Saturday, March 6, 2010

First Helium article in ages

Today before my online Inner Order class, I managed to write almost an entire article for Helium. (I needed to write the final paragraph after the online class was over, but outside of grammar checking it was done.)

This is the first article I have written for Helium in nine months. I sort of gave up writing for Helium when they decided to make rating mandatory for payment. As in actually maintaining a rating star.

I had no problem rating before this policy change. Rating was something I used to do when I was looking for article ideas, or thought I should be working and did not actually feel like doing any actual writing.

I did have a problem with rating after the policy change. Basically, there are times I only have a few minutes to write, and forcing me to rate instead annoyed me. There were a couple of times I even lost my rating star...and the few pennies I had coming to me. Since the policy change, they have revised the standards toward maintaining a rating star closer to what I have time for.

Yes, I do have an article that makes it worth my time to maintain a rating star. I am not going to point it out, but there is an article that I am earning a dollar a week from. Considering that I can now maintain a rating star with just a half hour of time a month, it makes sense to do so for my entire set of articles there (which together make it worthwhile to sepnd the time to maintain the penny flow---it beats restaurant work).

It was last month during one of my sessions of rating that I ran across a set of articles that I just did not like. They were about the importance of word count and article length on Helium. And honestly, I thought that they all missed the boat. I kept hoping for an article that was actually better than the others---alas, it never showed up.

After reading (and rating) a half dozen articles that said, "It is the rules" or "You must understand the history of the word count policy," I decided that another article was needed. Personally, I could care less about the fact that it is the rules for our Helium articles to be at least four hundred words, and that we are discouraged from going over 1500 words. I could care even less about the history of the policy which I already know.

What matters to me is that if you don't hit between these two amounts, odds are that your article is not going to be read. And let's be honest, I am all about the page views and Google love. Yes, I am interested in the real reason for the policy...after all, I am a working writer.

Any writer that does not have the skill to write between these amounts is not going to make much money on the internet. Or anywhere else for that matter. I came from the print market, and still work in it on occasion, and one of the first things that comes out of a writer's mouth when being given an assignment is "How many words?"

Over the last month, my mind kept going back to this bad set of articles. (Ok, they were not that bad...but they would not be what I would be looking for if I was searching for why it was important to maintain a certain standard for word count purposes.) So today, I just decided to write a more informative article. Or at least, I hope that it is more informative.

If nothing else, I know what type of writing drives me to the point that drives me to write better.

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