Mid-week post

Just a friendly reminder to everyone that our New Year’s Writing Competition only has a couple more days left until submissions come to a stop, so if you want a shot at winning some cash and a guest blog spot, there’s no better time than now :)

Here’s a mini-update on my content writing experiment. Today was day three. I averaged 60+ dollars an hour on Monday, right at 60 dollars an hour on Tuesday, and today I averaged 75 dollars an hour. Each day I am writing a journal entry regarding the exact time it took for each and every aspect of the project, including the pros and cons of the day. I cover any administrative tasks, time spent (or rather, not spent) on marketing, querying, and cold-calling, and I will be publishing the journal sometime later in the month after I’ve collected enough data for it to be considered credible.

One thing you can rest assured on: I am not cherry picking the data. I am very specifically covering both the pros and cons of the content writing world working for a content mill. There will be a rather lengthy essay published along with the physical journal and data for the experiment, and I will be including screenshots of my logs, paychecks, and otherwise in order to provide proof-positive for all the doubters out there. So far, it’s been a fairly interesting project. In fact, one of the most interesting things is something I find incredibly ironic.

In two year’s time, I’ve yet to have a client request a rewrite from me. Yet, using the particular content mill I’m working with at the moment, I have had two re-write requests in the past 3 days. Both of them were trivial. One was for punctuation, and one was for a request to rearrange a couple of aspects of the data within the article. Both fixes took mere seconds to change. But the interesting thing is this: almost always you hear the content-site haters going on and on about how “horrible” the editing is for content sites, yet I am finding (so far) that the editing for this particular content mill is actually superior to anything I’ve come across in my traditional freelance work.

It’s still too early in the project for this to be considered “proof” of anything, but it is an interesting piece of information, to be sure. No rewrites from traditional clients with editors that content-site haters claim are superior, yet two rewrite requests from a place that content-site haters claim uses “hack” writers and “hack” editors.

A conundrum!

In the meantime, I’m heading up to Ognyanovo tomorrow evening for a much-needed weekend at a spa resort with my wife and her family, and I’ll be spending my weekend reading contest submissions and short story submissions from over at Marginal Boundaries. Hope to see some more submissions for the contest soon!

Happy writing!

Posted in Freelance Writing 101, Freelance Writing Resources Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Jump-start your New Year

Everyone knows that the first few steps of any venture set the pace and tone for the rest of the project. If something starts slow, chances are it will continue to move at a sluggish pace. Projects that get started off with a bang, however, tend to move forward at a rapid pace that sometimes outdistances the people involved. That’s when outsourcing comes into play, and growing your company (if that’s something you happen to be striving for).

With that being said, everyone out there should be looking at ways to make January a month that resonates with sheer audacity. January should be a month of base-jumping into new projects, sky-diving into new clients, and setting the pace for the rest of your year.

At Complete Writing Solutions, we can help you do just that. For starters, we have the New Year’s Writing Competition going on, with submissions open until January 8th. What better way to get your new year off to a great start than by winning some cold hard cash and a guest blog spot?

We also offer consultations for both new and veteran writers alike. Our main focus is on providing writers with tools and resources to be viable on a global basis. If you have a niche that pertains to your local area, that’s great, but we are focused primarily on providing global solutions for freelance writers.

Need some copy writing done? Have a fiction project you want written? Some ghost-writing for an e-book? How about website content or travel writing? Here at Complete Writing Solutions we can help you get a jump-start on the competition by giving you some of the best content your money can buy.

Complete Writing Solutions just launched Marginal Boundaries. Marginal Boundaries is a speculative fiction webzine that will publish its first issue in March of 2010. If you are someone who is an aspiring author, or are already working full-time as a writer, what better way to get your new year off to a great start than to get another one of your stories out in the world to be read by your adoring fans?

