My First Month as a Freelance Writer

Intro

One day I will reveal to the world the struggles that led me to freelance writing. Today is not that day, but I would like to talk about my first month on this ride. This past month has been a wild ride of learning, discovering, and mistake making. I have become as a girl obsessed with her first love.  My every waking thought is either about writing and researching or reading about writing.  In my mind, one day I am a skilled writer, the following a seven year old could write better than me (this is one of those days).  A year ago if anyone had said I would be writing, I would have thought they were beyond crazy.  I have always been an avid reader and being a writer was a dream that would never come true. To be honest, I am still wondering if it will.  I do not have grand dreams of becoming a millionaire, but it would be nice to spend more time writing and less time at the day job.

Before we begin, let me say I am not sure I am even allowed to call myself a freelance writer.  It might go against a code somewhere.  I have read that as long as you write (good or bad), you are allowed to call yourself a writer.  Also, I have actually sold a few articles, so as far as the definition of freelance writer applies, I believe I can safely call myself a writer.

Source

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The First Four Weeks

In mid-October, I began thinking about giving writing a try. Finally, I decided to go for it. I began looking on Craigslist and Freelancewriting.com for jobs, but experience was a requirement for the majority of the jobs. On my lunch break at work, I began to investigate how to become a freelance writer. I read somewhere to start a blog to create an online presence. That is where my first blog “Squirrel is my name; multitasking is my name” was created. I added adsense, just to see what would happen, and promoted my blog on facebook. I will not create a link to my personal blog because I do not want to appear promotional, but it is a good read for a first attempt at writing. You can get to it from my profile page.

From there, I applied at Examiner.com. I know many freelance writers are cringing in the seats. For those who do not know, Examiner.com is an online “news site” who uses local writers to post stories about their location. They pay on a mysterious “per click basis” that is considered low in many circles. I have seen several articles on people who have made a ton of money writing for Examiner, and I have seen articles from people who did not make a dime. It is all in the topic and when it is published. I enjoy writing for Examiner.com even though the pay is low. I am the local historical places examiner. I have a degree in history, and I enjoy researching local items.

My next step, as a newbie writer, was to apply at The Content Authority. The Content Authority is an online service that provides web content to many different websites. The application process was arduous. They asked me to write on the history of mathematics. I hate math. It took me almost four hours to research and write it, since I did not have any information on the subject nor on their expectations. I was accepted as a Tier one writer. Within a couple of weeks of writing for The Content Authority, I had received my first paycheck. Many people do not like The Content Authority but they are giving me a chance to learn and grow. Each time I write, I am exercising my writing muscles.

Home At Last

While doing more research on freelance work, I discovered a blog by a Master Dayton which led me to Hubpages. Unsure about joining, i began to explore the website. As I was looking around, I came across a couple of hubs written by Sweetsusieg, and I was hooked. I joined immediately. I am about to start singing “God Bless the Broken Road” because I feel as if this is where I should have started.

Now it is time for the good, the bad and the ugly. The good...I have had the time of my life, and I have made a little money. The bad...I still have a lot to learn, but I am getting there. The ugly...I owe either Master Dayton or Sweetsusieg an apology. I did not know until after I joined if I had followed links from one of you to join hubpages, one of you could have received a bonus. I am sorry guys. I hope you forgive me some day.

The End (finally)

Feel free to leave nuggets of your wisdom in the form of advice, critiques (nicely, please), or just to let me know I should not quit my day job any time soon.

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Comments 20 comments

redwhiskeypete profile image

redwhiskeypete 5 years ago from Indiana

I just bought a book yesterday you may be interested in. It's called search engine optimization. It's written in a non techi way and I have already learned so much just skimming over the few pages I read. It wil help promote your web pages.


Dusty Snoke profile image

Dusty Snoke 5 years ago from Chattanooga, TN Author

redwhiskeypete, thanks for the tip. Would you mind providing me with an author? So I can be assured of getting the right book.


redwhiskeypete profile image

redwhiskeypete 5 years ago from Indiana

Kristopher B Jones it gives you alot of free tools to use online to give better rankings for your blogs. I'm sure this book will also give you ideas to promote your writing. It's about $30.00 but Borders always have 30-40% off coupons and I'm sure Amazon is much lower then $30.00. I work nights so wil probably take this to work and study up on it.


Dusty Snoke profile image

Dusty Snoke 5 years ago from Chattanooga, TN Author

thanks, again. I will look for it. I need all the help I can get.


Tammy L profile image

Tammy L 5 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas

Great hub, Dusty. This one will inspire others. You are off to a great start here. Keep up the good work!


