Is it Ever Okay to Write for Free?

There is advice out there that suggests that if you want to be respected as a professional writer, you should never give your writing away for free or even for less than what you deem your hourly wage.

There are some instances when I feel like this might be true. For instance, some online content companies will ask you to produce original work for them that they then own as part of the application process. I almost always skip these. There are always exceptions to a rule, though. If the publication is well respected and writing one article might lead to a lucrative position with them, then I'll play. Also, if I really want to be involved with the company, I'll take a risk. But in general, you should retain the rights to anything you right until you've been hired.

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