What Every New Content Writer Should Know
I’ve been a writer my entire life, but only 18 months as a paid writer. What every new content writer should know is that, well, I’m planning to tell you in this post.
In my 60+ years on this planet, I’ve learned that love is never enough to sustain a relationship. It takes a lot more “stuff” to find harmony and balance with each other. Now, I’m comparing a relationship to writing for clients because I’m falling out of love, and it’s my own fault.
OK, what happened then?
In May 2020, my fiancé died in a cycling accident a third of a mile from home. My contented, comfortable, and happy life exploded like a grenade in a picnic basket. My body quivered with shock, and for weeks I couldn’t stop shaking. Consequently, I couldn’t stand up for more than a few seconds without collapsing. When I started walking the dogs again, I needed a stick. Me, the fit, strong, athletic woman that I am, needed a walking stick!
Sadly, David and I had our heads shoved in the sand around finances. Subsequently, wefailed to plan for a future without one of us in it. Consequently, there were no savings, no life insurance, and no income. We were circling lockdown and my clients’ businesses had imploded at the time.
In October 2020, I moved to a smaller rental cottage – still with no income and on benefits not remotely covering my expenditure. What was I to do?
You’re supposed to be a writer, Jan
For many years, David nagged me to make a career from my writing. I, however, didn’t believe it was possible. In addition, I’d heard of all the starving writers out there, and I didn’t want to become one. Consequently, I began applying for “normal” jobs (yes, I know), forty jobs in two months.
Heaven knows how the **** I thought I would be able to work. Most days, I found myself curled up howling on the kitchen floor in the foetal position, terrified of a future on my own, without David.
I am, however, good at interviews, and on 15th December 2020, I was offered a good job with prospects. I acknowledged a fleeting feeling of terror. What? What’s going on? I needed a job; stop mucking about. I asked for 24-hours to think about it.
Why didn’t I snap up this position?
What did I do next?
That evening, a voice in my head said, “Jan, you are supposed to be a writer.” So, the next day, asa result of my epiphany (?) I turned down the job.
The scared mini-me: “Er, excuse me, Jan, you realise that you’re £500 a month in deficit with your expenses and benefits?”
The courageous (slightly annoyed) mini-me: “Yes, of course, I know that, you donut. Shut the **** up and let me work stuff out.”
I’ll cut to the chase now
I got lucky. A few days later, I accepted an SEO content writer role for a trading company at £0.03p a word, promising higher rates once I proved my worth. In January 2021, a client hired me to help write and edit his memoirs. The job paid well and gave me 13 weeks of work.
I proved my worth to the trading company, and, as a result, my rates went up to £0.05p a word. At the time, I believed it was a fair rate. I wrote 4-5 articles a week about Forex and stocks and then cryptocurrencies & NFTs. I got very good at that. Consequently, after a few months, my articles consistently popped onto page one of Google. I was still enjoying the work.
I got more work
As a result of applying for lots of writing roles, in August 2021, I picked up a role as a senior writer for a lead generation company, writing about marketing and sales, something I enjoyed. I have a background in direct sales, and I’d qualified in Google digital marketing and other relevant subjects. Sadly, there wasn’t much work, but at £0.08p a word, it really helped my finances.
Because of my expertise in demystifying crypto and NFT content, I found another client paying quite well with a ton of work. So, now I had three clients, plenty of variety, and was still enjoying it.
I had a few other clients along the way. I tried Upwork <rolls eyes>, and I learned to identify clients who would waste my time and pay me peanuts.
Then I realised I wasn’t happy, writing for £0.05 a word when I could easily earn an extra £60+ a day writing for the other two companies.
A year down the line
I’d worked for the trading company with highly measurable results for a year. Sadly, when I approached the co-founder about raising my rates, he had a meltdown, said all writers want is more bloody money, and promptly ghosted me! He knew I’m a widow, on my own, so yes, bloody hell, man, I’m working like a dog here getting your content on page one.
Then the lead generation company threw a curveball. The lovely lady who gave us writers the work left the company, and when a young guy took over, the work disappeared.
Suddenly, I had only one client.
Snagged up in the trap of having to write to earn enough to live, I need to market my case study writing and direct response writing, which I absolutely love, but I’m utterly exhausted. I think I’ve hit a burnout.
The joys of procrastination
Let’s take today, for example, a demonstration of my avoidance of writing content: –
- Walked the dogs three miles
- Fed the birds
- I watched the birds eating
- I Browsed Medium for the good stuff to read (ooh, and I did find some corkers)
- First cup of coffee – delish
- Second cup of coffee – be rude not to
- Sat in the garden with a third cup of coffee
- Danced in the kitchen (probably too much coffee)
- I did 125 crunches and swung a kettlebell around a bit (definitely too much coffee)
- Sat in the garden watching the birds <rolls eyes>
- Wrote a LinkedIn post – my first for over a year
- Created folders in my Gmail account and sorted 387 emails (WTAF?)
- Cuddled the dogs (always a good thing)
- Messaged my friend
- Sat with my feet on the cool grass, figuring out what to do next other than writing content
Look at the level of procrastination. I could get awards for it; honestly, it’s crazy high-level stuff.
So, this morning, I read a great post on the Medium platform from a writer who’d had enough of client work. She gave it up last year and now writes for large publications that pay exceptionally well.
Therefore, it’s a direction I’m planning to explore, and, subsequently, so should you, dear writer
What should newbie content writers do?
The point of my article, newbie content writers, is that you will burn out if all you do is write content, mainly if, like me, you write SEO content because it involves a lot of research to put together a credible article.
I am stuck to my laptop every day, or I don’t pay the rent. Is that what you want? Or would you prefer a more relaxed lifestyle with high-earning gigs, meaning you can take days or weeks off and not worry about s**t?
If I could start again, I would promote my copywriting service more. It’s better paid, requires more creativity, and I love sales. In addition, I would target large publications from the get-go.
Burnout is horrible. It’s like depression on drugs. Your brain turns to mush, the exhaustion strips every ounce of energy from your body, and your heart checks out. I want to regain my love for writing. It’s always filled me with life and energy.
Don’t be like me, newbie content writers. Start as you mean to go on.