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Accepting Writing Jobs Online vs. Writing for Print

Updated on March 29, 2012
This is your to-do list for today...what will you fill it up with? I choose to fill mine with writing jobs online, for very good reasons.
This is your to-do list for today...what will you fill it up with? I choose to fill mine with writing jobs online, for very good reasons.

I did not start out accepting writing jobs online. I started my writing career submitting fiction, poetry and creative essays to literary journals. I was a stay-at-home mother and writing for money was not on my mind. I was writing for pleasure alone.

That changed about four years ago when I suddenly found myself a single mother. I started taking writing jobs online so I could stay home with my children. I will never forget my initial days of writing for money online. I took about three hours a night to sleep, and spent the rest of my time caring for my children or writing articles online for money. I did nothing else and was completely exhausted, but I was so excited to be making real money from my writing.

Luckily, I was picked up by an online web content service within a few months of writing for money online. I have been with that writing service for well over three years and will probably stay there until I am no longer the primary wage earner in my home. Keep reading to learn about my experiences choosing between writing for print publication and writing for money online.


Where Can I Write Online?

One option is to write for a professional writing service. These services produce eBooks, reports, newsletters, blog posts, press releases, and high quality website content.

The best ones allow writers to make personal, long term connections with clients so they develop a steady base of consistent customers. The site pulls in the customers, so writers do not have to market their own services.

Textbroker.com is a writing service that offers many writing jobs online, but there are many other services to consider. I work for a different service because Textbroker does not make it easy to develop a steady base of personal customers through the site.

Accepting Writing Jobs Online: The Criticism

About a year ago I found a blog written by a professional writer with extensive byline credits for many small trade publications and larger commercial magazines. I found the blog fascinating, but noticed there was a lot of criticism toward those writing for money online.

The attitude on this blog was that those writing articles for money online were cheapening the craft of writing. It was assumed that anyone taking writing jobs online must be a mediocre to crappy writer producing rushed, inaccurate, grammatically incorrect material that was not worth reading.

I was shocked at this attitude, since I had been earning a full living through writing jobs online for a few years at that point. I was proud of my success and appreciative of my online clients who allowed me to stay home with my children while doing something I loved.


What Makes a Real Writer?

At first I was swayed over to the opinion of these “professional” writers. I read that they were making $500 to $2,000 for single articles in print publications. I joined their writing community where they promised to teach me how to write for a magazine offline, rather than accepting writing jobs online.

They spoke to me as if I was a weak, ignorant writer who was being taken advantage of out in the wilds of the Internet. They were going to save me, show me the errors of my way, and teach me how writing for “pennies” online was not worth my time. “Real” writers write for print publications, rather than entertaining writing jobs online.

"OMG...she accepts writing jobs online...and she accepts TIPS!!!"
"OMG...she accepts writing jobs online...and she accepts TIPS!!!" | Source

After seeing my writing, they were actually surprised that I do know how to write. They realized soon enough that I am college educated and have spent more time in university writing courses than all of them combined! Their mission was then to convince me that writing for magazines and local businesses was far better than accepting writing jobs online. They seemed put off by my assertion that the dry trade articles they were writing were far different from the creative writing I was doing when accepting writing jobs online.

They were astonished that I was happy with making three to five cent a word. They exclaimed, and I quote…”OMG! You write for TIPS? ” when I told them my best clients send me tips regularly. They also pay me for my work, but these writers acted as if receiving a tip was a horrible thing that I should be saved from having to endure. I wondered if a print publication or local business were to throw in an extra $50-$100 if they would turn their noses up at that tip…I seriously doubt it.

I was in this group for less than a month before realizing their techniques were not new to me. They were things I had heard of before, and had even tried before. They were techniques I did not want to do on a daily basis, no matter how much money might be promised!


Where Can I Write Online?

You can write for ad revenue on websites like HubPages and Squidoo. Sites like Voices! (Yahoo Contributor Network) may also be of interest to some online writers. these sites allow you to select topics that are of interest to you personally,though you cannot count on consistent income over time.

Writing for Print Publication Exclusively

These “professional” writers were spending their days cold calling every business in their local communities. They were spending hours of their time and money out of their pockets to interview and research extensive articles without any promise of those articles ever being purchased. They spent tons of time creating pitches for high profile print publications and very few of them had ever had a pitch entertained, let alone an article published in those publications.

When they made a sale they did in fact make more than I was making through my writing jobs online per article, but most were not selling articles on a consistent basis. The problem is they would go weeks and even months without selling anything.


Where Can I Write Online?

You can write for private clients that you earn through hard work. Just as those writing for print publications spend a lot of time pitching those publications, you can pitch to high profile, established websites. You may not make $1,000 per article, but you can earn consistent writing jobs online that allow you to have a more active, leisurely lifestyle.

