Alright. It’s time to explore the other side of the fence. This is not a black and white world where pious hoity-toity angels in glowing robes engage in epic battle with cloven-hoofed demons from the underworld who crap fireballs day in and day out. There are times when it makes a lot of sense to get your work out there even if you’re not getting paid for it yet – at least when you’re starting out. Doing a little freebie writing for a smaller gaming site can build clips, gain important contacts, and lead to paying work at bigger outlets down the road. But keep in mind: awesome paying freelance opportunities rarely fall out of the sky unless you’ve been launching barrages of cannon fire to the heavens.
Don’t. Even if you’re just getting started out in the freelance world, your time and energy are worth something. The prospect of having your work published, particularly if you’ve yet to sip from those glistening waters, can do crazy things to a new writer. It’s tempting to jump at any opportunity to have your work picked up by a publication – even a small one – regardless of whether you’re getting paid for it or not. Seeing your byline on a published article for the first time is exciting stuff. Period. The problem is the vast majority of websites in the video game world that actually take the time to publicly cast out nets to attract freelancers don’t want to pay you for your work. They’re looking to take advantage of your fine ability to churn out words in an intelligent and thoughtful manner by corrupting you and bending you to their own dark aims. Don’t let them.