Sunday, April 5, 2015

How I Became a Content Writer

Writing has always been a part of my life. So is creating art. And wanting to learn how to do  everything. In short I'm one confused Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none. My main obstacle in becoming anything is really my inconsistency in sticking to one field and practicing every day until it becomes an advanced skill. That same desire to learn everything and try to do everything is also what led me to be a content writer. 

Coin on newspaper


A Rocky Road to Discovery

I started my blogs 6 years ago but I have already been writing online before that. But it was never to earn anything. I didn´t even know back then that you can earn money writing online. It was poetry. I started sharing the poems that I have been writing throughout college. What I wanted then was to have my poetry read by others.

But then I started reading about people making money online by blogging, by working from home. I was at a point in my life when I was looking for something like that. I wanted to be out of the daily grind that I found myself sinking into deeper and deeper each day. I also wanted to write, more that ever.

I started looking online how to earn by writing. There certainly were a lot of people offering to help but you have to pay first. I got lured into paying for one but soon found out that it was all a scam. I took up the offer of a money back guaranty but I never heard one peep from that person.

I Earned My First Dollar

It wasn´t from the kind of writing that I wanted to do but I did finally earn my first online dollars starting and participating in discussions. It was hard and tedious work but I learned a lot mostly from discussions and comments by other members of that site.

Then I found my way to content mills. I was writing long articles and I was earning cents. I tried the bidding thing but it never worked out for me because I couldn´t make myself bid for a 2 dollar job. I´m earning mere cents on my content mill articles but they remain mine and I continue to earn cents from them to this day.

I Still Want to be a Content Writer

I confess, I´m an on and off writer. Partly because it wasn´t my priority before because I still had my day job. I was studying Spanish and at the same time trying to keep up with my then job as a technical support representative. You must understand, when I started that job I didn´t know squat how computers work. I was hired because they needed someone who speaks Spanish. And I was that. So were the rest of the people in my team. We had a one month crash course in computer and networking and that was it. But I didn´t want it to be just it. So I taught myself to get to know computers too, and started writing a few articles about it.

Then I moved to Malaysia and had to teach myself even more computer stuffs. I was no longer just helping out people connect to their home networks, I was trying to troubleshoot a whole gamut of application and hardware issues for a business entity in the entire Americas. That´s where I really learned that I can teach myself anything if I really wanted to. But I still wanted to be a writer.

Throughout my whole professional life, content writing was my hobby. It was what I did when I was off work and wanted to unwind. Then I got married, left my job and had a child. Now what I want is to make a living while staying at home and be a mom. So I decided to finally take my blogs seriously. At least trying to write more diligently now than I ever did before.

Why I Don´t Apply for Writing Jobs

If I really want to make writing a full time job, there are a number of people online who hire freelance writers. The problem is, they think 15 dollars for a 400 word article is too steep. And I have already sold an article at Constant Content for thrice that much. In a way, I already got spoiled.

If I really want to go that route, I could easily apply for a writing job in LinkedIn, even Facebook has groups where people look for writers. But that´s the caveat, you need to accept the going rate of 2 dollars per hundred word. I can´t. Because that means I have to work more. Take hours away from my daughter, which is the whole point of me writing to stay home.

So I decided to just write for Constant Content. I write whenever I want, about whatever topic I want. Luckily, almost all the articles I have written so far have been sold. I do need to write more though. Now I´m torn between working at my blogs and working on my articles.

To Cut the Long Story Short

Content writing is not just writing. There are a whole gamut of things that you need to learn if you want to be one. I learned that the long and arduous way. And I still have ahead of me a long and arduous road.

Recently I found out I can also earn from home selling paintings and photographs online. I might pick up my watercolors again and try that too. Or I´m also thinking of finally writing a novel and selling on kindle. There´s a whole new world of independent publishers out there too making a living selling Ebooks.

I might have to put on the ninja cap to accomplish everything I want though.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Hounding Word

picture of a dog


This is not fiction.

I aim to write about my real life experience with a hounding word. What is a hounding word anyway? In plain speak it is a word that haunts you for the rest of your life after the first moment of your encounter. You could meet the hounding word anywhere. From that new novel you've been planning to read, a poem you saw at a Hallmark greeting card, maybe even from everyday objects as common as a cereal box.

I met my hounding word when I was a child. It was a period in my life when most of my free time was spent perusing the cases in the Nancy Drew files and reading about gossips in Sweet Valley High. Ironically, it wasn't Nancy Drew or Sweet Valley that gave me my hounding word. It was a magazine article, the title of which I can barely remember now.

Oxymoron. That was my word. And it kept hounding me from then on in almost every reading material I ever had the privilege to lay my eyes on.

Like the vocabulary buff I was, I immediately looked up what Oxymoron meant. My mother's Merriam-Webster dictionary gave me this definition: a combination of words that have opposite or very different meaning; such as deafening silence, as an example. It was then that I realized, the word has been hounding me even before I ever knew it existed. It was in every book I read, every poem I memorized and every essay I was made to write.

It has been hiding in plain sight. From the moment I became completely aware of its true self, it became more aggressive in showing its true color to me. I could not escape. And so instead, I embraced my hounding word. My oxymoron.

