First published on afripopmag.com
I spent about two years as a freelance writer in Johannesburg and those were probably the hardest two years of my life, financially. I had left my job as a journalist in Cape Town and moved back home to Pretoria so I could finish my journalism degree. My sister was unemployed at the time and my dad had just retired, so I went from living my best life in Cape Town to being responsible for my whole family on a freelancer’s salary. It was really humbling.
But that experience taught me how to negotiate my rates. Up until then, I just accepted that publications paid only a certain amount. But then I found out that some of my friends were being paid more by the same publications. So I quickly learned to negotiate and to chat to my friends who were also freelancers about money, because that was the only way to find out if we were being played.
So my advice would be to always refuse to be paid less than what you deserve. But this means that you have to bring your A game too and the best way to improve as a writer is to read other dope writers, whether it is books or articles. Try to read more than you write.
Neo Maditla is Editor-in-Chief of designindaba.com.