I am also personally undertaking a content writing project for the month of January that will take an up-close and personal look at the pros and cons of writing for content mills, including hard numbers. I can’t give out too much details on the project just yet, but I will be tracking the time it takes to plug in keywords, find projects, write the articles, edit the articles, deal with any re-writes, and any and all administrative details required. The overall goal? To help new and veteran freelancers alike understand the power of content sites when used in conjunction with traditional means of earning income, or just on their own for those people who don’t have the time or the inclination to deal with querying and marketing.

Join Complete Writing Solutions in getting the new year started with a bang! Join in on the comments and let us know what you have going now that 2010 is officially in full swing!

Posted in Uncategorized

New Year’s Writing Competition

To get the New Year started off with a bang, Complete Writing Solutions is sponsoring our first-ever New Year’s Writing Competition. There will be three prizes offered to contestants.

  • First Prize: $30.00 and a guest-blog spot featuring your post.
  • Second Prize: $15.00 and a guest-blog spot featuring your post.
  • Third Prize: A guest-blog spot featuring your post.

The winners will be announced at 8 a.m. GMT on January 11th, 2010, along with a schedule of when you can see their posts appearing on our site during the month of January.

Here’s how it works. From 00:01 GMT January 1st, 2010 until midnight of January 8th, 2010 submissions will be open. You can send your posts to contest@completewritingsolutions.com. The e-mail account will be closed after the contest ends, so if you want a shot at claiming first place, you need to get your submission in ASAP.

Posts need to be between 700 and 1,000 words.

You must have a PayPal account. Prize money will only be awarded through PayPal.

The theme of this contest is Global Awareness, or “how to remain globally relevant as a freelance writer, and what are some proven methods of success that can help you achieve your goals in 2010.”

The competition is open to writers from any corner of the globe, as long as submissions are made in US English.

Submissions must be made in the body of the e-mail. Anything with an attachment will be deleted without being read.

Please include a brief cover letter with your submission, including a working e-mail address.

Contest winners will be contacted via their e-mail addresses.

Updates on the contest will be made on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so stay tuned for more information.

I will be judging the submissions based upon not only originality, but also upon hard evidence. Those of you who have done research in the field and know your facts and figures, this is your chance to shine! As many of you know, I’m a firm believer in hard numbers and math to back up the facts, so bring it on! As far as originality goes, I’m looking for writers who have a fresh take on the industry, people who are making a living as freelance writers, who have the experience and the knowledge to back up their posts. If you are someone who knows how the world works, and are making a healthy living as a freelance writer, this is your opportunity to share some of your knowledge on how to make it work.

We look forward to reading your submissions and publishing some fresh and innovating new ways to remain relevant on a global basis as a freelance writer. Good luck!

(all times are in GMT)

Posted in Freelance Writing 101, Freelance Writing Resources, Freelance Writing Tips, The World Is Your Oyster Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

To be, or not to be.

Christmas is past, but we are still on semi-hiatus until the 4th of January.

Next week we will be revealing one of the many projects we have planned for the first few months of the new year. For now, a taste of what is to come (in no particular order)

  • Guest blog spots
  • A content writing extravaganza
  • Interviews with freelance professionals
  • A writing competition (complete with cash prize)
  • E-book launch
  • A speculative fiction e-zine
  • Much, much more

Until then…enjoy your post-holiday basking.

Posted in Freelance Writing Resources Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Happy Holidays

Regardless of how you term your festivities around this time of the year, Evy and I want to wish you the best. Take the time to enjoy the holidays with your family. Switch off the cell phones, turn off the TVs, log off the Interwebz. Take a few days to get back in touch with the very thing that shapes us all on a global basis…humanity.

We will be out of touch for a couple of days, following the above advise. When we return, expect to see some fairly progressive posts in the last week of December into the first week of January. We have massive plans for CWS, and the launch of several new products planned, including a speculative fiction e-zine in partnership with a global team of fiction and art professionals.

In the meantime, celebrate the holidays with your loved ones. Knock back a bottle or two, celebrate another phenomenal year, and we’ll see you on the flip side!

(on a side note, I realize my site–and a few others–have been up and down the last day or so. This is due to the massive snow storm that is currently kicking the U.S. from one side to the other. When power issues level off, things will be back to normal. Until then, there’s nothing I can do about mother nature.)