Why I Still Make a Living Writing Online

I cancelled my monthly membership to that group before one month was up. I no longer cared that there were professional writers turning their noses up at me because of my choice to pursue freelance writing jobs online. I still market my fiction and poetry to print literary journals, but I was doing that long before I encountered this group of writers.

The reasons I choose to continue my career with freelance writing jobs online are as follows:

  • I have guaranteed work from consistent clients every week. I have worked hard to build up that client base. This comes with a guaranteed weekly paycheck so I can pay bills.

Where Can I Write Online?

If you write creative essays, fiction, or poems, there are many online literary journals that will pay you to write online. Some pay more than others, and some are connected to well known university literary journals. You get to be creative and make a bit of pocket change..does it get any better than that?

  • I get up every morning, head to my home office, and work just as I would work a job outside of my house. My writing jobs online are a real business, not just occasional work. I am guaranteed to be paid for everything I do, including research.
  • How much I earn each week is up to how much I want to work. I don’t have to cold call and just pray something comes through before my mortgage is due.
  • I enjoy taking writing jobs online, even if I am not being paid a thousand dollars per article.
  • I get to see entire websites fill up with my work. I don’t care that my name isn’t on most of it. Watching a site develop with my words and the beautiful work of a talented web designer is satisfying and fun.

I see the merit in what those writing for a magazine and trade journal audience do for a living. I understand their techniques. They do a lot of the same things I do for the fiction market, but they are doing it for dry, boring trade publications and business flyers just to earn a paycheck.

Their way of writing is just not right for me. I choose to continue seeking freelance writing jobs online. I choose to reserve my print publication hopes for fiction. That does not make me less of a writer. It just makes me a happier, more fulfilled writer.

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    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Wonderful hub! Well-written...I'd say you were a professional. :) Thank you for writing this. I'm voting up and sharing. Your expertise will be inspirational for a lot of people in the hubbing community. :)

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for the support and vote of confidence, cclitgirl!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      There are always those who live to look down their noses at others. The longer I live the more I realize all those people "above me" I assumed knew so much more than I did - really don't. Good for you.

      And big money in print? Where?

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      This was a really helpful article. It's so nice to see that you have made a living for yourself and you family going from one room of your house to another:-) I aspire to have my writing online (and off, if it comes my way) really take off. I got a late start, but I'm trying to catch up! Thank you for sharing the information with us.

    • Kimberly Turner profile image

      Kimberly Quevedo 5 years ago from New Jersey

      Love your hub! There is some great advice in here! Thanks for sharing!

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I wish you luck online and off, Cyndi! Thank you for reading and I want to swing over and read some of yours as well.

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you Kimberly! Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Hubert Williams 5 years ago

      Thank you for your valuable tips. I appreciate your efforts to aid other hubbers in achieving our goals.

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I agree, Kathleen! They were pretty much preaching that anything less than $1 a word is not acceptable...but the vast majority were not actually landing jobs paying that, and definitely not consistently. I see what they are doing as a different type of writing, but don't see how it makes them superior writers. Honestly, I feel a lot of writers who made a living in print in the past may be a bit intimidated by online writing. Writing content for a website that makes readers want to hang around is very different from writing an article about pest control for a small trade pub! I think writing web content can be more difficult in some aspects.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 5 years ago from United States

      I have done print publishing in a number of venues then had to take a break to care for my husband's parents. When I was ready to write again, I considered print publication but finally decided to try online. There are a lot of different opportunities but I chose two--Hubpages and a copywriting service. I also teach writing at a local University part time (my "real job"). However, within six months, my online income is about 1/3 what I make from my other job. I could probably earn more but I don't have time, since I also have a family of 5 kids to care for! I wish something like online writing had been available when I had preschoolers.

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Virginia, I think that is great that you have been able to write online and off. I just have no desire to pitch nonfiction offline for some reason. When I look for print pubs to pitch I end up with very few that I would want to write for in nonfiction. I prefer the types of writing that I get to do online. Fiction is a different story, I choose not to publish that online anymore and have a goal of getting print bylines for that now. I want Glimmer Train so bad...that has become my goal, but it's okay if it never happens. I know it is a big goal.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      This is an excellent, well expressed, helpful hub.

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you, Leekley!

    • Cliff Mendrez profile image

      Cliff Mendrez 5 years ago from Philippines

      Great hub! Before I started writing here at HubPages, I also wondered if writing online will make me less of a writer. But I easily found the answer to my own question after a couple of months here. Like you, I enjoy writing online and do not care about those who look down on online content writers.

