If you’re looking to hire a writer, it can be a lot like packing a suitcase for Mars. “They” say the cloud colonies of the terrestrial planets have all the creature comforts and amenities of earth, but you never know until the doors of the intergalactic monorail whoosh open, leaving you at the flower-lined doorstep of SkyBlock 15. Did you really need to pack that cable-knit sweater for the Martian winter? What about the umbrella? The loafers? The suntan lotion?
Despite well-crafted profiles, numerous writing samples, and a content service database that rivals The Library of Babel (Jorge Luis Borges), when a client scrolls through all this information, he or she might still select the wrong writer for a particular job. If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then it stands to reason that one writer can be from Pluto and another from Messier 31, while a third resides somewhere in the Euclidean, stardust realm of the Fourth Dimension.
However, let’s apply more science to the process of writer selection and less science fiction. The New World Encyclopedia summarizes Charles Darwin’s 1859 theory of natural selection as the following:
“It is the process by which biological organisms with favorable traits survive and reproduce more successfully than organisms that do not possess such traits, and, conversely, organisms with deleterious traits survive and reproduce less successfully than organisms lacking such deleterious traits.”
Using Charles Darwin’s criteria you could conclude that writers with favorable traits such as good grammar, spelling, and the understanding of tone will survive in the cutthroat world of web content creation. The phrase “reproduce more successfully” can best be described as a having a larger and therefore more monetarily rewarding client base. On the other hand, those writers who botch pronoun usage, misuse semicolons or pockmark their work with comma splices will find themselves with fewer clients, and without a client base, money doesn’t reproduce.
Whether you’re discussing the human race or the animal kingdom, there are many variations and differences that don’t affect the chances of survival. Take hair or eye color, for example. At the same time, there are also variations that can improve the likelihood of survival. The Spine-Tailed Swift can fly at 106 mph, and the Cheetah can run at 70 mph. They are more likely to escape their predators with those type of traits; in fact, with those characteristics they become the predators.
Aren’t the same rules applied when it comes to writing? The variations and differences amongst writers are what the client is looking for, not the homogeneous similarities. Many writers have favorable traits, but most clients are looking for the variations that make Writer A stand apart from Writer B and C, be it their quirky humor, unique sentence structure, experimental tone, or something else entirely.
Hiring a writer, like packing a suitcase for Mars, is all about Natural Variation.
Damon H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.