Wilson Modi is a mercenary writer who wages marketing battles on behalf of blogs, brands & products across the world & across offline, online & Social Media. He has been a copy as well as a songwriter for over 7 years before focusing on mercenary gigs on the internet. You might want to follow him on Twitter or write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why are you passionate about writing?
I am just astounded as well as humbled by the power that writing has over people. Be it spiritual, political, scientific, religious or commercial kind.
It is just amazing how impacting words really are. When infused with the right ideas and crafted & strung together the right way, they inform as well as inspire. Engage & entertain as well as enlighten. They transform hearts & minds. They change individuals as well as societies. And once in a while the entire course of history. Remember liberte, eqalite, fraternite!
Besides it’s the only thing I am good at.
Why don’t freelance writers make as much money as they should?
Conventional wisdom. They all follow what everyone else is saying or doing. That is, following popular opinion or so-called gurus they would join freelance writing sites that are a dime a dozen on the internet and bid the lowest to get work. Some even pay a hefty sum to join such sites that supposedly (and magically) would make them $1000 per week or month. Get work they will. And get paid they will but in peanuts. These sites are great for clients. Unfortunately, they are not so especially for new & aspiring freelance writers.
Come on, how do you expect to make money when you always have to price yourself the lowest even if you are a quality writer? To me that’s regression not progression. And the competition for bids is colossal. There has to be a better way. And there is.
We as freelancers should stop working harder and start working smarter.
What are the benefits of being a freelance writer online?
For a start, you are your own boss. Now, isn’t that what we all want to be!
Then there is the freedom of choice in terms of work. You get to decide what kind of work you want to take up – blog posts, articles, landing pages, advertisements, website content, infographics, eBooks, TV or radio commercial scripts, short film or documentary scripts, short stories, songs, reviews, news reports, academic thesis, technical manuals, brochures and what have you. And you work according to the time & place of your convenience.
Imagine you are at a lovely beach in the afternoon & working at the same time. Or relaxing & sipping your favorite beer at your favorite pub & crafting your next killer copy. Or just lazing around on your couch typing & yet making money. And there is no Donald Trump to fire you. It is absolute fun.
For freelancers the whole world is both an oyster & an office. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. And it is surely not a get rich quick formula. It requires self-belief, self-discipline & commitment.
How often should a writer practice writing?
I think perfection is something that you can never achieve but only aspire for. If someone tells you that you are perfect then to me it is plain flattery although that shouldn’t stop you from taking it as a compliment. And if someone tells you he is perfect then, in my humble opinion, he is simply delusional. Hence, practicing your craft is never ending.
Brain Clark of Copyblogger fame has said it better than I ever would (obviously) in this short but great blog post. It just sums up the importance of practicing the art of writing. I would suggest every freelance writer, or any writer for that matter, to read it. Then read it again.
What authors inspire you?
I think my answer might surprise you as well as other freelance writers.
My inspiration has always been those scientific luminaries who were/are also excellent writers. Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, Jared Diamond, Paul Davis & Brian Green to name just a few. Call it standing on the shoulders of giants if you will.
From a writer’s perspective, the way these intellectual greats help us ordinary folks grasp & understand the complex laws & principles of the natural world by distilling them into the simplest language possible and with their brilliant use of metaphors, illustrations & stories are worth emulating. Apart from lessons in better writing you also get to know the universe that we live in. Now, that’s some bonus!
When it comes to ‘professional’ writing, I just love & admire the team at www.copyblogger.com. To me they are the giants of my kind of writing.
What are your future goals and plans?
My immediate plan is to spread the word about my newly founded start-up called MercenaryWriter in Bangalore, India & to seek new challenges & form new partnerships. It is a home & internet based content creation unit made up of freelance copywriters, bloggers as well as designers and developers spread across S/SE Asia. We abhor traditional wisdom (and people who are full of it) like the plague especially those that limits both the scope and opportunity for freelancing online.
In the coming months my team & I are planning to throw open the secrets (there is no point keeping them all to ourselves) of freelance writing that many people are unaware of in the form of free online courses. Our idea is to turn ordinary folks – housewives, retirees, students, regular office-goers and even freelance writers – into an army of mercenary writers who can take up any kind of writing across all genres as well as media and make money.
Once they know these tips, tricks & techniques they wouldn’t be bidding the lowest and bleeding themselves but instead they would open themselves to limitless potential & opportunity that freelancing online has to offer. They would learn each & every kind of writing there is & where & how to get clients for themselves and much more.
Our message is simple – anyone can become a mercenary writer (don’t ever let anyone say you don’t have in you) and make money online provided they know how. We want people to think of themselves not as freelance writers but as mercenary writers.
How will the world of online freelance writing change?
It is a very good question, and a pertinent one.
Technology changes things. If in the centuries gone by the printing press revolutionized writing, today new technologies are doing the same in a way. The growing phenomena of ebooks & self-publishing have already taken the world of writing by storm. Then we have all these nifty tablets, smartphones & apps. Add to it Social Media which is not just a great medium to publicize yourself but also to network and explore newer opportunities. We live in exciting times, to say the least.
Moreover, a freelance writer in Bangalore can write for clients in Birmingham. Or a freelance blogger in Manila can create content for clients in Manhattan without ever having to meet in person. How cool is that! However, this is the past & the present.
The future would be more exciting, no doubt. Although one cannot predict what new technologies would be invented or their implications for us as freelance writers but one thing is certain – those of us who are willing to let go of conventional wisdom and adapt & respond to emerging challenges & opportunities will be the ones who would not only survive but thrive.
The world of freelance writing is also a Darwinian world. The environment is constantly changing. The competition is cruel. And the resources are scare. Only the fittest & smartest would succeed.
Some of Wilson’s work…