Failing at your own business–Content Writing

ce writerThose antennas are helping some with the stability of the internet. It still goes out randomly. I’ve cut my online teaching hours to the bare minimum. However, if I ever want to get a new moto, I need to earn more money than bare-bones survival income.

In December, I made an effort to find another sort of job. I must have filled out at least a dozen online applications for virtual assistants, bloggers, copywriters, and freelance writers. Finally, at the beginning of February, I heard back from one.

The position was for a content writer. With Google changing up how things are indexed and classified and rated every few months, everyone needs more content on their sites just to get noticed, whether they are bloggers or merchants. So content writing is becoming the in-demand job online.

Even though I passed the initial screening, that didn’t mean I had the job. I was given two articles to write, one was about climate change and the other was about men’s bicycles. I had no problems with the climate change topic even though it was considerably longer than most of my posts at 2500 words.

However, I completely bombed the men’s bicycle article. I had a hard time finding information for bikes in the price range I was supposed to focus on. I had never written a Best of type article before, so my formatting was WAY off. Not to mention, this article was also 2500 words.

In order to turn it in, I needed to have a Grammarly grade of at least 90 percent.  Grammarly is like an online spell/grammar checker. Grammarly decided my writing was only worth 88 percent. Even after going through paragraph by paragraph, I couldn’t improve. I had to use the Grammarly Premium app to find those two unclear antecedents that were holding me up.

So now at 90%, I turned in my article and the boss was flabbergasted, not in a good way, mind you. He said I was totally off. He gave me some suggestions, cleared up what I was supposed to be researching, sent me a sample article and asked if I would do it again. He said that my writing was good and they normally didn’t give second chances, but he thought I could do this. Oh, and could I have it in by Monday morning?

So I worked over the weekend because I really wanted this job. When the internet drops, I can go and do something else for a while, and pick back up with my writing when it decides to work again. So much less stress than dropping connection in the middle of a live class!

I also tried out Hemingway Editor, which I’d heard about but had never used. Hemmingway will tell you what grade level you are writing at based on the complexity and length of your sentences. It will suggest ways you can “dumb-down” your writing since the average reader in the U.S. reads at about a 7th-grade level. Short and clear sentences, in the manner of Hemingway (hence the name), are the key.

Just as I was finishing up my revision, I accidentally deleted the file in Google Docs. That gave me about 10 minutes of pure panicked-induced adrenalin before I figured out how to restore a previous version.  Whew! I lost some information but not the entire article.

After more hours than I could count, I finished the article and sent it back. It was perfect. I got paid for both articles, a prompt Paypal deposit, not like that Canadian lady that still hasn’t paid me. Then I got two more articles.

One was another Best of type article, only this time on hot weather tents. I nailed it the first try! The second one was a review article, which I hadn’t done previously. This was a whopping 3,000 words on a prepared meal delivery program–you know, like Meals-on-wheels. I was confused about whether I was supposed to be reviewing the product or reviewing reviews about the product. My article was rejected.

The third week, he only sent me one article so that I would have time to redo the review article. Since my class schedule was so minimal I had no problem fixing the article and completing the new one, about water toys. There was a bit of a problem with a 4% similarity with another site that reviewed two of the same toys. I was introduced to Copyscape, which will search out any possible plagiarism issues online. Since my boss thought I didn’t mean to “copy” he asked me to reword the descriptions, which took like 5 minutes to do. 

I did so well with that, he sent me the second article, this one about train tables. I finished by Wednesday, averaging one article or rewrite per day.

This job has been wreaking havoc with my self-esteem though. Being rejected is never easy. Having my writing rejected was even worse. My best online buddy Daisy kept up a constant flow of encouragement–reminding me there was a learning curve for any new job and that I was more than capable of doing this one, with a little practice. My husband was supportive in his own way–he said it was good I’m learning new things at my age–whatever that’s supposed to mean!

I’m hoping that next week, I can complete both articles without a problem making me MASTER OF THE WRITING UNIVERSE or some such totally cool person. Meanwhile, since I’m done with those articles, I’m working on that book on Mexican healthcare that’s been taking me so long to finish!

4 Comments

Filed under Education

4 responses to “Failing at your own business–Content Writing

  1. I’ve been blogging for almost 10 years and only recently feel that I’m finally writing OK. Out of all the posts over the years about a dozen really do well. Keep up the effort it gets easier.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are totally NOT failing at your own business! Keep it up. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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