I've weighed in on the pros and cons of writing for low-paying content providers in the past, so there's no need to revisit the whole debate. Today, however, I managed to remind myself about two important things regarding Demand Studios and other low-budget content farms. In case you need reminding, too, here they are:
The Good: Sometimes you're getting paid to learn!
I recently snagged an assignment about creating writing prompts for third-graders. Next month, I'm presenting to middle-school students about the writing process. What a perfect excuse to do a little research and get paid (a little) for it, I thought.
It worked out just like that. (I'll paste a link to the article here as soon as it's published.)
The Not-So-Good: Some assignments are poorly defined.
In my excitement over the first article, I grabbed a second, on creating T-shirt slogans. The problem? The assignment just wasn't well-defined. I should have recognized that, but it's not always easy.
An article for eHow, for example, is supposed to be pretty cut-and-dried. Think how to tie your shoelace, or replace the engine block in a '79 Camaro. It might be involved (and you're supposed to cover it in 500 words) but it's well-defined.
Now, I think it's more fun to wrestle with T-shirt slogans than with engine blocks, but the fact is, I wasn't dealing with motor head T-shirt slogans or political slogan. I agreed to write about T-shirt slogans. Totally unqualified, undefined T-shirt slogans. Dirty T-shirt slogans? Funny T-shirt slogans? Nope. Maybe I could have covered that in 500 words.
My mistake. I'm still wrestling with the slogans. On the plus side, I got a blog topic out of it. I also got a little philosophical exercise thinking about the creative vs. the copywriter. While that may be worthy of a blog entry, it definitely doesn't belong on a T-shirt.
If I figure out what makes a good T-shirt slogan, I'll be sure to post it here. And if I figure out how to make money entertaining philosophical thoughts, I'm outta here!
That is all fine and good if a) there are no easy titles available and b) if you have time to do the research. I see a lot of topics I'd like to research, but don't have the time, but I will take them if nothing else is available and try to do them as fast as I can. Being an "expert" writer in gardening helps a lot, because some of the how-to's I can just write off the top of my head and find a resource or one reference for. I love those!
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