Have you checked out the various sites where you bid for writing jobs, which shall remain nameless?
Many people or companies bid for assignments that are insulting to any writer as far as the pay is concerned. Any writer that will accept $2 for an original well-written 400 word article that will pass Copyscape is lowering the occupation of “freelance Writer” to such a degree that writers do not have a chance to get paid what they are worth.
The person posting the job is looking for quality at a price that should and probably does receive work from someone that is not of quality, for if they were of quality, they would not accept such low rates. As a rank amateur, the writer should be worth a minimum of $0.05 to $0.01 per word. Many of the posters are asking writers for quality and quantity for around $0.006 and sometimes less.
This is one reason that many freelance writers are not getting assignments, they value themselves, and their work. If writers do not value their work and ask for a commensurate rate, they lower it for all writers. This is from a writer with experience in this area, not just sour grapes. Writing is a business just as any other business. Writers need to learn this and act accordingly.
Even in a down economy, writers need to stick to their guns when it comes to writing and being paid what they are worth. Things will change due to geographic areas. A writer in a small town cannot charge what someone on Los Angeles or New York City can. You have to know what your specific client can afford.
If you write newsletters or blogs for companies or individuals do not overcharge, but be reasonable with your rates. Only charge what you feel is fair for the work, either by the word or by the project. Be a professional! After all, that is what a freelance writer is, a professional businessperson. If you do not think so, think again and look at how you perceive the business of writing.