Posted in Uncategorized

Global communication

Communication is one of the most powerful tools that humanity has at its disposal. It allows the transfer of information, the sharing of knowledge, and builds bridges that span the gaps between social differences, erasing the lines which separate us on the map. Communication is the single driving force behind the most important changes in the history of our species, because without the distribution of knowledge shared by many individuals spreading knowledge, no one would have ever known about these innovative ideas and worked to improve them.

Communication on a global scale has affected every aspect of how we (humanity) do business on a daily basis. Over the course of human history every time you have a product you want to market, you worry about your local presence. What is your target demographic? How much is shipping going to cost? How much do you have to pay your employees? What is your competition selling their product for? How much are they paying their employees? Everything related to the business venture has to take into account the minute details regarding what your competitors on a local basis are doing, and communication with local businesses and individuals gets you that knowledge.

As far as business ventures go, some things have remained the same, but others have changed. First and foremost is how communication has affected the way we (humanity) do business in the 21st century. The spread of the Internet beyond the US and the UK has allowed economies around the world to burst onto the market, and they are running at breakneck speed to catch up with countries who had a decade or more head-start in various industries. This broadening of communication has directly affected how businesses operate because there is no such thing as a local market anymore. When a company looks at how they need to market a product, they look beyond the mere local presence to the global network of potential customers, competitors and employees, because the playing field is far wider than it used to be.

One of the first mistakes many individuals make when they consider the global market is the assumption that anyone from outside of the US and the UK has an inferior education, and therefore should not be considered as competition. However, there is a reason that special effects companies—for example—are outsourcing to companies in India or New Zealand, and telemarketing companies are outsourcing their customer service reps to places like the Philippines. Many of the shoes Americans wear are made in foreign countries, as are many of the vehicles they drive. Outsourcing to “foreign” places has been a business practice for many companies over the years, but as we progress further and further into the 21st century and communication becomes available on a wider basis, the outsourcing is more relevant than ever.

The reason for that is simple: education levels in developed countries around the world are not only on-par with education in the US, but in many cases they are superior. For example, most European high school diplomas are the equivalent of a US high school diploma plus two years of traditional college, meaning that high school graduates in the EU are two years ahead of students who graduate in the US. In the US, foreign language courses are electives. In the EU they are mandatory in most cases. Not only are international students graduating from high school with a two year head-start against their US counterparts, but they fluently speak at least one more language. The gap only increases with higher levels of education.

With education levels around the world being what they are, companies are outsourcing their work to employees in countries around the world. Not only are these new employees better educated in many cases, but they are able to work for far cheaper rates due to their reduced costs of living in comparison to the average American. As more and more companies begin to realize that there are people around the world who read, write, and understand the language better than native speakers—and have higher education levels to boot—they begin looking to these other countries as a means of employment. Communication on a global basis has allowed them access to a pool of international candidates for the jobs at hand.

How does this affect you as a writer? It directly affects the rates charged for work, which is a result of a larger pool of writers available for employers to choose from, which is a direct result of global communication. When you add in the fact that many individuals from the European Union and elsewhere have higher education levels than most Americans, which means they not only grasp the grammar of the language more firmly than many writers in the U.S. and can thus write more clearly and concisely than their traditional counterparts, combined with the fact that their lower cost of living means they are willing to work for far cheaper than the average American writer is, you are faced with a reality that has most U.S. writers gnashing their teeth in frustrating as work that was traditionally theirs and theirs alone is now shipped out overseas and outsourced. It’s just smart business. Employers can get writing that is just as good in terms of quality (and in many cases, better), and they can get it at a fraction of what it would cost them to hire a writer from the United States.

At the end of the day, no one can afford to be bound by local constraints in the 21st century, because local no longer means your city, state, region, or country. Communication on a global scale has allowed for the entire world to be considered local, and with a global pool of educated individuals sharing the skills required for the tasks at hand, the competition is greater than ever.  Global awareness is key to a successful business. What are you doing to stay globally aware?

