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Because the looming deadline grows ever loomier, today’s post is a pointer to the estimable John Scalzi, saying some very true things about why it’s never a good idea to ask a professional writer to write you something for free.

The comments are also worth reading, since they point out that the same sentiments apply to, e.g., knitters and other craftspersons; and also make it clear that the friends-and-family exception to the rule is just that, an exception, and one that’s made at the discretion of the one granting it.

Not that I think anyone reading this would be so tactless as to ask a professional of any sort to do their job for free; but I do think that apprentice and journeyman professionals need to take Scalzi’s words to heart. The time to start practicing your “I’m sorry, but I don’t work for free” speech is before somebody comes around and asks you to do it.