The Difference Between An Amateur And Professional Writer Is One Gets Paid For Their Work

by Jerrico_Usher

Professional writers come in all levels of writing (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc...) but unless you're being paid for your writing- you're not a "professional" writer...

So many people write for free. Whether they are writing an essay or thesis for school, writing blogs to put on a social network site, texting to their friends, or have been working on their own personal "Great American Novel". All too often I see people 'giving away' their work! In today's society especially since the advent of the internet, there are literally millions of people out there LOOKING for your writing and willing to pay you what it's worth, so why are you giving it away for nothing and struggling financially to boot? (pun is a happy coincidence:))

If you love to write and have good basic writing skills, you can learn how to get paid to write articles, blurbs, blogs, poetry, promotional articles, ad copy (including actual picture ads like slogans), and more. You can also write articles to build web sites that can develop a residual income for you (like Wizzley). First let me take the mystery about "Professional Writers" away...

Professional Writers Get Paid

Word Philanthropy

Once you understand and accept that the only difference between an amateur and professional writer (other than having a developed skill set in writing but keep in mind even highly skilled writers can be amateur not professional) is that the professional is the one the gets paid for the writing they do then you will liberate yourself, your finances, and for heaven's sake- become a professional, not a word philanthropist.

This isn't to say you need to or should charge for every word you write (your supposed to give 10% to charity right?), but when it comes to your best work- giving it away is just ludicrousness! If you have no desire to be a professional writer that's fine too- not everyone wants to sell their work, some want to give it away, but if you're trying to become a professional writer and your giving most of your work away and crying about not having any money or calling yourself a "starving writer"- then you have nobody but yourself to blame!

You can get paid in advance for writing articles or on delivery of articles you are independently contracted to write. You can write copy then get paid after the fact by posting it on web 2.0 sites, building your own blog, promoting your own blog, and you can even save it until you find a client who needs it. I've written articles on writing mills that the customer rejected (rare), or that I overzealous wrote (asked for 900 words I gave them 13k!) and have re-purposed that content to a web 2.0 site or my own blog. I don't waste articles!

One article I wrote for "the diet solution" was supposed to be 900 words but I got so excited about the topic from research and being on a track to lose weight and eat better, that I wrote 13,000 words. Granted it was a great 13k words, I almost submitted it to the customer and thought about it for a second.

I was just getting into affiliate marketing at the time so I decided to rewrite MY content to condense the points to 900 words, and did (920). I took the 13k original content i wrote and built this site: The Flat belly Solution.

The entire contents of that site are that ONE 13k (with subheadings) article I wrote! I almost threw that away or rather GAVE it away. The customer just wanted an ezine article! As you can see the sites content is pretty thorough and if someone were like me, interested in the concept- they'd buy the course that site is selling! (I bought the course so I was fully versed in it before writing that article and I wanted it anyway, it's a great course!).

All Writing Counts

Now what if you wanted to write for a purpose outside the web? Here's an example real life scenario:

I wanted to get my daughter a furby but wanted to do my homework. I also wanted to explain to her the amazing-ness of this toy, its rich history, and to give her a deeper appreciation for it. I could bundle this research with the furby so she can play with the furby now and read the article when and if she wants, sort of a history that comes with the toy (things with a history always seem better no? watch Pawn Stars to see what I mean).

Now, just because I want to give her the research and the furby this doesn't mean my writing has to be unpaid! No I'm not going to charge my daughter to read it :) but what I am going to do is post it on the web on a site that would allow me creative expression to really juice this baby up and make it cool like on Wizzley, Hubpages, Squidoo, or a dozen others (of which only Wizzley truly gives you creative control over the aesthetics).

I generated a great article to share with my daughter, but I also have an article that generates click-income from ads or affiliate links back to amazon where others can also buy them (and I store those amazon goodies on the page so "I" can later go back and quickly find them).

Of course I'll wipe my cookies before purchasing and enter Amazon through someones page, but this gives me a good way to bookmark the Furbies I found the coolest, and it will also give me a way to ask my daughter which one on the page she likes! I also found a lot of videos showing her the toy's full range of capabilities, how to use it, and more.

Such an article does exist and was written for this very reason actually here: Furby Reincarnates. Long after Christmas, the article I wrote is

  • Accessible by my daughter (or anyone else who loves furby's)
  • It's still earning me a potential income sitting on Wizzley
  • I can print it out for her if I wanted to create a cool looking (offline) booklet since the Wizzley page is so pretty :) - but my writing is still earning online. 



You can also develop articles that can be linked together to make content web sites. The sites, in the case of an investment version of your writing such as on Wizzley, Squidoo, Infobarrel, or even your own site, can pay the writer through the use of affiliate ad links put on their web sites, adsense or the like.

There are a lot of web site owners that hire companies that have a writer base of ghostwriters or freelance writers to write articles for them. Wordgigs and TextBroker are a few. Often the writers they use are advanced amateur writers that want to become professional writers either full or part time.

All you have to do is contact one of these companies and let them know that you are available to write articles for them and display your qualifications, if you have a good grasp of the English language, grammar, spelling, and especially research, then you will usually get in (if they are hiring).

Web 2.0 Sites (Wizzley, HP, SQ, Wordpress, etc...)

One way is to use a Wizzley or other account where your work is displayed or owned by you (if it's not owned by you, but you did write it, you can still show them your work but it may not be as effective with someone else's name on the content!). Their pay rate is usually set so you know exactly what you get paid for each article you write for them. Don't mess around with E-lance or other sites that use a bidding system- too much can go wrong and kill your ambition.

Writing Mills, Clients (people who want your writing), and Strategy

Some freelance articles are designed to broker between a writer and a person needing something ghostwritten for them. In this case the payout is based on an individual's rate and fluctuates a great deal between clients. 