Have you met your hounding word? If you haven't you're probably not reading enough.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

NOW is the Best Time to be an Online Content Writer

picture of a dog
There has never been a better time to be an content writer than now. Changes in Google search algorithm has made the need for fresh, unique and meaty articles even more requisite. Previously, website owners can get away with PLRs and article spinners to supply them with the much needed continuously updated content. Aggressive backlinking could get websites up the rank of Google’s search. Unfortunately recent updates in Google drastically changed this. Google search bots are now looking for quality in website posts as a regular human searcher would. 

Previous to the Penguin and Panda updates, articles had to be written targeting specific keywords in order for it to be ranked well when people search for that specific keyword. To be honest, as a writer I never liked writing articles that only target specific keywords. Clients would sometimes provide awkward keywords simply because it has the right amount of hits from searchers. This would sometimes result in equally awkward sentences in an article. Thanks to the updates, the keyword yokes are now broken.

Google search bots are now crawling for websites that are constantly updated with long and high quality articles. Websites are now ranked based on the quality of its audience, i.e. how many returning visitors and how long do they usually stay. In order for website owners to gain such quality audience, they have to constantly provide them with interesting articles that provide the information they need. Here is where we online article writers come in.

The Reign of Contents

words
Among online marketers there is a saying—content is king. That has never been truer than now. Those that survive every change that Google makes in its algorithm are the ones who have invested in quality articles and sparkling white hat SEO. Those that engage in black hat or even grey SEO fall like chess pawns after every Google move. 

Granted, content is not all there is to SEO. To those of you who are new to internet marketing or have just started exploring the world of online business, SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. As the name implies it is the science of optimizing your blogs or websites for search engines. If that still sounds Greek, it is designing and presenting your website or blog in such a way that search bots can easily crawl it and rank it in search engines such as Yahoo, Bing, Google, etc. There are a number of  other search engines in the Internet, but as most people prefer to use Google, most webmasters are more concerned with looking good for Google SEO. 

As I have mentioned earlier, content is just one of the criteria for good SEO. But high quality content is important in audience engagement. In the first place it is the articles that make them click that link. If they find that the content supplies them with valuable information, they are viable to stay longer and even come back for more. High quality articles get shared in social media. The quantity and quality of returning visitors rank high in Google’s new criteria.

Content as an Investment

As writers we need to be aware that our work is the heart that keeps the internet beating. There are probably millions of articles being shared online every day. And we online content writers are responsible for this. We are the catalyst that links audience to websites and blogs.  

Writing is hard work. We need to make sure that the things we write are accurate not only in content but in structure as well. Writing takes time. Time as a commodity is even more valuable for freelance writers. The time that we spend on writing is time that we could probably have spent with our families. Plus we only get paid for the work that we turn in. Freelance writing as a full time job does not provide pay for medical nor vacation leaves. As it is, we need to keep writing in order to earn our keep.

Website owners on the other hand get to keep the articles that we write as future investment. The amount that they pay writers at the onset has the potential to get doubled in return and keep earning for as long as the website or blog is alive. 

If you are a writer who is selling your work for peanuts, remember that that peanut has the potential to grow into a fruit-bearing tree. Weigh this in the next time you charge a client. Also remember that the cheaper you charge, the more articles you need to write in order to call it a living. 

Article writing is serious business. If your clients insist on paying you a slave rate then perhaps they are not taking you seriously enough. High quality articles need a decent amount of time for research and polishing. If you are constantly rushed into churning more articles, the quality of your articles might suffer in the long run. It's time to ask for what you deserve. Remember, your articles are investments for the future of your clients business.

Conclusion

Google's algorithm might change again next year and the year after that. But the one thing that will always be foremost in its criteria is the quality of user experience. The Internet has become the go to for everyone looking for information from the best food to feed their cat to more serious topics like how to cope with cancer. As online article writers it is our responsibility to provide detailed, accurate and informative contents that promote a hundred percent customer engagement.  Website owners also need to understand and learn to appreciate our role in the growth of their business.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Day Night

All eyes
All eyes
Unseeing
Marred
Intoxicating joy
Existentialism

Other side
The world
Revolution
Day
Night
Not the same

Mouths talk
Mouths talk
Action
Where
Souls die
Meaning devoid

One profess
Right
Denial
Moral nihilists
Abound
Cry for justice

Cocoon
Cocooned
Far away
Safe
Let others
Save the damned

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Zombie Short Story - Maddy



Last year I submitted a horror short story to a website called Spinetinglers.com. This is a UK based website that accepts submissions for stories that send shivers to the spine, be it horror or science fiction or some heart warming story. Every month they select winners whose stories get featured on their website and also get paid.

It took me several months to finish this story. I wrote the first two paragraphs and then just left it in my hard drive for several months and forgot about it. Literally, I've forgotten I was writing this thing and only remembered about it when I was cleaning my computer for no longer needed files. So after several months I finally finished it, my first horror story. Yey!

I was so impressed with my writing so I decided to immediately submit it to Spinetinglers and waited for my price. I even ignored their warning not to write anything with a plot where everything that happened was just a dream. Yeah, I thought it was that good. Imagine my surprise when it got rejected.

Well not really. After I submitted my story I reread it again after a few days and realized how bad it was. Also I have just finished watching Blade 3 a few days before finishing the story and borrowed some dialogues from one of Blade's friends. So actually, it was a story done pretty much in bad taste. However, in the spirit of writing adventure, I shall dare to share my first zombie  short story with you my dear readers. (I hope there's more than one of you.)

P.S. This is a zombie story because I really love zombies. I'd watch even the worst of B movies if it has zombies. Any The Walking Dead fan out there?
Back to Top Google+