๐Ÿˆ Community
ยป Groups ยป Writers & Translators ยป Forum ยป Writing on Random Topics
Page options
hodgesh
Community Member

Writing on Random Topics

I've been noticing article writing jobs (on and off Upwork) without a specific topic. I mean that the clients want content on a variety of topics as the topics arise and are looking for someone who can write about a large range of topics.

 

Obviously at least some of this type of work is just low quality crap. But are there legit writers who create quality content about whatever random topic the client throws at them? To me it seems almost impossible to write quality articles in that situation. If I were a writer, I would need to have some sort of specialty.

22 REPLIES 22
versailles
Community Member


@Heaven H wrote:

I've been noticing article writing jobs (on and off Upwork) without a specific topic. I mean that the clients want content on a variety of topics as the topics arise and are looking for someone who can write about a large range of topics.

 


 Farmer. The client is a farmer hiring cheap #MoreOrLessEnglish writers.

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   โ€”William Ashbless
hernandez-luz
Community Member

Well, I've seen the worst offer: someone's looking for "high technical-engineering-knowledge writers" and he or she's willing to pay ONE DOLLAR PER TEN HIGH-QUALITY ARTICLES!!!

It makes me want to flag this guy! Grrrrr!

datasciencewonk
Community Member

Reminds me of the content mills and "agencies." 

 

No thank you. 

 

In my experience, no matter how many times you tell them "that's not in my writing wheelhouse," they don't listen because, after all, you're a writer...you should be able to write about anything they want. And, "but muh content, but muh authority, but muh clicks." 

 

Just like a heart surgeon should also be able to perform brain surgery. Uh huh.

 

(Ok, I know, it sounds like I'm comparing writing and surgery -- it can FEEL like that while trying to surgically extract WHAT THE CLIENT WANTS for their blahgs -- at least it's true for me; which is why NARROWING DOWN the writing genre is important on Upwork...less surgery, more free flowing writing time.)


@Kat C wrote:

Reminds me of the content mills and "agencies." 

 

No thank you. 

 

In my experience, no matter how many times you tell them "that's not in my writing wheelhouse," they don't listen because, after all, you're a writer...you should be able to write about anything they want. And, "but muh content, but muh authority, but muh clicks." 

 

Just like a heart surgeon should also be able to perform brain surgery. Uh huh.

 

(Ok, I know, it sounds like I'm comparing writing and surgery -- it can FEEL like that while trying to surgically extract WHAT THE CLIENT WANTS for their blahgs -- at least it's true for me; which is why NARROWING DOWN the writing genre is important on Upwork...less surgery, more free flowing writing time.)


I sometimes take on absurd topics just for the fun of it. Stuff like "Alternative uses for hubcaps", or a piece about "The origin of Ceasar Salad", or "Which onion cultivars make the best onion rings?" but for the most part, I agree that taking on random topics is not a good idea.  

so tell us, what onion cultivar does make the best onion ring?  One with a low water content?

lysis10
Community Member

They are farmers who probably have a marketplace thread somewhere like blackhatworld, digital pointless, and warrior forum (lol it's fun trolling there). They need you to standby because as people buy their crap they will ask you to write it.

tlbp
Community Member

I do that type of writing. I also write for agencies and the occasional content mill. I enjoy learning about new topics. 

 

Of course, since I'm a freelancer, I can always say "no" to a topic. I've always been happy with my agency work and the mill I worked for allowed writers to select their tasks. Usually, even when someone is hiring for an "everything" writer, they produce content for a limited number of niches.

 

I avoid the "high volume" job postings because I don't like to have production minimums. I think that regardless of the topic, you are more likely to experience burnout if you are trying to produce too much copy too quickly. The price per piece or hour is often below grade as well. 

 

 

 

tlsanders
Community Member


@Heaven H wrote:

I've been noticing article writing jobs (on and off Upwork) without a specific topic. I mean that the clients want content on a variety of topics as the topics arise and are looking for someone who can write about a large range of topics.

 

Obviously at least some of this type of work is just low quality crap. But are there legit writers who create quality content about whatever random topic the client throws at them? To me it seems almost impossible to write quality articles in that situation. If I were a writer, I would need to have some sort of specialty.


 Perhaps not ANY topic, but early in my career I wrote across a pretty broad spectrum. Most of us, though we may choose to focus in one niche, have a broader spectrum of experience in the world. For instance, I've written about writing and publishing, politics, parenting, 80s music, community news, volunteerism, construction, classic cars, working from home, nutrition, Catholicism, test preparation, marketing, activism, homeschooling, college and graduate school admissions, relationships, small business management...

