The Mad 200 Word Dash

You’ve heard how things happen for the best of reasons, right? Or how the hard times will all amount to something. Let me tell you a story based on naivete and unscrupulous people.

When I started out writing, I was directly hired. It was a great time, my client taught me skills and writing tips. He mentored me until his editors found no fault in my articles. He taught me a very basic thing too: about willpower and writing. In essence he said that writing was a series of bursts, pauses, and stops. He should know. He’s a writer too.

Unfortunately for me, and him, he had to shut down operations. I was then hired to write for a firm that churns out articles to article directories. The writers were tasked to write 20 200 word articles in eight hours. How do you write 20-25 200 word articles like that? And how did the management came to that figure?

Well, with the utilisation of one of the crudest tools ever known, the project manager sat down to write a 200 word article. It took her 20 minutes. She figured that 3 articles per hour multiplied by 8 hours would result in 24 articles. (yes, I’d love to hear your comments on this.) The client was very happy, everyone will be so productive. But was it possible?

Yes, I did it but it took me all day and night. I wondered how long I’d last. the pace was punishing and I told the project manager this. Her response was, she could do an article in 20 minutes, therefore it follows that everyone else can do it in 20 minutes, hour after hour.

Fortunately for me, I was promoted to junior editor after 3 months. I was going crazy, wondering where everything was going and if it even has meaning. I noticed too how every writer’s output became worse as the day wore on. Quality suffered and it was the editors task to clean it up.

Again I approached the pr0ject manager and suggested to hire more writers and spread the load to maintain quality. Her answer? She doesn’t want to deal with more writers. At that point, I knew I wanted to chat directly with the client. But before I could do so, Google intervened.

Google took pity on all those article mills. He pushed Panda out, and Penguin followed soon after. And that was the death of it.

Did I gain anything from it? Yes I did. I gained a valuable lesson which is: If content is king, writers should be treated better and compensated according to quality of work. Milking writers for all their worth daily is counter intuitive, you’re bound to suffer in terms of quality.

I also learned I’m not a prolific writer I can’t write 4000 words a day, every single day. I discovered that I am better at editing another person’s work, giving feedback, training, and creating resources for learning. In short, I’m better at finding fault with other people’s work, but only so they can improve it.

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4 thoughts on “The Mad 200 Word Dash

    1. Can’t believe it myself LOL But it was excellent training, writing wise. The topics were totally unrelated, so versatility and facility for words were important. BTW how’s your new job going? I hope you’re having fun!

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  1. Writing just isn’t like any other work. You need space and time to let the light in! Three cheers for what Panda and Penguin have done to elevate respect for quality of content and peace of mind of authors 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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