The Agony and the Ecstasy: The Six Stages of Content Writing

Posted on May 31, 2012 by Kate C

It starts with the thrill of the hunt. You’re scanning the available orders, looking for that perfect level-four assignment on a topic you already know. Or, you’ve spotted a Casting Call, asking for writers with an extensive knowledge of poodle grooming. Perfect! You’ve got three poodles at home — you’re a shoo-in! And, just like that, it’s already happened. Unbeknownst to you, you’ve entered the first phase of the six stages of content writing: Anticipation.

Stage two quickly follows: Excitement. You snag that perfect order or you see your Love List number jump. This is great; you’re ready to write. You know your topic and you’ll do a good job. “I love working in content services,” you may tell yourself. “I like working from home, and I love to write. Gee, this is fun.”

That’s when stage three creeps up on you: Dread. That wheedling voice in your head asks, “What have you done to yourself?” You’ve accepted an order — maybe even two or three — and you can’t cancel them, as that would trash your rating. But, do you really have time to do them all? Who’s going to cook dinner tonight? Who’ll drive Tiffany to her trumpet lessons? And really, how much do you know about poodle grooming? You just drop your three poodles off at the groomer once a month and pick them up two hours later, newly shorn and spanking clean. What were you thinking?

Finally, dinner’s over and little Tiffany is back home, upstairs with her horn, blasting her way through “La Cucaracha.” You’ve finished cleaning the kitchen and you’re sitting at your computer. Hot trepidation starts to grow. You’ve run squarely into stage four: Panic. You’ve put the writing off way too long; you’ll never beat that deadline. You don’t even know how to attack this article. Several minutes pass as you stare at the blank screen, and that darned green “Time Remaining” counter keeps eating up your precious seconds: 2 hours 42 minutes 48 seconds. 47… 46… 45…

Just when all seems lost, you muster up some courage and march into stage five: Acceptance. Okay. You took this order and there’s still time left to get it done. You put your “I’m working” sign on your office door, settle back into your chair and get started. You look up several pages online about poodle grooming and it spurs some ideas of your own. The first sentence is the hardest, but the rest come more and more quickly. Before you know it, your piece is complete. It has a nice introduction. The paragraphs flow easily from one to the next. There’s even just a touch of quirky humor in there. Perfect. You hit “Save and Submit.”

Lastly, there’s stage six: Euphoria. The project is done, and it was done well. You anticipate a great rating and maybe even a bonus. Sitting at your desk, basking in the warm, rosy glow of accomplishment, you remember just why you like this job so much. Time to turn off the computer and relish your success. Maybe you’ll get the kids together for a game of Monopoly and enjoy a nice, quiet evening.

You’re about to close your browser, but, heck, you’re already signed in, why not check the available orders before you leave? Hey! There’s a new one. It’s about making bagels. You eat bagels! Yep, back to stage one: anticipation.

Kate C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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