Recently, I have jumped into the world of professional writing. Instead of writing for myself, I registered on Upwork (formerly oDesk) and have taken on a few, diverse jobs this past month. I’ve found it to be a positive experience because 1) it pays and 2) it is revealing my strengths and passions as a writer.
The first job I got hired for was a dream. For $50, I read someone’s manuscript and offered feedback. I took sections and rewrote them, showing the author how to grow his characters and give them an active voice. Although he didn’t adopt all of my ideas and changes, he appreciated my input and gave me five star feedback.
For my second job, I was hired to write a 3000-word Amish romance. Yeah, that was a challenge. Three thousand words barely allows one to scratch the surface of a story, but I worked with an incredibly flexible, helpful, patient employer, who liked what I came up with and paid the agreed upon $30 , plus a $10 bonus.
My next job is to write three, 500-word articles about three different animals, with 4-8 year old children as the target audience. I am really excited about this one. Since having children and reading countless children’s books over the past eleven years, I have occasionally given thought to writing a children’s book of my own. I think writing these articles might be the first step in that direction. Upon completion of these articles, I will earn $30.
Something I have found through this process is that, although it is nice to make money for writing, I find the reward of writing and helping others with their writing to be more valuable than the compensation. Even when I spend far more hours than the job is worth, I love doing it, and I am committed to doing it well. It has been a confirmation of sorts to keep pursuing this dream of writing as a vocation (more on that in another post)- a dream I nearly let go of last year.
Working for Upwork and being accountable to an employer has also kept me committed to writing. Often, days will pass without one written word, as I get caught up in my daily life, or others’ daily lives on Facebook (I’m sure you have no idea what I’m talking about;)). Having a paying job that offers public feedback is a great motivator.
Also, I am loving the diversity of the jobs. What began as a tasteful, Midwestern romance turned out to mean an Amish romance. At first, I wavered. I don’t know anything about the Amish; how could I do the job? But, with the materials and research both provided and found, I learned so much about them and found that I was indeed able to create a work of Amish fiction.What in the world is an echidna? Well, I’m just now finding out, and I am excited to introduce this unique creature to both my children (my test audience) and the other children who read the article I will write.
Most importantly, I’m discovering that I do have a passion for writing in and of itself. I take care and pride in my work, and I hope to engage others with it. I look forward to branching out from Upwork and similar ventures into my own domain, but, for now, I appreciate the income and the opportunity to hone my writing skills and talents until that day comes.
What is your dream? What are you doing to pursue it and make it a reality? Please share in the comments. I’d love to cheer you on:)