If you’re anything like me, you’ll start writing down ideas and scraps of things as soon as you get the request to write for free. When someone asks you to write for free, what do you say? How can you politely refuse? What will you write about if you’re not exactly sure?
Here are some suggestions.
1. No Problem
In some cases, the person asking you to write will give you some kind of subject to write about. If this is the case, you can politely say no problem and then begin writing.
If you’re not sure of the subject, ask for more details. If they don’t give you any, ask for a consult with the editorial staff or higher ups. In general, you should try to find a way to keep the submission interesting. If you can, offer additional tips or tricks for the writer to keep the article intriguing.
2. Sure, No Problem
If you’re not sure if you’ll have enough material or if the topic is too general, you can say sure, no problem and then continue with your day. If you need inspiration, you can ask the person who requested the write up for help. This will most likely be a good idea anyway, since you’ll probably end up using some of their suggestions.
If you’re not sure if their material will match your idea, again, you can say no problem and then begin writing. If they don’t have the specifics you’re looking for, they may be able to give you some ideas on how to make it fit.
3. I’ll Look Into It
If you’re not sure if the topic is right for your kind of writing, you can say I’ll look into it and then begin researching the topic. If you find that it’s not suitable for your kind of writing, you can either continue with your day or say so. You don’t want to ruin their whole day by saying no, but you don’t want to write something completely unrelated either. Finding the right material can be hard and it’s better to find this out earlier rather than later.
4. I Can Write On This Topic
If you’re confident that you can write a good article on this topic, you can say I can write on this topic. In some cases, the person you’re writing for may have a specific style or genre that they want to see in the piece. If you’ve written for other websites, you can use this as a reference. If not, you can try to find a short list of topics that you’re confident you can cover well. This will make the person more comfortable with the idea of letting you write the piece.
Writing for free is a great way to build your portfolio. As long as you don’t do it often, you can always say you aren’t exactly sure what to write about and then offer additional suggestions. Just make sure that whatever you do write is of good quality. You can either continue with your day or ask for some time to research.