This month’s writer success story profiles Peter Swift, a long-time, well-established writer valued for his straightforward, effective writing and reliability and his ability to write on just about any topic.
How did you hear about Constant Content, when did you join the platform, and how did you start earning with us as a freelance writer?
I first came across Constant Content in my previous working life as a search engine optimizer in the finance industry. I was looking for a reliable source of quality content at a reasonable price, and the platform quickly became my go-to choice. So when I switched to full-time writing in around 2015, Constant Content seemed like a natural outlet to write for.
I started out mainly writing about marketing and personal finance, placing the articles in the marketplace for general sale. I had enough early purchases to keep me interested, and as I gained more experience I was able to refine my approach to improve my sales rate, and also branch out into other topics that tended to connect well with buyers.
What type of content have you created for Constant Content, and what are your favorite types of assignments?
I mostly write informative ‘how to’ kinds of articles or SEO-based content for retailers, although I’ve also done product descriptions, social media content, and newsletter copy.
I think I’ve written on almost every major topic at one time or another, and I’ve no real preferences when it comes to the subject matter. However, I much prefer to tackle assignments where there’s a little depth to explore so I can produce something of genuine value, rather than keyword-stuffed puff pieces designed just to hit a word count. Luckily, most of the clients here also prefer that approach, so everyone’s happy!
What is it like working with Constant Content compared to other freelance platforms?
The key benefit for me is that Constant Content handles all the invoicing, payment, and client relations so that I can concentrate on the writing side rather than being bogged down in admin.
But I also like the flexibility of the marketplace. If I hit on an idea for an article I can go ahead and write it, set my own price, and be fairly confident it’ll sell sooner rather than later.
And of course, Constant Content is always working behind the scenes to provide a steady stream of new client and project opportunities, once again leaving me free to write rather than spending time drumming up business.
You’ve found success connecting with clients who like your work and come back to you for more. How did you get connected with those clients?
My first repeat client was an online retailer in the gardening sector. I’d written a marketplace article on a fairly obscure aspect of chili pepper cultivation, based on research I’d done for my own growing attempts so it was an easy write. It clearly provided a solution the client was looking for, as after purchasing it they asked for a few more pieces in the same vein.
Over the following years, we’ve together covered a huge range of gardening topics through private requests they’ve sent, and that client remains a longstanding and highly valued customer.
I’ve gained other repeat clients by responding to casting calls and public requests sent through the Constant Content platform. Although the right match doesn’t come along every day, making a strong impression with a quality article can lead to some lucrative long-term relationships.
Can you give us a glimpse of your daily writing process so other writers can learn how it leads to writer success?
As my workload has increased, organization has become more and more important. I start each day with routine groundwork such as dealing with email, noting any new deadlines, setting up project outlines, checking I fully understand incoming briefs, and so on. Once all that’s up to date, and once the coffee has kicked in, I’ll start working on drafts for whichever assignments have the highest priority.
I’ll generally spend the rest of the morning writing drafts, before taking a break away from the screen. In the afternoons I’ll return to the previous day’s pieces and knock them into shape before proofing and submitting them to the platform. Where possible I don’t like to write and edit a piece on the same day, so organizing my time carefully means I can usually avoid that.
How does writing for Constant Content enhance your creative writing practice and accommodate your lifestyle outside of writing for the platform?
When I first started writing for Constant Content my two daughters were still fairly young, and here in Austria the school day usually finishes between midday and 2 pm. The flexibility of the platform meant I was able to fit my writing around looking after them in the afternoons.
Now that they’re older and more independent, the same flexibility means I can take a break from writing if I need to, maybe going out for some fresh air, spending a few hours with music, or doing anything else that will spark my inspiration.
What learning resources have you previously used or currently use to hone your craft?
I pass every completed piece through the free online versions of Hemingway App and Grammarly, both of which help to highlight errors and weaknesses. But they can also offer some strange recommendations, so I only use them as a rough guide.
Other than that, I think my most useful writing resource is Twitter. I follow a lot of editors, linguists, grammar experts, and other language professionals who aren’t necessarily writers first and foremost. Reading their insights can make me look at writing in new ways, helping to keep things fresh.
And of course, I think the best thing any writer can do to improve their skills is to read as much high-quality writing as possible across a wide range of topics, keeping an eye open for any interesting words or techniques to borrow.
Do you have a passion or creative outlet, outside of your writing, that enhances your life as a writer?
My lifelong creative passion is writing music, particularly in the area where electronics meet guitars. I have my music rig set up next to my writing laptop, and when I’m feeling lost for words on a piece, switching modes and working on sound for a while can often clear the block. That’s not a freedom I’d enjoy in many traditional working environments.
The benefits work in reverse too. I worried that putting too much energy into writing would detract from my music, but the opposite has been true. It appears that exercising creative muscles in one area can also bring benefits to others in a kind of virtuous productive circle.
Do you have any final words of wisdom to help the Constant Content writers find their own writer success?
If I could tell my younger writing self one thing, it’d be to always begin a project as soon as possible after receiving the brief. Whether it’s researching a few keywords, setting down a couple of key ideas, or creating a full outline, I find it important to get something done as early as I can.
That way, I avoid the terrifying feeling of hurtling toward a deadline while staring at a blank screen. Perhaps more importantly, it seems to set subconscious cogs whirring and it’s easier to get writing when it’s time to actually start work.
But lastly, I’m a firm believer in the adage that “a first draft doesn’t need to be good, it just needs to be written.” Nothing kills creativity faster than worrying about word choice or grammar on the first pass through a piece!
Images by Unsplash