"Making Money Only When You Hear the Sound of the Keyboard Clicking Out Content"
The first step toward success for an aspiring writer is to throw away the idea of finishing a manuscript and getting the attention of a big publishing company. That is not how writers make money in the 21st century. This article explains how to find the best writing and editing jobs, build a bit of web presence for yourself, and complete your work in an efficient way.
Working efficiently is extremely important. No matter what kind of writing job you are awarded, you are only making money in the moments when you hear the clicking of the keyboard. Unless you want to starve to death and disappoint your parents, remember the difference between being an artist (expressing yourself) and being a professional writer (helping other people express themselves). A professional keeps an eye on the clock and does not spend the whole day to get the work done.
These are the words that set you free:
In your moments of greatest inspiration you'll write the content that defines you, but professional writing is totally different. It pays the bills and does not reflect your full potential as an artist.
Now that you know the secret, I'll share with you the most important lessons I've learned, but I'm not doing it out of concern for your success, or kindness, or anything like that. Get eaten by wolves for all I care. I'm writing this article because someone wanted content and offered to pay me for it. Congratulations writers, the Internet has made original content more valuable than ever.
How Can a Writer Make the Most Money? "Time is merchandise!"
Open a new tab right now and search for a term you would use if you wanted to hire a writer. Example: Professional Writing Service. Grab their domain names and paste them into a word doc, or email them to yourself or something. When you are ready, you can email these people and explain to them that you have a talent for language and that you promise never to miss deadlines or plagiarize.
After you collect the domains of a few writing websites, give yourself a round of applause because you just made very good use of some time. "Time is money!" This expression is not always true. We could more accurately say time 'can' be or that it 'should' be money. If we can focus our minds and produce great content, time is potentially money, just like any other merchandise. So, "Time is merchandise!"
Time only becomes money if we sell it instead of squandering. Writers are notorious for wasting time. They sabotage their own efforts, doing the things they know will NOT lead to their desired outcomes. They waste time with self-doubt. They swan dive deep into addiction. They commit suicide. These are just different kinds of procrastination. Writers sometimes squander time until they have no money left at all.
Writers are only making money in the moments when they hear the clicking keyboard and see new content spilling onto the screen. Do you know why Moby Dick is such a long book? Some say it's because back in the day, when what's-his-name was writing it, writers were actually paid by the word. And who is the author of Moby Dick? In this moment, I am having a brain malfunction and cannot remember the name of the guy who wrote it, but I can't Google about it right now because I am busy clicking out content. I absolutely refuse to stop typing.
I have a professional responsibility, to myself and to my client, but mostly to myself, to manage time in a way that is at least a little bit sophisticated. First, I fly through whatever preparation is necessary for my writing project. That includes Internet research about my topic, opening up a bunch of tabs, pasting a lot of content into a word document, and reviewing all the job requirements very carefully. Time management while completing a writing or editing project means doing the research first and then doing the write-up.
In the bigger picture, though, time management also involves knowing where to look for opportunities and how to present yourself to potential clients. Academic writing and editing represent the type of writing job in the highest demand. In my mind, I put academic writing in the same category as resume writing and even Web content writing. They all help clients promote themselves and advance in business.
Stop Wasting Time, and Go Back to School -- Academic Writing Jobs
People need help getting through their degree programs so they can be more marketable in this competitive economy, and many of them have difficulty writing. If you excelled at academic writing when you were in school, it's good to subscribe to a database of professional journal articles and start writing academic research papers.
It's easy to find websites that match writers up with people who need help. To find a site that can provide good opportunities, pretend you are wealthy enough to afford tuition at a prestigious school and also need someone to write and edit for you while you complete a degree program. Search until you find two or three sites that have strong web presence and that you'd consider using if you were a wealthy student in a degree program.
