accept” free sex toys. These companies choose to send me these toys, and they are sent to me in exchange for a review. When I am reviewing a toy I make sure to do a thorough job, not just in testing for use but in checking materials, stats, taking photographs, etc. I make note of problems and contact the company in case it is a faulty unit. A review takes me at least 10-15hrs of work. That’s 15 hours work spent on a toy that costs a company £50-100. It’s time I’m not spending doing work that will actually pay my bills. Being sent sex toys is great but I can’t pay my bills with sex toys, last I checked Tesco and Asda aren’t accepting them in exchange for shopping. This writing is work.
To redress this balance many sex toy reviewers use affiliate links, and will often only accept items from companies who have affiliate programs or manufacturers whose product can be purchased through a company with an affiliate program. I choose not to use affiliate links because I have an agreement with my advertisers saying I won’t. However, even for bloggers who do this the income isn’t regular or guaranteed. It is this uncertainty that means bloggers have to find other income streams.