Sunday, 12 February 2017

How I Finally Got Paid Writing Work

2016 marked the year that I finally starting earning money from sitting in my bedroom at 2am on my laptop putting the world to rights, it's something that me and my Nan used to do a lot when I was little and now I actually get to call it my job - fuck knows why. I don't get dressed most days, I regularly eat a share size bag of wine gums to "encourage inspiration" and my mind is a minefield of hideously over sarcastic thoughts that I just about manage to string into sentences but yet somehow, against all the odds, I made it. 

Now that I am suddenly earning a living from creating content it is mildly terrifying, no more binging on Greys Anatomy with my tea half balanced on the edge of my laptop. Annoyingly it is an industry that is becoming so increasingly popular and from the outside looking in it can look incredibly lonely, I know how relentless it is just wanting the recognition that you know you deserve but I promise you if you are willing to work for it then it will happen. 

You just have to believe you are the shit because trust me when I say that everyone else will possibly just tell you that you are shit.

So go forth and BELIEVE <3 

Blog 

Because let's face it you'd be an idiot not to, it's how you create an identity, you find a voice and you can share that voice. There's no one to tell you what you can and can't write, no one that will send you copy after copy of scribbled on and edited versions of your work, which always feels like a small dagger to your heart no matter how long you've been doing it. 

Post regularly, build a name for yourself and get creative with it, not only will it look great but it allows you to develop your own style. If you can find out what works for you and you can build on that then you''ll know which style works best for you and what kind of subjects you want to be be talking about which makes writing pitches and proposals much easier in the future. 

Be Prepared To Work Unpaid 

But don't be a doormat. 

Working unpaid is kind of to be expected, I don't doubt that working unpaid for the experience is key to being taken even relatively seriously. The four weeks stint I did at Grazia magazine as an intern, the one where I used my overdraft to fund my daily Pret obsession, it's undoubtedly made my CV look that little bit more respectable. Seeing as I don't have a degree and I admittedly only managed to get a D at English A Level they do really matter. I used GoThinkBig to find and apply to my internship, they have a billion insane opportunities for a whole load of your favourite mags which are mostly in London, the heart of all things media.

In the moment it's a tad relentless and it's awful watching your savings account go to shit but it's so worth it in the end and you'll know when it's time to say no, enough is enough, I want some dollar now please.   

Be Active on Social Media 

I was actually approached by the company I now write for by direct message on Twitter, they had stumbled across a piece I had written for a website a few months back, through that they had then found my Twitter account which then lead them onto my blog, I made it easy for myself to be found and honestly social media is so good for that. You don't have to sit there writing cover letter after cover letter wondering if it'll just stay unopened in someone's spam inbox, social media is there to be used and abused for all it is worth. 

It's also amazing for finding opportunities, companies tweet out job ads or last minute internship spaces they need filled all the bloody time, it takes one message, one favourite and you're already halfway there.  

Approach 

Don't just spend your life scrolling through Indeed because it is absolutely soul destroying and you will get a hideous migraine that even ibuprofen can't fix. 

People per Hour is an amazing site that I discovered a while back which is kinda like depop but for the creatives. It allows you to create a sellers profile, link your work, list your skills and propose a service such as content writing for a fixed rate to businesses and creators who need freelancers. It's not guaranteed but it's definitely a great stepping stone and the more you put yourself out there the more you will likely get back.

Get creative with it, find companies that have a blog page, approach online magazines or startup apps. My current paid position is with a relatively new app company and my previous work was with the app Licklist where I was a writer for their nightlife blog page. Don't expect companies to come to you, it's amazing if they do but it's pretty unlikely, you wouldn't get offered a job without applying for it so try to think of it that way, you have to be heard to be considered. 

Start-Up's Really are a Good Place To Start 

Talking of start ups they are possibly the most amazing place to begin your search for experience and possibly even a job. I know we dream of huge publications and have this 'only the best will do' kind of approach but honestly the smaller companies have so much more to give. They can offer genuine hands on experience that looks way better on your CV than the three weeks you spent in London doing the morning starbucks run for the entire office, unless you wish to be a barista. 

They probably won't pay but they are way more inclined to offer you a job at the end and they do totally still count. 

Use Comparison as Motivation 

One thing I have learnt is that there will always be someone better than me, someone funnier, someone wittier, more 'relatable'. I used to use this as a reason to quit, to accept that no one would ever choose to read what I had to say because why would they, it would be like choosing the small fries over the large - no brainer. Then I was like well no, just because I don't see myself as being the best or being the funniest it doesn't mean I don't matter, it just means I have a little room to grow and there is really absolutely nothing wrong with that.  

Accept it For What it is

I'm getting paid yes but I'm also still sitting at home most mornings on the weekend putting off opening my laptop because I have zero motivation and my brain is just like nope, not today. I had to get up at 5 one Saturday purely because I had a deadline and I kept putting it off and putting it off in the hope that inspiration would finally hit and it just never did, usually I'd just wait until I was feeling a bit more inspired but with a deadline you cannot do that. I've done the working from home and I've done the early morning commute to London and let me tell you it's not half as glamorous as they make it look on the TV. Writing for a living is hard and it's especially hard when you don't work for yourself but it is also the most rewarding thing I have ever done, you just have to really want it. 


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