Tuesday, November 5, 2019

How I Got My Sweats Worth Out of a Content Mill

How I Got My Sweats Worth Out of a Content Mill Brace yourself. Im about to say something nice about content mills. First, the not-so-nice parts: If youve ever written for a content mill, you already know that theyre all about quantity, not quality, and management tends to be better at drawing people in than fostering morale or editorial standards. Theres a reason such places have been dubbed the sweatshops of online writing. And yet, content mills helped me leap from ferociously insecure writer to someone with a robust, independent writing career. Heres how it worked for me. My first writing job was a one-off newspaper article that eventually turned into six years of weekly columns and a book deal. Freelance gold, right? But I didnt know how successful it would be, and at the time I suffered from deep insecurity that, combined with the lack of feedback in the days before social media was a thing, left me convinced that my nascent column was a fluke. So, instead of pitching ideas to other publications, I sought refuge in the low expectations and anonymity of content mills that paid Suddenly, writing was far more lucrative than the side job Id been working. I became a full-time freelancer, even if it didnt look anything like Id imagined when, at about six years old, I started telling people that would be my career path. Encouraged Soon, I was straddling two career paths. On one side, seemingly endless access to a pool of easy money; all I had to do was endure a series of small indignities that I could escape The content mills made my choice easy Its in the content mills that I first learned the quality of my work is more important than where it runs, that theres no substitute for spending a lot of time writing (no matter the circumstances), and that having a prestigious job title like editor doesnt guarantee the person actually knows what theyre talking about. I also learned that flexibility, resiliency, and a willingness to make it work are what really make a freelance career go; and that youll be paid and treated just as poorly, or as well, as you allow. The latter may be the most important lesson of my freelance career scratch that, my life and has guided me every time I decide how to handle difficult colleagues or a challenging situation. Over the years, I have also learned that not all online content brokers follow the content mill model. Contently pays magazine rates and is a pleasure to work with. I hear that ClearVoice might pay similarly, although I havent yet had the pleasure; and E

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