Uncategorized

I made my radio debut, along with my lovely Mum, on Monday 17th December 2018. The opportunity was completely unexpected and here is how it happened:

On Friday, the phone rang. It was a private number so I ignored it. Private numbers mean PPI or ‘our records show you have been involved in a car accident’. If it was important, they’d leave a message.

A few minutes later, a message was left. I listened. It was Rav Sanghera, a producer with BBC Radio Sheffield. He had found my blog on David and Donetta about moving to Doncaster and thought I would be a good interviewee for the Monday show, which was about people migrating to South Yorkshire. I googled the details, and ascertained that Rav was a real person, with a real job. I rang back.

A book was being published about refugees who had moved to Sheffield. The radio station wanted to interview other people who had moved nearby, for less harrowing reasons. I had a chat with Rav about how great Doncaster was to live in, and mentioned that my parents moved with me. For those that don’t know, I have Crohn’s Disease and my parents take care of me when I have a relapse.

Rav was interested as to how they had found the move, especially as we are all from down south originally (although we had already moved to York, before Doncaster). I mentioned that my Mum had emigrated to Canada in her twenties, so Doncaster wasn’t such a big leap of faith. We agreed that Mum would be a great interviewee too, so we were both booked on the show.

Carrie Prior, AKA Mum, on the left. We didn’t deliberately match outfits.

I spent the weekend being utterly terrified. For about 4 years I have had really bad social anxiety. I used to absolutely love going to events and meeting new people, and now it fills me with dread. I was so glad that Mum was going with me, else I might have chickened out.

We made it to the studio and everyone was so friendly and welcoming. Rav and the presenter, Rony, are total sweethearts and made us both feel at home. It was just like having a chat in your living room. I managed to rep several awesome Doncaster businesses and not make a total prat out of myself during the section on dialect.

Hearing Mum’s story was really interesting. Even though I knew most of it, it turns out that she was in Canada for 9 years, which was double how long I thought she had spent there. I also didn’t realise that she and her husband (her first one, not my Dad) were totally on their own once they got there, and only had £100 in their pocket. Even in the 1960s, that wasn’t a lot of money! I definitely want to explore Mum’s experiences in greater detail, let me know in the comments below if you would like to know more as well.

You can listen to our interview from 1:09 at the following link (until approximately 16/01/2019):

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06s002p

Clients, HireWriters, Uncategorized

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All freelance writers have come across sites known as ‘content mills’. Most of them offer semi-regular work without endless pitching. Unfortunately, rates can be low. For this reason, content mills have gotten a bad rap. But there is one site, HireWriters, that provides plenty of work and there are decent incomes to be earned. Even better, they take on writers from across the globe, including the UK.

Entry to HireWriters.com is via a simple sample piece and a short grammar test. Once that is done, you will be taken on at the beginner tier. This is the lowest of four tiers and understandably has the smallest pay rate. It is very easy to quickly work your way up the tiers. Quality is determined by how many pieces of work you have submitted and how high a rating you got. 14 pieces averaging 4.6 stars plus 4 star plus earns you the top tier, Expert, which is where real money can be made. My first 12 pieces easily got a 5 star rating, a combination of my genius writing ability (of course) and how nice the clients are!

The clients also have ratings, and you can see how often they reject vs accept pieces. As a general rule, avoid clients with a less that 90% acceptance rate. Obviously this is a little hard to judge with brand new clients who have only ordered a couple of pieces of work. Check the quality of their instructions. You want a clear brief and defined keywords. You can privately message the clients if you have questions, but be aware that their response time does not affect the final deadline, and you can be penalised for late work.

If rewrites are necessary, the client can also contact you. I’ve been lucky in not needing to do extensive rewrites, but I did have one client who asked me to expand on a detail in an article I was writing for him. Try as I might, I could not find the information needed. I messaged the client, apologising and offering to withdraw from the piece. To my joy, he accepted the piece as was with no further rewrites required.

Some clients even go so far as to pay bonuses on top of the standard fee. The fees are clearly set out in each job advert. There is a percentage fine to pay if you cannot submit the piece by the deadline, but most deadlines are generous. Short 150-300 word pieces often come with a deadline of 12 hours, where long form 1000 words plus can be anything from 1 day to 5.

I have a private client, which is someone who contacts me directly via HireWriters as opposed to posting on the open jobs board. On average, I am paid $30 for a 1000 word piece. We thoroughly discuss the topic and direction beforehand and I am given a generous deadline for research and writing. This is far more than can be earned picking up beginner jobs, where a 150 word plus description can often be paid at $1.27. However, it is worth knocking out a few of these at the start to get your rating up so that you can attract the higher paying private clients. As a bonus, some of the shorter pieces are fun to write. I built my rating up writing short pieces of celebrity gossip. It felt more like break-time than work, and I earned a little bit of money.

All the work on Hirewriters.com is ghostwriting, so you do not get to see you finished work up on a website. But if you are a quick writer, it is an easy way to make money. HireWriters pay out every Friday, so long as you have $10 or more in your account. There are often over 700 jobs on the system, so hitting a $10 target each week isn’t difficult. If you are looking to see if freelance writing is for you, I thoroughly recommend signing up to Hirewriters.com.

Please note, this is an affiliate post for HireWriters.