It all happened so unexpectantly. I was off work with a back injury and bored out of my mind when, while surfing the Net, I came across a writing site. I registered, submitted a first article, which was promptly rejected. One of the members of the site got in touch with me, gave me an overview of what to do and what not to do and encouraged me to try again.
A year or so later that same member contacted me and asked if I would like to earn some extra money. Sure, who wouldn’t want to earn something on the side. The job involved writing twenty 500 word articles per week. Each article paid $25. At first, twenty articles per week seemed like a daunting task, but when broken down it worked out to 3.5 articles per day. I could do that.
I soon found out that the work was harder than expected. I could no longer write about what I wanted but had to stick to what the client wanted.
Each week some 200 titles were posted on the site and the 10 writers selected for this project could each pick 20 titles. Those who got there first picked the easy subjects, those who came later had to make do with the leftovers. Of course, every writer kept a close eye on the site to get there first, but since nobody knew when the titles were to be published this in itself was rather difficult.
If I managed to get titles such as ‘What to feed your cat’ or ‘How to care for dry skin’ writing a 500-word article was easy, as these subjects required minimal research, but titles such as ‘Why do people drink alcohol when thousands die of liver cancer, heart attack and stroke’, ‘The history of the Empire State Building’, and ‘The history of the Statue of Liberty’ took hours and hours of research.
Getting twenty articles a week really was hard work, not only due to extensive research but because of the ever-looming deadlines.
To make matters worse, in the beginning, I sent each completed article to a friend who edited my work. Her feedback was nearly always the same … “Your work is good, but go deeper. You have to put more meat on the bones.”
At first, I had no idea what she was talking about. Go deeper? Put more meat on the bones? What did that mean? In response, she edited three of my articles and showed me what putting meat on the bones meant. Once I got the hang of diving deep into a subject, adding details and explaining the nitty-gritty, I really made progress.
While my articles improved, putting meat on the bones also meant more and more research. Long after others went to bed, I was still up hammering out that last article for the day so I could start fresh the next day. I could not afford to fall behind.
At times I wondered if it was all worth it. At such times all I had to do was look at my bank statement where promptly every Friday $500 was deposited into my account. Oh yes, this was more than worth it.