Wednesday, December 2

Travails of a Freelance writer

This was written roughly a year back when online freelance writing was what i thought was ,my destiny..People who know me would also know that my destiny keeps changing every few months.. A year later, with "0" articles published online, i think i am fairly qualified to say that sending snail mails to magazines elicit more response than wanting to get published online ..this article was published 6-months back in the only magazine that accepts my junk every month ,Eve's touch..My life's ambition still remains writing a book.. a funny book.. it must be a lot of work ;-).. someday,guys!! now, read on..

“Writing jobs” : 10,600,000 pages on Google
“Free lance+ jobs” – 1,670,000 pages on Google
“Free lance +writing jobs”: 4, 37,000 pages on Google

Surprising, huh? That’s how big the free-lance writing market really is. Supposedly.
I am always a tad suspicious of the net, what with the anonymity and accounts of weirdos on the prowl, but that didn’t deter me from donning my googling- hat and exploring the vast tracts of writing related money-making ventures on the net. What follows are my (mis)adventures in the land of milk and honey(it’s the Internet, of course).

Day 1 : A very Excited me. After all, I came across thousands of testimonials of people making money, writing on the net. I ended up registering myself on at least half a dozen sites, which offered to pay me based on number of hits on pages..After several hours on the net, I had successfully created profiles on most sites. I was feeling a little tired, but was confident that the time spent would be totally worth it as I was soon going to become a famous-freelance writer. That night I dreamed that I had become a huge writing-sensation, free lance online writing sensation, of course…

Day 2 : No hits on any site I had registered for . No mails. Nothing. Just a mail reminding me to fill in my PayPal details..For all the money that I would be getting once I started getting assignments. Gosh, how had I forgotten that?. So, I got myself a free-paypal account.

Day 3 : Nothing .” Be Patient” I told myself. All geniuses take time to get discovered. I was still getting the same “writing sensation dream”..
Day 11 to 9 pass in a haze. Haze of many permutations and combinations of the “writing sensation dream”.

Day 10 : One comment on my article. My heart skipped a beat. Was it somebody commissioning me to write something after reading my thought-proving article ? Alas, It just happened to be my friend leaving me a message to keep writing … That night ,my “writing sensation dream” was slightly off-colour.

Day 11: I decided maybe the sites took time and started looking for writing jobs incraiglists. I patiently responded to 50 posts with the same copy –paste template of my profile and checked my mail at least a dozen times that day hoping for responses ( It’s Day 40 and I still haven’t heard from any of those advertisers).

Day 12 through 20 : More googling, more registrations.First signs of helplessness started creeping in.

Registered for mailing lists ,hoping to get to know the latest news in the world of online Free-lance writing. These mailing lists have faithfully been spewing out information that I find utterly useless, not taking me even a step closer to my goal.

Day 21 : Frustration. Despair. Just when I thought I would give up, someone suggested I check Orkut for Postings. That’s where I stumbled upon Dheeraj Makhijha’s (name changed, of course) Post. He was looking for free lance writers.I promptly mailed him on what I could bring to the table. Surprise.. Within a minute of mailing, I get a message asking me to add him on Gtalk ..

“Yipeee!!” Maybe I was going to be a free-lance writer, after all. So I added him. And waited…Everyday Dheeraj would get online and I would wait for him to talk about the assignments he had , but he just never responded to my messages.

Day 25: Just when I had given up on Dheeraj , a message popped on my gtalk .

Gtalk transcripts interspersed with my thought bubbles…

Dheeraj Makhijha Says : Hi

My thought bubbles: Wow!! Perseverance pays ..

Dheeraj refused to reveal any information about himself, but wanted my name, location and all my details. I told myself employers were like that, even in the virtual world. He didn’t ask me anything about my writing experience and only wanted to know whether I could write 5 articles everyday…

My thought bubbles: 5 articles? Whoopee.. Maybe, I could try…
Dheeraj Makhijha says: So, do you know about Copyscape and other rules of online free-lancing?
My thought bubbles: I froze. I had no clue what Copyscape was and I was in the middle of an interview. Thankfully , there was google. So I logged out of gtalk and frantically googled Copyscape and logged back in after I had enough dope on it.Atleast, enough not to sound like a first-timer.

Me : Sorry I got cut off. Yeah I know about Copyscape.

