nuts and bolts of many technical things. Things I would never have known otherwise. Even more good news, all this knowledge is serving me well as I write for a living! In a way much different than I dreamed, I am now realizing my dream of becoming a professional writer.
Here are three things I’ve learned after three months of being a paid content writer.
A Writing Job It Isn’t All Creative
Writing for fun and writing for work are very different. I’ve been writing since I was a young girl. I’ve had aspirations to “be a writer” throughout my life. Through the years, I have explored what that means. For a while, that meant publishing on my blog and occasionally writing for Medium or Newsbreak. It involved writing poetry and social media posts. My efforts were a bit sporadic and (mostly) driven by creative inspiration. There was a time I tried to use a social media posting formula = not inspired writing. A story for another time and one I will tell even though it’s a bit embarrassing.
This year I landed a job as a content writer with Content Cucumber and immediately realized that the practice of writing is not all creative or even inspired. Professional content writing is dependent on my ability to write every day, even when I do not feel inspired or creative. Creativity may be a consistent thread throughout any writing endeavor, however, being “inspired” is not. For example, when you have 2000 words due and the topic is one specific paint color, you have to get creative outside of inspiration.
Outlines Outlines Outlines
My dearest high school English teacher instilled a love for research and outlines. When in college, this love served me well. I approached research papers using outlines and could pump them out super fast. This was pre-internet. Outlines saved my life, and the procrastinator in me put my outlines to the test too many times. Then somewhere along the way, I lost the outline and replaced it with gushing ideas and feelings. If you write as a hobby, you may do this as well. Maybe not. I might be the only one. As an “inspiration only” writer, I poured my heart out on the page and organized my thoughts. Turns out professional writing doesn’t work like that.
Outlines are life savers when it comes to creating content quickly on various uninspired topics, like paint. Outlines also prove helpful with inspired topics. Outlines are an essential tool I use daily as a content writer.
The Skill is In-Demand & its Hard Work
Content writers are in demand. A recent Hubspot survey showed that 90% of marketing professionals use content marketing and plan to continue. Businesses and brands realize actively publishing quality SEO content increases online visibility and lead generation. Fresh content is a wise investment.
Creating quality written content is time-consuming hard work that requires a specific skill set. Many marketing departments and business owners outsource content creation because it is a quick, budget-friendly option. Shameless (not-sponsored) plug - Content Cucumber offers excellent tiered pricing plans and custom content packages to meet any budget!
When I started writing professionally, I completed hours of training and still needed about three weeks to adjust to an acceptable pace and work quality. As a content writing team, we have ongoing training and assigned editors who give regular feedback. The workflow continues to increase because the demand is rising.
Shifting from gushing emotions to professional content writing is proving to be the best decision I’ve made in my lifelong writing pursuits. Writing is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. I still have writer’s block days, but I’ve learned to overcome them to meet deadlines. I still write passionate pieces that do not always start with an outline (gasp!) but overall, I am a more organized, productive writer.
On top of that - I am a paid writer now and that is a dream come true!
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Average suburban housewife turned grocery store stocking clerk (thank you 2020), part-time blogger, full time dreamer, content writer (my new job!). Owner/founder of #thesosblog.