Archive for the ‘Freelance Writing’ Category
Posted on December 13, 2010 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
Once upon a time, I remember hearing about a newish venue for freelancers to apply to write. I had accidentally come across the site, more than once looking for something else. I remember thinking, hey, it might be fun writing for them. I didn’t apply immediately though, I paid careful attention to what I heard about the place first. It took a bit, but after a good year of them being around, I remember going through all the motions – sending in a bio, a resume, samples, a list of future ideas, all the stuff you do to get a freelance position. I also remember asking for a particular title based on where I live. I was accepted, but they told me that at that time they had no plans to create new titles that didn’t exist and that I would need to except a broader based title they offered. Okay fine, I accepted it. I had unintentionally snagged up another person’s title who had let it lay dormant for quite some time (nearly 9 months if I remember correctly).
I really didn’t need another writing job. I already had two, and I had let most of my others go to focus more on my noveling. I was happy with my decision to spend more time with my noveling, so when I considered this place, I did spend some time questioning my sanity before I jumped in feet first. LOL But the old adage for freelancers is “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, so what’s one more site?
After a whole bunch of emails, getting everything set up and learning the basics, I wrote a couple of pieces. I was elated as I usually am when I get any job and get going. I was excited and positive, and directional even with my topic. I thought it would be easy, and while I had no idea what kind of money I would wind up making or even if I would make any money… (because money talk was very hush hush around those parts), I did know that if I had to use little effort and could pop a few things up there every week, I might have a nice little residual income coming in. I didn’t need it, I just wanted it so we could save up for certain things. I’m always willing to add to my resume, and I so enjoy writing that I am always on the look out for further opportunities. Extra cash is an incentive too.
Flash forward to a week after I published my very first piece with said site. By this time, I had probably published four or five pieces or so. Yes, I know – that’s not much. Again let me repeat, this was not a big “job” for me… it was just a nice way to get my name back out there again, and connect with new people. But still I spent that whole week (at least 15-20+ hours) writing those pieces, editing them, publishing them, posting my link, getting my title and url out there all over the place, publishing my article links on any site that would let me publish the link, using twitter, facebook and any other social networking resource I could, stumbling, tweeting, linking and repeating.
I felt confident, because I have been writing on my given topic for the past 9 years and make quite a bit of money doing so. Within that first week though, we heard that in order to get paid the good money, the articles need to have a local twist… well okay, that can’t be so hard. Right? I mean, I know my area well. Never mind that the topic I was given was for an area that is about 45 minutes away from my house. While I am familiar with it, it isn’t my immediate “home”. Well, it didn’t take long for me to figure out that it was hard.
I felt like my articles were struggling, they were definitely not my best work and I’m quite sure if I asked my former editors from other sites to take a look, they would agree – they didn’t even sound like I wrote them. I know I’m probably my biggest critic, but they felt forced, because I had to figure out a way to tie in my topic to my area, and that in itself was challenging. I feel like the articles came across that way too.
During this struggle, I was in constant contact with my manager explaining, researching and providing examples of why having the area I was writing about, moved to my immediate area, was a good idea. I write on that area on another website and the numbers were high for page views. A screen shot was all it took and my manager was convinced, but she had to convince the higher ups. Impressed, she took it to those people. After she assured me that she would look into it and let me know something within a week, I heard from her just a few days later. The powers that be had apparently told her that my area was too small to give it its own section on the site at this time. Uhm. Okay. I figured it was because they were still only a year old or so, and were just waiting to see what would happen with the site. I understood all that.
So I let it be, but she also promised me that they had said if and when it came available or was an option, I would be first in line. Score 1 for Nicole, or at least I thought. I continued to write about three more articles and then within a week, I quit writing articles for them. I think I popped one more up at the end of the month and just gave up. Why?
Well, during that time (yes, only a week after my first article was published), suddenly I had a new manager (not the girl I was in contact with), while normally that wouldn’t bother me (and is the reason I popped one more up at the end of the month) is because about two or three weeks later I had yet another manager.