Dheeraj Makhijha says : Then you must also know that like most other companies , if copyscape catches more than 3 consecutive words on any other pages, your article will not be accepted by me .
My thought bubbles: What if I had to say “ Go to Hell”. That should definitely get caught on Copyscape. Am sure a million people say “Go to hell “on their web pages .Does that mean their articles weren’t original? It Made me speculate on whether Shakespeare would have cleared our Man’s stringent “ 3 consecutive word rule”.

Me : Yeah no problem (Faking it like a true professional . As If I knew the industry inside out). So what do I have to write about ?

Dheeraj Makhijha says : Anything under the sun. No Adult and explicit stuff,of course.
Me : So what is the target audience we are looking at ?
There was no reply for almost 10 minutes and then ..
Dheeraj Makhijha Says : Don’t think so much. Write what you want.
My thought bubbles: Maybe I could do that. Not think too much and just write about anything. Nice, flexible boss.

And then, hesitatingly..
Me : So how much do you pay for an article?

My Thought bubbles : I had to be careful. Talking about money too soon could put off employers. I am in this for the love of writing and not for money, I told myself.
Dheeraj Makhijha Says : $ 2 per 500 words, if found satisfactory and if it clears Copyscape.
My thought bubbles: $ 2!! No way!! Even if I did end up writing 500 words, the possibility of it being seen as an original seemed very remote..Maybe I could bargain.
Me : Isn’t that too less?.( Trying to sound experienced). I know many sites that pay $ 10.
Dheeraj Makijha Says : Well , that’s what I pay and a lot of people work with me for that rate . It’s your call.

And he logged off. Just like that. Abruptly.

What does one do with $2? Did Dheeraj realize that the chat with him alone cost me $2? Heights of cheap off-shoring..

I still don’t know what to make of the countless testimonials on the net, scheming to lure unsuspecting people into getting “Online-writing sensation” dreams. Someday, if I do become an online-writing sensation, I’ll surely write another article chronicling my journey, for sure.


Divya said...

i have done exactly this :D registering on all the sites, googling the hell out of freelance opportunities, the works. so much that i could not take it any more. i gave up a year and a half ago, 2 months after i started. ah well


vimmuuu said...

Why dont you write in my blog? I will pay you 'friendship' ! what say ? :D :D :D

Bedazzled said...

Divya .. hee hee !! .. et tu brutus ?? ..

vimmu.. Go easy on the wit,dude!..nakkalsooo???

Deeps said...

How mean is the makhija..he should be a nakkeeja(I'm assuming you know what a nakkee is after reading your nakkalsoo comment to Vims)

You write very well,B. Dont get disheartened. I'm sure the right opportunity is just round the corner :)

Dhanya said...

Hahaha! Arrey the all pay cheap only man except if it's your own web page or site that you're writing for (where you have lotsa traffic and adsense enabled).

I think 2 dollars is more than what some others pay. I tried out this freelance opportunity once and the guy offered to pay 40 rupees for a 500 word article :P 2 dollars is quite good if you submit enough articles in a month though it's not a get rich easy scheme :)

Bedazzled said...

Deeps.. his name was not makhija.. i changed it to that as i have never liked the name makhija.. sounds like some miserly thing.. thanx for the nice words.. i am not disheartened..i know that i haven't tried hard enough !!

Dhanya.. arreeyy..whats the point of 40 bucks for 500 words.. 5 $ is the average.. if you come across anyone who says 40 bucks ask them to buzz off !!.. and u need to write to clear copy scape and 2 $ is way too low.. i think the whole business is a big fraud !..

anupama said...

hey looks like a lot us have been taken in by this elusive land of milk and honey...but maybe we'll start lookn 4 it and create our own little heavens!!
i'm pretty new in blogosphere..would be honoured if u could check out my space

Smita said...

:D Never tried any of these things!!

But am sure dream will come true soon!!! And your book wud be a darn good chick lit!!!

BTW this is what I call a typically u post :D

BTW Makheeja shud be called Makheechoos D:

Bedazzled said...

anupama.. i welcome to my space.. dunno abt the part of creating our own heavens but yeah its worth the effort !!

smita.. makhichhooos is supposedly better of the lot.. i have heard worse stories from people..when r u writing u r book ? ..but writing a novel should b a lot of effort!!

Sorcerer said...

well..probably you got bad clients.
I still do some freelance writeups.
Well get paid good though.