Travails of a Freelance writer

This was written roughly a year back when online freelance writing was what i thought was ,my destiny..People who know me would also know that my destiny keeps changing every few months.. A year later, with “0” articles published online, i think i am fairly qualified to say that sending snail mails to magazines elicit more response than wanting to get published online ..this article was published 6-months back in the only magazine that accepts my junk every month ,Eve’s touch..My life’s ambition still remains writing a book.. a funny book.. it must be a lot of work ;-).. someday,guys!! now, read on..

“Writing jobs” : 10,600,000 pages on Google
“Free lance+ jobs” – 1,670,000 pages on Google
“Free lance +writing jobs”: 4, 37,000 pages on Google

Surprising, huh? That’s how big the free-lance writing market really is. Supposedly.
I am always a tad suspicious of the net, what with the anonymity and accounts of weirdos on the prowl, but that didn’t deter me from donning my googling- hat and exploring the vast tracts of writing related money-making ventures on the net. What follows are my (mis)adventures in the land of milk and honey(it’s the Internet, of course).

Day 1 : A very Excited me. After all, I came across thousands of testimonials of people making money, writing on the net. I ended up registering myself on at least half a dozen sites, which offered to pay me based on number of hits on pages..After several hours on the net, I had successfully created profiles on most sites. I was feeling a little tired, but was confident that the time spent would be totally worth it as I was soon going to become a famous-freelance writer. That night I dreamed that I had become a huge writing-sensation, free lance online writing sensation, of course…

Day 2 : No hits on any site I had registered for . No mails. Nothing. Just a mail reminding me to fill in my PayPal details..For all the money that I would be getting once I started getting assignments. Gosh, how had I forgotten that?. So, I got myself a free-paypal account.

Day 3 : Nothing .” Be Patient” I told myself. All geniuses take time to get discovered. I was still getting the same “writing sensation dream”..
Day 11 to 9 pass in a haze. Haze of many permutations and combinations of the “writing sensation dream”.

Day 10 : One comment on my article. My heart skipped a beat. Was it somebody commissioning me to write something after reading my thought-proving article ? Alas, It just happened to be my friend leaving me a message to keep writing … That night ,my “writing sensation dream” was slightly off-colour.

Day 11: I decided maybe the sites took time and started looking for writing jobs incraiglists. I patiently responded to 50 posts with the same copy –paste template of my profile and checked my mail at least a dozen times that day hoping for responses ( It’s Day 40 and I still haven’t heard from any of those advertisers).

Day 12 through 20 : More googling, more registrations.First signs of helplessness started creeping in.

Registered for mailing lists ,hoping to get to know the latest news in the world of online Free-lance writing. These mailing lists have faithfully been spewing out information that I find utterly useless, not taking me even a step closer to my goal.

Day 21 : Frustration. Despair. Just when I thought I would give up, someone suggested I check Orkut for Postings. That’s where I stumbled upon Dheeraj Makhijha’s (name changed, of course) Post. He was looking for free lance writers.I promptly mailed him on what I could bring to the table. Surprise.. Within a minute of mailing, I get a message asking me to add him on Gtalk ..

“Yipeee!!” Maybe I was going to be a free-lance writer, after all. So I added him. And waited…Everyday Dheeraj would get online and I would wait for him to talk about the assignments he had , but he just never responded to my messages.

Day 25: Just when I had given up on Dheeraj , a message popped on my gtalk .

Gtalk transcripts interspersed with my thought bubbles…

Dheeraj Makhijha Says : Hi

My thought bubbles: Wow!! Perseverance pays ..

Dheeraj refused to reveal any information about himself, but wanted my name, location and all my details. I told myself employers were like that, even in the virtual world. He didn’t ask me anything about my writing experience and only wanted to know whether I could write 5 articles everyday…

My thought bubbles: 5 articles? Whoopee.. Maybe, I could try…
Dheeraj Makhijha says: So, do you know about Copyscape and other rules of online free-lancing?
My thought bubbles: I froze. I had no clue what Copyscape was and I was in the middle of an interview. Thankfully , there was google. So I logged out of gtalk and frantically googled Copyscape and logged back in after I had enough dope on it.Atleast, enough not to sound like a first-timer.