Posted in Freelance Writing 101 Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

The niches you didn’t even know you had

The easiest way to be a profitable writer in the content world is to have a niche or two (or three, or four, etc.) in which you are qualified to write. This is a commonly-known fact about writing on the web. Niche markets pay better than non-niche markets, not only because they require little/no research on your part, but because you are an expert in those particular niches and can thus demand higher fees when writing about those specific topics.

However, having a niche is more than just picking something and trying to carve out your own little corner of the Internet. In order to really make the niche work for you, you have to have some relevant experience in the field in said niche. For example, I could pick brain surgery as my niche, but the problem is that I really don’t know the first thing about brain surgery. If I were to write anything about the topic I would have to do a lot of research prior to writing the article. That means my productivity goes down.

The key to making money writing website content through niches is to establish niches where your skills are at at their peak level. The reason for this is simple: productivity. Every time you write something in a niche you are familiar with, you have zero time spent on research. You already know the topic at hand, so you don’t need to research it.

Niches are hobbies. These are things you enjoy. You talk about them all the time with your friends. Maybe your niches are things like sports, cars, sailing, nail clippings, red fingernail polish, train sets, or the price of bamboo in New Zealand. A niche is something which you are passionate about. You enjoy talking about it, and you enjoy reading and writing about it. In fact, if you had enough spare time, you would spend most of it on your hobbies…your niches.

Many people aren’t even aware of the niches they have available to them. They think that niches are somehow linked to the professional working environment. The reality couldn’t be further from that misguided notion. Your entire life is full of niches, because your experiences living in this world have provided you with expertise that only you are qualified to write about, because no one else but you has experienced them.

I started with video games, personally. My first writing gig was six months working on a kids-to-teens fantasy RPG writing quests and dialogue. That led to writing game guides for Killer Guides, which led to work for various video game publications around the world. I also took my knowledge of running a small business, my family background in the ceramic and natural stone contracting industry, my passion for traveling around the world, my love of wine and food, and my personal knowledge on health and fitness…and suddenly I realized I had dozens niches I was qualified to write in.

I used to run a small business. As the president of said business, I was in charge of the hiring and the firing. I was in charge of generating the jobs we worked on. As a small business owner there were a variety of positions that I covered all at the same time. I was the PR guy, the HR guy, the bookkeeper, the boss, an employee, an installer, a designer, a consultant and so on and so forth. The tasks required of me as a business owner gave me even more niches above and beyond my life experiences.

Beyond that, I had traveled frequently throughout Europe, often for months at a time. That gave me in-depth knowledge on the ins and outs of international travel, different cultures, different cuisines, wines, and a variety of other travel-related aspects that gave me niches within that industry. I had always been a gamer, so I had over 20 years of playing console games and computer games, and in today’s market where gaming is a global phenomenon with literally billions of dollars at stake and millions of players all over the world, suddenly the hobby my parents always swore was going to rot my brain was making me cash. Doctors are advocating video games as a means for improving eye/hand coordination, and are using them for therapeutic recovery methods.

Regardless if you are writing for traditional clients or choosing to write for the current trend of content mills, the easiest way to be profitable is through niches. Not only does it remove the research aspect from the equation and allow you to simply write for cash, but your niche topics are hobbies you are already passionate about, which means they won’t feel like work when you are writing about them. Imagine getting paid to ramble about the latest sports game, or rant about your favorite/least favorite politician. Wouldn’t you like to make money simply talking about knitting, or showing people how to make a pair of socks? How about teaching people how to trim their dog’s toenails or braid a leather whip?

There are literally millions of niches out there to choose from. Your life experiences, regardless of where you live in the world, have provided you with dozens of niches to choose from, all of them specifically relevant to you. All you have to do is pick the ones you are most passionate about and start writing about them online. There are 6 billion people out there in the world, and some of them have similar hobbies as yourself, and they want to hear what you have to say.

Take a look at your life. What are you most passionate about? What niches do you have available to you?

