Two years ago I was given my very first piece of paid writing work. I made a complete hash of it but fortunately my principal was very understanding and took the time to show me exactly what he wanted. Since that first faltering step I’ve become more confident and adept at producing work that clients pay good money for. My name as a writer is almost unknown on the web, however samples of my writing work can now be found on web sites all over the world.
There are two serious observations from my initial story, the first is that messing things up is not the end of the world as it’s how you will learn and get better. The second point is that you will find a lot of people in the writing community eager to help you. Writing for profit is not a closed community and the nature of writing itself, to express yourself and your ideas, automatically lends itself to self-promotion. Writers as a breed just cannot keep quiet about what they produce while good writers are always open to learning as they explore their expressive and creative skills.
For a writer, a mind is like a parachute – if it’s closed it won’t work!
My initial forays into writing for profit landed me with assignments as varied as 500 words on Japanese Geta (a type of clog used by country folk in Japan) through to a War and Peace epic on selecting a Content Management System (closer to home for me as I worked in IT at the time). Writing, it became clear, was simply the means to express the results of research I had to do in order to gain an understanding of the topic the client had set. The research alone became increasingly engrossing and I remember, while researching that Geta article, that I spent an inordinate two hours on the net just reading “stuff” as I surfed.
This for me was another lesson to be taken on board. You’re being paid for this and time is money, so while you need to produce quality work to keep getting business, it is also important that you recognise the value of your time and allocate it to the project at hand. You’ll soon appreciate why you have to do this when you have 10,000 words to complete and the deadline is 6pm GMT yesterday. Deadlines are something you will discover so you need to be disciplined with your time if you are to meet them and still produce good quality, well written content that is focused and on topic.
You may be asking why I haven’t touched on finding someone to give you work and pay you for it? Simply, there is so much work available that paid writing projects are something you can virtually fall over whenever you log on to your PC. We are living in a time of incredible demand for content and so much so that even those with only a basic mastery of spoken English from the Third World are making a living writing.
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