Me : Sorry I got cut off. Yeah I know about Copyscape.

Dheeraj Makhijha says : Then you must also know that like most other companies , if copyscape catches more than 3 consecutive words on any other pages, your article will not be accepted by me .
My thought bubbles: What if I had to say “ Go to Hell”. That should definitely get caught on Copyscape. Am sure a million people say “Go to hell “on their web pages .Does that mean their articles weren’t original? It Made me speculate on whether Shakespeare would have cleared our Man’s stringent “ 3 consecutive word rule”.

Me : Yeah no problem (Faking it like a true professional . As If I knew the industry inside out). So what do I have to write about ?

Dheeraj Makhijha says : Anything under the sun. No Adult and explicit stuff,of course.
Me : So what is the target audience we are looking at ?
There was no reply for almost 10 minutes and then ..
Dheeraj Makhijha Says : Don’t think so much. Write what you want.
My thought bubbles: Maybe I could do that. Not think too much and just write about anything. Nice, flexible boss.

And then, hesitatingly..
Me : So how much do you pay for an article?

My Thought bubbles : I had to be careful. Talking about money too soon could put off employers. I am in this for the love of writing and not for money, I told myself.
Dheeraj Makhijha Says : $ 2 per 500 words, if found satisfactory and if it clears Copyscape.
My thought bubbles: $ 2!! No way!! Even if I did end up writing 500 words, the possibility of it being seen as an original seemed very remote..Maybe I could bargain.
Me : Isn’t that too less?.( Trying to sound experienced). I know many sites that pay $ 10.
Dheeraj Makijha Says : Well , that’s what I pay and a lot of people work with me for that rate . It’s your call.

And he logged off. Just like that. Abruptly.

What does one do with $2? Did Dheeraj realize that the chat with him alone cost me $2? Heights of cheap off-shoring..

I still don’t know what to make of the countless testimonials on the net, scheming to lure unsuspecting people into getting “Online-writing sensation” dreams. Someday, if I do become an online-writing sensation, I’ll surely write another article chronicling my journey, for sure.

10 thoughts on “Travails of a Freelance writer

  1. i have done exactly this 😀 registering on all the sites, googling the hell out of freelance opportunities, the works. so much that i could not take it any more. i gave up a year and a half ago, 2 months after i started. ah well



  2. How mean is the makhija..he should be a nakkeeja(I'm assuming you know what a nakkee is after reading your nakkalsoo comment to Vims)

    You write very well,B. Dont get disheartened. I'm sure the right opportunity is just round the corner 🙂


  3. Hahaha! Arrey the all pay cheap only man except if it's your own web page or site that you're writing for (where you have lotsa traffic and adsense enabled).

    I think 2 dollars is more than what some others pay. I tried out this freelance opportunity once and the guy offered to pay 40 rupees for a 500 word article 😛 2 dollars is quite good if you submit enough articles in a month though it's not a get rich easy scheme 🙂


  4. Deeps.. his name was not makhija.. i changed it to that as i have never liked the name makhija.. sounds like some miserly thing.. thanx for the nice words.. i am not disheartened..i know that i haven't tried hard enough !!

    Dhanya.. arreeyy..whats the point of 40 bucks for 500 words.. 5 $ is the average.. if you come across anyone who says 40 bucks ask them to buzz off !!.. and u need to write to clear copy scape and 2 $ is way too low.. i think the whole business is a big fraud !..


  5. 😀 Never tried any of these things!!

    But am sure dream will come true soon!!! And your book wud be a darn good chick lit!!!

    BTW this is what I call a typically u post 😀

    BTW Makheeja shud be called Makheechoos D:


  6. anupama.. i welcome to my space.. dunno abt the part of creating our own heavens but yeah its worth the effort !!

    smita.. makhichhooos is supposedly better of the lot.. i have heard worse stories from people..when r u writing u r book ? ..but writing a novel should b a lot of effort!!


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