Posted in Freelance Writing 101 Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Knowledge is power

July 18th, 1866. The dawn of the Information Age. For centuries mankind had been reliant upon the physical transportation of information from one place to another, and while innovations such as steam engines and ships had allowed faster and faster communications between countries, it still took literal weeks to send a letter from the United States to Europe, or anywhere in between, due to the physical letters needing to be transported via ship across the open waters. But then it came. The transatlantic telegraph cable.

On July 18th, 1866, the first commercially successful telegraph cable was used, linking the United States with Europe. Instead of messages taking weeks or even months to cross the open waters, they could now be transferred in a matter of minutes.

Most people associate the term Information Age with the latter part of the 20th century, and the first decade of the 21st century. We have all seen the spread of information through resources like Wikipedia, the community-building aspects of social networks like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. The world is not as large as it once was. In fact, communication these days is instantaneous. The blink of an eye, at most. But the Information Age actually started back in 1866, not in the latter part of the 20th century. It was when mankind took that step towards uniting the world through instant communication that the flow of information began to spread.

Knowledge is no longer hoarded by those select few who wielded their knowledge like a weapon of mass destruction, bludgeoning to death anyone who dared challenge their authority. The media is no longer in control of who is allowed to learn what, how quickly, or in what context. We, the people, are in control of what we learn, how we learn it, and when we learn. Knowledge is power, and the people of the Earth have clearly taken a stand for what they believe in. The evidence is there, in the Internet, with places like Wikipedia and Google having literal hundreds of millions of users per year.

Knowledge is power. It is an old saying, and one that has held true for thousands of years. This is why the sharing of information is so important for the evolution of our species, both on a social scale and the economical. As the world becomes a smaller and smaller place it is vitally important that everyone in the world become as educated as they possibly can, and that can only happen through the open transfer of information. The world does not benefit by the hoarding of knowledge. The only ones who benefit from such actions are the people who control the flow.

This is the reason why academics and traditional media outlets are in an uproar over the Internet, Google, and places like Wikepedia. They do not want you to become educated. If you become educated it strips away their power. If everyone in the world can suddenly know the truth, perform the tasks that the peasants would otherwise would have been reliant upon these lordly few to perform for them, they are reduced to nothing more than normal, average, everyday human beings.

Academics claim that the main reason they are upset about the spread of information through places like Wikipedia  is because the information does not come from credible sources. Let’s analyze that for just a moment, shall we? Taking a look back over the centuries, who benefits the most from a controlled flow of information? The academics, or the general public? The academics, of course. By controlling the flow of information, they hold the power. The last thing they want to do is relinquish that position, which is why they are in a panic over Wikipedia. It is not that Wikipedia is an unreliable source (see Research in the 21st Century for more information on its credibility), but rather the fact that Wikipedia allows information to be shared freely, by all people, without anyone controlling the flow. Power is now shared. It is only natural that the academics are frightened by this aspect. For thousands of years they were the lords, and they grew accustomed to their lofty positions.

The world is no longer a place separated by weeks and months of travel and the limitations of physical transportation. Communication is instantaneous, and humanity has thrown off the shackles of reliance to a select few who told us when and what we were allowed to learn. We are globally conscious, globally aware, and globally united. Lines on a map are the only things which separate us now, and even those are slowly fading as humanity begins to evolve past the shallow differences of racial origins and emerges into the 21st century as an enlightened whole.

What are you doing to help the evolution of the species and the sharing of knowledge?

Posted in The World Is Your Oyster Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

What is success, and how do I achieve it?

What is success? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, success is any sort of favorable or desired outcome, or the attainment of wealth, favor, and eminence.

Success is a tricky beast. Taking a look at a past example I’ve used, let’s look at two people. One works at McDonald’s and has a cost of living of $15,000 a year. His salary amounts to $30,000 a year, so he is taking home roughly half of his earnings, or putting $15,000 a year into his savings account. Meanwhile, another person around the corner is making $80,000 a year.

