Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Writing for Money: How I Started

After graduating college with an English degree in May of 2010, I decided to go into the executive administrative field. I considered writing for money, but was somewhat intimidated by the idea. I already had experience in the administrative field. I was once a secretary for a busy real estate office and then became a volunteer coordinator for a non-profit organization. I figured with my experience and degree I would land a job in no time. After a month of sending resumes, searching the Internet and making cold calls I became discouraged when no one returned my calls or responded to my resumes. It seemed that nobody was hiring. I reconsidered writing for money. It was something I had always wanted to do. I enjoyed writing and wanted the flexibility to work at home. So, I decided to give it a try and see if I could make money as a writer.

I soon realized that deciding to write for money and actually making money as a writer are two different monsters. I discovered that I needed determination, patience, perseverance, and more importantly knowledge on how to begin!

Words from one of my English professor’s still resonate in my head, “The Internet, Jodi. That’s how you will make money.” He said this to me after I quizzed him about making money as a writer. Since I had considered the thought before school ended and I had no luck with landing a job I was pretty much forced to finally make up my mind and find a way to make money as a writer. I had the time - for I was jobless. I had the ambition - I just graduated college with a bachelor’s degree – yippee! And I had an Internet connection. Then I hit a bump on the road. I wasn’t even out of the garage – so to speak – before stalling the car. I became paralyzed by fear when I realized I had no idea what I was doing. How was I going to make money by writing . . . on the Internet?

It has been several months (a smidge over six) since my car – so to speak – stalled. I got the engine going again and have pulled out of my driveway and am traveling down my road to writing for money.

I will show you how I started . . .

I began to research

When I say, “I had no idea how to start making money as a writer,” I am being completely honest. BUT! Thank goodness for search engines like Google and Yahoo. One day, after stalling (or procrastinating) I sat down and typed in a few keywords and received instant hits. That was how I got my drive going, again.

Keywords I used:       

Writing for money online
Writing for money on the Internet
Freelance writing jobs

With all of the hits I had I became a researching maniac! It was like a whole new world opened up for me. I began to see that there were many ways to make money as a writer! I was browsing sites that offered a list of jobs for writers and I was scanning sites that paid writers upfront or through residual income. I would spend days looking at these sites. Before long I became overwhelmed with all of the information and found myself stalling again. I needed to arrange the vast information into something more Jodi friendly. 

I organized myself

At first, I would print everything from the site of interest and place the information in a notebook for easy access, but I found that I used a lot of paper and ink. So, I started to bookmark sites that were most useful to me.

I had a large journal with nothing in it and decided to use it for notes and ides. This journal has become priceless to me! When an idea strikes me I write it in my journal. I consider my journal a mess that only I can understand! I have notes scattered throughout along with web addresses and job leads.

With all of my research and ideas in a tidy area, be that on my computer or in my journal, I am able to research more efficiently and focus on making money as a writer - which leads me to the next item . . .

I applied for writing jobs

By doing research and organizing the information I was ready to apply for writing jobs. One of the sites that caught my attention was Demand Media Studios. DMS offers upfront payments for articles, and writers can choose from a list of assignments. Before I could do anything with DMS I had to submit an application, resume and two writing samples. I had nothing published at the time. After a few frantic moments I decided to send an article from a newsletter that I developed in college and a donation letter I had drafted for a local non-profit organization. I was excited when DMS approved my application!

In addition to applying to DMS I began to apply to want-ads for writers. One of the sites offering a wide range of help-wanted ads for writes is Online Writing I have found this site to be invaluable in my research for writing work.

Something I noticed as I was scanning application forms and want-ads was that many sites and companies want writing samples or links to a Blog. I came up with writing samples, but a Blog I did not have. So, my next destination . . .

I began a Blog

I was hesitant to begin a Blog. When I first started to toss the notion around I was coming up with ideas that covered parenting styles, environmental issues, and writing. I felt as if I was experiencing an instance where I am offered three wishes and my mind just goes blank. I can have ANYTHING I want, but I freeze. I really had no idea what to write about, and yet I was filled with ideas.

I came up with the initiative to Blog about how I make money as a writer. It is my desire to assist others and at the same time it will give me experience and samples of my writing. I am still learning the Blog process and am finding that there are ways to make money with it, and I am all about making money!

I still spend a lot of time researching and my journal is growing with ideas. I apply myself daily to sites that offer work to writers and continue to work on articles for my Blog. I am a busy girl and my time is precious and I make certain to  . . .

Schedule my time effectively (or at least I try to)

It is easy for me to get off track. I can stare out the window and ponder my writing dreams, but that doesn’t help to pay the bills. I can jump at the beckon call of family members and friends, but that doesn’t get my work done. It took me a while to formulate a schedule that works – truth be known, I am still perfecting it.

I typically begin my day by checking my email. I then scan assignments on Demand Media Studios. I search for jobs on sites like Online Writing then begin, or complete assignments from the previous day. I spend a few hours brainstorming with myself on ideas for upcoming articles. Basically, my days are made up of writing, researching and planning projects.

The information above is by no means a complete car-care kit – so to speak – but it did guarantee my start at making money as a writer! I have come to understand that the process is going to be a long one – but the benefits are going to be worth it! I just need to keep driving . . .

Sites of Interest:

Photo provided by Jodi Hughey. Copyright 2011.

1 comment:

  1. Keep pursuing your writing dream. Reading about your writing journey was very informative and interesting.

    I enjoy writing too. I find myself somewhere between writing for the simple enjoyment, and could I do this for money some day. My biggest concern is my lack of confidence in relation to editing my own articles. It seems no matter how many times I read it, I find something else I don't like about it and that process just keeps looping.

    The fact that you offered real examples of links and search engine keywords for aspiring writers like myself is something I have never come across. I found that aspect of your article to be a lifting, direct link to any aspiring writer reading the piece. Great job!