Some places have work in specific types while others have no limitations. Some "writing Mills" they are called generically, offer specific types such as articles, mini-posts, and blurbs- these are distinctly different types of writing. The blurb in one mill may be a first person story format while in another it's an analytical 100 word "snippet". In another it could be a description of a product.

Once you become a full or part time professional writer by contracting with companies looking for Independent writers, you will find that individual web site owners may become familiar with you and your article writing and find you.

Personally I seek THEM out and offer a free page write up to show them where their content could go... if they bite I get more work, if they don't I only lost an hour of my life, an investment. Sometimes they don't contact you at all and others they contact you months later when they want to build a new page and need the content outsourced.

They know your work and will call you up to do it, so don't lose faith if you don't get a bite at all- the idea is to get yourself known to as many people as possible and to show your work. If they post it you can use it as a reference to your work- I've written for sites like _____ is what you say. So if they use the content and don't bring you on for more- there is still the resume you built on a variety of site types. You just say I ghostwrote ___.

They could even verify it with the business owner. If they try to jack you you have the original copyright to the content since no contracts were signed no money changed hands... just make sure you print out a copy and mail it to yourself for your own protection (legal copyright). I've never had to do this though. People are generally not jerks when you give them something free!

One thing the writing mills fear is that their customers will figure out who their writers are and bypass them to contract with the writer directly at a lower cost. At least one writing mill I know of restricts the use of numbers in research urls or any notes you provide. Customers used to actually try to find the writer by putting their phone number in there. They would also use the url to hide a phone number! Not sure how they thought writers would catch on to that but I guess they wanted the cleaver ones anyway!

Many of these mills operate in such a way that the writers not only don't talk to the customers directly- but they don't even get to talk to other writers. This is the best way to seal that hole- but as a writer being contacted to do work directly is definitely a win as it means more money- no middle man/woman.

Press Releases And Review Candy

Besides writing for Internet web site owners you can also be alert to special events in your area and write a review article on it and send it to the local newspaper (press release).This could get you published and your name branding started!

I've heard of people getting a lot of free expensive stuff just writing a review AFTER contacting the company about their blog.

If you have a popular blog and its set up to review products honestly, and you can prove your blog is a PR1+, has a reader base, and gets read a lot, companies are more than happy to send you a free product to review and post. If your blog is way up there they will even send you free electronics like Flat Screen HDTV's and more! The smaller stuff (case of Nerd energy drink?) is easier to get as it costs them almost nothing compared to having to advertise!

It isn't nearly as hard to become a Professional Article Writer as you might have thought.

In fact writing for sites like Wizzley is a great way to get your writing skill sets honed and if your actively seeking advice in the forums, watching other writers that are doing well (as evident by their fans, wizzles, counts, and even article writing quality), then you'll learn a great deal.

Once you get your feet planted there you can use this as your virtual resume' for getting other work. In fact when I started writing to sites like this one you're on, my writing spoke for itself and people were contacting me via the email link to ask if I wanted to do some work for them. 

The pay was pretty good and to this day people contact me for work! These are just some ideas to get you started on a writing career, either part or full time. One final tip...



Get and nurture a LinkedIN account. A great deal of work can come to you from that site if you have your skills, references (your work/writing online you can point them to), and bio written well. Network with people who are likely to need the work you provide! Also create a central point of reference for your work across the web. A great example of this is using a site like Rebel Mouse and here is a real life example of someone who is definitely a professional writer (and then some) Sandy Spider (avatar name): (by the way she does good work!)

The idea here is that if someone hears about you, you seek them out, or they just want to see what you can do- you should be able to point them to a single url for ALL of that information. You should back-link to all your articles (if you can find them even ghostwritten ones- you can use Google and a paragraph from the work to track it down). Make this site easy to navigate, easy to find things (categorize your links), and powerful as it will be your "shell" branding. This is your resume for all intents and purposes. Good Luck!


Are you ready to stop giving your work away and become a professional writer? Just start demanding a fee for your work. It can be commission (as in Wizzley, Hubpages, SQ etc...) or pay per post (writing on a mill or for an individual and getting paid after they review it and accept it), or it can be used in conjunction with an income source (i.e. promotional article for ezinearticles, for backlinks, etc...- that is still a form of income and investment potential!). ALL WRITING COUNTS IF IT INCLUDES WORDS.

Updated: 02/27/2013, Jerrico_Usher
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Jerrico_Usher on 11/25/2013

education is a form of income, one that creates the foundation for consistent returns :)

NateB11 on 11/25/2013

Yes, I've recently realized how much writing I've done for free; because I love to write, I was doing it everywhere and anywhere I could...but not getting paid. It got me thinking that whatever I do in terms of writing, it needed to be related to income or potential income. Great ideas in this article, thanks for sharing.

cmoneyspinner on 08/01/2013

Whoa! If you made this up on the fly, it sure does sound convincing. I believe every word you said. I hope I can apply these valuable tips as well. Wishing you (and me) success!! :)

Jerrico_Usher on 03/02/2013

you need your sanity to earn in this business lol, don't lose that! The insanity at first is just the stitching in of a new awareness... like anything else the more you expose yourself to it the easier it gets because you will have built up all sorts of defenses (that's the hard part "healing" into the fun part :)... without the hard or challenging times there is no glue for the fun times to relax and know everything's covered!

georgettejohn on 03/02/2013

An article that was easy to read and understand for people like me that are new to the whole "internet thing". Greatly appreciated...I was on the verge of going insane, not quite, but almost. Thankyou!

Jerrico_Usher on 02/27/2013

yep :) and that's putting it mildly!

Digby_Adams on 02/27/2013

Excellent description of what it means to be paid to write on the Internet. Sometimes it does feel overwhelming. But at least there are many ways to make money writing online.

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