Jaipi Sixbear recently posted an article on Associated Content/Yahoo called, “A Bunch of Crap I Hate About Writing and a Challenge.” She wrote a very honest straightforward rant about the life of an on line writer. Then she challenged the rest of us to “go ahead and vent, it’s good for you!”
I decided to take up that challenge. Jaipi, you showed me yours, now I am showing you mine! The life of an online writer is not all fun and merriment as some are led to believe. We work hard, sometimes far into the night. Guess what? We don’t get time and a half after 8 hours of work either.
We don’t get paid vacation time, or holiday pay. The only holiday pay we receive is if we are working on a holiday! And a big bunch of us do just that, because we have bills to pay. We have no paid health insurance. Some of us do with out because we can’t afford it!
“Oh, So You Don’t Work?”
No, I sit around in front of a television eating bob-bons! I am not sure who is producing all of those articles on the web that have my name on them! This question never ceases to amaze me. People ask what I do for a living. I tell them I am an online writer. “Oh, so you don’t work?”
According to my tax adviser that makes me pay self employment tax, I must work! Writing is like owning your own small business. I am a business owner…how about you? If I don’t write, my bills don’t get paid. It is the same as if you don’t punch a time clock, then your bills don’t get paid.
The thing is, you punch your time clock and walk away. My computer sits right here, glaring at me, if I am not sitting in front of it. You never take your work home; my work is always at home!
“Someday You’ll be a Real Writer”
What defines a real writer? According to some, if you aren’t published in the hard copy world, you are not a real writer. No, I am not Stephen King. I don’t crank out books that the publishers are waiting in line to grab up.
But I am published! That is what that submit button says and I get emails from Associated Content and other sites that say, “Your article has been published!” So you see, I must be a published author!
If a “real” writer is one that has words in a magazine or book that you can hold in your hand, well, a lot of us on line writers qualify by that definition too. Many online writers have “real” published books and magazine articles. Yet they continue to write online as well. Their must be some reason, wouldn’t you think?
I have beaten the concrete pavement in pursuit of articles! I have written for newspapers and was even the Associate Editor of a well known magazine. I got tired of the traveling, my health failed, but I still wanted to write. Most online writers have similar stories or reasons for why they have chosen the “write from home” jobs that they are doing.
Some of us just might even be as good a writer as Stephen King. We just haven’t caught a break like he did, or the right person has not came across our work. We continue to hone our craft with every new article we write.
We have to follow guidelines and formats as carefully as a car maker has to follow how to put a vehicle together. If we mess up, we get a rewrite. If the car maker messes up they get recalls. You have to know what you are doing in order to succeed, and produce a good quality product. Sounds like a job to me!
My Biggest Writers Rant
My biggest writer’s rant is trying to prove you are gainfully employed! If you can speak to someone and explain, that is great, but have you ever tried to fill out something on line? The choices they give you for employment are so crappy you cannot figure out what to classify yourself as.
I am not employed by anyone, I work for myself! If you are able to check self employed then they ask stuff like how many people work in your company, what is your job title, what are your duties? It will drive you insane trying to figure out how to tell someone you are a self employed writer. My duties?
Well let’s see…I either must choose a title to write or pick one out of my brain. Then I have to research it to make sure it is factual and interesting. Then I must write it, using proper grammar and spelling. Oh yes, I have to remember which site I am writing it for to make sure it fits their guidelines and formatting.
There is also this little thing called SEO that I have to worry about. You see, I have to make sure I use the right words so that my article will be found by search engines. Then I have to promote said article to make sure people know it is out there on the web waiting to be read.
Gee, when I wrote for the newspaper, all I had to do was write the article and send it in. The publisher worried about selling his newspapers. Same thing with the magazine! So I guess you can add marketing to my list of duties!
Okay, I am about done now. Jaipi, thanks for challenging us all to follow your lead! This was one I didn’t even have to research because it was all right there stuffed into my chest! I am glad to get it off my chest, so how about you? Are you up for Jaipi Sixbears challenge?
Here is Jaipi Sixbear’s by the way!