Saturday, April 26, 2014

Writing is WORK!

At first glance, the title of this post is a big fat ol’ “DUH!” Of course writing is work. I’m not saying that as if it was a surprise. I’m actually trying to announce to the world that I am, once again, trying to write for money instead of just for the pleasure/need of it. For those who don’t know me (most of you), you don’t know that I spend over a year trying to navigate the content mills/freelance sites/elance, guru, etc. trying to scrape together a living with my writing skills. I completely failed.
OR DID I?  Really, I didn’t fail any more than every other writer does who tries to do what I did.,, all of those sites—they are a total scam. They legitimately set up contract services with writers and clients, but their culture is one of earning maybe a few dollars per article. If you take the time to research and write something that contains complete sentences and cohesive thought and structure, you will earn, maybe a dollar an hour. Supposedly, you can build a portfolio and start charging more, but with so many people offering to write for clients for just a few dollars, you really cannot move up. So, it was no longer an option.  That and the time that a client insisted I change an article to be grammatically incorrect and quite frankly nonsensical, just to include a keyword that wasn’t really a word.
So, here’s the work I am doing now. Magazine articles. Short stories. Poems. I am getting back to the heart and soul of what I write. I will NEVER, EVER, EVER write another article about zodiac tattoos—well, I may, but it won’t be at .05 cents a word (you heard me, a half a cent per word!) 
I am being creative again with my writing. I’m putting my heart into my writing again.
I just wrote a short story about Winston Churchill for a kid’s magazine. It was important enough to me to get it to them, that I spend sixty bucks to overnight it in order to meet the query deadline. I researched and learned about Sir Winston, and wrote historical fiction for the first time in my life. I actually gained quite an admiration for Churchill, based on how he acted as a younger man (think Indiana Jones fighting the Germans). I wrote another short story for a kids’ religious magazine and sent it off.  After this blog entry is done, I plan to maybe do a little revising on my middle-grade (MYSTIC MARBLE), or I may start gathering and editing a book of poetry for submission to a publisher who is running a contest specifically for poetry books.
What is my point? Well, I am working hard, for one. My family is slowly, oh so slowly, learning that they need to not bother me so much when I am “at the desk.” Right now, the TV is so incredibly loud in the other room, but we’re taking baby steps. If I am going to contribute to the family budget, I will have to submit, submit, submit, write, write, write—sheer volume will have to make up for the fact that everything I write won’t be purchased.
The big takeaway, though, is that I am writing with passion again. It’s work, but it’s good work, not mindless, sweatshop, slave labor breaking rocks with an icepick.
Please, if you ever, for a moment, consider looking for work on Elance, Guru,, any of those things, just…. don’t. It’s not worth your time and energy if you’re not putting your passion into the work (I have written just a few things that I’ve been able to point at and say that I was writing with passion. Surprise, surprise, those are the SAME few things that my clients actually gave me writing credits to… coincidence? You decide….). Don’t let the content mills suck your brain and your creative passion dry. Find clients who value the work you do, and pay you what you are worth. They are out there. The avenues are out there, be they content services that pay in real money, not Monopoly money, or if it be through freelancing for magazines.  You are worth it. You really are.
What about you? Have you had experiences with freelance writing? Horror stories? Happy stories? What’s your take on content writing?


  1. Yes, I’ve done the Elance thing too! I got one good gig where a guy paid me $75 for an ebook on various baby sleep training methods. I thought it was good because I enjoyed writing it and it actually helped me get my baby to sleep at the time. LOL! I also got a paid gig with a company that paid me $15/article. Which wasn’t a lot, but each article took me about an hour and a half to research and write and I could pick what topics I wanted to do out of a long list and decide how many I wanted to do each week, so it wasn’t awful. Nice to have a little bit of extra income.

    Other than that, I’ve done some paid stuff for friends- one friend is actually a writer and he bids on freelance jobs. He ended up getting one that was too big for him to handle on his own so he contacted me, and it was on couponing (which I am familiar with) so I helped him out. THAT was a monster. They gave us the titles they wanted- they were all how-to books and some of them were insane, like “How to Feed Your Family for $1 a Month!” Well, maybe not that insane but close. Anyway, that job was tough but paid really well. The hardest part was the deadline- I figured out that by the end of it I’d written about 50,000 words in 2 weeks. Nuts! Another friend asked me to write a press release for her service club for a local publication and I got to decide how much I charged for that one.

    Now I write for a local magazine- 2 articles per issue. It used to be monthly, but they switched to bi-monthly because of budget issues. Hopefully they’ll start getting in the black soon and switch back to monthly! Honestly, I think that’s the best gig if you can get it- get a steady spot in a local publication. This one just kind of fell in my lap because I knew someone who knew someone and they thought of me when this magazine was just getting started. It’s fun to have some say over the articles I do and to know there are people who look forward to hearing from me every other month! :-)

    Good luck! Patience and perseverance pay off!

  2. Kasey, I agree, you can get some good jobs. My favorite was for an e-book anthology about relationships with men. I'm worried that some of the other pieces might be risque, but mine was about being the second wife and how to work through jealousy issues.... it was fun to write, the editor spoke English--and it took me maybe 2 hours, for $65. That was a win. Those jobs are few and far between, and even those HUGE e-books that are common on Elance and Guru, are 50,000 words, for less than a half a cent a word. It's best if you can use those online sites to find a steady client who then just deals with you and values you. Thanks for your reply.

  3. I've never been paid to write, so I admire all of you who have! I wrote a high school curriculum and was paid to teach it for 12 years, but was not paid for the curriculum itself. Love your determination, and it's absolutely true that we should love what we're working on. The passion keeps us going!



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