At first glance, most people’s immediate assumption is that the person making 80k a year is more “successful” than the person working for 30k a year. But let’s look at the person making 80k a year. Do they have kids? A mortgage? How many cars? What is their cost of living? What if the person making 80k a year has living expenses of $75,000 a year between the kids, the mortgage, 2 car payments, health insurance, and all the other sundries. At the end of the year the person making 80k a year is only putting 5k a year away into the savings.

15k versus 5k. Who is more successful?

According to the official definition as per the dictionary, the person working at McDonald’s is more successful, because he has obtained the most amount of wealth at the end of the year, thus advancing his position more favorably than the other person.

These are purely examples, but it’s a valid reason when looking at why you should never attempt to judge whether another person is successful or not based solely upon the amount of money they make per year. A rather disappointing trend with many freelance writers on the Internet is to bash others who make less money than them, and brag about how much they are making on a per-year basis. Unfortunately, these types of braggarts only show their lack of education and understanding of global awareness.

Having the opportunity to travel around the world over the past decade with fair regularity, I have been blessed enough to have my eyes opened when it comes to looking at how the world works. Many people simply assume that because they live in the United States they are “better” than anyone else, because they make “so much more” than people in other countries. But when you look at the actual numbers, Americans are actually some of the least successful in the world in terms of how much money they actually take home at the end of each and every year because they live in a type of society where they are literally thousands (and in some cases hundreds of thousands) of dollars in debt. Sure, the average citizen makes 40k a year, so the average married couple’s combined income is 80k a year, but how much of that goes towards the cost of living?

Using my own example, we live in a beautiful country with the exact same modern amenities as any other developed country in the world. We have the exact same amenities we had in Colorado, but whereas the cost of living there was close to $50,000 a year for the two of us, our total living expenses here are under $10,000 a year. That’s a difference of forty thousand dollars a year! Think of what you could do with an extra forty grand a year.

This is one of the major reasons I preach about working and living abroad for people working in digital positions. Why remain in a place where the vast majority of your income goes to pay for amenities that you can have in any developed country in the world, and for literally a fraction of the price?

Take a look at your life. How successful are you? At the end of the year, after your taxes and cost of living, how much extra are you putting away (or how much can you afford to spend on non-specific necessities)? 5k? 15k? 30k? That amount is the true determining factor in how successful you are, not how much you grossed. It’s all well and good to make 100k a year, but if your cost of living is 98k a year, have you really made any progress forward?

What do you think about success, and how successful are you? What are you willing to do to obtain success?

Posted in Freelance Writing 101 Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

E-envy

A common theme you will see discussed on this site (and a common theme from my old blog, for those of you who followed from there) is global awareness. That is, understanding how global access to the Internet has changed the way we live, how we communicate, and how we do business. As you have seen in previous articles discussing research in the 21st century, rates and what affects them, and so on and so forth, one of the things I am keenly interested in is how the market has evolved.

Someone recently suggested that I was lying to my readers about the numbers you can generate doing content writing from content mills. These are the types of writers who believe that the only way to do things is the old way, the way they’ve been done in the past. As you can see in my previous articles, I touch on this subject quite frequently, looking at why exactly it is that the writers of yesterday are in such a panic over people like me who are showing up on the scene and making money using methods and techniques which (according to them) are either impossible or “questionable”.

I would like to reference an article written by Carson Brackney, because it incorporates many of the themes I’ve discussed in the past, and things which we will talk about in the future. I would like to note, however, that I’m going to selectively quote a section of his article, because while some of it is relevant, there are some sections which I don’t feel pertain to this particular thread. In any case, the full article can be found here, and it’s well worth taking the time to read in its entirety because it explains a lot.

Specifically, I’m going to focus on this section of his entry.

I recently commented on a blog post at FreelanceWritingGigs.com about the ongoing drama spurred by Hoy and others who frequently attack content mills and other sites that they feel somehow cheapen the art of writing. I said that I couldn’t imagine Bobby Flay staying up at night, tossing and turning, upset because some jackass was applying for a grill job at Denny’s.

Why isn’t Flay concerned? Because he’s Bobby Flay and the other guy is looking to make a living for awhile with a spatula in his hand.