In my opinion, it was getting crazy. And then to go even further, they started changing things – the way they paid, the way the publishing platform worked, etc. They released a huge upgraded website that was not ready to be released, was full of bugs, the publishing system didn’t work most of the time, etc.
Well, I’m not big on change to be honest, but I can normally deal with it. I told myself I would wait a few weeks and see what transpired before putting anything else on the site. I was irritated since I had spent the first week or two learning all of their tools, their publishing system and everything else that goes along with starting at a new freelance job. Only to have it all change. Within 2 weeks after I started. Wow… really?
Yeah, so call me a quitter… LOL I am. It gets even better than that later on.
As a freelance writer for over 15 years now, having worked for countless sites across the Internet and even local magazines and publications. I have been burned a few times, and I couldn’t help keeping a watchful eye out for the same thing to happen at other venues. This was one of them. I didn’t know enough to get to the bottom of things, so I figured I’d just sit back and watch for awhile.
Well, awhile turned into about a month or so. I watched, I read the forums, I still read others articles and then all of a sudden one day, there was an article about a local venue. I clicked to read it because I was familiar with the venue. I check out the authors name and then I notice something. She has my title. The title I coveted, the title I wanted, the title I had been promised – you know… the one that was based in my area and not 45 minutes away. Wait… what? While her articles weren’t bad, I felt I had been let down. I was told that I would have that position if it ever came available. A month from that date, there it was and my name wasn’t on it. Wow. I was mad at first, and then after a few days I realized it wasn’t fair to be that mad about it, because with all the changing managers, nobody but the original actually knew how badly I wanted that title.
At that point though, I completely stopped visiting the site, and did not support it anymore. I removed any trace of the links, the facebook page I had created, the twitter account I created – all of it. Anything that I had used to “help” them (which was supposed to help me). So flash ahead… it’s now been about 8 months, and I’m actually glad it didn’t work out at that time. I was able to focus on my noveling and I completed two manuscripts in their entirety. This is what I wanted to do.
Except that, on December 18th I received an email from the site I was a former freelancer for. So I signed onto my account and was surprised to see that I still had access. I was even a bit startled to see that my original topic/title was still mine and that someone else had not swooped in and taken it from me, as I had done to another writer who had previously let it go dormant. I even accessed the publishing system to see if I could post an article. Affirmative. I browsed around for awhile, peeked into the forums and then started reading a bunch of the articles. What happened is, I found myself missing this side of writing. The freelance side. In fact, I looked all over the place for any negativity about the site, and couldn’t find anything recent at all. Seems as if they fixed everything and their writers were now happy. Do I want to rekindle this topic of mine and begin to write for them again? Maybe. Actually, no. I don’t want this topic. What I did want, was that other topic. The one they gave to someone else. What do I do….
There were several factors that got my interest peeked again, including a deal they made with Reuters, adding a local incentive program and a few other things that were beneficial to a freelancer (considering of course, that my topic was locally based).
I did a quick search for the title/topic local area I wanted… it was there. But so was the lady. She hadn’t written in a short bit, but it was still very much there.
I decided to contact my manager last night and find out what was going on. I got a response back within about an hour about it – she said that if I was interested in the two positions that were based in my area, to send her my samples again, and a future topic list. I did so, quite quickly and now I’m seriously waiting. I hate that its a weekend. I hate that I didn’t think about doing this earlier. I spent last night writing 5 more articles and now I have about 20 articles that I could post right this very minute… half are what freelance writers and content sites refer to as, evergreen.
What is evergreen?
It refers to content that “never goes bad”… meaning that it is always of interest no matter what time period. It almost never refers to news or current events. It would be essentially like an article titled “10 Ways to Save Money” – more than likely, those 10 ways are going to be good today, tomorrow and even 10 years from now. Providing of course, I don’t say something like “sell your clothes at (insert store name here) ” and then said store closes a year down the line. Obviously, then the piece becomes less evergreen. Understand?
This waiting game is killing me. I feel like writing all the time now. I can’t focus on my noveling at all. Oh yeah. Now I remember why I gave up most of my freelancing! :p
What in the world am I doing?