It is important to look for the sites that cater to the wealthy, because the wealthy sure are out there, and they pay more than poor people do. If you want to help poor people that is noble, but you need to be a bit Robin Hood about it and tap into the wealth so that you can have enough time to help the poor. If you have strong command of English, you are lucky and powerful. Many wealthy bilingual people English as a second language, with imperfect grammar — so they need help from grammar experts like you.
Most Common Writing and Editing Opportunities
Search google for writing and editing companies, and send an email to a company that seems like legitimate, upscale writing service. It can't be a one-person operation, obviously; it needs to be the kind of site that connects many clients and writers. A few of the most common writing gigs include:
Resume/Cover Letter Service. But is that really what you had in mind when you decided to be a writer? Even if it's not, you might find that you are very good at it and can make a hundred bucks in an hour of work.
Writing undergraduate level academic papers. Again, maybe not exactly what you had in mind as an aspiring writer, but it can pay your bills while you work on becoming the next J.K. Rowling.
Writing graduate level academic papers. If you have completed one thesis paper or dissertation, you can complete another. How much do you think it is worth to someone if you write a paper that helps them get letters after their name? You might not even know how to write a dissertation, but if a client decides to hire you s/he will show you the dissertation guide from the school and you'll be able to choose some sort of research method to use.
Writing SEO articles for websites. This is not a good option unless you want to write a lot of mediocre content for low amounts of money. Using a good voice recognition program is probably important if you want to produce this kind of content, because you need to produce a lot of it.
Work for someone who is enrolled in an online class. Some of my clients hired me to be a 'consultant' throughout their entire degree programs. I gained extensive knowledge about topics I never thought I would study, and I enjoyed it! When you find a client who can afford to spend thousands on tuition, you can assume they are also able to throw you at least a few hundred each week for working with them during their class. At one time, I was working for three different clients who enrolled in two or three classes each semester and paid me weekly.
The excellent thing about being an English Language expert is that you can quickly and easily complete the writing tasks that require hundreds of hours for some people. They don't realize how quickly you can write, so it's possible to enjoy a large profit margin when you work with private clients who hire you directly. But when you are getting started, it's good to use a company with a strong search engine rank because these websites already are popular among people who need to hire writers. Working through an excellent custom research writing service is also helpful for protecting your time against abuse by crazy clients.
When you are awarded a writing project after submitting a bid or proposal, communicate with the client by using exactly the same words the client used in the job requirements. So, if the client asks for a 'write-up' you can respond by discussing how you will approach the 'write-up', and if she calls it a 'brief' you can do the same. Repeat their own words back to them. The job requirements represent the single most important part of preparation. Showing the client that you understand what what he needs is what makes you a professional. The job requirements are like the first rung of the ladder; get a foothold there, and you can get going in the right direction. Your final draft should very clearly exhibit everything the client will be looking for when trying to decide whether you did the writing correctly.
Three Steps for Building Your 'Web Presence' So People Can Confidently Hire You:
1. Start blogging about something that inspires you, and learn a bit about search engine optimization.
2. Watch some video tutorials about "social media marketing" and make a list of important websites to use for building your web presence.
3. Watch some videos about search engine optimization (SEO), because it's not as complicated as it sounds. Use what you learn so that your published content will appear higher on the list of results whenever your potential clients do a Google search.
Building a web presence is not about making money. It's an investment of time for the purpose of making yourself marketable. When you have an impressive blog, it is easy to instill confidence in people who want to hire a writer or editor. Simply link the client to your blog when you bid on their project, and they will choose you instead of someone less established.
Writing Services: Looking and Listening
The 'looking' involves searching for great writing services just as a customer would search for them. The best services for customers are also the best services for writers. They are the effective writing services with strong search engine rank. They will get offer the most opportunities.
Another part of 'looking' is when you look carefully at the project instructions and the most recent research studies associated with the topic about which you're writing. For example, let's say I found a writing company that awards me a job writing a Literature Review for a dissertation. Efficiency requires that I pay attention to timing. I do not try to keep switching back and forth between research and writing. In moments when I feel inspired to type, I type, but generally I start by doing all the research and when it's done the writing happens naturally on its own.
