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Writing for pay. A newbie's journey to making money with words.

Updated on September 28, 2016
Derinda Harp profile image

Derinda is a new writer who is taking the field by storm! She is learning how to write without a degree and helping others do it too!!!

My journey into writing for money without paying for a course.

I was sitting at home one day and I was in a serious predicament. I needed to find a job so that I could help pay my share of the bills coming in each month but I was worried about transportation. Me and my fiance' were sharing a car and he needed it to to go to work.

So I decided one day, in an attempt to save gas, to do a job search online. I scanned over several listings for my area but all were the type of jobs that I would need a degree in order to get that all desirable call back. A degree is something that I don't have.

So from that point I got this bright idea that I would look through the "work from home" section that was available on the web page of the local employment office. I browse through the options available and this knot crept up in my stomach. Many of the options included things like taking surveys for pennies (Not what it said but just something I know from trial and error over the years.) then just when I was about to laugh it off and give up my search for something I could do from home, legally, to make some extra cash, I ran across a listing for writers which briefly caught my attention. Since everything else in the list sounded like SCAM101 I almost discarded the idea before it had even fully formed but then I had this "Ah-Ha!" moment and I decided to look into it a bit further.

Several years before my brother-in-law had taken a creative writing course through a local college. I had looked through some of the books and papers that he brought home. I had even considered taking the course myself but as it turned out, I couldn't afford it but I still remembered reading in one of his books that it was possible to make money writing and that there was way more than one way that it could be done.

In the beginning I thought that the only people that made money writing for a living were the ones that wrote books or poetry but I quickly learned that there were so many different ways to make money writing online or off that it was mind-blowing! Not everything had to be 2000 pages or more. I learned that people made money all the time writing short stories, reviews, poems, flash fiction and many more shorter types of writing like magazine articles and essays.

Armed with this little tid bit of knowledge I started thinking to myself. "I wonder if there is a way to get into this without having to go to college or get a degree. I searched all over the web for information. I started with "Paid writing jobs" then moved on to things like, "Professional writing tips" and "free online writing courses". I signed up for several sites who offer tutorials on making money writing and study courses on different types of writing as well as self publishing.

I am still searching the web for this type of information so if you know of any pages that would be helpful for new writers or writers who can't afford college please list them in the comments section below.

I will be posting what I find and what works for me and what don't. I hope that you will return again soon to see what I come up with next. Until next time, be well and always love each other.

Photo made by Derinda Whisenhunt Harp on Monday 8-28-2016.
Photo made by Derinda Whisenhunt Harp on Monday 8-28-2016. | Source

I didn't know for sure...

I was looking for the proverbial "needle in a haystack" and the haystack is the size of the entire internet! So, to narrow things down from all types of writing to the shorter types that I was actually interested in. I first had to learn just what all different types of writing there was that people would be willing to pay for.

I went to pages where work from home writing jobs were listed. Pages that were written by authors who wanted to teach newbies the best way to make money online that worked for them.

I separated each type of writing into categories like-

  1. Writing type.
  2. Most common amount paid per post.
  3. Popularity (How often the style was requested by buyers)
  4. Difficulty (How much research was needed to complete the request).
  5. Money (Any money paid for special software or specialized learning in order to properly complete the post in a professional manner.)
  6. Availability for repeat orders. (What are the chances that the buyer would return for the same type of writing project and be willing to pay for more work from the writer)

Usability (What are the chances that the piece could be used in more ways than one. Like for example could I sell it but keep certain rights to the work so that after a certain amount of time I could sell it again to someone else.)

I'm sure I will come up with many more ideas in the future but for now this is my thinking on how to narrow down what I need to know in order to make the most money (legally) in the shortest amount of time, Including learning to write in the style requested, writing the post, proof reading, then sending the work to the buyer.

Much more to come!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my hub. I will be making tons more posts in the coming weeks as I learn more and more about making money writing. Your comments are greatly appreciated. Don't forget to Bookmark this page!

Update 1

I have come to realize very quickly that I have technically been doing my search backwards. It was necessary to do it that way though be cause I had no idea where to start. My technique can really work with most anything that you want to learn from the web.

I started first with what I wanted the end result to be. In my case the end result I was looking for was sites that pay people to write for them. I found several and read all the information that was available. A few things that were required to work for these customers have been listed below.

  1. Writing styles
  2. Ways to get paid
  3. Making a portfolio
  4. Amount to charge
  5. Perfect english grammer

My technique worked because I was able to learn what I had to study first before getting a paying job.

It prevented me from going in blind.

I could get better paying jobs and even repeat customers from having a list of work that I had already done to show potential clients proving my experience. I had a chance before starting to know what types of jobs were available and look up details on what each writing style was and how to do it correctly.

