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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why I Almost Gave Up On Being A Writer

(Note: Names in this entry have been kept anonymous out of respect for the people involved.)
As most of you probably are not aware, a few weeks back, I was offered a paid writing gig as a blogger for a certain sports-related website (which I will keep anonymous). I have a friend who makes his living as a full time webmaster, and this particular site is one of the sites he works as a webmaster for. Anyway, the site was about to lose one of their bloggers for not performing up to snuff, and the owner asked this friend if he knew anyone who was interested in getting paid to write for her site. I had just gone through the "Rayne Storm 2011" thing over at Camel Clutch Blog, so they informed the site's owner about it.

Basically, he told the owner about how I had just written the one article that had gotten picked up by a number of other well-traversed websites and how I had gotten backlash from Madison Rayne herself, as well as backlash from some of her fans while at the same time garnering a lot of support from fellow wrestling writers. Apparently, the owner got excited about this and said that was exactly what she was looking for for her blog. Basically, the owner claimed they were looking to "stir the pot" by creating controversy, as well as bring in increased traffic at the same time. So, the friend called me and told me about the site, and asked if I'd be interested in getting paid to write.

As some of you may know, I have often said I'd love to get paid to write, so I jumped at the opportunity. He gave me the owner's phone number and told me to call them right away, and that we could discuss the details and go from there. So, I called and began talking about everything. The owner told me that the site focused on women athletes in different sports, so I instantly thought that I could write about wrestlers instead.  I told them I was interested and would see about putting a piece together to see what they thought of it.

Over the next few days, we traded text messages, with them telling me what they would like to see me write about. This is when I immediately knew something was wrong. Every time I'd ask what they wanted me to write about, they would give me incredibly vague answers that would result in even more questions, which in turn would result in yet even more vague answers. After trading I don't know how many text messages with them, I was honest and said that I didn't really think I was the best fit, since I wasn't exactly sure what was required of me. However, I told them that, if she was interested in articles on female wrestlers, I'd be more than happy to do that for the site.

The owner seemed to be okay with that, so I asked exactly what type of articles they wanted for the website. They responded by asking me what I write about on my social networking accounts. Before I go any further, there's something you should probably know. In the brief time I talked to the owner, they appeared to have an obsession with using social networking, as they were always talking about social networking sites-ALWAYS. They seemed to think that these are the end-all, be-all tools for increasing traffic to websites and expanding readership. Again, I after I was asked this, I was honest with the owner and said that I don't write much on my social networking accounts, mainly because they are a lousy outlet for writing. I told them that I reserved this and my other blog for my larger writing projects, and that social networking sites were more used for brief status updates, posting links, etc.

How did they take this? They responded with one of the most insane text responses I've ever received. I don't remember the exact wording (and it's no longer saved in my phone, so I can't check), but they basically said that maybe I just wasn't interested. The reason this was so insane is because not once did I ever state that I wasn't interested, and in fact was doing everything I could to show how interested I was in doing the work. Apparently though, saying that I didn't do a lot of writing on Facebook and Twitter equals "I don't want the job" in their world.

After this, I didn't hear from the owner for hours, despite sending numerous text messages telling them the things I was willing to do for the site and that I would be glad to put the work, time and effort in. I got home and told my friend about the whole thing. They were disappointed, but told me not to give up and go ahead and submit something to site owner anyway. After looking at the site and seeing that it is literally full of nothing but brief bios and little else, I decided to put that type of article together. I wrote a brief little introductory bio about a wrestler, included a couple pictures, and showed it to the friend. They thought it was perfect for the site and told me to go ahead and submit it.

I sent it to the site owner in an e-mail and anxiously awaited a reply. It was in the evening, so I wasn't expecting to hear a reply right away. I was at least hoping I'd receive a reply the next day, though. Guess what? Not happening. Not only did I not hear a reply back, the article was never even posted. If the owner didn't like the article, that would have been fine, but the least they could have done was e-mail me, tell me they received it and tell me why or why not they liked the article and what could be done to improve it if it needed improvement. Instead, I got no response whatsoever. I decided to be nice and give the owner the benefit of the doubt and wait a few days, maybe see if they just hadn't gotten my e-mail yet. After about a week, I still hadn't heard anything, nor had my article been posted.

At this point, I simply gave up. I sent the owner an e-mail stating that it was obvious that they wasn't interested in my work or working with me despite her original claims, and that she wouldn't be hearing from me anymore. I deleted the owner's number and e-mail address and called it quits. Then, one day, for whatever reason, I suddenly got the urge to check the website again. I don't know why I got the urge, but I did. So, I went to the website and scrolled down a few pages. As I scrolled through each article, I began to notice something-every single article on the page was credited as being written by the owner. When I say every article, I mean EVERY ARTICLE. Not one article I saw was written by any other writer whatsoever. THe owner apparently takes credit for all articles written, whether written by them or not! I asked the friend about this, and even they agreed that the owner would have most likely taken credit for any articles I had written, as that's how the owner is. It was then that I began to wonder if, had I become a writer for the site like she wanted, would I actually have gotten paid for the writing like promised? When someone takes credit for your work, that seems highly unlikely.

Honestly, this whole ordeal made me incredibly pissed off an jaded about writing. I got so frustrated by the whole experience that I actually began questioning whether or not I even wanted to write anymore. I mean, I don't think I'm all that great of a writer in the first place, but writing is something that I genuinely enjoy. However, this experience made me question my own work and I began to think, "Maybe I really do suck at this, and maybe I should just give up."

Fortunately, I was able to move past it and was able to continue both this blog and my other blog, as well as my work for Camel Clutch. Although I do not get paid for working on CCB, I enjoy the work as Eric (the owner) is very good to me and gives me a lot of creative freedom. Plus, he is supportive, gives me great feedback, and always gets back to me when I have a question or a concern, and usually does so immediately.

The owner of this other site, on the other hand, is one of the most unprofessional people I have ever come across. This friend of mine that works for the site must have an iron will to put up with the owner, and he deserves every cent he's being paid and then some.

I hope the owner decides to read this and sees what I truly think of them and their business practices. Maybe it will be a wake-up to her that they need to be more professional as well as a sign that they need to treat people with more respect. Honestly, if I got an apology from them and a promise that I would get full credit for any work done for the website, I'd be willing to reconsider working for them. That's really all I want: just an apology. I don't even have to go to work for the site; an apology would be more than enough for me to make peace with the situation and move on.  So, owner of the site, if you are reading this and would like to make amends, you have my e-mail address and phone number. I'd be happy to discuss these things with you directly.


  1. Sorry you had to deal with that. I think I can relate with you a bit. There are just some customer that make my job wonderful and other that make me wanna bash my own skull in with a hammer. I hope better opportunities come you way :)

  2. @EroMojo: Thanks, Jon. It was pretty disheartening to say the least, especially when the money would have been really good (nearly what I'm making at my regular job). It's frustrating as hell trying to work with someone who apparently really doesn't want to work with you, but lies to your face and says they'd love to have you on board.