Hi. This is an old, unmaintained blog. You may find these sites more to your liking:

Carson Brackney: This is my primary site.

Ad Astra Traffic: Content production/article writing service.

Ad Astra Traffic Team: For those who'd like to get writing gigs with Ad Astra.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I am not ashamed...

I came across an article written by Deb Powers discussing the negative perception many authors have regarding content writing. Powers defends the vocation but notes how others feel:

"Half the world doesn’t acknowledge that it exists. Those who do-- especially other writers-- are almost uniformly derisive of writers who choose to make their money writing it. Many sniff and declare that they "take their writing more seriously than that." Others bemoan it as the death of intelligent writing. Do we write porn? Seditious pamphlets? Articles for the National Enquirer. None of the above. My unnamed cohort and I write-- brace yourselves-- search engine optimized web content."

Deb's article discusses the "shame" one of her friends experiences when forced to admit she writes content for the web.

Elsewhere, I find forums stuffed with alleged writers who bemoan the substandard pay rates afforded to content writers and who believe their craft should fetch far more than it does on the open market. They are ready to wring the neck of anyone willing to accept less than ten cents per word, claiming such heretical acts are an assault on writers everywhere.

Personally, I don't mind those who find content writing beneath them. Their refusal to visit the bad part of town leaves more work for me. I'm also glad there's a contigency of writers out there who cannot comprehend the nature of the marketplace and who are pressuring others to hold out for the big bucks. That kind of thinking keeps me busy.

For every starving artist there is a starving writer or two. These potential wordsmiths are busy banging their heads against crumbling brick and mortar walls as virtual enterprise flourishes. They believe in magic query letters, collecting clips, maintaining all rights to their work in perpetuity and that five hundred decent words should bring at least a C-note.

I believe in finding needs, filling them, getting paid and moving on to the next job.

The prospect of waiting for an editor to thumb through seven hundred query letters in order to decide who should get the thrill of writing a fluff piece for an airline magazine doesn't excite me. I don't get to collect clips and credits to show off to my writer friends. Instead, I win repeat customers and collect checks. I am willing to send my text out with a release of all rights to the purchaser and I can give you five hundred damn good words for under ten bucks.

So, why the wide disparity in outlooks? Is my writing a low-quality joke compared to these potential Pulitzer winners? Hardly. I've seen the work produced by a lot of these folks and haven't found it much more compelling, on average, than what a solid, sleeves-rolled up, content writer will produce. In fact, I find much of it weak and hackneyed. When I write content, I don't promise to bring you to tears or to change your life, but I will get you text that gets the job done. I understand what the market wants and can deliver just that.

I think many of those who frown upon content writers tend to have a romanticized vision of the writer's life stuck in their noggin. When they find that days lounging in a hammock by an English garden with a notebook and fountain pen are alot less likely than late nights hunched over a keyboard meeting a deadline, they simply cannot deal with it. They refuse to accept that the monetary value of the vocation is determined by supply and demand. They want the romantic ideal of being "a writer" but don't have the blue collar mentality necessary to make it pay the bills.

I am a content writer. Yes, like anyone else attracted to words I have a more literary side. I let that inform my content work, but it doesn't govern it. The idea that my skills are so special that I should command a week's expenses for five hundred words of fluff escapes me.

I type fast. I think fast. I am well-informed. When I need background or information I can get it and digest it in a hurry. I work hard. I work long hours. Those are special skills, and I know just what the market is willing to pay for them. I have found that those skills can earn me an adequate living. I don't get to do book signings and daydreams of interviews with Charlie Rose aren't in by subconscious' repertoire. I work.

I write and I am not ashamed.