Author Spotlight: JAL
For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed writing. The first writing experience I can recall is a fifth-grade report about cats. I’m sure the teacher expected a couple of paragraphs, but I turned in a bundle of six single-spaced pages!
Let me introduce myself. My name is JAL, and I like to create things. I taught myself to crochet when I was eight years old because growing up in a small town with cold Michigan winters meant a lot of time inside the house! My three kids have gotten used to me knitting a sock while I watch them at their swimming classes. I am rarely seen without a cup of coffee and a hook or needles and yarn. My other hobbies include taking ceramics classes with my kids and KonMari-ing my house. I also enjoy baking, but rarely do I actually measure ingredients or follow a recipe. I’m also a bit of a nerd. I strictly read nonfiction, and I read every day. One of my favorite books is “And the Band Played On” by Randy Shilts. The way that he brought together politics, social activism, history, science, epidemiology, and societal norms was seamless. Another favorite is “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman. My only sibling is severely disabled, and this book helped me understand what I experienced growing up.
Lifelong Love of Writing
For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed writing. The first writing experience I can recall is a fifth-grade report about cats. I’m sure the teacher expected a couple of paragraphs, but I turned in a bundle of six single-spaced pages! In college, majoring in biology meant writing plenty of technical laboratory reports. In graduate school for my Master of Public Health degree, I chose to write a thesis instead of taking the exam. Most students wrote a thesis of around 120 to 140 pages, but mine was well over 300 because of the logistic regression modeling! I began freelance writing in 2009 for a couple of different websites while also working as an epidemiologist. Because of some health problems for my then-infant son and me, working outside of the home became impossible. I transitioned to full-time freelancing in September 2011.
How I Found Textbroker
I found Textbroker in October 2011, when a friend referred me to the site. I quickly discovered that Textbroker’s range of clients and various orders could provide me with a steady stream of work. Over the years, I have enjoyed the support of Textbroker’s Author Services team. I know that when I have a question about an order or a client, they will reply as quickly as possible so that I can proceed with the content.
My Favorite Topics
I like to write about health and science topics. I have also found that I enjoy writing product descriptions. They allow me to put my research hat on. In the product descriptions category, I have written about everything from hex bolts to adult toys!
Writing for Managed Teams
I have completed more than 28,000 orders, and more than 16,000 of them have been for Managed Teams. I like writing orders for the Managed Teams because of the consistent expectations. Once I become familiar with the team’s instructions, the writing process gets faster. With consistent instructions and expectations, I can spend more of my time creating content. Many of the Managed Teams regularly post big batches of articles, and I appreciate the consistency in available orders. Sometimes, the instructions change a little. The Account Managers do a great job of giving authors on the team a “heads up” about those changes.
My top five tips for writing on Textbroker’s Managed Teams:
1. Join Different Types of Teams
There are a lot of different types of Managed Teams on Textbroker. Some of them involve product descriptions, some are service pages for businesses, and others are more SEO-oriented. Joining several different teams is a good idea because it allows you to branch out and try something new. You might not realize that you are great at writing SEO-friendly blog posts for roofers until you try it!
2. Understand SEO
A lot of Managed Team content requires some SEO knowledge. That shows up in the keywords. Sometimes, keywords are awkward or even spelled incorrectly. When I see this, I verify with the team’s Account Manager that the words are posted in the way the client wants them to be. Some Managed Teams are more elastic with their SEO preferences. This gives you more flexibility. One thing I learned about using SEO is that long-tail keyword phrases are better than a single keyword.
3. Learn Some HTML
Managed Teams often ask for HTML. Knowing how to code basic headers, lists, and bold text makes this go more smoothly. There are several HTML code checkers available online for free if you want to check your coding before submitting an order.
4. Avoid Ruts
Writing the same kind of order daily could make even the most creative writer feel stuck in a rut after a while. I try to choose orders from a few different Managed Teams. Most of the time, I have multiple teams with available orders. I might write a few short blog posts for one Managed Team in the morning, then switch to writing product descriptions in the afternoon. Sometimes I switch between Managed Team orders with high word counts and shorter orders. This prevents me from being too formulaic in the orders that need a fresh perspective.
5. Be Patient
Managed Teams allow you to challenge yourself and your writing skills. When you first start writing for a Managed Team, give yourself some grace. There is often a learning curve to understanding the instructions and getting the tone right. What I often do is write one or two orders on a new team and wait for them to be processed. I take a look at the feedback. If I get revisions, making changes to one or two orders is doable. It’s also good to know when to say when. Not every team is for every author. Chances are good that another team will be an excellent fit for your style.
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