Saturday, April 6, 2019

I Forgot How to Write...

My DIRTY and Old AP Stylebook.
One of the things that I have been severely slacking on (besides my art) is writing for my favorite content mill site.  I've been writing for them for years.  I love the site because it's easy to make a quick buck or two anytime I feel like it or need it, but lately I haven't been feeling it.

It's been quite a while.  When I went to see when my last payout was from them, I realized that it has been over a year since I completed anything for them.  Yikes!

The words "content mill website" are akin to the "f" word in the writing world.  The majority of them don't pay well at all.  In fact, I'd go as far as saying they are the equivalent of online content sweat shops.  On an hour per hour basis, most of the time writing for content mill sites results in less pay than what the average US minimum wage is.  That's not going to work out well in the long run if you have taken the dive into making a living off of writing online content.

I'll never forget the first content mill site that I found and started writing for.  They were paying something in the range of $1.00 for 500 words.  I didn't know any better at the time and wrote quite a bit of content for them.  My thought was that since I was new, I had to pay my dues.  Paying your dues and being flat out screwed are two completely different things.  Once I went deeper down the rabbit hole and realized how badly I was being screwed and taken advantage of, that changed everything. 

I hate admitting I was ever that naive but when you are new, companies will take advantage of you because they know you don't know how it really works yet.  It's crappy but unfortunately how the world works on a lot of things, not just writing. 

This content mill site isn't that bad and that's why I have stuck with them.  Yes, the pay isn't as good as what you can and should receive when working with a client or writing directly for a website, but it's doable.  If you wanted to write non stop for 8 hours a day, the site could probably pay your bills. 

I don't feel like I'm writing for nothing whenever I choose to go into the pool and fish out something to write.  The choices are vast and I can usually grab something that will require minimum research and can be written quickly.  That's another plus.

Where am I going with this?

This morning I went in and grabbed an article to write that was available in the pool.  It had been so long since I visited the site, so I also needed to be updated on what was going on with the nuts and bolts.  I ventured over into the forum to get the nitty gritty, the dirt, the tea... and find out what other authors thoughts were on it.  I came across what I like to call the kiss of death.  A recent forum entry on comma usage and the impending doom associated with it.

Comma placement in articles is the kiss of death on that website.  You can be knocked down a level if you are dinged on it too often.  Being knocked down a level means less money and fewer choices for what to write.  The translation on all of that is that it simply sucks to be demoted on the site and it can happen quickly and easily.  I've come close before but luckily skated through that impending disaster.

Here's the real tea on the whole thing... while good grammar is required to an extent, for a lot of websites out there, it too can be the kiss of death.  It really depends on what the website's subject matter is, and who the target audience is.  For this site, it really doesn't matter because it's just me randomly spewing my thoughts everywhere.  If I wrote on this site (and the majority of my other sites) with proper grammar and followed all the rules, it would become deathly boring really quick.  For technical sites, retail websites and company sites, grammar and proper punctuation is important.

I'm SO out of practice that it is scary for me to even think about it, but I need to do this.

Enter the Associated Press Stylebook.  I really hate this book.  With a passion.  It's not a book that you can sit down, read and retain the info in it.  It's a reference book that does contain a lot of great and necessary information.  I pulled mine out today for the first time in a long time to thumb through it as a refresher and realized that it was probably time to get a new one.  The one that I have is from 2011.  The social media section in the book was advertised as being "new."  Yeah, I think it might be just a bit outdated.

Even though I hate the book, it really is an essential tool for writers.  I bit the bullet and forked out the $16.00 for an updated version.  The annoyance for me at the moment is that the 2019 version isn't going to be available until June so I picked up the 2018 version and am now waiting until it comes in on Monday to refresh my memory. 

I'm not waiting until Monday to write what I fished out of the pool though.  This is the equivalent of spinning a roulette wheel for me right now and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit stressed from it.  Then again, I'm probably being a bit over dramatic about the whole thing and just wasted 15 minutes of my life coming over here to blab about it.  Not to mention your time coming here to read this drivel.

Here's to hoping that my memory has retained enough to receive a really good rating on what I'm getting ready to go write.  If I get demoted, I'll probably cry into my coffee, smash an old laptop or come back here and do a 1,200 word rant about it.  I seem to be really good at ranting about random things.  For some reason.

Ok, I'm stopping now.

Yeah, kinda boring but it's what's on my mind at the moment.  Welcome to my brain people.

Welcome to my brain.

I hope you are having a fantastic Saturday...


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