Freelance content writing may be your cuppa tea
Blatherskite. I am not. Quotes, I do use for my rescue. ‘If I had a bookstore I would make all the mystery novels hard to find’ (Demitri Martin). You are absolutely right if you are thinking that ‘she might have researched that word ‘Blatherskite’ and the quote’. It’s not verbal diarrhoea but research. Where is this post heading to? Trust me, it is going somewhere with many possibilities. I am building on content, solid content. This week we are looking into freelance content writing as a career. So all the writing enthusiasts brace yourself for a fun ride. Please welcome Archana Mohan as our guest writer.
Over to Archana 🙂
You are writing about a summit to the majestic Himalayas.
A view so tranquil. And terrifying.
The determination to keep going, the blind faith on the harness that keeps you from plummeting down..what’s that moment like?
Your mesmerized fingers fly over the keyboard, translating those life changing emotions into the 2500 word story you were commissioned to write but wait!
You hear a piercing scream.
Back to earth.
Your toddler has tripped over a stray Lego piece. You rush to comfort her. There is cooing, kissing and cuddling. She scurries off to another adventure.
Where was I?, you wonder. The Himalayas story, ofcourse! You channel your trekking spirit again. Like an ice axe on a glacier, you chip away at your travel piece only to be jolted by another scream.
Back to earth again! It is either snack time or nap time. Or both!
Welcome to the world of a freelance content writer mom!
It’s challenging, maddening and exhausting – you will love it!
How I stumbled upon it
Like every doe-eyed journalism student, I thought my life was made when I got hired as a reporter in a reputed business newspaper right out of college.
Then life happened.
First came marriage, then kids, followed by moving back and forth different countries as a trailing spouse. Like a lot of women who quit their jobs to raise a young family, I felt lost on the professional front.
Sure, I still wrote the odd blog post but part of me felt like I could do better. I wished for a platform for people like me who like to dabble a little in writing but cannot take it up full time due to other commitments.
Ta-da! Enter content writing.
What is content writing?
A fancy word for good old fashioned putting words to paper. Choose a topic. Do some online research. Can you write 500 words on it? If so, congratulations. You are a content writer. There is no rocket science to it. You see Facebook links on articles screaming ‘You will never guess who so and so dated before becoming an actor’. That’s content.
Have you read product descriptions on shopping websites? That’s content.
Do you read parenting blogs where there are articles like ‘Decoding baby poop’ complete with a graphic photo-gallery?
That’s content too.
Whether it is for your own website or a client, if a reader thinks “This looks interesting” and clicks your link, you’ve nailed it.
Where should I start?
Read. If travel writing interests you, read travel websites and blogs. If finance interests you, read business features. The more you read, the more familiar you become with the nuances of article writing.
Write. Write bad. Write so horrible you want to wring the laptop’s neck. But write. Write for the blog whose password you have forgotten. Write a Facebook post. Tweet. Scribble on toilet paper. Just simply write. You’ll be surprised how that old grey matter kicks in and gives you a 1000 word gift that’s perfect to be sent to that fashion magazine you’ve always wanted to write for.
How to find work?
Ok, this is where the stuff gets real. It feels good to post your political views on your blog (and have your ten friends give you the standard thumbs up) but what after that? If you are serious about giving writing a shot, start with a portfolio. A well maintained blog or website containing your writing, published articles, collaborations and awards is like your online resume and a potential client’s first introduction to your writing
Register in websites like Upwork, Freelancer and other general job websites local to you. Bid for the assignments that excite you. Contact content agencies and websites you read regularly and send them a sample of your work. Join and follow content writing groups on Facebook and Twitter. All you need to do is get a foot in the door and the rest will follow.
How well does it pay?
You could be the next JK Rowling, but don’t expect it to foot your online shopping bill as of yet! Like all remunerations, this one is subjective too. When you start out, quoting a competitive (read depressing) price per word opens the doors to a lot of work. Grind it out and put out the best work you can. Once you make a name for yourself, you can safely buy the milk bowl studded with Swarovski crystals for your cat. Price per word rates vary radically across geographies and verticals so don’t forget to do your research!
Most importantly, don’t worry about rejections. Each one makes you a better writer. If a writer of JK Rowling’s calibre can be rejected by 12 publishers for her Harry Potter manuscript, maybe it’s a good thing for the rest of us!
Work from home, work on your schedule, work with an infant sleeping on your lap, turn your hobby into a career.
Who knows? Maybe content writing could be the knight in shining armour you were looking for!
Archana Mohan is a freelance journalist and content writer. She writes about travel, sport, finance and people. She is India’s best hope for a gold medal in Olympics when procrastination is inducted as a new category. She blogs at archanamohan.wordpress.com
Thank you so much Archana for sharing your insight on content writing. I am sure just like me, the readers have enjoyed reading about it. Thank you for providing the ammunition to foray into the field of content writing.