How Writing for Content Mills Can Make You a Better Writer

This past weekend, my name went up in lights.

Or web lights, at least….but suffice it to say I was thrilled to see a guest post I wrote appear on Sophie Lizard‘s uber-popular “Be a Freelance Blogger” site.

Neat, right?!

However, maybe you are curious about why I’m so excited about the publication of this particular post.

  • Reason A: I love Sophie’s blog. 🙂
  • Reason B: With this post, I finally get to share my story of how my writing career actually began.
  • Reason C: I learned so much about how far I’ve come as a freelancer, a writer, and a human being just by working with Sophie to write this post.
  • Reason D: I hope this post may encourage YOU if you are still writing full-time for content mills!

The truth is, my own full-time freelance career actually began without me even realizing it.

When it first started, I never dreamed I would one day actually be pitching posts, finding my own freelance clients, and living as a bona fide WRITER with a bona fide WRITING BUSINESS.

Here is what happened.

In 2010, I had abdominal surgery. It was major. For months, I couldn’t return to work (i.e. my glamorous prior life temping for companies across the city).

Me. Circa 2010, post-surgery, power-lifting gladiolas a dear friend sent to cheer me up.

So, still sore and scared and desperate to make rent, I looked a little closer into “those websites” where I’d been writing just enough content to earn a bit of monthly grocery and spending money.

Before I knew what had happened, I was bringing in a modest but still full-time living writing for….wait for it….content mills.

Only I didn’t know they were called “content mills” at that time.

I just knew they were a godsend – a neat little online find – and a heck of a lot better than dressing up in an orange jumper and running around the mall trying to convince people to try free organic makeup made out of carrots (true story – ’nuff said).

Nearly four years later, the work I do for content mills has at last become a minor percentage of my total monthly writing income.

My writing assistant suggests an excellent resource for my freelance research.

But during the time I wrote full-time for content mills, I learned a TON.

I don’t regret my time in “the mills” one bit.

I also wouldn’t go back (even if they paid me double, which for some content mills still wouldn’t add up to much).

Best of all, I am now happily incorporating those content mill experiences into my own successful freelance blogging pitches!

Speaking of which, you can read about the six biggest lessons I learned from writing for content mills right now!

“Content mills.”

If you’re a writer, just saying those words together is the emotional equivalent of cursing in front of your grandmother.

Truthfully, content mills do make for a ridiculously easy target.

They don’t pay enough.

They work their writers to death.

They churn out crappy copy and turn search engine results into dumpster dashes. They teach writers to be worse at their craft, not better. They eat self-esteem for breakfast. They disappear at the most inopportune moments (like just before payday).

Did I mention they don’t pay enough?

But content mills can also be “crash course” training grounds for long-term success in the grown-up, go-it-yourself freelance world.

Here are the 6 most valuable freelancing lessons content mill writers can learn from the experience. ==> Read the full post at Be a Freelance Blogger

p.s. Want to see YOUR name in lights? Check out Sophie’s Guest Blogging Guidelines and pitch your great ideas to her!

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