'Listening' before we write is like listening before we speak. By listening, we earn the ability to express ourselves with dignity and confidence. Research is part of listening. The journal articles I found in my research serve as the raw material for whatever I write. Writers need raw material to fuel the generating of new ideas. Herman Melville was inspired by his experiences on a whaling ship, for example, and those experienced became his raw material for Moby Dick. Research material is the 'raw material' for new content, but more importantly it is a source of inspiration.
Like a little baby, the inexperienced writer tries to build a fire without any wood, but I know how to manage time, so I do all my research before I ignite that flame. Before I start writing, many tabs are already open in my browser, and a lot of content is already pasted into my work document. Ideally, I don't waste too much time and brain energy on research, and if I could complete the research and preparation in under a minute I sure would prefer to do so. Research, like an inhalation, is a good investment. It is the raw material that activates the voice of the mind. Inhalation is a physical action; the diaphragm moves, the lungs expand, and oxygen rushes in to facilitate the metabolism of glucose into more energy. As a physical action, it requires energy. It takes money to make money, and it takes energy to generate energy. Research something you do to make it possible for you to click out some content. It is like a deep inhalation of fresh air. Exhalation is like shouting fresh content out onto the screen.
Actually, writing and fighting both involve a special kind of listening. Martial arts teachers use the word "listening" to mean "feeling", a way of being sensitized to fully experience all that is happening in the present moment. A fighter needs to take spontaneous and immediate action that harmonize with the events of the present moment in a way that enables her to control the outcome. Martial arts teachers use the word 'listening' because we understand 'feeling' as something done in a passive way. Listening is proactive.
Unlike the metaphorical kind of listening used by martial artists, writers need to listen literally. We need to listen to the voice of the mind, because it's where we get our content. I can only click the keys when I hear a sentence spoken by that little voice in the head. Profound writing comes from profound states of mind. Writers too often fall into the trap of getting so profound that they don't write a damn thing. They just sit there in a profound state of mind until all their creative energy has been spent in contemplation instead of producing content. But not me! I enter the active, listening state of mind, and then I drink a ton of coffee.
Sometimes the voice of the mind only starts talking when I get out of the house. Take my advice: Bring a laptop to Starbucks or something. That important little voice becomes talkative when you have good research material on the screen (inspired internal environment) and good stimulation from being in a new place (inspired external environment). When a writer fails to learn the importance of changing environments, she sits at the same desk night after night wondering why she cannot write anything. Soon, she becomes depressed and contemplates suicide, but not in a serious way. And then one night, sitting at that same desk where she once upon a time had written material she really liked, she mixes too many sedatives with her wine and dies accidentally.
So, it's important to change your environment. That's why God and Bill Gates collaborated to invent laptop computers. Or maybe Bill Gates was not involved with the invention of laptops, I don't know. And I absolutely refuse to stop typing, so I cannot look it up on Wikipedia right now. Like the guy who wrote Moby Dick, I need to keep typing ceaselessly — click, click, click — for as long as I am in this special state of mind.
I listen for the words spoken by that little voice, and then I do the write-up. Quick and clean, I am like a Samurai who draws his sword and slays a peasant. I let the blood drip off the blade and return it to the scabbard. This state of mind does not last all day, so I try to remain calm, conserve energy, and get the writing done. The crap I write can be improved later. Whether or not Bill Gates invented the laptop or wrote Moby Dick can be verified later. Proofreading and revision will be necessary anyway, so I don't need to fumble around with it now when I am in this listening state of mind.
A Time for Being an Artist, and a Time for Being a Professional
What does it mean to be a professional? To me, it means earning money and deserving it. I had to STOP expecting to magically be an artist while simultaneously being a professional. Artists are notoriously unprofessional! And more importantly, nobody gives a damn what I have to say.
