When I’m not attempting to take mediocre pictures of whatever makes me happy during the day, or spending hours on Bloglovin’ and Pinterest, I write. Like for a living. People pay me for it. And since I get dozens of questions about it from dozens of people, I thought I would start with how I got started in the first place.
Learning to Write
I am not college educated, nor did I take special classes for writing. I simply taught myself, read a lot, and followed tips from other writers. I started at the bottom and worked my way up, learning as I went along. And I still have a lot more to learn.
Writing as a Hobby
I began, like so many other online writers do, on Yahoo! Contributor Network. I would link to it, but it’s long gone, dead, buried, and probably rotting by now. At the time, I was working full time as a diamond grader and simply wrote little articles in my spare time. I just wanted to add to the money I was making at my day job, and absolutely did not expect to be doing it full time. Plus to be honest, I was just curious if I could do it.
I recommend starting out with your own blog, then beginning to submit work for a site that lets you submit anything you want, instead of having assignments. It’s been years since I have worked for content sites, so unfortunately I don’t even know good ones that are around. I still think going with a blog is best, since you have published posts you can use as samples for potential clients.
Writing More, Working Less
Near the end of 2010, I found myself becoming highly involved in writing and not caring much about my diamond grading job anymore. There were a lot of changes at the company I worked for, causing me to lose interest. This was after about six months of writing articles, after which I began looking for other places to write. I then was researching “upfront pay” jobs, where you get a set amount for each article or blog post, as opposed to being paid by views, which is how Yahoo! worked for most of what you submit.
This is how I stumbled upon another content site that is also rotting underground.. Demand Media Studios (DMS). They were a “content mill” that paid writers per piece that was approved. You basically select from a pool of articles, research and write based on the title of the article, submit and wait for it to be approved. I liked the pay rate, I liked the easy topics, and I loved that they paid twice a week. At the time, I had no idea it would only be around for another few months, but it was one of the main reasons I quit my job.
Quitting My Job and Moving On
Now looking back, almost 7 years later, I realize this was a mistake. Not so much that I made the decision, but because I did it on a whim. I have a tendency to act on impulse, usually without common sense, and I literally went in one day and said “I Quit. Bye.” At the time, I was making more per article than I was in an hourly wage at my job. So I thought it made sense.
The first few months were good, but then DMS went to shit and I found myself without a job. The next year was rough, I won’t lie. But it all came around and I am still doing the same thing, with a lot more stability.
From Content Mills to Private Clients
Every writer wants to have private clients. Content mills are fine in the beginning, but most of us move on because of the restrictions, the inconsistent editing tactics, and the low pay.
Since you’re not here to read a novel on my entire writing career, I will tell you this: freelance writing is hard work. It takes a lot of dedication, motivation, and a LOT of hours in front of a computer. I would say I spend at least 12-16 hours at my desk. Every day. 7 days a week. Weekends, holidays, birthdays. I don’t get sick days and I don’t get vacations. In return, I get to work my own hours (sort of) and am able to work from home, which is something I have always wanted to do.
This post is from 2013/14, and I now no longer work for private clients, but for myself instead 🙂 Check the newer posts on this blog for what I do now.