Rewriting industry is a creativity killer and there's nothing we can do about it

6 replies
Every now and then, I get these Grammarly achievement reports or something. That's nice. You can see how many words you've checked, and some other useful stuff. Yet, when I see those, I'm not feeling well. This is the moment when I realize that I rewrite a small-size novel, when it comes to the number of words, every single month. It's not creative, and it's not fun, but it pays the bills.

Even if I have to do a research for my so-called "original" article, I rewrite. You paraphrase. You interpret some idea in your own way, with your own words, but what's that, if not a form of rewriting. Right?

Maybe, I've just been caught in one of my bad mood episodes, but sometimes I have a feeling that the entire copywriting/online writing industry has come down to rewriting. It's like a factory that keeps repacking the same old product over and over again. Prove me wrong, please.
#creativity #industry #killer #rewriting
  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    Writing is rewriting.

    If you're pushing out the first draft of anything you write as the final product, you're shooting yourself in the foot.

    I have ZERO problem word-vomiting every idea I've ever even THOUGHT of having regarding a topic. Does all of that make it in to the final piece, in the shiny-thought-syndrome word dump I do initially? Hell no.

    I rewrite. And cut. And add some. And take some more out. And reorganize. And rewrite some more. And proofread. And cut some more. And rearrange some more. And polish. And proofread again.

    Are you getting my meaning here?

    Blogs are really the only place you'd write something off the top of your head and let it fly. There's no way in HELL I ever would write an ad like that. Maybe 1% of 1% of my ads have been something so perfect the first time that I couldn't do anything to make it better.
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      I hear you Angie. But, can't you see, I'm crushed. One in ten projects is when I hear, OK write me something the way you want/feel it. Be creative. Let yourself go. Do you know what happens in the remaining nine cases? Here comes a client with a doc or a link. Here are these, rewrite them, so I don't have any plagiarism issues. That's it. I'm willing to offer the same price for writing and/or rewriting. I would like to say to my clients. You're paying the same, so at least allow me to be creative. Then, I hear something like. But I like this one. This is a safe bet. So, we're going to "borrow" and "mix" it. Ridiculous and pointless. I should look for better clients, who appreciate creativity. Great. I see no waiting line outside my house. Not gonna last too long, that's for sure. Thank you. Appreciated.

      Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

      Writing is rewriting.

      If you're pushing out the first draft of anything you write as the final product, you're shooting yourself in the foot.

      I have ZERO problem word-vomiting every idea I've ever even THOUGHT of having regarding a topic. Does all of that make it in to the final piece, in the shiny-thought-syndrome word dump I do initially? Hell no.

      I rewrite. And cut. And add some. And take some more out. And reorganize. And rewrite some more. And proofread. And cut some more. And rearrange some more. And polish. And proofread again.

      Are you getting my meaning here?

      Blogs are really the only place you'd write something off the top of your head and let it fly. There's no way in HELL I ever would write an ad like that. Maybe 1% of 1% of my ads have been something so perfect the first time that I couldn't do anything to make it better.
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      • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
        Originally Posted by neshaword View Post

        I hear you Angie. But, can't you see, I'm crushed. One in ten projects is when I hear, OK write me something the way you want/feel it. Be creative. Let yourself go. Do you know what happens in the remaining nine cases? Here comes a client with a doc or a link. Here are these, rewrite them, so I don't have any plagiarism issues. That's it. I'm willing to offer the same price for writing and/or rewriting. I would like to say to my clients. You're paying the same, so at least allow me to be creative. Then, I hear something like. But I like this one. This is a safe bet. So, we're going to "borrow" and "mix" it. Ridiculous and pointless. I should look for better clients, who appreciate creativity. Great. I see no waiting line outside my house. Not gonna last too long, that's for sure. Thank you. Appreciated.
        First you need to decide if you're going to be an article writer or a copywriter.

        If you want to be an article writer, you need to brush up on research and reporting and story telling.

        If you want to be a copywriter, you need to extensively study this field and understand that while creativity is important, the primary goal is SALES. You can have millions of creative ideas, but you need to understand how they compel people to make purchases.

        And to be perfectly blunt:

        No one put a gun to your head and forced you to choose these clients. You may have felt pressure to accept the money/assignment and pay your bills with the resulting paycheck. But clearly you are unhappy with that choice.

        The answer? Stop working for these types of clients. Period. You already know what they sound like and where they hire.

        The secondary challenge? Getting your work up to the level of an article writer or copywriter, depending on the path you choose.

        All of this is on you, my friend. It's OK to be frustrated by where you are and want to do better. But actually taking the steps to do better is entirely on you.

        "Nothing we can do about it" = complete and utter BS.
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  • Profile picture of the author BellaZee
    I’m in full agreement with Angie on this. For me, copywriting isn’t so much a writing in the traditional sense of the word but selling through words. Instead of picking up a phone, setting an appointment and meeting with a client to get them to buy my wares, it’s all done with words.

    When I was part of the corporate rat race, believe you me that I really wasn’t thinking about being creative or putting a fresh spin on selling my stuff. All I was thinking about was getting the client to sign on the dotted line.