 

Those are just the things that come to mind quickly, but each one has a basis in my own education or experience. I have a degree in political science. My dad collected antique cars when I was growing up and I spent a lot of time at car shows. I ran a non-profit and sat on the board of two others before I was 25, and was very active in volunteer recruitment and training. I've worked from home for years, and supported my family that way while homeschooling. And so on. I'm sure that's true for most people--you may not have a foundation for writing about absolutely anything that comes your way, but there are dozens, maybe hundreds of different foundations for connecting to the work and speaking the market's language.

lysis10
Community Member

I wrote about getting an angel loan once cuz I did it myself, but I usually don't write finance stuff. All that real life stuff can make money

datasciencewonk
Community Member

The technology writing takes up all of my time.

 

I've written plenty about an array of topics throughout my writing career (fiction, health and fitness, dog training -- yep). 

 

I find it more fun to play with ML algorithms. 

 

Maybe it's an MBTI thing. I'm a "Commander." So, the WRITER YOU SHALL WRITE WHAT I WANT YOU TO ON ANY TOPIC doesn't sit well with me. 

 

Plus, most editors who call themselves editors are terrible (especially via the content mills and agencies). 

 

But, I guess having taught composition and English through graduate level creates a level of discernment that is a deep cognitive algo.  It's not a level of fault tolerance I'm willing to change. 

Yeah, those people who went to law school instead are such hacks. 


@Tonya P wrote:

Yeah, those people who went to law school instead are such hacks. 


Oh no. Tiffany is a great writer ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Brilliant.

 

Logical. 

 

Metacognitive. 

martinceisel
Community Member

I did five years of "blog" writing for various car dealerships across the country. SEO click stuff akin to what the others have mentioned. One of my stripes, I guess? There was okay money in it, if nothing else. But the content itself? Phoo....

e_luneborg
Community Member

I love writing about random topics!

 

Only writing for the niche I'm in gets boring sometimes, so I like to mix it up a bit. As long as they will still pay my normal rate, which doesn't happen that often, then I'm happy to wite about all kinds of topics. 

 

This doesn't mean that I write about stuff that you need any skill or knowledge about, but just random web content stuff.

________________________
Freelancing is a gamble - To win you need skill, luck and a strategy
researchediting
Community Member

All of us who write for pay and to order are, in that specific sense, hacks.

 

B^)


@Douglas Michael M wrote:

All of us who write for pay and to order are, in that specific sense, hacks.

 

B^)


 Does that make me a mechanical hack?

lysis10
Community Member

I'm def a hack ttytt.

 

I'm getting bored of saying the same things over and over. I'm tempted to start bidding on other stuff but most of the stuff on Upwork is spam junk.

 

I even started a blog so that I could write whatever I want and then showcase it to clients but I haven't had the inspiration to write in it either. 

 

I need to go back to programming cuz it's really the only thing I like to do. But not for corporate. Corporate **Edited for Community Guidelines**


@Douglas Michael M wrote:

All of us who write for pay and to order are, in that specific sense, hacks.

 

B^)


 Which definition of "hack" are you using?

 

Hacking together a bunch of crap?

 

Hacking into information to put it together in some other (hopefully) coherent communication?

 

Performing routine and dull work (which could apply to any job)?

 

So, I'm definitely not a hack (unless it comes to programming code).

 

More like, "for some reason, people are paying me to write this stuff in a specific area of highly technical stuff and they keep doing it so I keep doing it." But, I have creative freedom. Your term more likely applies to the agency and content mill crap.

 

(But, I'd rather be pulling testing and training data while conferring with data engineers regarding RDBMS versus NoSQL database architecture to better construct algorithmic models for predictive and inferential purposes.)

Oddly enough, I meant "hack" in exactly the sense in which I defined it.

Slightly irrelevantly, I've always been intrigued about the relationship between 'hack' as derived from 'hackney' as in 'hackney carriage' and 'gig' as in the smaller carriage. So I guess hack writers taking on gigs rush around an awful lot. 

 

Usually, someone mentions Dickens at this point.

 

(https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2009/aug/13/hack-writers)


@Kim F wrote:

Slightly irrelevantly, I've always been intrigued about the relationship between 'hack' as derived from 'hackney' as in 'hackney carriage' and 'gig' as in the smaller carriage. So I guess hack writers taking on gigs rush around an awful lot. 

 

Usually, someone mentions Dickens at this point.

 

(https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2009/aug/13/hack-writers)


What about Oliver Goldsmith?

 

Here lies pour Ned Purdon, from misery freed,

Who long was a bookseller's hack,

He'd led such a damnable life in this world,

I don't think he'll wish to come back.

 

(Epitaph on Edward Purdon)


@Douglas Michael M wrote:
Oddly enough, I meant "hack" in exactly the sense in which I defined it.

 Still doesn't apply to me -- which I attended to in the prior post ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

But, if that's what you want to call yourself -- it's not my beeeeezwax.