Monday, July 9, 2007

How I Got Started

A book I once read on writing commercially had a quote that said, "If you want to know if you could be a writer, try being anything else first." Writing isn't always fun, and it isn't always lucrative. You won't always be able to pour your heart into your unfinished novel, because you need to do writing that actually pays first. But if you find yourself hating every job you have and you are frustrated with how difficult it is to find a job with a Humanities degree, then writing might be the best way to make money and express yourself at the same time.

Armed with a degree in English and Philosophy still warm from the laser printer, I found myself in the same waitering job I had been in for nearly two years. I hate being a waiter. I hate serving customers. I hate spilling drinks, ringing up food, fighting with chefs, yelling at runners, dodging managers, holding thumbs for tips and cleaning up tourists' leftovers. I resigned in a mild huff and, after a brief period working in a book shop, I began to write part time for my local and most regular supplier of work: WerdWerks South Africa. I will post a link to their website as soon as it is up and running.

I had done a few private writing projects before this, but nothing that had earned me an income. I suddenly became more interested in my GetAFreeLancer account, which I had pretty much been ignoring for a year. I started bidding on internet copywriting projects and started actually winning them from time to time. After a massive battle with the entire global online banking community I managed to get cash to start flowing, and it hasn't stopped since. I will of course explain how to dodge the pitfalls of online banking in another post.

Werdwerks are always looking for new South African writers, and you can email me to find out how to get in contact with them and start writing as soon as you are ready. Otherwise I would definitely recommend GetAFreeLancer as the best place to get work online, period. I have looked at dozens of freelance writing sites and of the free ones none of them even come close. If anyone knows of a good website that is FREE, feel free to post it here with your comment. Please note I will delete all posts that include links to sites that charge for a basic membership. This blog's sole purpose is to provide free information to people who want to make money working from home without joining expensive sites.

So at the moment I write around fifteen articles a day on just about any topic you can think of. The work you can get doing internet copywriting varies tremendously, but most of it is designed to increase a website's rank on Google or any other search engine (I will go over writing techniques for SEO and blog posts in a later post). I distinguish between "full content" articles and "cheap" articles. Full content articles require research, quite a bit of work and can take around 30-60 minutes each. "Cheap" content articles are re-writes, articles of less than 500 words (which is standard) and things like small blog posts. As a general guideline I would not accept full content article work for less than $2.50 per article, or cheap articles for less than $1.50, but that is just my policy.

So there you have it: how I started to write online and make money doing it. You can do it too if you keep following my updates and use the helpful links I post on this blog. The best part is that you don't really need any qualification to write for the web. If you have ever posted on your favorite blog, had your own blog, written college or high school essays or a letter, then you can do it. Having a high speed internet connection at home is very useful, and almost essential if you want to take it seriously. If you have any questions, feel free to email me and I will see if I can answer you or point you in the right direction.