Don't get the wrong idea; this article is not expressing pessimism or cynicism. I am sharing my most important realization as a professional writer: People are willing to pay us to help them express themselves, and we must spend some years writing for other people before we can live that dream about being a writer/artist so popular that people will pay to read what we write when we express ourselves.
In the moments when you are writing a Literature Review for someone's dissertation, you are not expressing yourself as an artist. If you try to write every paper or article in a way that reflects your brilliant wisdom, you will spend all day tinkering with it! Let the client think you spend all day, but don't actually spend all day! Know the difference between the time spent as a professional and the time spent as an artist. You'll have more time to spend being an artist this evening if you make efficient use of the time you spend being a professional this morning.
So, when being a professional you are not a writer. A writer is someone who writhes around, makes much of himself with a secret ego, develops an alcohol dependency, screws around researching random things on the Internet, and deceives himself with a secret belief that he has some special wisdom or insight to share. Do that stuff on your own time. This is the time for working.
A writer is only working, only being a professional, in the moments when s/he hears the clicking of keys and sees the words fill line after line across the screen. I hear that sound right now, because I am not Googling around unnecessarily, not getting absorbed in some interesting article I found while preparing for the job, not stopping to re-read something else I wrote. I am all done with that nonsense. I used to think the research was part of the work, but it's not. I mean, of course the research is part of the work, but it's not part of getting paid. Research is a necessary interruption.
And of course there are moments when you want to pause and research some fascinating concept or read the rest of an article you already cited. Don't do it. Don't act like a child when you are supposed to be working. Have some dignity! If you want to call yourself a professional writer, it's important to be a bit of a soldier about it. When you stumble upon some concept that you want to research, it's okay to quickly add it to your list of things to do later — after work.
The biggest mistake a writer can make is to choose the research paper jobs that are most interesting to her or him. For example, I am absorbed in the never-ending drama of political news, so I love to learn about social and economic theories (especially the ones that validate my own opinions), history, government, and so forth. During the first year after I discovered academic writing as a way of making money, I always got excited when I was awarded a writing job about a topic aligned with my interests. I get to write a paper about utilitarian ethics? Cool! No, not cool. Projects that interest me tend to take all damn day to write.
It's fine to accept an academic writing job about a topic you like, as long as you don't like it while you are working. You are supposed to be working while you are working. If you like it so much that it 'doesn't feel like work', then it's probably not. Unless you aspire to earn only three or four bucks each hour, do not fall into the trap of reading for pleasure when you are supposed to be working. Other professionals do not get to do that, and neither do you. I'm sorry to blow up your comfortable illusion with this bad news, but no you do not have some special privilege in this regard. You must stop screwing around and write the paper.
You are not being an artist when you are being a professional. But the good news is that you can be a professional writer like you intended. When you were a kid you told your teacher that you'd be a writer when you grew up. You were talking about the kind of writer who is an artist, whimsically writing from the heart and expressing the essence of your being with every sentence, so that you become completely neurotic about your work. An example of an artist-writer is Stephen King, a guy who spent a lot of time experiencing failure and struggle. You just have to stay mindful of the difference between being an artist and being a professional.
Okay, I lied... but it was just to get your attention. You can be an artist, so don't go run off crying to your mom. The point of saying 'you are not an artist' is that you need to get your work done first, before you return to your art. There is a difference between academic writing for money and being a writer in the artistic sense, like Stephen King. Do not pretend that you are being an artist when you are writing a paper for some drunk college kid on the other side of the world. After the paper is edited and sent off to the client, you invoice for your pay and relax. That's when it is okay to read for pleasure or write for self-expression. Dress up in your fuzzy blue bunny costume, and wash your terrified hamster with soap and warm water. Do whatever you like to do. Your time is your own after the work is done, and you'll have more time for expressing yourself as an artist if you manage your time like a professional during work. Finish the work of the day, just like any other professional, and then you can be an artist again.