    • thesingernurse profile image

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      I have to agree with you. Given that I am also a freelance online writer myself, I think I would be speaking about writing with no bias at all. First and foremost, print/publications vs. online/website content is not the sole and ultimate standard to gauge one's writing capacities. Not all print or magazine writers are good. Sometimes, they just have the best editors in the team. Likewise, not all online or content writers produce crappy outputs. Most of them are praised and re-hired by big-time clients because they can get a job done as precisely as how professional offline writers would do. Second, there's nothing wrong earning money from writing online. I think, these writers are way better because they get to show people that writing can be a lucrative, if not, a stable enterprise or occupation. And finally, becoming a good writer is not measured upon how much magazine/newspaper articles or novels you're able to produce. It's about being able to reach out to people through ideas put into words without boring them to hell.

      Please let me share this hub (though I already did!) You have pretty good insights enumerated in this one. Voted up for this one as well! :)

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Feel free to share all you want, singernurse. I think you understand my point of view quite well. I believe writing for the Internet is just different than writing for most print pubs. It does take skill if you are going to maintain a steady client list and make a living over a period of years. There are some rather prestigious online market as well...and some of the print mags I would love to see my name in do not even pay that much! I think there is more to being a writer than making $1,000 for an article. It is more about the process and enjoying the craft for me. I feel writing online allows more creativity and flexibility for me right now. It is nice to find so many others who agree.

    • Maria Cecilia profile image

      Maria Cecilia 5 years ago from Philippines

      as long as it is all about writing, whether on line or print, should not make us feel less of a writer because it's our thoughts and passion that turned everything into group of words that created the whole story. Just like you I also contribute articles to a magazine that specialized on animals, yes you are right they don't pay much but having published articles and people you don't know started telling you that they read your story is something I really appreciate more than financial gain ( I guess all writers are like that). But writing on Hubpages really challenge my writing flexibilities and make me dream more of making big from on line writing someday.... This is a nice hub and thanks for the info, I am not aware that they are THOSE who look down on "on line writers" like us...

    • Maria Cecilia profile image

      Maria Cecilia 5 years ago from Philippines

      oops sorry I mean There are those....

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Maria, being recognized for your work is the best feeling ever! Thanks for stopping by to read.

    • LisaKoski profile image

      LisaKoski 5 years ago from WA

      I just started writing online a few months ago to make money after months of trying to find a job and not succeeding. I still only make a couple bucks a month off of it but it beats job hunting with no success. This hub is helpful in many different ways, especially when it comes to dealing with those who look at online writing as inferior to whatever they're doing.

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Lisa, when I get questions about what I do online, I ask them if they have ever read a really great website with tons of content they wanted to read. Most will say yes, and I will say "that is what I do! I write content like that."

    • Maria Cecilia profile image

      Maria Cecilia 5 years ago from Philippines

      thenInspired I only read the whole of hub now, I am sorry for what you have experienced in that group and I am sad...for me real writers are those who love to read fellow writers work without focusing on what they think was wrong.... I still would want to write on line and be like you and the rest...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree with your conclusion. I write online for money, not because I enjoy it all that much, but simply because it is guaranteed income while I pursue other writing avenues. I do not feel bad about it or lessened by it, no more than I would if I were working at a convenience store for extra pay. It's just the reality as I get established in the writing community. Great hub!

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading Billy!

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      I've gotten some of this snubbing at conferences from novel writers. It's interesting how catty writers can be to one another if they aren't in their field of writing. The bottom line is if you are making a living and happy doing what you are doing don't let them give you a hard time.

      I am making more money than a couple of people I know who write romance and erotica novels. Print copy is going by the way side so they better not gloat too much.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 5 years ago from Canada

      Wow! This is so inspiring and gives me hope to keep going in the direction that I am going. I love how you are so positive about what you are doing and don't give into the "shaming," of some offline writers. I have struggled with wondering if online work is as legitimate, but this article is very affirming. Thanks for writing this! I think it will encourage many people.

    • sandrabusby profile image

      Sandra Busby 5 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      Thanks for sharing you experiences as a free lance writer online. I am headed in that direction and very much look forward to the journey. Sandra Busby

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Prairie, I firmly believe that there are many great writers publishing online and that will only continue in the future. It is just another form of writing, and there are differences. Thanks for reading!

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I wish you much luck, Sandra, but I don't think you will need it. You are a great writer.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 5 years ago

      I, too, started out pitching to "real" writing but soon, discovered the freedom of doing online writing. For instance, here in HP, I can design my article the way I want it to be, with different types of capsules to make it interesting. Thanks for reaffirming the value of online writing.

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 5 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      Great hub! I have a degree in journalism and used to feel guilty about writing online instead of trying to get articles printed in magazines. But I love doing my blogs and now I would not give up my online writing for anything!