Those who are good don’t worry about those who aren’t. It’s a waste of time and energy.

They realize that a plate of “Moons Over My Ham-y” isn’t going to destroy the desire for salmon glazed in honey and ancho chiles with a spicy sauce made from black beans.

Bobby also understands that some people are satisfied with a Grand Slam breakfast. I doubt he thinks it’s quality dining, but he realizes that it’s good enough for some folk. That’s their loss. It doesn’t destroy his value.

So, why do articles like “Are Content Mills Lowering the Quality of ‘News’ on the Internet?” keep popping up? I don’t think it is a genuine concern for those poor fools who are incapable of distinguishing a lousy eHow article from Pultizer winner Lane DeGregory’s feature work. I don’t think these folks are genuinely upset that the great unwashed masses are ignorantly exposing themselves to AllVoices instead of the voices of Woodward and Bernstein.

I think it stems from insecurity and fear.

They worry that their ability to avoid using “loosing” in place of “losing” isn’t enough to justify a continued workload. They’re afraid that those “Moons over My Ham-my” will squeeze their breakfast dishes out of the marketplace—or that they’ll need to take a pay cut to compensate for the difference, which others may perceive as being slighter than they do.

They don’t hate the content mills for screwing writers. They don’t hate the content mills for contributing to an unsubstantiated overall decline in the quality of writing.

They hate the fact that the veil worn by members of the priesthood of writing might be slipping. They don’t like the idea of working harder, of working for less or for dealing with more competition.

I can’t blame them for feeling that way.

I don’t like them pretending that they’re worried about the greater good. These arguments against content mills aren’t acts of benevolence. They’re attempts at self-preservation.

Carson discusses several major points in this section, but I think the poignant part is that he’s right: we can’t blame the writers of yesterday for being insecure and fearful of writers like me who have come onto the scene and are making money doing things that are nontraditional and “new”. As I’ve discussed before, people fear change. They especially fear change when it affects their jobs. Remember that article about the threshing machine and the farmers? Point in case.

It’s not that traditional writers are upset about people like me getting screwed by content sites (in fact, if you read some of the comments pointed at myself and others who support content writing you will see that the exact opposite is the case; most of them want us to get screwed). Rather, they are upset because writers like you and me have upset the status quo. Global communication has allowed people from every corner of the world to compete for jobs that previously these precious few had directly funneled towards them. But now that the employers of the world have access to the Internet, jobs are being shopped out to people from all corners of the globe who can do the work for far cheaper than the traditional rates that the elite have always traditionally commanded for being “the only ones who can”.

Ironically enough, as you can see from people like Pat over at Smart Passive Income, writing in the 21st century using content sites and completely digital, nontraditional methods can be actually quite lucrative. There are quite a few people making 6 figure incomes (I’m not! But I’m only in my second year of freelancing, with 2010 as my third year, so we’ll see!) from writing 100% digital content (published online rather than in print).

I think the most important part of Carson’s post was the last part of the quoted section. “These arguments against content mills aren’t acts of benevolence. They are attempts at self-preservation.”

Why, indeed, do these supposedly-elite and supposedly-comfortable in their supposedly-high-income-bracket writers continually complain about content sites? After all, aren’t they successful? They continually tout their 100 dollar-per-hour rates and claim that they are “superior” in every way to us “lowly” content writers, but we (the content writers) aren’t the ones complaining about a lack of work or a lack of pay. In fact, as you can see from the article that sparked my making 100k a year writing for content sites post, there are quite a few people out there working for content sites who are making more than their traditional print peers.

If these writers are so successful, why do they care? After all, as Carson put it, Bobby Flay doesn’t care whether or not the cook down at Denny’s is making 12 bucks an hour making flapjacks at 2 in the morning. Bill Gates doesn’t worry about what little old independent programmer is doing. If they are so busy making their high rates, why do they care what the “little guys” are doing?

Insecurity and fear. E-envy.

Great post, Carson. Keep it up!

Posted in Freelance Writing 101 Tagged with: , , , , , , ,




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