Fear and Loathing in Grammar-land

I have a few spelling and grammar bugs that get to me.  One is when people type “loose” when they mean “lose”.  Another is misuse of the term “literally”.  Really?  Really friend?  Your ass literally froze off?  What are you sitting on while you type???

Okay Katie, breathe, breathe….

Anyway, we’ve all run into those forum posters who correct some poor distracted person’s misuse of the apostrophe or “teh” typos.  I have never, ever in my life, seen that run as rampant as it does on the Demand Media Studios forum for writers.  I just watched a thread about the rejection appeal process get completely hijacked by an “imply vs. infer” dogfight.  I guess that’s what happens when you throw a bunch of writers and copy editors into a pit.

So, speaking of rejection appeals…  Everyone fears the rejected article, especially me.  Especially since at DMS you only have one chance at a rewrite before something is rejected.  For many writers at DMS, rewriting isn’t even an option; they would rather let the rewrite expire than risk having a rejection on their record.  (By the way, I’m not so nervous, as I haven’t had any rejections, and my rewrite requests have always been really simple.  My last one was “This is twice as long as required, please remove half the content”.  Ack!  But an easy fix.)

When I first started at DMS, one of the other writers there gently guided me toward a site called Constant Content.  It is the preferred site, it seems for reselling rejected orphan articles.  I registered immediately in grave fear that I would soon have multiple articles on the market.  I haven’t taken a job there or sold an article there yet, but I may soon.

Along with allowing writers to put articles up on the site for purchase, Constant Content allows site owners to put up writer-wanted listings for content articles they need.  These often pay extremely well – I’ve seen $100+ articles listed on a fairly consistent basis.  The trouble is, you’re essentially writing on spec.  You write the article, and so do the other twenty people who saw the ad and want the bucks, and you all submit.  The client chooses the one that suits their needs the best, and pays that person.  The others are left to possibly re-list their articles back on Constant Content, or just suck it up and accept the loss.

If I really needed another source of income, I might try some of the articles.  Some have really sparked my interest, especially those on Photoshop techniques, since Photoshop is one of my favourite “toys” but I have been struggling – since I’ve been sick off and on since Christmas – to meet my minimums at Mahalo and write the titles I really like over at DMS before they expire (once you claim a title, you have to write it  within the week or it returns to the queue for someone else to claim).  Not to mention that this week, I started a new phase at Mahalo.

I left training four weeks ago.  Once you’re done with training, you move into a separate group of spreadsheets which, unfortunately for me, had wayyyy less options in the way of titles.  Most are video How-To, like “How to say tomato in Korean” and things of that ilk.  I thought they would be easy and fun until I did two of them and found myself scratching my head trying to figure out how on earth to meet the minimum word requirements of a page based on a twenty second video of someone repeating a Korean word.  All of the other titles were cities, so I’ve been learning an awful lot about relatively obscure American cities.  Like that Gainesville, Florida has the largest bat house in North America, or that Duluth was founded by some French fella named du Lhut.  Apparently no one could spell his name.  Too French I guess.  Or hey, didja know that there is a museum devoted entirely to the history of the RV in Elkhart, Indiana?  You can learn more about Elkhart here: http://www.mahalo.com/elkhart-in if you’re so inclined.

So now, after four weeks, I start doing updates.  This is hourly paid work, and you’re required to do at least three 2-hour shifts per week.  Guides get paid $8.50 an hour and senior guides get $10 an hour, which isn’t terrible for work from home shifts.  And you get to write about stuff like what happened on the Bachelor that night or who wore what to the Golden Globes.  It’s a little more fun than writing about the downtown revitalization project in Greenville, SC, but if you’re so inclined to READ about it… http://www.mahalo.com/greenville-sc

1 Comment for “Fear and Loathing in Grammar-land”



You're right, only writers and copy editors would even know what to do in an "imply vs infer" dogfight.