I Quit My Writing Job. Now What?

I’m going to take a rare moment to blog about my personal life instead of making an advice post, since I’ve been so busy with my summer job and feel like I’m currently out of advice to give.

Over winter break, I slaved over my laptop, browsing internships.com and filling out over 10 applications and learning to write several cover letters.  I found a job that looked awesome. I’d not only be paid, but I’d be writing fun list articles all about college for a website called University Primetime.

Long story short: I worked hard on my trial articles, made it past several cuts, and eventually found myself employed, writing, and having articles published on the cite. However, after getting paid for my first two articles, I was no longer getting paid for anything that was published on the site.

The Facebook group shrunk from 160 to just 18 (seven of them admins who didn’t submit content) writers over four months, many of them facing the same issues that I had to deal with, I assumed. After requesting for over a month to get paid the $70 they owed me for my published articles, I dropped the site over a week ago. The guys in charge never responded to my final request to be paid for my articles.

While it was an awesome learning experience, I’m thoroughly upset because all of my hard work seemed to go to waste.  I turned down other offers to work for University Primetime.  I figured I’d have a cool job and make some side money, and it would count as credits towards my degree.  Now I’m here all summer with nothing but my regular job. I’m not gaining any experience towards my career.  My resume is going to stay stagnant.

I guess now I’m trying to warn people about the website and figure out what to do as far as an internship goes.  So, don’t ever work for University Primetime, unless you want to deal with a bunch of rude guys who run a click-bait site with no helpful information. I’m going to have a new post eventually describing what happened exactly with the site in detail. But for now, I guess it’s back to the drawing board with my internships.

Avoiding Obvious Phrases in Writing

I learned in my creative writing class, almost three years ago (I can’t believe it) in college, about avoiding basic things, such as repetition and avoiding phrases that are obvious.  I’m going to focus on two “obvious” phrases in writing today, both of which I’ve seen many of my editing clients use so many times it’s crazy.

The first phrase: “on my two feet” 

I’ve seen my one client use this phrase in sentences like, “I went to stand on my two feet” or “he put me down on my two feet.”  I mean, if you want, you could use this phrase sparingly, but personally I’d never use it.

Why it isn’t necessary:  Because most human beings have two feet.  Unless your character is an alien with multiple legs, or has a prosthetic leg, it is not necessary to tell your readers how many legs your character has.

How to avoid it: Simple, just chop it off of the sentence.  It reduces wordiness, which is always a great thing.  Ex: “He put me down.” “I stood.”

The second phrase: “nodded my head”

This is simple to do.  For example, “she asked the question, and I nodded my head.”  This, I would actually use VERY sparingly, because for some reason, to me, it doesn’t sound as crazy as the first phrase.

Why it isn’t necessary: Really, what else would you nod? Your foot?  No other part of the human body can really “nod” unless of course, you’re being very specific about something, like your character doing sign language and it looking like their hand is “nodding.”

How to avoid it: Very simple.  Just say, “I nodded.”

Writing Jobs: Is Hanging on a Good Thing? 

I worked very hard over my winter break. Hours, I spent slaving over my laptop, perfecting my resume, writing cover letters, and searching for internships. 

I found the perfect one: it was paid, and I’d be writing listing articles, similar to Buzzfeed, one of my favorite sites. I was ecstatic! A fun job that was all online? It was perfect. 

I was super excited to make it into the trial period. I worked for days on my 3 articles that I submitted to them. After a month if waiting, I got in. All 3 of my articles were published on the site that same week. 

Cuts were made, and I survived all of them, the Facebook group chopped from 116, to 90, to 66, to 34 people, 5 or so of them being admins. I got paid $20 via paypal for my first two articles. And I continued to have another 8 or so articles published…just with no payment. 

Concerned, I emailed the guy in charge of the new writers about the payment issue. A week went by and there was no response. The next week I emailed him again, only to be told that He had not gotten an email from me, “thank you very much.” And it was strange, because the email was delivered and in my sent folder. 

Two weeks later, I have still not been paid. Friends and family are encouraging me to quit, but I really can’t afford to let this go. I worked so hard for it! 

The sad thing is that I actually really enjoy the job. But I’m also owed $60. Right now, I’m just lost. Tomorrow I will be sending some emails. 

Can Sequels Always Happen? 

I’ve faced the issue frequently of my readers requesting sequels for my stories, especially for my romance and orca stories. However, this is a problem, since both stories are clearly over. 

But then again, is there a way to maneuver something to make another continuation of it after the plot has ended? Just ask the producers of Toy Story 4. Then again, this isn’t Toy Story. 

So as authors, we face the conflict: do we continue writing to please fans, or do we stick with our hearts and leave a story untouched? I’d say the answer is obviously the second. 

While it is our job to please readers, can we live with ourselves for tainting a character’s story? Besides, sequels tend to have a reputation for never being as good as the first book anyway. 

Point of this post: never be persuaded into a sequel that you don’t have your heart in! Ultimately, you are in control of your character’s fate, not your readers.