The question was: is it okay to provide writing services for no compensation. It seems to me a question of framing: some folks call writing for free “marketing.” If you assign a (reasonable) value to your “marketing” you should be able to deduct the cost of producing the “free” writing from your taxes… so you do get paid, indirectly, under the current tax code (caveat: I’m not a tax person so verify this before attempting! And who knows what the tax code will look like next year!). Second, any experience – whether good or bad – is priceless. You may be writing for no monetary compensation but the skills you are sharpening will be enriched, so you still come out ahead. Also, as PeterDMallett pointed out, you never know when that piece you provided gratís might get picked up by someone else who wants to pay for it. Which brings me back around to marketing. You won’t be read if you don’t get your words out there. Maya Angelou may know why the caged bird sings, but we know the bird is singing to market itself, and who heard of a bird charging its listeners? Market thyself early and often, like a bird, and the world will notice. Later, when the world knows the uniqueness of your song, you can set up a tent and charge admission.
Anyone expecting to read about literal ‘free writing’ as in psychic writing will be disappointed by the preceding; I will take on psychic writing in the future. I have foreseen it.