What basically inspired this post is one of the comments in my LAST post, in which I was offered a writing job after perfunctory praise of my (admittedly short and probably useless) entry. While it’s painfully obvious that it’s a hiring/marketing strategy, it also made me think of what I actually do for a living, and the reasons why I’m not giving it up despite my desire to publish novels.
See I’m a web content writer. AND IT’S FUCKING AWESOME (excuse my French).
Don’t know what that means? That’s fine – when I first got in the business, I had no idea what it meant either. But it turned out to be one of the most satisfying occupations I can hope for – because it forced me to write everyday, and it allowed me to research tons of different topics over the last few years. Even though I disagree with myself sometimes, I just know that there’s hardly a dull moment when I’m writing stuff for blogs and websites while making sure that I use the right keywords and follow all the rules.
(It also doesn’t hurt that my current employer, as well as my department at work, encourage excellence without dealing out unreasonable expectations. And we’re bribed with delicious food, to boot.)
For a voracious reader whose only skill seems to revolve around making words work together, this is as close to a dream job as I can get. I get to write a lot (granted, not stuff I like writing for myself; but it’s made my writing better). I get to read a lot (again, not necessarily stuff that I like; but I discover some really interesting things). And I don’t go hungry (because let’s admit it: stubbornly following literary dreams doesn’t necessarily pay well).
In fact, here are the top three reasons why I don’t want to leave my web content writing job:
- It’s got structure – While I’m far from having a supervisor hovering around my shoulders and checking on my articles, I also have deadlines and style limitations that help me focus. In other words, it lets me compartmentalize my work in a way that makes me more efficient. It helps me think of any writing I do in terms of goals, schedules, and purpose. For a working writer who wants to write completely different things on the side, this is incredibly helpful. (Also – and I’m not sure if this is only applicable to my current job – we’re not expected to take work home with us; it means I can really enjoy doing other stuff on my free time).
- I sort of get instant feedback – One great thing about writing as part of a web content team is that we do internal copyediting and proofing – which means I get to see what did or didn’t work in my writing within a few days (if I want to). I totally admit to being the type of person who NEEDS feedback to function, and knowing where I can improve gives me peace of mind. Thanks to this specific protocol we have at work, I’ve improved a whole lot in terms of writing sentences and paragraphs that DON’T confuse readers (which I suspect is useful for writing fiction too).
- It’s exciting – You may disagree, but I personally think that working as a web content writer is exciting. It’s not just because I get to research different things, or because I occasionally face the challenge of approaching the same topics (and using the same keywords) differently. It’s because what the search engines consider “good” changes pretty often. As strategies change, so do our writing styles and goals. And even if I do grumble about sudden changes, I’m ultimately exhilarated by the idea of mastering a new topic or writing strategy.
All in all, I honestly believe that my job HELPS me become a better writer – which will ultimately help me achieve my dream of becoming an effective storyteller in the future. Maybe I’m lucky that way. Or maybe I’m just optimistic.
Are you working or do something for a living? Do you think it helps you become a better writer?