I’ve been a writer on Associated Content since Feb. of 2009. There was a period of one year, between Sept. last year and this year, that no one on AC heard or saw a word from me. Like anyone that’s about to make excuses, I preclude my explanation with, “See, what had happened was. . .” The AC writers who stuck it out and continued to write through good and bad days, articles, comments, up-front payments and page views, let’s not forget rejections, are shaking their heads right now and muttering “she is without excuse.”
Their assessment would be right. When I came back to Associated Content in Sept., I decided that to grow as a writer, I would need thicker skin, a fiercely consistent writing schedule and a few other important traits. I call these traits dimensions. Is there anyone who can identify with any of the following?
Dimension 1: Writing for Passion and/or Profit
Writers, mostly, are first attracted to the Associated Content website because it’s free to join, we can write all we want about anything, and because there is a possibility that what we write will earn money. At the time I joined, I had just started my freelance writing business. I was unemployed, so all of the above appealed to me, especially the earning money part. I started submitting articles expecting to earn thousands of fans and dollars. Are you laughing yet?
Dimension 2: Writing to Get Read
If was after I’d written a few articles on Associated Content that got nary a page view, or very few, that I realized; there was more to writing than just sitting down writing. What did people want to read about? What was search engine optimization (SEO), keywords and tags? More importantly, how could my articles include effective SEO keywords and all the trimmings that would put them in the top 10 on Yahoo or Google search? There are millions if not zillions of websites and news about everything a person can think of. What would make my articles be relative and yet stand out from all the rest? The whole idea that the article on my pet peeve is rip-roariously funny doesn’t matter if no one is going to read it. It’s so buried and floating around in cyberspace with all the other web sites that no one has the patience or time to pull up on page 21 of search engines. Thankfully, when I came back to AC, I enlisted tutorials from Lyn Lomasi and someone named The Barefoot to name a few. I know there’s still a ways to go. At least now I’m on the right road, and earning both page views and a few dollars.
Dimension 3: Networking with Folks Who Tie Folks Together
When I started, I thought all I needed to do was write. Write write and more write, and people would just magically navigate to my page and read what I wrote. What I didn’t realize is that I wasn’t the only writer on Associated Content who wanted to be read. When other writers would reach out to me through comments or messages, I didn’t reach back for the most part. I think it was in one of Lyn Lomasi’s AC articles that I read there are people behind those screens (other writers on AC) who are important. This time around, I’ve found friends that I enjoy reading and communicating with. I’m a part of the Welcome Wagon forum. Whenever new writers post, I try to be one of the first to welcome them and let them know I look forward to reading what they have to say. The lesson: not many can survive as lone wolfs on AC. I’d like to send out personal thanks to Zona Zirconia who mentored me and introduced me to her friends. And to all my fans, thanks for adding and reading me. It means a lot.
Dimension 4: Promoting
As I’m learning to write what might get read, and as I continually make new friends, I understand that as important as writing is, promoting is more important. The concept: write it and they will read? Doesn’t work on Associated Content. When Abby Greenhill posts a reply in the Welcome Wagon, she says the same thing over and over again: check out the tutorials and ask questions. Those are precious words. Associated Content tutorials show you how to promote your work through social networking and other venues. As you labor in love at your computer, you find there are so many other ways to promote your articles. For instance, I’m sponsoring a short story reading/writing contest with fifth and sixth graders at the local school for my story Adventures of Sally and Londy.
I am so happy to be back on Associated Content, and having a blast. A new set of challenges present themselves, though. For instance, as my fans and favorites grow, when will I have time to read them all? Make no mistake, I do plan to read every one. Maybe not all of them every day. I look at people who have hundreds and thousands of faves and wonder, how do they do keep up with all of them? I welcome any and all advice on how to tackle this one.
I will close this article by saying the first thing that drew me to Associated Content was research. I was doing a freelance assignment and needed information. One of the AC articles on the subject I needed came up in Google’s top 10. The author was a professional in her field who did an excellent job with a difficult subject. The authors on AC are people from various backgrounds who are willing to lend some of their knowledge and expertise to the rest of us. It’s not just a site to post random thoughts about nothing.
In short, it’s good to be a part of the AC family.