Wanna Be Lit AGENT

April 7, 2011

Interview with Sylvia Rosen

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wanna Be Lit. Agent @ 7:13 pm

Hello all,

Today’s Interview is with Sylvia Rosen, a web content writer. Hope you enjoy.

 

Sylvia Rosen is a web content writer who writes on a variety of topics,

ranging from residential services like home security systems

to the latest telecom trends such as business telephone systems.

 

Tell me a little about your background? Schooling?

I’m from Marblehead, MA which is a town 20 miles North of Boston. I went to the University of New Hampshire to study English/Journalism. I graduated there last May with a BA in Journalism. 

When did you first consider yourself a writer? / How long have you been writing?

I started writing when I was in third grade and a teacher assigned my class to keep a diary. In addition to writing about my daily schedule, I started writing short stories.

It wasn’t until I was a junior in high school, however, that I decided I wanted to be a writer as a career choice. A piece I wrote about being adopted was published in my town’s paper (The Marblehead Reporter) and it got a lot of positive feedback. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how powerful the printed word could be.   

What is your best description of a web content writer?

Being a web content writer means writing content for a wide range of websites. Depending on a site’s focus, a web content writer could write material relating to technology, health or fitness.

How did you begin as a web content writer?

That was the hardest part. My dreams of wanting to be a journalist had to be put on hold because the industry was struggling.

The first step was to find the sites that wanted contributors. From there, once you’ve built a bit of a portfolio, you can take the next step in offering blog post and article ideas to sites that don’t advertise for contributors.

It’s an ongoing process of finding the sites, brainstorming ideas, pitching the ideas to the sites, and then writing them.   

What’s the biggest challenge in selecting clients?

Sometimes I’ll find a site that I really like and want to contribute to, but can’t find a topic to write about that either hasn’t already been done or I can’t find a source for.

When it comes to sites reaching out to me to write for them, sometimes I have to say no because I just don’t have enough time or they aren’t developed enough.

Are you working on anything now? 

Yes! I’m excited because I’m about to interview a friend from college who is an entrepreneur. It’s been a year now since he’s starting putting together his internet marketing business, and I want to be one of the first people to tell his story. It will be featured on an entrepreneurial site for young professionals.

What kind of people do you work with?

A wide range of people: industry professionals, small business owners, entrepreneurs, retired professionals, health experts, fashionistas, everything.

That’s what I like about what I do – every new writing assignment means working with different people.

What is one thing you did not expect came with the being a web contents writer?

The rejection – when I made the move to pitch story ideas to sites that weren’t looking for contributors I got a lot of nasty rejection emails. Some were nice and basically said “we aren’t looking for contributors.” However, others would go into lengthy detail about how dumb my ideas were.

The worst is when they would accept my idea and I would write it, but then after they looked it over they would say it’s terrible and that they didn’t want to work with me.

It’s hard to not take that personally because it is my writing; however, after a few I’ve learned that if one site doesn’t like it, another site will LOVE it.   

Do you save everything that you have written? Or do you delete anything that you consider unusable?

I save absolutely everything. I save all my publications on social networks like Digg and Delicious so I can present them to sites when I’m pitching ideas. It helps for them to see that I’m capable of writing on a variety of topics.

In addition, when I was writing for newspapers, I printed out each of my articles and laminated them. It just helps me remember what I’ve done.

I definitely recommend saving your published pieces of work because it’s helpful to see how your writing style changed over the years.   

What is a fun fact about being a web contents writer?

It’s never really boring. Because I work with so many different bloggers and sites I’m constantly writing about new things. Last week I was writing a dating article and this week I’m writing a business story.   

What is the best part of being a web contents writer?

Seeing readers’ reactions. I write a lot of advice articles in dating, health, business, and technology industries. It’s really nice when readers comment saying that my article helped them in any type of way.

When readers’ comments are negative, it’s still a good learning experience. They’ll typically make good suggestions about a point or area I didn’t cover. This helps me strengthen my writing even more the next time.  

What is the best part about being a writer?

For me, it’s seeing my stories, poems, articles and guest posts matter to someone. I want what I write to help someone in some way.   

What is your favorite part about writing?

The overall process: Having an idea, writing the article, editing the article, and then reading it after it’s published.

It just amazes me how a simple idea can turn into viral content – well, that’s what every web content writer hopes for anyways.

Do you have any interesting writing quirks?

I need to write like I’m on a deadline. I think that’s why journalism appealed to me so much. It’s fast pace. As a result, every morning I challenge myself to write a completely new story and edit it before lunch.  

I have to do this because when I have too much time, I often write too much (and a lot of its nonsense). This makes the editing process dreadful because I’ll have to take out paragraphs of rubbish. When I have a deadline, I write a lot faster and to the point.  

What was the last amazing book that you read?

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

The only reason I was interested in reading the book is because I was excited for the movie. After reading it however, I was blown away. I love the overall message that life can throw you a curve ball for whatever reason, but in the end, things will work out.  

What gets you into the mood to write? – (this could be a writing quirk too)

A headline. I know it’s backwards but I can’t start writing an article until I’ve thought of a headline. The site doesn’t have to use it, but I need to have it. It gives me direction when I start writing. Once I have a headline and an idea, the sentences just start flowing.  

What is your favorite writing environment?

An office. I like to come into work, sit down at my desk, and feel like a writing professional. I don’t think I’ve ever written a story while relaxing on a couch or in bed. My mind needs to know it’s in “writing/work mode” and I don’t think it can do that if I’m lounging about.  

Other than writing, what are some of your passions in life?

Reading and fitness. I always have a book on my nightstand, in my purse and even in my car. I love to read because it inspires me in my own writing. My favorite authors include Nicholas Sparks and Tatiana de Rosnay.

Fitness is a huge passion in my life because it’s my time to escape. Some of my favorite articles I’ve ever written were half written in my head while I was running or swimming.

What is the best advice you have for making writing into a career?

Always write for the readers. In today’s writing world where social media is taking over and comments sections are posted under every article, it’s important to write content that will get you positive feedback.

It’s also important to do research on social networks like Twitter to see what people are talking about; if you can add to the conversation in your writing, do it! That is what will get you attention and make your writing valuable.

When I was studying journalism in college, I heard that journalists at some newspapers were starting to get paid based on how many comments and RT’s they were getting. Not sure if that practice still exists, but the idea behind it definitely does.   

Where can readers find you on the web?

My Twitter and LinkedIn page. I also have a contact page on my personal blog, Written On, where I post my opinions on the writing world.

 

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1 Comment »

  1. This is exactly what I mean in the second to last question:

    USA Today to Start Paying Writers Bonuses for Page Views

    Comment by Sylvia — April 7, 2011 @ 7:44 pm | Reply


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