I’m going to start with an observation and then list a few of the crappier jobs I’ve had, ones that will probably have no relation to that observation whatsoever. Hey, no one’s paying me for this.
People Hate to Pay for Writing
See, writing isn’t like changing oil. Anyone can write – we all had to do it in school. But few people walked back to that shop or garage to work on cars before 4th period.
The point is, people are much more inclined to try something themselves when they’ve done it before. Most people will go and get their oil changed at a service center. When it comes to writing a book or copy or whatever, though, well, watch out – everyone’s an expert.
Well, if you’re such an expert, why are you hiring me? This pisses people off, for they don’t want to be reminded in any way that when it comes to something that was drilled into them for 12 years in public school, and then a semester or two at university, is still completely alien and out of reach to them.
That’s disheartening. Hey, I suck at math, and I’m not afraid to admit it. I can’t add a fucking fraction! There, happy!
So do you think I’m going to try and do my own math? Well, yes, I try to do my own taxes and they frustrate me to no end. And if I then go and hire an accountant? Yeah, I’d probably be pissed, and take out the anger at my own shortcomings on them.
That’s what I’ve been going through a lot lately when it comes to writing for others.
Here are a few stories to illustrate what I’m talking about.
The Leaf Guy
This guy hires me to write 2 pages of content for a company selling leaf tarps. Now, a leaf tarp is something you throw on your lawn, leave there for days, weeks, or months – hell, probably the whole damn season for most lazy folks – and then gather together to collect all the leaves. It saves a lot of backaches with raking, so a pretty useful product.
Well, I write the content for this guy, but then he won’t pay me. He paid me $18 out of a $75 job, then said we’d have to wait to hear from the employer.
Well, several days go by. I keep asking. I finally go back to the site he showed me and, lo and behold, there’s my fucking content, not a thing changed. This is after the phony prick was saying the employers were demanding revisions. When I asked him what they wanted, he gave no answer.
What a sneaky cunt! Well, I had to file a dispute on him and he kicked and screamed, saying I was losing out on long-term opportunities. Like what? Taking it up the backside from you each day?
I feel sorry for people like that – always trying to take advantage of those who don’t know any better or are too afraid to fight back.
I got my money from that prick. He tried and tried to give me all but $1 so I couldn’t leave a review, but I got it all, and left an honest review of his sad employment services.
The problem was it had lots of errors, the kinds of things that made me think this wasn’t a native speaker. Well, maybe he just has the same problems that I have with fractions.
So I go through and give it a complete line-edit and we’re done. I usually format things when I do that too, mainly because it’s such a habit now from when I do my own books.
I like jobs like this the best. Editing takes up less time than writing, so you get paid more at a faster pace.
Honestly, I could not figure out what he was trying to sell, who he was trying to sell it to, or why I should even be reading it. Overall, a real good example of when you should just scrap what you have and start from scratch.
Well, that wasn’t an option. This content had cost something like $1,000 – yeah, for about 10 pages of shit that couldn’t sell a bum on a drink before breakfast. In other words, it needed a lot of work.
So I get in there and find out that it’s not just content for one site or product, but three. This was never explained, and it really put things into perspective.
This job was a lot of headaches but we got it done and got that content in shape. Whether it’s out there now or not I have no idea – you’d be surprised how many people just leave their old stuff up – but I hope it works out.
Formatting a Print Book
I looked at what she had and said, alright, we can stick this in a CreateSpace template and get it done quick.
Well, the problem was that everything had to be her way. The page numbers had to be on the left-hand side. The author name and book title had to be on the top. The table of contents had to be just the exact same way it was.
Usually that wouldn’t be much of a problem, but in this case the woman was trying to change a landscape document into portrait and there’s just no way things could remain the same. I tried to explain that she was in effect jamming a square peg into a round hole over and over and expecting it to go through.
In the end I took a small amount for the limited work I did and walked away. It just didn’t seem worth my time to argue with someone so convinced of a way that wouldn’t work, so much so that they couldn’t even see it wouldn’t work.
Obviously I shouldn’t get into politics.
Real Estate Bio
He’d given me a document with about 900 words, and I went through and cleaned it up and put it in a better tone that would make people click onto his contact page and email him about his services.
He didn’t like what I gave him. So we went back through and made some changes. Finally he just said it wouldn’t work and that it wasn’t what he wanted.
Again, I get a lot of people who don’t know what they want but do. They’ll know it when they see it.
As you can imagine, I work with a lot of people and sites you’ve never heard of.