Posted on January 13, 2010 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
Calling all freelance writers. Have you seen the new Seed.com owned by AOL? I am always skeptical of any and all new endeavors, however based on ownership and the ever popular AOL, it definitely has my curiosity peaked.
Here is a blurb from their website:
You might be a writer. A photographer. A filmmaker. Or all three. No matter where your experience lies, there’s a place for it on SEED. There’s nothing quite like reporting on a breaking story, interviewing an interesting source, or capturing a photo at the right moment. We can help you do all of that. All you have to do is bring your talent and experience.
If you have signed up or are working for/with seed.com, I would love to hear your thoughts.
Posted on January 11, 2010 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
Very excited!! I applied to be the examiner.com St. Louis Frugal Family Examiner after noticing that the previous writer had not published anything since April of last year. I waited for awhile before applying to see if she would post again, but she never did. I took the chance about two weeks ago and went ahead and applied.
After I submitted everything, I learned that examiner had just opened up to Canadian applicants and they had a surge of applications. So, for me, it wasn’t looking promising. I didn’t say a word to anyone about applying (not even family), so I just patiently waited to see what would happen.
Last week I got the email that I was invited to be an examiner writer for the St. Louis Frugal Family section. I cannot tell you how happy I was and am, and how awesome it is to be selected to do it, as I’ve also since learned that many have trouble getting in to write for them. Anyway, my first article is finally published and since this is a residual income kind of site, feel free to click on it and read it, so I can get paid. Free Activities
I figured my topic over there is awesome and worth it, since I just began teaching Frugal Living classes again in my area, so this will all connect together nicely. And even if we do move at some point, we are not moving THAT far away, that I would ever not be part of St. Louis, so I’m safe.
My first article was approved after an hour and my site is live. You can see it here.
Please, please stop by and say hi to me over there. I’m the newbie on the block and many of these peeps have been writing for examiner for awhile. I could use the support.
If you write for examiner, are you loving it?
Posted on January 2, 2010 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
Before the holidays I always go a bit crazy writing articles, to make up for the holiday rush that seems to make article writing take a back seat. I have a ton of articles I have done nothing with yet, and have been throwing around the idea of tossing them up on Suite 101 or Associated Content, but I would really like to hear what others think. I also write for Demand Studios but haven’t for awhile.
My private clients have assignments that are due the first of February, but nothing until then, so I’m getting antsy to write. Been working on my book to supplement my writing time, but I am ready to get back into the swing of things.
Anyone have any advice for good websites to write for?
I recently applied to another residual site, but I hate counting on that for anything. I do it more for the experience, and a place to put the stuff I feel compelled to get down. haha
I have no idea where else to apply, or where else to do something with. Anyone? Bueller?
xoxox and Happy New Year! Hoping 2010 is my best writing year yet (and that my book gets published!)
Posted on December 29, 2009 - by Nicole Humphrey Cook
Completely on a whim, I decided to apply at Suite 101 just to see what would happen. I have written for some pretty big named sites on the Internet, but when I applied to Suite101 in May 2008, I got turned down. Back then I was writing for families.com. Uhm. Okay.
So I put it on the back burner, and last night thought about it again. I applied using the SAME two clips I had used back then (the same two I tend to use most of the time because they have not been published anywhere).
Within two hours I got an email congratulating me on being accepted to Suite 101. Wow. I got accepted using the same two writing samples I used last time that seemed to have deemed me not worthy? I changed TWO words to make them past tense. That is all I changed, and honestly if anything – I would have thought that might have been more of a problem than the original way it was written. So funny.
Uhm. So now what? Got any words to share? I have no idea what in the world to write about, since I wasn’t thinking they would accept me again. What articles do well on Suite101? What articles stink on Suite101? I realize it is a residual site, so I want to find articles to write that are interesting and would keep people coming back long term.
Do any of you write for Suite101? Has anyone had my experience? You are rejected and then reapply later, and are accepted? My favorite part is that it was the same two articles. LOL The original “editor” must not have liked my topics. haha
Fill me in on your experiences with this site. I’d love to hear them!