It is truly an honor to be named CP of the Year for the Associated Content 2008 People’s Media Awards, and I would like to thank the AC Team, fellow CPs and my readers for their continued support. Here are some thoughts about my journey on AC, and some tips and insights for writers striving to break into the online publishing industry:
A Big Thanks To…
I could not have come this far on AC without the continued support of my readers, the AC staff and the efficient publishing platform that AC has become.
A BIG thank you goes to:
• Luke Beatty for his dedication to his vision, and continuing to build new avenues for talented writers to profit from their hard work.
• Sam DeWitt, Leah Franklin, Brenna Boyce, Laura Keefe and the entire AC staff for their continued support and ongoing efforts; you are all wonderful to work with, and I applaud the entire team for its hard work in making AC what it is today!
• the millions of readers who have sent me comments and feedback on my work on AC.
• the Big Six AC Writers (IMHO) – Pam Gaulin, Momie Tullottes, Michy, JCorn, Carol Bengle Gilbert and theBarefoot – for sharing their unique perspectives with the AC community at large, and serving as an inspiration for us all; you are all exceptionally talented!
• the long list (too long for this piece) of dedicated and talented CPs that continue to provide great content; any writer looking for inspiration doesn’t have to look too far on AC.
• the coffee barista who doesn’t charge me for extra refills during my 6+ hour AC-production marathons.
• friends and family for their continued support and encouragement.
• my Twitter followers, who have loyally clicked on my self-promotional links.
• AC Forum all-stars, who continue to provide great tips and ideas for all AC writers.
• the library staff, which let me pound away on my laptop when my AC creative buzz took over.
• AC community members who have diligently followed The AC Daily, which has been given a makeover and emerged as The AC Weekly.
• the neighbors who let me use their wireless Internet while I waited for the cable guy; thank you for understanding that my day could not go on without publishing at least one article.
My Journey on Associated Content
I joined Associated Content nearly three years ago in hopes of pursuing a new hobby.
What I got was a new life.
My adventures with AC began on a miserable winter’s night in Wisconsin – a stressful evening after another long day at a job I was anxious to leave. I was interested in exploring a new hobby to get through the tough days that had me stuck in a rut. I had always enjoyed writing and had read about people who were launching blogs and their own Web sites. I found Associated Content on a job board for freelance writing; back in 2006, finding legitimate blogging or article-writing jobs was a real challenge, but AC seemed to have a solid system and site together. Since the opportunity didn’t involve any “sign-up fees” or other scam-like offers, I signed up.
AC was in its infancy when I joined in early 2006, but the process was simple: write about what you know, use some simple techniques for web writing, and get an offer from the editorial team for your work. I started with a handful of articles per week, not really knowing what to expect, but just giving it a try. A few articles soon turned into a dozen, then a few dozen. I kept up with my full-time job and was happy to start making a modest, part-time income from articles sold to AC.
Writing brought me relief from the day’s challenges; when things got stressful, I knew I could count on this rewarding activity to lift my spirits and escape into a creative zone. Writing articles gave me a chance to tap into my creative side and make a modest amount of money for my efforts. The fact that I could see my work published within days also gave me a strong sense of accomplishment.
I continued publishing on AC simply because I enjoyed it; however, it soon turned into a part-time “job” for me.
An AC Writer’s Life
My writing speed, research skills and knowledge about web publishing skyrocketed within a few short months; I could produce dozens of articles in a month and soon built up momentum. Feedback from the editors helped me fine-tune my skills, and the forum became a valuable resource for keeping up with the changes at AC. I became really motivated to work on more articles and learn as much as I could about writing online.
I started to explore dozens of niches, reading many professionally written works online and offline so I could learn different styles and techniques. Ultimately, I just practiced, practiced and practiced. Nearly 2,200 articles later, I’m still going strong!
A year after joining AC, I branched out into freelance writing professionally, eventually leaving my full-time job to pursue other opportunities, online and offline. I moved across the country to Orlando to start a new life. I explored dozens of online jobs but ended up building my own successful online copywriting and marketing business. Now, I also work with social media, such as blogs, press release writing and web media-production projects.
AC has been a very important part of this process, allowing me to travel, enjoy a lifestyle outside of the 9-to-5 world, and provided a steady side income so I could focus on building my own business.
Associated Content continues to be one of my favorite creative outlets; I think that it’s an incredibly valuable place to learn and develop critical skills for writing for the web. Connecting with talented writers from around the country, and even across the globe, is just another one of several positive “side effects” of publishing with AC!
“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.” ~ Samuel Johnson
We all write for different reasons. I write to share ideas; to entertain; to advise; to inform; to discover new topics; to revel in the creative process; and to improve my research and writing skills. I encourage all writers who want to make the most of their experience on AC to focus on building their skills and learn how to write high-quality, searchable content. It’s relatively easy to learn the fundamentals with the free tutorials and how-to articles available on AC; these resources weren’t available when I first started, and I think I would have enjoyed earlier successes if I had known where to find the information.
It’s tough to keep at it when you get low offers and feel like nobody’s reading your work. Keep writing anyway. It’s disappointing when people leave rude comments on your work. Ignore them, and keep writing. It’s hard to set writing goals and make time to produce creative work. Focus on what you enjoy, and make writing a priority.
Keep going. Stick with it, and stay strong. Writing is a skill, and writing for the web has its own rules and guidelines. Everything can be learned with enough dedication and persistence. Enjoy the process, learn what works for you, and explore as many niches and topics as you can to find your strong points.
Thank you again for this incredible honor and opportunity to be your CP of the Year for 2008; I wish everyone a fantastic, inspired and profitable year in 2009!
– Sabah K.
2008 CP of the Year