This month’s writer success story profiles a passionate and serious writer, Dr. Andrew Lakin, who brings curiosity and credibility to his work with Constant Content. He enjoys success both with the catalog and private clients who regularly seek him out on our platform.
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?
In 2017, I became part of the writing team here. I forget exactly where I first heard of Constant Content, but I suspect it was after reading a forum or blog post. I’d tried a few writing platforms before, but once I was here, I quickly realized this was the place to be.
The appeal of Constant Content was, and still is, the freedom to choose the topic and style of writing. So, in the early days, I wrote exclusively for the catalog about anything that came to mind. At first, it was an outlet to share whatever had piqued my interest, with no real worry about what sold and what didn’t. Then as things started moving, I realized it was an excellent opportunity to focus on what I could contribute to the world and share my knowledge. It’s been awesome!
What type of content have you created for Constant Content, and what are your favorite types of assignments?
Almost all of what I write is for the catalog and focuses on sharing my knowledge with others. I’m big on learning and sharing that wisdom, and I have a broad range of interests, so I’ll generally write about my current fixation. I get to cement my understanding of a topic, share what I’ve learned, and make a bit of money! What’s not to like!
I prefer not to get tied down to a niche, and I like to spread my net wide and write about as many topics as possible. I’ll try to write about my latest fascination, whether that is French history or the latest scientific breakthrough. It makes the work fun, which is always a bonus!
That said, there are some topics that I tend to fall back on if I’m short of ideas. One of my favorite subjects to write about is science-based nutrition. I have a background in the sciences, and the number of contradictory articles on the internet about diet is something I find incredibly frustrating.
You’ve had success connecting with clients who like your work and come back to you for more. How did you get connected with those clients?
The repeat clients I’ve had all came through catalog sales. I like to take a topic and explore it as far as possible, so having several articles on the same broad area helps to encourage people to come back for more, especially if they like what they read the first time. There is the old adage of quality over quantity, but what’s even better is quality and quantity. Focussing on an area and then writing what you can to the best of your ability is a sure-fire way to get people coming back.
Once a few articles sell to the same person, you get an idea of what topics to explore. Occasionally, I’ll get messages suggesting certain areas, but usually, it’s more like a Jedi mind trick! I know what they want, and they know what I’ll write without much in the way of communication. It works well for all parties.
Can you give us a glimpse of your daily writing process so other writers can learn how it leads to writer success?
I always like to make an early start and plan my day before anyone in the family wakes up. As the main carer for my two daughters, time is a precious commodity, so an hour in the morning with a cup of coffee sets the ball rolling for the whole day. I find that the peace and quiet at that time are really conducive to creating a positive outlook throughout the day.
I mainly work when the kids are at school, so I have a set plan after dropping them off. My work is in three folders: first draft, final draft, and ready to submit. I’ll work through each folder to get all of the articles one step along the chain. Then, I set aside any time left in the working day to research and write new pieces. Of course, that’s the plan, and it doesn’t always work out entirely as I intend! School holidays, in particular, throw a spanner in the works. But having that goal helps to maintain focus without getting bogged down on any one article.
If I’m in the mood in the evenings or waiting on a new book to read, I’ll sit down with a glass of wine and write whatever comes to mind. I find it cathartic in itself, and occasionally it will trigger some unusual direction to take on a topic or something completely new I never realized I’d find interesting. It’s amazing what’s inside your mind when you start to look.
How does writing for Constant Content enhance your creative writing practice and accommodate your lifestyle outside of writing for the platform?
I’m a bit of a muso, so my main creative outlet is writing lyrics. At first, I was dubious if there would be much cross-over between the Constant Content work and what I put together for my songs, as they seem very distinct. However, it’s surprising just how much benefit it brings.
Obviously, regular writing improves your vocabulary considerably. But I’ve found more benefit from exploring different subject matters and the little tidbits of information you pick up that I hope makes my lyrics more curious. I certainly didn’t expect the different styles to marry together quite so well.
The creative benefits are massive, but the way Constant Content fits into my lifestyle is even more significant. My time with my children is irreplaceable, and the flexibility the work brings has been paramount to forging a strong relationship with them. It is reassuring to know that I can always be there for them, safe in the knowledge that I have a catalog of work that will bring in a steady income.
What types of learning resources have you previously used or currently use to hone your craft?
There are the obvious basics like a dictionary and a thesaurus; dictionary.com and thesaurus.com are always open in my browser. I also like to run my work through a keyword density checker, and the one I use is from SEO Review Tools. I use it less for the SEO style results and more to check I don’t overuse a word or phrase. In one article I wrote, I had inadvertently used ‘run-of-the-mill’ 4 or 5 times in 600 words and hadn’t spotted it! We all make mistakes, and SEO Review Tools is a lifesaver for that type of error.
However, I think the most important tool I use is Google Docs. It’s a fantastic way to keep your work organized irrespective of the device you use. Also, dictation software is where I get the most benefit. If I’m out and about and get a sudden idea for a topic, I can grab my phone, say as much as I can think of on the subject, and have the idea stored until I can get to a computer.
Do you have a passion or creative outlet outside of writing life that enhances your life as a writer?
Absolutely! I think writing is an extension of your personality; even if you are writing non-fiction, that attitude still shines through in your style. In that sense, everything you do outside of work shapes a piece. But in a more specific sense, my huge creative passion is music. When I’m not with the kids, I’ve almost always got a guitar in my hand, trying to write interesting melodies or evocative chord sequences.
The obvious benefit is that I have a great starting point when I want to write about music. But there are also many subtle ways in which it influences my writing. In music, you develop a feel for what makes a harmony or melody enticing. This translates to the flow of an article or each paragraph in written work. You want to captivate your audience in both formats, and the means to do that are surprisingly similar.
Of course, my other passion is my children. I think every parent will attest to the challenges that raising kids brings, but that is part of the fun! Solving those challenges is a fantastic source of inspiration, but simply watching how a child develops and how inquisitive they are certainly influences my writing. I like to think I bring part of that curiosity to my writing and inspire others to explore their interests.
Do you have any final words of wisdom to help the Constant Content writers find their own writer success?
Write about what you love! If you find a topic interesting, then there will be plenty of others out there who feel the same. There is a market for almost everything on Constant Content, so focus on enjoying writing and making the most of all the benefits being a freelancer brings.
Also, patience is crucial. It’s easy to fall into the trap of expecting instant returns on your articles, checking the number of views all the time, and waiting for that magical ‘sold’ email to arrive in your inbox. Sometimes pieces will sell within hours; other times, it will take months or even years. Occasionally, I still sell an article I wrote when I joined Constant Content all those years ago!
Finally, read as much and as varied as you can. As a writer, the chances are you already read a lot, but I’ve found that changing my mindset to analyze other people’s work a little more has done wonders to improve my skills. What is it about an article or a novel that keeps your attention? Even though we’re writing non-fiction, we’re all still telling a story. The key is to make it as captivating as possible.
You can check out Dr Andrew Lakin’s public profile on the Constant Content platform here.
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