On the Plight of a Non-Native English Writer

So, I received this email a few hours ago:


Needless to say, there really was no need for the exclamation mark following my name, because the news wasn’t really that good.

Both my articles on a writing site that I recently joined had been denied. The reason: they were not accepting articles from non US- based writers, which was strange, because they hadn’t mentioned any such thing during the sign up process.

That was just Exhibit A. There has been many a time when I had to pass up on good opportunities because the website wouldn’t accept applications from non US-based writers, or take entirely too long to reply to those who sent in test articles. For instance, a few weeks ago, I waited four days for a website to send me a test topic. I even contacted them through their “contact” link regarding the problem, but (like most websites do), they sent me a ticket number, and told me to wait while the issue was being addressed, which is really just a polite way of saying, “Get in line and wait forever!” The bottom line is that I never really received my test article topic, and now can never sign up for the site again.

All of this, coupled with my only too short experience as a freelancer, has ushered me to the sad realization that I really need a Green Card if I am ever to earn significant money by writing. Sure, there are writing websites and companies in my country, but have one look at their websites and you would never want to go back. Most of them have grammatical errors in their mastheads and testimonials, not to mention the fact that they pay in peanuts. No, really, peanuts.

Clients in my country will barely pay a quarter of a dollar for a five hundred word article. They would drain you dry, and look for opportunities to cut your pay. A client I worked for last year gave me twenty five articles to complete overnight, but never paid. Even after the job was done (can you imagine what it feels like writing on the same topic twenty five times?), she never got back to me. I called, texted and emailed her, but she blew me off by saying that the client the articles had been for hadn’t paid her yet.

Three months later, still no pay.

My point is: why, blogs, why?!

Just because we come from a country where the first language is not English does not mean that we cannot respect the rules of English Grammar. In fact, I can recite incidents when I found my writing to be better than many native English speakers’. My fiction blog has thousands of native English writers, but most of them write like a first grade student would.

What saddens me even more is that people don’t really care whether I have a convent education, or that I have a job as a newspaper correspondent and as an editor for an online magazine, or even the fact that I am usually ready to send a test article. Non-native speakers are usually discarded like things you bought but never used.

I think it really only boils down to education and skill, but, sadly, most clients never take the time to test that. Some do, and it pays. Some, on the other hand, start off the job posting by mentioning that they want only native English speakers writing for them.

It doesn’t really get any more discouraging than that.