I received an email today from a fellow online writer who asked the question, "Who are you to give advice to online writers?" This writer was much more polite than that, but it did bring up an obvious issue. Who am I? How am I qualified to offer anyone any type advice on writing? This is a little background information about me.
I graduated from Smith College with two degrees, one B.A. in English and another B.A. in Public Relations. I began writing professionally in high school. I was "stringer" for a local newspaper. I had several articles published in national magazines before I started college.
After graduation, I officially started my freelance writing business. I wrote anything and everything someone would pay me to write. As a struggling freelancer, I didn't always make the money I needed to survive, so I started doing fund raising and event planning on the side. Because of this, I fell into working as a home stager as well. As my freelancing career began to take off, I concentrated on it and soon my other jobs were practically non-existent.
Well, DUH! That certainly doesn't qualify me to give any advice to online writers. When I graduated from college, the internet was fairly new and I didn't know a thing about it. Nothing about writing in "the real world" or planning events and home staging has anything to do with writing online. This is where there is an odd twist in the road...
My health began to fail and keeping up with clients, deadlines and the everyday grind of owning a business became impossible. I gave it up and concentrated on getting better. I accidentally found a writing website and knew I had to write. I missed it too much. I could write in my pajamas at two in the morning if I wanted and didn't have to worry about anything. It never occurred to me I could make money writing online. That was early in 2008.
Pennies trickled in. Then nickles and dimes. Eventually, it was up to dollars. I got to thinking that this might be a way to support my family. I had met other writers at this website and they were willing to share what they knew about online writing. I asked questions and picked their brains. I learned about all sorts of other writing sites. And, this really cool thing called "blogs." My online writing career was born.
Still don't see how this qualifies me to give advice about online writing? Well, I do it every day. I pay the bills writing online. I've made more mistakes than I can remember or care to remember. Better yet, I learned from those mistakes. I still have a lot to learn, like everyone else. The things that I feel qualifies me to give advice about online writing is the fact that I do it, I am constantly learning more about online writing and, after all the mistakes I've made, I'm more than qualified to suggest to other online writers what not to do. That last one is about half the battle.