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Recently I’ve become the Managing Editor of a newly formed company.  We manage blogs and provide content for our clients.  One of our main functions is to help sites get more traffic and a higher rank in Google.  It has been  an experience to be on the other side of the submit button.  All of these years of writing and I never really thought I’d be an editor.

In my mind editors always seemed all-knowing and aloof.  They seemed to have the power of life and death over my pieces and for a writer that can be very unsettling.  I have been blessed with some very knowledgeable and patient editors who have helped me grow as a writer.  I have also had the unfortunate experience to have nit picky editors who worried me over every little dot and comma on the page. 

I hope to become the kind of editor that can help a writer create a better piece of work, not the kind who is scary or makes a writer feel nervous about submitting their work.  Yes, I have had to turn down a few pieces, but I try to do it with tact and offer suggestions on how to make the piece better.  After all, I do still know what it is like to have to face criticism no matter how constructive it can be.

So, here I am, on the other side of the page. I kind of like it. It has brought new challenges and as I edit others work it has helped me be a better writer, too.

Expanding My Horizons

When I started my freelance career, my focus was on health and beauty articles.  Recently I’ve had an assignment on World Extreme Cagewrestling.  If you knew me personally you’d know how humorous this subject is for me to cover.  I am the least athletic person you may ever meet.  I know nothing about the WEC.  I used to watch wrestling but when it became a huge soap opera I quit.  So off to the web to do research and I’ve actually found this subject quite interesting.  The amount of training these fighters go through is amazing.  I still can’t understand why grown men and women, yes women, go into a cage and beat the snot out of each other, but hey, whatever sinks your bobber. 

One of the most suprising things I’ve found is that although I’m a cosmetologist, writing about hair is sometimes difficult.  It’s one of those things where I know what I want to say, but it is so second nature I have a hard time putting it down on “paper”.  I’ve been hired to write some web content for a beauty salon and it’s been like pulling teeth getting it into an article format.  It did help when I was explaining to a friend what I was writing about because she was asking me questions.  She suggested that I act like I was explaining the subject to her and that she knew nothing about it, that has worked wonders. 

So, don’t be afraid to expand your horizons.  If you’re unsure about a subject, research it and when you write about it remember the questions you had at first.  If it’s a subject you’re familiar with it may help to pretend that you’re explaining it to a friend.  Who knows what I’ll be writing about next?  I can’t wait to see.

Every week Jennifer Stewart of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia sends out a wealth of wisdom and information in her newsletter, Writing Tips.  She includes a bit of humor, well alot of humor, little known word wisdom and there is a link to The Never Ending Story.  You can click on it and add your two cents worth.  Believe me, it is worth it to read the entire story.  The posts are very imaginative and quite funny.  I plan to put my spin on poor Dr Morgenes adventures soon.  Go ahead, do it!

I’ve recently gotten hired for a few gigs on ODesk.  There are hundreds of jobs there. Some pay good, some don’t.  The folks I’ve worked for have been great and paid me on time.  I’m impressed with the global aspect of ODesk.  There’s people on there from all over the world.  You have a chance to expand your horizions on a global scale.

Basically you sign up for an account and then you get ODesk ready.  You do this by updating your profile, posting your resume and taking skill tests.  All of this for free!  The more tests you take the more employers know about your abilities and are willing to give you a go.  What I really like is that it is an even playing field.  You take tests, present yourself well and get jobs.  Your employers can rate you and you can rate them.  You set your pay and the person who hires you pays the fee. 

So, if you’re looking for some work, give ODesk a try.  They’ve got hundreds of openings for several types of jobs, not just writers.

Carson Brackney has a very articulate post on his blog, Content Mills, Angela Hoy, Search Engines and the Quality of Online Writing.  He brings the point up, and I agree that those of us who write for “content mills” make some writers nervous and that is why they are so quick to criticize.  Check it out, he makes a lot of sense and has great style while doing it.

And yes, I do know that I mixed metaphors.

Demand Studios-My POV

I have been putting off this post for a while because I wasn’t really sure if I could address this in a civil manner. Much has been said on many blogs for and against Demand Studios. Some writers feel that by writing for them we are somehow cheapening the writing industry. Others feel, like I do, that Demand Studios gives writers a place to write about what they want, when they want and to get their work out there in public view.

One blog actually said in so many words that those of us who wrote for Demand Studios were too lazy to promote ourselves. On the contrary, I use my articles that get published to eHow.com through DS to do just that. When a prospective employer wants to see what I have had published, I can give them my link on eHow and they can go there and see my work.

I’m sure there are those who figure they can just go to DS and write anything they want and it will get published. No, you can’t. The editorial team at DS hold their writers accountable for unique content and reliable sources. I’ve had two articles rejected because I failed to cite the proper studies or couldn’t back up my claims in my articles. When I get an article returned for a rewrite, the editor gives me suggestions on how to make it better and what DS requires for the article to be published. It impresses me that the editors don’t just check for spelling and grammar mistakes, but actually take the time to go to your references and check the facts.

Demand Studios may have a reputation for a content mill, but spend a few months writing for them and you will find out that just isn’t true. It’s the same old saying, “don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes”. Well, don’t judge me until you write for DS and actually know what you’re talking about.

Stay Focused

I have a hard time with priorities sometimes. So many things can distract me. I’ve recently addressed this on my blog MammaP’s Pearls of Wisdom. Usually I start working about 2pm. I’ll stay at it until around 6 or 7pm and break for something to eat. Then I get back on the computer and try to write for a few more hours. During this time I check my email and can get way off base confirming Facebook friends, Twitter posts, and generally looking around on the web when I should be working.

My hero, Anne Wayman, has posted a good article on her blog about discipline and persistence. She gives some really useful tips on how to plan out your day and week. You can see it at About Freelance Writing. Check it out, I’m sure it will help you stay focused.