I have been an online writer for the last four years, but my love of writing goes back to elementary school where I won money and awards for my creative writing. Throughout the online writing experience, I have learned a lot of important lessons, both pertaining to writing and just life in general. If you are looking to get into online writing, here are four important lessons I’ve learned, which can also help you if writing for the web is something you are interested in.
You Need to Focus On Your Own Experience or Interests
One thing that is very important if you are looking to get into online writing is that you need to focus your articles on either your own personal experiences or write about what interests you personally. When I first started writing, I wasn’t sure of which direction I should go with it, because I knew that if I wrote about celebrities I could make more money, but that is also something I have no personal interest in. I worked in a hospital from the time I was 16 until 19 as a dietary clerk, and also attended vocational school in the Allied Health program. So healthcare and medical issues are something I deeply am interested in, and I also have personal experience in a lot of these topics. What I found out was that I could easily write about healthcare and medical conditions far better than a topic I had no knowledge or passion about. Since there is so much content on the web, it’s better to focus on personal experience you have in your topic of choice, and this will allow your content to stand out from the rest. It’s basically like you have to think about what you want your name to symbolize, and what you want your brand to showcase. I also noticed that if I wrote about a celebrity, my heart really wasn’t in it, and the quality of the article wasn’t near what I could write if it was about something I knew and loved.
You Have To Have Thick Skin
One of the most negative aspects to online writing is knowing you will have nasty comments at one point or another, and this is especially true if you write about hot topics like abortion or religion. I have never been someone to get that bothered by what people say about me, but seeing these anonymous comments online can impact your mentality over time. I think one important lesson I learned was that you just have to let nasty comments go, because more than likely it’s all trolls just looking for a reaction or to stir the pot away from the truth. It can be hard to just let the harsh or nasty comments go out of your mind, but if you want to continue writing online for years to come you just have to find a way to move forward. I liken it to being a quarterback and throwing an interception, because when that happens the quarterback just has to erase that negative play, and then continue playing to the best of their ability. Writing online and dealing with nasty people or comments is the same way, meaning you just have to continue writing and doing what you love, because you are in a situation where you can really help people by what you say. It was about a year into online writing when I just stopped reading all the comments on my articles, because I didn’t want to focus on what other people thought of me or what I wrote. So either you have to have thick skin to write online or you just need to stop reading comments all together in order to keep your sanity. I have also found that not responding to the negative comments is the best way to go about it, because you are just giving them attention at that point, and you should just focus on moving forward by continuing to write to the best of your ability.
Getting Out Fluff Comes With Time
One of the more difficult things for me when I began online writing was the ability to just get to the point and back it up with evidence. I was one of those people that had a lot of fluff in my article, whether it was from repeating myself over and over or just not knowing how to get to the point in a matter of fact manner. The first year that I began writing online, I had a very hard time sticking to a word count or cutting down my article to the specified word count and still having it make sense. Over time though, you will learn how to just say what you need to say, back it up with facts, and make your conclusive statement without the fluff in the middle. I think if you write with a word count in mind from the start, it will help you learn how to cut out statements you don’t need, and it makes it easier to figure out what it is you’re really trying to convey in that piece. I would recommend not getting frustrated if you are having trouble keeping a word count for the first year, because it’s something you just learn and have to practice over a period of time. In my case, the more I wrote the easier it was to stick to the word count, and also the better I got at conveying my thoughts without rambling on and on.
Never Write For Only One Outlet
The biggest lesson I’ve learned when it comes to online writing is to never put your eggs all in one basket, because there’s a lot of uncertainty in the writing world. You never want to just write for one outlet, because that website could shutdown at any point, and then you’re left without anywhere to make money or get your voice heard. The online writing world is full of changes, whether it’s because of how your articles get ranked through search engines or maybe the website gets bought out by a bigger company. In the beginning of your writing, you might find it better to just write for one website, especially if you’ve never written online before and want to hone your craft before branching out. If the website you write for usually has topics up to write about, well that could go away tomorrow for all you know, and then you are left without a daily way to make money. I also would suggest writing for more than one website because it builds your brand across the web, which means you will be gaining exposure from multiple venues. If you are someone that wants to make a career out of writing, then it makes sense to write for as many websites as possible, because that will make your more money, and you will have infinite opportunities coming your way. So while the main reason to write for more than one website might be to prepare yourself if the website closes without notice, you also gain the ability to get your name and knowledge out there to a bigger audience. The only thing about multiple website writing is that each website has their own rules and writing standards, so you have to remember which formats and techniques to use for each website. If you follow these tips, you will realize that writing for the web can be fun and a great way to make money, and you will gain a lot of knowledge about yourself in the process.
Myself, Personal Experience