    Even as an article writer, and I mean writing original stuff from scratch and not rewriting, you aren’t going to get much leeway in terms of being creative. Of course, that really depends on what you mean by being creative. Do you mean that you want to inject more personality into your writing? If that’s the case, then yes, there are smart clients out there who will want that and you just have to gain the self-confidence necessary to fire your crappy “rewrite-this” clients and move on to bigger and better pastures. But even then, there will always be restrictions.

    In reality, the only time you’ll actually get free reign to be as creative as you want is when you’re writing for yourself, and even then you have to implement your own restrictions because you are writing for your audience and just because you might like purple prose, it doesn’t mean they will.

    Same goes for fiction. You can be awfully creative in fiction, but you still have to create a story and use language that people will want to read.

    Regarding the not having a choice but to work for clients who want you to rewrite their stuff, I understand where you’re coming from. And yes, I do know what it’s like to have no choice. Some might say there is no such thing as no choice and they’re right. But it kinda feels like that when the choices are to accept work like that or to watch your kids go hungry or not be able to pay the rent. It’s a choice, for sure, but it doesn’t really feel like it.

    However, that being said, the real choice lies in you choosing to remain where you are in terms of the jobs you take on. You can still take these jobs to pay the bills, but put a little more time into looking for those types of clients you want to work with.

    Above all, believe in yourself. Believe that you offer an awesome service that helps businesses with their content and, implicitly, helps them make more money, and you’ll find it easier to move away from the “rewrite-this” crowd. But if all you think you’re good at is rewriting, well, then, no advice, method or tactic will help you get to where you want to be.

    Oh, and always remember what Mark Twain said:

    “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”
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    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      All of this sounds just great and inspiring. And, I really don't want to sound ungrateful, but the more I write, discuss and reply, I have this strange feeling we're addressing each other from different dimensions, or something. I respect the work and feel the pain of all fellow writers all over the world, no matter whey they are, what they do, and how much they earn. They are knights and princesses of the written word.

      I accept it and I don't feel bad about it. Not all of the writers/rewriters are destined for greatness. Not all of us will publish novels. Not all of us will see their written words transformed into movies. There's no hatred in my heart and there's envy in my voice.

      Nowadays, it's impossible to find a truly genuine original work in the IM industry. I just got a new order. There's a whole page of instructions regarding the number of words, keywords density, structure, and headlines. The greatest part about it: just follow the tone and idea of the original text, lol. This is just great. It's not like you get a topic with a single sentence instruction. Write what you feel and want about it.

      Back to work. Yet, I feel better. This WF therapy helps a lot, LOL.

      Cheers,
      Nesha

      Originally Posted by BellaZee View Post

      I'm in full agreement with Angie on this. For me, copywriting isn't so much a writing in the traditional sense of the word but selling through words. Instead of picking up a phone, setting an appointment and meeting with a client to get them to buy my wares, it's all done with words.

      When I was part of the corporate rat race, believe you me that I really wasn't thinking about being creative or putting a fresh spin on selling my stuff. All I was thinking about was getting the client to sign on the dotted line.

      Even as an article writer, and I mean writing original stuff from scratch and not rewriting, you aren't going to get much leeway in terms of being creative. Of course, that really depends on what you mean by being creative. Do you mean that you want to inject more personality into your writing? If that's the case, then yes, there are smart clients out there who will want that and you just have to gain the self-confidence necessary to fire your crappy "rewrite-this" clients and move on to bigger and better pastures. But even then, there will always be restrictions.

      In reality, the only time you'll actually get free reign to be as creative as you want is when you're writing for yourself, and even then you have to implement your own restrictions because you are writing for your audience and just because you might like purple prose, it doesn't mean they will.

      Same goes for fiction. You can be awfully creative in fiction, but you still have to create a story and use language that people will want to read.

      Regarding the not having a choice but to work for clients who want you to rewrite their stuff, I understand where you're coming from. And yes, I do know what it's like to have no choice. Some might say there is no such thing as no choice and they're right. But it kinda feels like that when the choices are to accept work like that or to watch your kids go hungry or not be able to pay the rent. It's a choice, for sure, but it doesn't really feel like it.

      However, that being said, the real choice lies in you choosing to remain where you are in terms of the jobs you take on. You can still take these jobs to pay the bills, but put a little more time into looking for those types of clients you want to work with.

      Above all, believe in yourself. Believe that you offer an awesome service that helps businesses with their content and, implicitly, helps them make more money, and you'll find it easier to move away from the "rewrite-this" crowd. But if all you think you're good at is rewriting, well, then, no advice, method or tactic will help you get to where you want to be.

      Oh, and always remember what Mark Twain said:

      "There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages."
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  • Profile picture of the author PLR Basket
    You're just getting burned out, that's all.

    I remember when I first started, I could churn out 20+ articles per day with no problem and the money was enough to satisfy me. But writing takes a lot of mental effort and can be repetitive at times. Then there's the sense of purposelessness.

    I finished my days feeling empty and went on a full sabbatical for a good 6 months before I came back. Now, I only write about things I personally know about or have actual interest in. Having a sense of fulfillment is essential in any type of creative work I think.
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