I’ve been writing exclusively online for a couple of years now. There has been many things that I have learned within this time. Here are the 4 most important lessons that I’ve learned from writing for the web.
1. It can be hard to get readers.
When I first started writing I was just writing through the various blogs that I had on Blogger. At first I wasn’t doing it to make money. When I discovered that I could possibly make money from these blogs I became very excited but soon realized it wasn’t going to be easy. This was mainly because I really didn’t have any readers. I soon discovered that getting readers was not an easy task. There are many explanations on why this is. One explanation is that some people have a hard time getting into new writers. They aren’t familiar with their work and really don’t know whether to stick around and see the writer progress. Another explanation may be that the content of this new writer isn’t much different than what’s already out on the web. The last explanation rang very true for me. Sometimes I would post stories that I had written. I believed these stories were truly my own creation but I would do a Google search and find similar stories. I’m a musician as well and just like it is with songs it’s hard creating completely brand new material. As time goes on it’s hard to have original ideas. This is why I think it was hard for me to get readers.
2. Just because you like it doesn’t mean other people will.
This is in reference to two groups of people. The first group are the readers, as mentioned before, and the second group is the publishing platform where the writing is being published. There have been many times where I had written articles that just didn’t see the light of day. It can be frustrating working hard on a particular piece of writing only to have it denied for publication. This has happened to me a couple of times through a couple of different websites that I write for. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense and sometimes it does. I’ve learned to just move on and save the piece for another day or website instead of getting upset that it got denied the first time around.
3. Cite your sources.
This is very important especially when writing news stories. There has been times where I have written pieces based on what I had remembered about a certain topic. As I learned through various psychology classes in college, the brain doesn’t remember things completely accurately. There has been times where I believed something to be true because of hearing about it before and then after doing research found out that it wasn’t true. This is why citing reliable up-to-date sources is very important. This is why even if I strongly think something is true about a certain subject I make sure to double check it if it’s still true. In doing so my writing is current and my readers are more trusting of me.
4. Don’t just write for one company or website.
This is the most important lesson that I have learned since writing online. In today’s world companies come and go and at any time it’s possible for a website to go under. Keeping that in mind I make sure that I have access to many different websites. In the past year I’ve made accounts and applied to write for over 5 different websites. I’ve done this so that in the event that one website goes under I can just work harder on a different website to make up for the lost income. As a freelancer it’s important to have options available. None of the work that I get is guaranteed. I’m not guaranteed to get paid a certain amount nor am I guaranteed that my writing will get published. This is why I like to have as many options as possible.