Dusty Snoke profile image

Dusty Snoke 5 years ago from Chattanooga, TN Author

Tammy, thanks for the encouragement. I really appreciate it.


Jerry G2 profile image

Jerry G2 5 years ago from Cedar Rapids, IA

Hey,

Great to see your thoughts just starting out. Freelance writing is a long trek, and it takes time. Don't worry if you start out with some sites that end up not being worth it - learn from the experience and move on up. When I was just getting started and didn't have any guidance I did a lot of writing at Helium and Associated Content, and have moved on from both since. Good to see the update, and keep studying about how to make money online with AdSense, Amazon, and SEO and keep on learning on the way. It's worth the learning and the work.

PS - This is one of the "alter-egos" of me, Master Dayton, and I appreciate the link to my blog. Thanks!


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 5 years ago from Sydney

Good Hub! Welcome to HubPages and good luck with the freelance writing. Sufidreamer has written some great Hubs on the subject, I recommend you seek him out.

It's perfectly OK to post a link to your blog, in fact I recommend it.

I had a look at Content Authority and even at the top tier, you're earning only a few cents a word. You should aim higher than that!


Dusty Snoke profile image

Dusty Snoke 5 years ago from Chattanooga, TN Author

Jerry, Master Dayton, thanks for commenting. I am trying to learn as much as I can and I will keep on learning. Also, I am a firm believer in giving back to those who have given to me so it was natural to put in a link for you blog. Plus it will help all those other struggling newbies.

I did learn from one of my mistakes. I used your link to xomba to sign up over there. I don't know if it will help you much but hey I tried.


Dusty Snoke profile image

Dusty Snoke 5 years ago from Chattanooga, TN Author

Marisa, thanks for the comment. I will no longer be nervous about linking to my blog when appropriate. I will check out Sufidreamer as soon as I can.


vicki simms profile image

vicki simms 5 years ago from northamptonshire

A real inspiring hub, it is hard to start out in writing and I have pretty much done it how you did and for ages I didn't know whether to call myself a "writer" but I do now and so should you :) thanks for sharing this with us.


Dusty Snoke profile image

Dusty Snoke 5 years ago from Chattanooga, TN Author

Vicki, thank you for your comment. It is hard starting out. There is so much information to sort though. It is espcially diffecult trying figure out what works for you. I will admit, though, I have loved every minute of it.


akeetlebeetle profile image

akeetlebeetle 5 years ago from Mesa, AZ

That's funny about Master Dayton. While I didn't specifically come to HP from his site, I did read a lot there and he is very inspirational.

Good article. You might want to update it monthly with earnings and such. Might be interesting to follow.


Dusty Snoke profile image

Dusty Snoke 5 years ago from Chattanooga, TN Author

akeetlebeetle, Master Dayton does seem to be everywhere. I was doing some research on Demand Media today on a totally different blog and he had posted a comment there. I agree with him being inspirational. And thanks for the idea on following up. I do believe other new writers might appreciate it.


MamaTito profile image

MamaTito 5 years ago from california

Thanks for sharing your experience, Dusty. It's wonderful to read you have such a tenacious spirit! That alone can take you very far. Best wishes to you on your endeavor!


Dusty Snoke profile image

Dusty Snoke 5 years ago from Chattanooga, TN Author

Thank you Mama Tito. I am know for being quite tenacious. I appreciate the best wishes.


Giselle Maine 5 years ago

Hi Dusty, it was great to hear about your first month as a freelance writer. I was very impressed at all the different things you tried in the one month, given that you are also holding down a day job. Do you have any helpful tips (maybe even in hub article form???) for balancing day work and freelance writing?

In any case, I really liked the explanation of where you started with your writing and what you did. Thank you.


Dusty Snoke profile image

Dusty Snoke 5 years ago from Chattanooga, TN Author

Hey, Giselle, thanks for the comment. It is actually very difficult to balance both things, mostly because I get very tired. Also, writing has some addictive quality about it or something. I get grumpy when I want to write and no one lets me. I am going to be mean and save the ideas for a hub. I need all the hugs (i mean hubs, hehe) I can get. Thanks for another great hub topic. Coming up in the next hub or two.


SeptemberGray profile image

SeptemberGray 5 years ago from Corpus Christi, TX

It took me seven months of writing before I started earning any real money. I knew very little of how it worked online, but I learned from every mistake and tried not to beat myself up over it. It's when it stops being fun that you're in trouble.


Dusty Snoke profile image

Dusty Snoke 5 years ago from Chattanooga, TN Author

SeptemberGray, thanks for stopping by and reading. Every step I have taken has always taught me or helped me out in every way. I agree, the most important part is that you enjoy it.

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