Dropped off the Radar

Sorry for dropping off the radar for a few weeks.  I’ve been busy trying to understand Brighthub’s new system and getting caught up on some other articles.  I was excited to receive the Top 1000 badge on Associated Content.  I’ve been writing for them since late 2007.  I didn’t really get super involved until 2008, but for only a little over a year of work, I’m proud of my accomplishment.  It think that’s one thing freelancers should always remember.  Take pride in every accomplishment.  Yeah, a lucky 100 got the Top 100 badge and a handful actually received annual cash rewards and badges for their work, but at least I did something to receive recognition.

I was actually feeling kind of blah about writing lately until I saw that.  It’s one of those little things that can get you motivated again.  Think about the boss giving you praise at a 9 to 5 job.  It’s pretty much the same thing.  A nice comment, a lot of activity, or just praise from a friend or family member can help re-motivate you.  Or at the very least, make you feel as if you really are making a difference with your work.

I’m using this week as a major catch up week.  So many opportunities have arisen lately and I don’t want to miss a single one.  I’m looking to break my record for weekly earnings this week, so wish me luck.  I advise everyone to take advantage of every opportunity you can when writing, especially if you’re trying to establish your career.  You never know what may happen.  Who knows, you could nail a full time position or regular client, major recognition, or just a butt-load of cash.  I should be back at the end of the week.  I’ll have more writing prompts and an update of how the week turned out.

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Revisiting Creative Writing

To me, creative writing is pretty much everything outside of news and informative articles.  Granted, even tutorials, news stories, and other informative articles take a decent amount of creativity.  Anyone can spit out facts, but you have to add a little flair to make people want to read.

I’ve been working so much on writing articles that I’d forgotten my original writing passion began with creative writing.  Honestly, I still love fiction, poetry, and music more than what I write for money.  Recently, I claimed a C4C at Associated Content to write a Christmas poem.  I was thrilled to see 45 views within the first week of publication.  Considering I did no promotion and creative writing doesn’t exactly do well on AC, I was happy.

The words sort of flowed, kind of like they used to before all my creativity went out the window along with the stress of becoming a freelancer.  I used to write at least 50 poems and/or songs each year depending on what was going on in my life.  I’ve never been good at short stories, but I thoroughly enjoyed writing the ghost story for AC.  This year; however, I’ve only written 3 maybe 4 poems or songs.  Talk about withdrawal!

So from here on out, I’m going to set aside time to write more poems, songs, and fiction stories.  I’ve been denying myself when inspiration strikes simply because I was busy writing an article or researching a new writing opportunity.  Hopefully, this will help me start writing more blog posts as well.  I’ll post some of my favorites at AC and add the links to my posts on here.

Never ignore inspiration.  Creative writing is both fun and an excellent stress reliever.  As any freelancer can tell you, stress relief is always welcome.

Where to Start – My Beginning

I spent a while researching various websites looking for a place to begin writing online.  I didn’t want to pay any membership dues, especially since I had no writing experience to place on a resume.  Many freelance bidding sites require fees in order to view or bid on projects.  For those with extensive experience and an impressive resume, the fees may be worth it.  However, you shouldn’t have to pay to work.  At least, that’s my opinion.

I finally stumbled upon Associated Content or AC for short.  Helium quickly followed.  However, if I had to choose between the two I’d pick AC in a heartbeat.  The main reason being AC offers upfront pay for approved articles.  For anyone looking to explore freelance writing, especially web writing, it would be worth your time to check out both of these sites.  (Please see the end of the article for links.)  Now, for a quick overview of both sites.

Associated Content

  • Allows writers to submit content on almost any topic, including poetry and short stories.
  • Offers upfront payments, usually between $3-$8 for non-exclusive approved articles and higher rates for exclusive.
  • The page view bonus program offers $1.50 per 1,000 page views on every article.
  • Pays through PayPal, but only for US Citizens.
  • The community forums are extremely helpful for expanding your talent and career.

Helium

  • No upfront payment for most articles, but pays for page views.
  • The Marketplace allows publishers to request titles from Helium writers.  The pay is set by the publisher, but normally ranges from $10 to $60 for a 400 word article.  However, these titles are available to all members and the publisher may or may not choose your article. 
  • Articles are all non-exclusive.
  • Helium contests allow writers to submit content to a set group of titles for a chance to win $10-$60.  The winner is based upon the ratings for each submitted article.
  • Promotions occur several times a year that allow users to receive up to $3 per article submitted during the promotional period that fit the specific requirements for that promotion.

Before submitting to either site, please read the terms of service, FAQs, help section, and any information in the members sections to fully understand the site.  This will help you make the most out of both sites.  These two sites have helped me get my writing career off the ground.  I now have a writing resume and plenty of other gigs. 

Join Associated Content  (if you don’t wish to use the referral link, use this link.)
Join Helium

You Can’t Always Do It Alone

Becoming a writer is a big change.  It’s not quite the same as a 9 to 5 with a supervisor standing over your shoulder telling you what to do and giving you feedback.  Some writers actually do work in groups, while most work alone.  However, you should know that you can’t always do it alone. 

One thing I learned quickly was that I needed support.  Not financially, but moral support.  When I had writer’s block, a job fell through, or just a rough spot in general, I needed someone to talk to, someone to encourage me to keep going.  Otherwise, I can honestly say I would have quit within a few months without someone reminding me why I was even trying and that I could succeed.

So where can you find encouragement or just simply someone to vent to?  The obvious choices are friends and family.  However, these aren’t the only choices.  Check locally for writer’s groups.  For instance, several places around my area bring in established writers for other writers to come and meet.  This allows local writers to meet others and establish friendships with people who truly understand the business. 

There are also online writer’s groups.  Even if you’re speaking with someone you’ve never seen, just having someone to talk to can make all the difference.  Many times, I’ve been inspired by hearing how some writer I’ve never seen made it through a rough patch.  On Associated Content, there is actually a forum dedicated to helping AC members have local AC parties or hook ups.

***I feel obligated to say, even though I know you’ve probably heard this at least a zillion times, please be careful when talking to people online, or strangers in general.  Be careful about handing out personal information to anyone you don’t know.  Whether online or in person.  Also, if meeting someone you’ve talked to online, be sure to do it in a public place with friends or family with you.

Regardless of how confident you may be, you will need some type of support.  Whether it’s just casually talking to other writers or venting about a rough day, find someone to talk to.  You wouldn’t believe how much stress this prevents.