Like any art form, writing for money, or for art, requires a high degree of discipline in order for it to seem effortless. Think of a concert pianist – before he is able to play Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Concerto without having a complete meltdown, he must start by learning scales, music notation and theory before tackling it. Even then it may not be enough, as depicted in the film Shine – the life story of one of the most celebrated pianists in Australia, David Helfgott.
When writing for yourself, there are no rules. You won’t have an editor to chide you about split infinitives, and you can play fast and loose with your spelling and grammar. If you’re writing fiction, you don’t have to concern yourself with story structure or plot holes so big you could drive a truck through them.
This all changes if you wish to write for money. Australia has lots of opportunities for writers, especially ones who can play by the rules. This means having skills that go beyond possessing excellent spelling, grammar and punctuation. For example, you may be offered a contract to write web copy for a product or service. This means that whatever you write has to be snappy and ‘salesy’. It has to show the product in a great light, and even include a call to action to inspire the reader into purchasing it, or contacting your client for more information.
Alternatively, you may be commissioned to write news. If you have no journalism training, you may be unaware of the techniques required to write a good news story. As well as the basics such as structure, you need to be careful not to misrepresent people in any quotes you use, or write anything that could land you on the sharp end of a law suit.
If you think that you have the discipline to write for money, contact us at Words of Worth. If English is your first language, you can follow a brief to the letter and you wish to earn some extra dollars in your spare time, we want to hear from you.