New writer’s guide to digital platforms

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Some truths are counter-intuitive. At first glance, the modern world seems like a wasteland of culture. Everything is filled with pop-culture references, coupled with superhero movies and cartoons.

New writer’s guide to digital platforms

To make matters worse, these things aren’t even original. Very few intellectual properties are new. Most are created when giant multinationals purchase the rights from people who have talent. Everything is a re-hash, re-make, and re-telling.

Yet, according to Mercurynews.com, more and more people are choosing to become writers, and many of them are good at their job.

It only seems that people are reading and writing less. Pop culture is getting dumber, but thanks to the web, there are more writers than ever.

Before the internet, people would give up on writing as soon as they finished high school. They would only send postcards and sign their names occasionally on contracts. But that’s about it. Nowadays, the average person probably reads way more due to the digital medium’s distribution methods.

Considering writing as a career

Tangent aside, earning a living as a writer isn’t bad. You get to work from home, your hours are flexible, and you get to do what you love. However, the bad part about writing is that, just like having an ear for music, there does seem to be an element of talent that can’t be taught.

Assuming you have what, it takes, you are probably wondering where you can get started. In this regard, the internet is both your worst enemy and your greatest friend. There are countless other writers online, each striving to prove themselves and earn money. That’s the bad part.

The advantages that the web brings consist of freedom and independence. You no longer have to chase down contracts, sponsorships, cheap editors, and constantly beg for validation before even a single article/book hits the market.

These online platforms act as a middle man and grant you plenty of opportunities in return.

1.   Upwork.com

For those of us who are slightly older, we may recognize this platform under its former name: oDESK.  So, you are a talented writer and want to start working immediately. Upwork can help you with that.

This site acts as a billboard combined with a retailer. People simply post jobs that need doing, from programming to consulting or writing. You will answer, bid for that job, and wait to be accepted.

There will be others bidding for the same jobs, but a disproportionate few are sufficiently talented.

And just like a retail site, you will accumulate positive reviews and fill in your portfolio as you go along. The jobs themselves are quite diverse, ranging from business writing, creative writing, SEO content, and many other types.

You can develop a very lucrative career on this site. Also, Upwork has a system that guarantees that you won’t get scammed.

In the past, a person could simply not pay you after you send the work. Now, when a contract starts, the funds are blocked by the site automatically and the contractor can’t run off with them.

The only problem is the time investment. Do you want to make a living as a writer, or just keep this activity as a side-hustle?

If you’re just starting, your first contracts will be very small. For a month or two, just expect to work for pennies. Then, as you gain rating and reputation, you will be able to bid for more impressive rates.

2.   Essay writing sites

Essay writing services are legit. They offer an opportunity for you to monetize and showcase your writing. There are dozens of these sites, so I won’t mention a single one in particular. Most offer good work.

Their standards may be higher, and some may demand that you take a test or present a degree before being hired.

So, what are essay sites?

Well, this sub-industry arose due to the declining quality of college education, and the worsening economy. More and more people can’t just rely on their parents to keep them in college. Some have to work and bury themselves in debt.

Essay sites act as a pressure release valve, offering to write some of your assignments in exchange for a fee. Of course, you will need to be a much better writer, and the standards are considerably higher with this job.

It can be a far cry from simply writing YouTube scripts, blogs, or product reviews. If you think that you can live up to expectations, give it a go. Essay sites aren’t going anywhere.

3.   Medium

Medium was designed to be the anti-Twitter. While Twitter at its start forced you to contain your thoughts in 140 characters, Medium wanted to host longer, more elaborate articles. Most of what you can find here will range from 1k to 3k words.

There are very few restrictions to what you can post, allowing the users to be creative.

One common misconception is that all creative writing has to be functional. That assumption is wrong, given that a majority of content found on Medium is non-fiction. Fiction is not banned, but it remains more of a subculture.

Medium readers are not like other people on the web. They are surprisingly well-read and astute. It will be very hard to stand out and impress them. You have to demonstrate that you are knowledgeable, wise, interesting, inspirational, or just very correct in your assessments.

You can share your business experience, self-improvement tips, and even philosophy articles.

To put things in plain English: If you want people on Medium to like you, be sure to put your best foot forward.

4.   LinkedIn

Don’t click away, and just hear me out. This site is for jobs, what Facebook is for socialization. And just like Facebook, you better cherry-pick your life’s highlights. Many features can help you to get recruited by a larger company, or just seem more professional.

You can construct a network of contacts that may be useful someday. Also, you can ask people to praise and recommend your work publicly. There isn’t any special gatekeeping that makes this platform accessible only to writers, but that doesn’t mean that it cannot be used to advertise your written work.

Conclusion

If you want to be a good writer, pick your jobs, and get rid of contracts and constricting control from publishers, then prepare yourself to sacrifice some comfort. Freelance writers who own themselves have to act as their publishers, agents, advertisers, proof checkers, and more.

You are the business that you are selling, so be sure to construct a sizable online presence.

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Lucy Bennett

Lucy Bennett is a Contributing Editor at iLounge. She has been writing about Apple and technology for over six years. Prior to joining iLounge, Lucy worked as a writer for several online publications.