Black female writers are constantly at odds with pay disparities in the freelance writing world.
With bated breath we click on the “meet our team” page for brands that we want to write for, knowing that there may be little to no racial diversity.
We’re praying for our prospective clients to accept our rates as is, not low-ball us by asking for discounts.
Given how not all Black freelance writers have equal access to the same resources and opportunities, using race as a factor when hiring Black women writers is not unethical.
In fact, it’s a way to make strides in addressing social issues.
And it’s not like race was never a factor in hiring writers anyway!
Of course, it’s also extremely important that negotiations go skin-deep.
To go beyond the surface when searching for Black women writers, here are 5 of their best qualities to consider consciously.
She Has Experience
A Black woman writer has lived experiences that you won’t find on a resume
The word “experience” carries significant meaning for Black women writers because there is a need to look at the word holistically.
It’s crucial to consider a Black woman writer’s experience with racial discrimination and how it’s impacted her perspective on life. Not many Black women choose to retell their experiences as it can feel like reliving trauma.
No, Black women writers are not seeking to turn their pain and struggles into top-ranking keywords on search engines like Google.
We’re not looking to commodify our culture either.
Or at least use our experiences to create a more inclusive world for other Black women writers that don’t see themselves in their industries, especially ones like freelancing.
She Writes With Empathy
Black women writers can experiment with various forms of writing
Does someone need to have lived the experience(s) that they write about in order to truly be an inclusive writer?
The short answer: it depends.
Cultural sensitivity varies from brand to brand (and from audience to audience).
But Black women writers who understand this can help brands go beyond performative allyship.
And as Black women entrepreneurs, we can expect our clients to know how to offer constructive feedback on our writing.
At the end of the day, it’s not just about how we feel but how our writing makes a client’s audience feel.
She Negotiates Fairly
A Black woman writer negotiates with her wealth and worth in mind
Navigating the art of negotiation is not an easy feat. It’s something that every Black woman writer is always improving on as she gains experience both in her professional and personal life.
For Black women writers, getting compensation for our work is much more than a transaction. It’s a sign that we’re being respected as professional writers in an industry where there’s not many of us.
As the voices that are usually left out of the boardroom and underrepresented in the writing industry, talking money is how we can face racial disparities in freelancing.
A Black woman writer who knows the worth of her skills isn’t afraid to present pricing that’s reasonable for her client’s budget.
We also have to be aware of how we use our time outside of writing.
Networking with marketing directors, marketing our services, drafting up proposals, and writing cold emails to generate new business. All of that, on top of account and project management.
It’s a lot. When both parties understand and respect the effort that goes into everything, writing becomes that much more enjoyable!
She Communicates Consciously and Openly
Writing is all about being a good listener
There is a lot of vulnerability when it comes to writing for purpose-driven businesses. Different beliefs and experiences come into play.
Topics like race and gender can be extremely sensitive.
Writing about one’s opinion or the beliefs of a brand can bring up tough conversations during a round of editing.
Black women writers practice open and honest communication because it’s genuine business relationships that make freelancing so appealing.
It’s certainly why I left the corporate world to pursue a life of creative work. The challenges are different but they’re certainly there. Not every client will have the bandwidth to discuss racial discrimination. It’s “publish now, talk later” sometimes.
I’ve learned to avoid brands that don’t make conversation a priority. Without conversation, there’s little creativity. And creativity is huge for writers.
She Has Passion and Creativity
Black women writers bring fresh ideas and perspectives to copywriting
Working with Black women writers is an opportunity to change how your audience perceives words and how those words can bridge cultural gaps.
When done respectfully, it’s not considered pandering or performative allyship.
Even with mistakes, it’s still a step in the right direction.
That’s why finding the right writer for an inclusive campaign can take a painstaking amount of time.
Knowing the right qualities to look for in Black women writers can help save time and lead to more conscious copy.
We shouldn’t be hired “just because we’re Black” but because we showcase our expertise and creativity in a way that’s best for the client.
These relationships matter when it comes to breaking down racial barriers.