Tag Archives: freelancewriter

The Irony: A Modern Day Madam Spammer

In dealing with mental health problems, it’s natural to also deal with self-esteem and self-worth issues which I find more and more ironic every day. Statistics indicate a significant amount of writers and authors who produce brilliant work, are also inflicted with issues concerning mental health. My favorite list is one from Listal that details award-winning authors and their actual or assumed diagnosis. Jack Kerouac was thought to be schizophrenic, Kafka endured years of severe depression, and many others were diagnosed with similar ailments.

Jack Kerouac
Cover of Jack Kerouac

Here’s an article about famous actors with mental health disorders.

The Irony?

I’m a PIMP! Yes, you heard me. I struggle daily with my talent to produce words, with overwhelming feelings of poor self-worth, inadequacies, and self-esteem problemos! BIG TIME!

English: Entrance to Madam Jojo's
English: Entrance to Madam Jojo’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

AND still…. I spend 5-8 hours a day pimping myself out to editors, social media sites, friends, family, and any damn person who’ll read something I wrote. I’m still baffled.

I’m too poor to hire someone so I pimp my writing out. A lot. My experience with pimping myself out has turned me into a modern day Madam—more commonly referred to as a “SPAMMER” — I admit it.

EVEN MORE ironic?

After intense pep talks with the friends living in my head (we need encouragement to “promote” my work), I become more depressed because of the obsession to check the stats on an hourly basis.

Like clockwork, I share a new blog on Facebook and almost ALWAYS immediately receive mobile notifications—“One friend ‘liked’ your new post.” My heart races, anticipation mounts…. 

THANKS MOM!                  

Self-pity, pimping, and on and on and on…..

Ironic!

(DAMN Nigerians are brilliant!)

Lessons From a Writer (That’s Me!): Dial-Up Internet and A Chump

I’m not really sure how it all happened but at the age of 31, and with very little effort, I became a freelance writer.

In 2006 I began writing 500-700 word articles that were keyword specific, Search Engine Optimized and rewrites. Each article required research, links, and unique content. I was working full-time as a poker dealer during the day but at night, I was living the glamorous life of a writer.

Dial-up Internet, the largest desktop known to man and street cred.

I WAS A WRITER, BABY!

Wide Open Spaces--the world was waiting for this writer
Wide Open Spaces–the world was waiting for this writer

Let me back up, I can’t remember if I ever consciously thought about, or wanted to be a writer. I kept a journal consistently during high school and early into my 20s. As the years went on, my journal became a place for vulnerability and a sort of poetry.

I wanted to write songs but didn’t know how to play an instrument so that seemed impossible. I wrote words instead.

journal and notes
The Infamous Composition Book — All the Tortured Poetry Lives Here

Sometimes I cut words out of magazines and arranged them to create “tragic” poetry—would be lyrics–if I only knew three guitar chords.

When the world shifted from ink pens to keyboards, I was SCREWED!

How the hell could computers not be a passing fancy? In high school I laughed at the typing class students (because I was so cool, being in the F.F.A and all) and swore, I would never learn to type (or sew—two decisions I grew to regret).

I went a very long time defending my high school stance and upholding the anti-typing vow.

The Beginning of My Freelance Career

I had giant balls in January, 2006 when I decided to submit a personal essay about being a new mother to a writing site. Imagine my surprise when two weeks later I received this email,

“Robin, I’d love to feature this story on my website as it is creative, humorous, and a fun read. I did edit the text quite a bit to adhere to the guidelines of writing for the Web, and to correct grammar and punctuation errors. I look forward to future submissions and strongly recommend a refresher in grammar.”

Holy crap! I was going to be famous!

Naturally, This is What I Did Next

I applied for writing jobs. Literally, thought I was on my way to a feature in Vogue.

I got my first gig within no time.

My “editor” sent five orders at a time. I didn’t choose the topic or negotiate word count or any details. The instructions for each article were simple. I didn’t know then but I know now-I was being primed for sweat-shop labor in the content mill industry.

This is what I received:

  • Topic to research (ex: Summer vacation in Paris, France-Things to do, places to stay, etc.)
  • Required keywords and density (ex: 15%)
  • Required word count (MIN 500/Maximum 1,000)
  • Deadline (ex: 24 hours)
  • Rate of pay

I spent hours perfecting each piece. I researched hostels, sightseeing, foreign travel tips, and fun ideas for the International traveler. I was bored to death and frustrated easily and considered myself to be a tortured writer like all the most famous ones before me.

I wrote a paragraph and then hastily deleted it-called it junk-in obvious imitation of the writer’s I envisioned in my head. I cured writers block with mundane tasks like preparing dinner and worked furiously into the wee hours of the morning.

I thought I was Tolstoy.

I was writing website content.

As a ghostwriter.

For a ghostwriter.

 Outsourcing Writer Actually Taught Me How to Write

I had no concept that my “work”–expertly crafted with proper keyword density and links to destinations in Paris–would be credited to some chump writer who had perfectly executed the system of Capitalism.

I knew right away that I was doing something right when after the first 5-10 articles; I received no revision requests or notes about editing. I sucked at punctuation (still do) and was honest about appreciating constructive feedback. I was inundated with requests to write more and was on cloud nine every time she commented on my skill as a writer.

BAM! I was in….

I landed this gig after to replying to a job posting  and WAS THRILLED to have “finally” made it into the world of writers.

I was being paid $1-$3 per article. HAHAHAHA…..

I didn’t know enough to bitch about it.

It didn’t take me long to see I was being “scammed” by another writer. I was so new and naive but extremely arrogant as well.

I refused to read articles that offered advice to new writers. I wanted to figure it all out myself. I didn’t want to spend hours researching the industry of writing.

I just wanted to write….and, meet Oprah.

After all, I was published online after my very FIRST submission. DUH! I was a natural.

Today, I am writing full-time, learning about punctuation, and developing a career that I’m proud of.

I’ve had to put the creative writing on-hold for the moment, but I’m not going to give up. I’ve still got some junk in the trunk that’s gonna need some editing, and a place to live.