Should a writer with a four year degree in creative writing charge more per word?
I am just starting out as a free lance writer. My portfolio is rather small as it only includes a few articles written for my college newpaper.
I think you have to wait to make that decision until you have a few professional gigs under your belt. While your degree might get you the jobs faster and your portfolio might be impressive, people are going to want to see a a post-graduate product which tells them you're worth the extra money before they dish out the cash.
If you can, then by all means do. That said, don't expect that the degree alone will speak for you. Writing is still an extremely competitive marketplace. You have to not only show why you're worth more, but also find the people who value quality over a bargain. It's not as easy as it might sound. I will also say that being a writer is about a lot more than getting the technical aspects down pat, and experience will polish your style, put you in tune with the marketplace, and get you used to the daily grind so you can meet deadlines without fail.
With all this in mind -- don't expect too much right out of the gate. There are a lot of degrees floating around out there, and a lot of clients who really only care if you can get the job done. Remember that the average content writer makes a lot less than published "market wages" for freelance writers who are affiliated with newspapers and magazines and what-not. Work on boosting your portfolio (these open-submission sites work great for that), get really good at pitching proposals, and don't be surprised if you have to take a few "just scraping by" jobs to get your foot in the door.
Not to belittle it, but degrees are a dime-a-dozen these days. (I also have a creative writing degree). So, employers value experience over the degree. They want someone who has done it already, because it looks like you won't need as much hand-holding. Your ace in the hole is actually your experience with the newspaper. Play that up in your resume and cover letter and I guarantee it will do more for you than the degree. Once you get even more experience, then you can consider increasing the price per word. Right now, you just need to focus on getting any kind of work.
Sometimes working per word requires a lot work for peanuts. A four degree is useful when looking for a regular job. It doesn't help in the free-lance world.
I was a free-lancer for 15 years; obtained my degree and went to work for a university.
I'm noticing that question is 3 years old. How is your freelance business doing?
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