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Cari, I am so glad you commented! Would you say there is a difference between journalism and the type of writing that goes into creating a great website or blogging? I feel they are just two different types of writing, but both take skill. I would love to hear your opinion, since you have a journalism degree.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I'm interested in what Cari has to say on this too, but I'll add my two cents worth in the meantime. I worked in newspapers and public relations with my journalism degree for ten-plus years, and I'd say there is a lot of difference between that and hubpaging and the like. But that doesn't necessarily make the writers of one better writers than the other.

      In both venues I'd hope the writer wanted to be grammatically correct and accurate in the information provided. However, reporting the news to a community and writing articles about things you are interested in are two difference diciplines with different skill sets required. Being good in one area doesn't guarantee you'll be good at the other, but you might still be an excellent writer in the field you choose.

      Hands down the most full of themselves group of writers I have ever been around were the writers of romance novels. There is a huge market for these writers but, in my opinion, the quality of writing doesn't necessary follow. The money they make validates the writers however, and it is hard to argue with success.

      One of these writers once told me I should take her advice because she had published 15 books. I researched her work and would suggest she has written the same book 15 times. But that is just my opinion.

    • profile image

      Hubert Williams 5 years ago

      Many people try to make writings not of their own creation appear less than acceptable. In doing this they feel that it raises the perceived quality of their wn work or writings. In truth, the opposite occurs. The credibility of the person engaging in this practice comes under scrutiny. View the remarks, only the remarks, of these writers with indifference, the writers themselves might eventually become fans. Great hub. Keep writing.

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Kathleen - It is funny you mention romance writing because in my experience there is that they write according to formula. Some will wander from the formula, but most will stick to it and every book is about the same.

      I do want to point out that not every online writer just writes about what they are interested in all the time. When hubbing this is all about me, but when I write for clients I have to do everything a writer would do for a magazine. I have to come up with a unique, creative angle. I have to do research and cite my sources and make sure I am writing my own piece, never copying ideas. I have to be grammatically correct. Then I have to make sure the piece is concise and that every word counts. I have to make sure it is in a format suitable to reading online. I have the extra work of making sure my keywords are to the density my clients request and that they flow naturally. It takes skill and time to write great web content...I take time with my hubs, but I take even more time when writing for a client.

      So, I think there are a lot of similarities, but some differences as well

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hey Hubert! Thanks for stopping by and reading. You make a very good point.

    • brsmom68 profile image

      Diane Ziomek 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      It's nice to see you are making a living writing from home and being available for your family. That is equivalent to two full time jobs in my books. I must say congratulations are in order. I am also a stay-at-home Mom, and have been writing online for two years. I submit to sites such as this one, but my real goal is to get more of my books written and published. It takes work and perseverance, and you have clearly shown you do both. Good for you! :)

      As for those who look down on you; they are most likely jealous because you have done well while they spend hours and many dollars chasing that one "big" contract. You appear to be slow and steady, but isn't that how the turtle won the race?

      Voted up, interesting and pinned! Have a great day!

    • TheInspiredLife profile image
      Author

      TheInspiredLife 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for the support, brsmom! Yes, you can do both if you are persistent and committed. I think of my online writing as a job. I get up and go to work just as anyone working out of their home would get up and go. The work I do for clients is "work," but it allows me to do writing for myself which is the perk of the job. The work has to come first though, or I won't be able to stay home for long.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      It sounds like a challenge, which I think is what improves our writing skills. I used to write for a newspaper that would not jump frontpage stories to the inside. Each one had to be no more (or less) than 500 words, and these were our breaking news stories. We complained and complained, but looking back, it was one of the biggest things that ever happened to me that really toned my writing skills - for news anyway.

    • Mary Stuart profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Washington

      You are inspiring. I am working my way into online writing. I wish there were more local forums and face to face contact to offer helps and encouragements. Still, I am working my through cyberspace.

    • Sphinxs Sanctum profile image

      Sphinxs Sanctum 4 years ago from Southern United States

      You have some very interesting articles chalk full of good advice from true work experience. I Thank-you for sharing your knowledge! I hope you do not mind but I have posted links for this article as well as, "Five creative writing tips from 5 creative writers" on a little FB page I've recently set-up. If you'd prefer they not be there, then let me know & I'll promptly remove them but I thought they'd make for very good reading and inspiration. You'll find them at: https://www.facebook.com/SphinxsSanctum Thanks Again! :)

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 4 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Excellent infomative hub, well written and thoroughly enjoyable to read. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • ChildrenUnleashed profile image

      Lacie 2 years ago from MI

      Inspiring!! I love how frank you are about print and online writing.

    • Breanne Ginsburg profile image

      Breanne Ginsburg 2 years ago

      Thanks for the advice! I'm always looking for ways to write online!

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