I recently took on a piece for a science-based website. It was a mixed bag of an assignment, to tell the truth. I got a nice amount of money for writing it, which was great. However, I did not get a byline. I was also explicitly told by the client that I lost all rights to the article the moment I submitted it, including the ability to link to it as part of my resume. That was unfortunate, but that is just the way some assignments are. At least this company was up front about everything so I knew all of this going in.
Most things I write have to be researched, written, and then I’ll review them several times before I turn them in. Depending on how long it has to be, this can take a day, or sometimes a little more. This piece, however, took me longer than usual. I really wanted to be sure that it was accurate, concise, and informative while still being interesting to read. That was a pretty tall order! I spent a day reading other posts and articles on the site to get a feel for what their readers were used to and to be sure that my tone matched what they already had online. Then I spent another couple of days writing the information, being sure to find reputable sources to back every statement up. It was an intense project, and I felt like I could spend the rest of my life editing and honing it until I found just the right words. I had set a deadline of five days, so I finally had to stop writing and send it in.
The client was very happy with it, much to my relief. When the piece went up, I was pleasantly surprised that there were only two changes – they made the headline a little shorter and more search-engine friendly, and they swapped out a phrase somewhere in the middle. While I don’t always take changes gracefully, both of these changes didn’t bother me a bit. Headline changes are pretty standard, so that wasn’t a surprise. I was fine with the phrase they changed because it didn’t really make a difference as far as the context or tone of the piece went. I think it was more for clarity than anything.
I’ve been obsessively checking the comments because the piece is something that I’m proud of. The site itself doesn’t get major traffic, so there aren’t a lot of responses yet. The few comments that are there are interesting and mostly positive. But I was also notified that someone had linked to my piece and quoted it on their own blog, which also gets a decent amount of site traffic. That was exciting!
So, all things considered, I would say that this was one of the more successful assignments I’ve had to date. I hope that it turns into either a steady writing gig. I’d love to write more for this company and will keep my fingers crossed!