For example, I had no idea what writing Flash Fiction was. So I did a Google search for Flash Fiction and learned that Flash Fiction is like a short story but is limited to 250 words or less, that it must be a complete story or explanation that is short enough to fit in a small space.

So at this point Google Search is my best friend. All I have to do is look at the type of writing jobs that are available for pay, then do a search for details on what I need to know to complete said job.

It's really not necessary to learn all the rules for all the different writing jobs if you only plan to do a few types. This saves time and money for me. I can easily Google what I need to know without having to take an entire college course only to learn what I need plus a whole lot of things I don't need. I can implement what I learn right away at my own pace and it don't cost me one cent. Just the time and effort it requires for me to learn how to do the specific job that I am wanting to do at the time.

More to come in my next update. Please leave a comment if you have advice or any questions.

Update 2

I have been doing a lot of reading lately... So much that my ole man is starting to think I have a love affair with my laptop ha ha!

I have read so many "tips and tricks" for freelance writing that I am still seeing things in a blur. One thing I know for sure is that I still love writing and being a beginner in the field and getting praise sure makes me want to keep going. I am having to hone my spelling and grammar in places but the ideas that I try to get across seem to be doing fine. In a moment, I will add a post showing my first article. It was a sample article that was requested from a potential customer who is looking for someone to do a few articles for his company.

When I sent it to him he said it was "brilliant" which I think is certainly an overstatement but who am I to argue with the "boss man" right? He did say that there were a couple of typos and a minor thing here or there but that the writing itself was briliant. The topic he wanted me to write onwas "Why is it hard for men to understand women" I hope when you read it you will feel inclined to give your own opinion in the comments section. I wish you well my friend.

Thanks for your time,

Derinda Harp

Why is it hard for men to understand women -By Derinda Harp 9-3-16

Why is it hard for men to understand women

I believe that it is hard for men to understand women because men and women are raised differently. Men are raised to be strong, stable, honorable and kind for the most part and women are raised to be caregivers, child bearers, and just look pretty.
Men in the old school fashon are the bread winners who pay the bills and keep the family financially stable. Men are dominant and headstrong, protecting what is theirs.
Women on the other hand are tender, submissive. They care for the family in a nurturing manner. She takes care of domestic issues and always takes the side of her husband.
Many people would argue this point with me which is the reason, in my opinion, why most marriages fail within the first few years. When men or women try to play the opposite role they tend to lose the flow of how a relationship is supposed to work. When women act like women and men act like men the flow of the relationship just works better. One complementing the other instead of confronting one another on a constant basis.
While men are strong and sometimes overbearing, women can sometimes be to soft and overly emotional.
Women can indeed be the strong one in a relationship and none of this is a hard and fast rule. Just like sometimes women can be strong, sometimes men can be submissive though it is more rare to see it.
Women on the whole want a man who is strong, stable and able to defend her and their children, home ect.
Men on the whole want a woman who will listen, love, and nurture him when the difficulties of the day come to an end.

Thank you,
Derinda Harp

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Looking at myself through a broken mirror

New poem by me! Let me know what you think.

Looking at myself through a broken mirror.

I look at myself and what do I see?
This bitter angry person I turned out to be.
I frown as I look and wonder why.
Things turned out this way in my pitiful life.

I fight and I try to make things right.
This pain, never ending, no end in sight.

It took me so long to figure out why.
Why I was so hard on myself.
Why I hated my life.

I was looking at myself through a broken mirror.
Seeing my life as a shattered plane.
Looking at my life through a broken mirror.
I had no real reason to feel so ashamed.

I hated my family, felt so betrayed.
Hurt was so overwhelming it never would fade.
I was ready to give up. Just throw the towel in.
Nothing I could do would make things right again.

But I was looking at myself through a broken mirror.
It wasn't as bad as it seemed.
Looking at myself through a broken mirror.
True love came and everything changed.

Update 3

So far, one of the most important things that I have learned about writing for pay are pretty obvious.

  1. Spelling is major.
  2. Grammar sets you apart from those who speak English as a 2nd or 3rd language.
  3. Punctuation is a pain in the backside, but also very important. Punctuation is the issue that that tends to mess me up the most. Not the simple stuff like putting a period at the end of a sentence, but other things like quotations within quotations and comas that don't just show items in a series.
  4. Deciding the point of view and sticking to it! I have a bad tendency of changing the narrators point of view. I have caught myself even doing this right in the middle of the same sentence. Yeah, I did just admit it. Laugh it up. Ha ha.

Photo made by Derinda Harp using Paintshop Pro X7 on 9-272016
Photo made by Derinda Harp using Paintshop Pro X7 on 9-272016 | Source

Advice, links, or any information to help aspiring writers to make money writing online with no monetary investment.

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