Who Told Me No?
It’s always a good time for self-evaluation, that’s what landed me here. Roughly four months ago I applied to the company Word Agents. A company that hires writers and assigns them to do search engine optimized writing jobs for customers. I ended up making it to the final stages of the application process. The final stage of this process required me to write an article on the topic of their choosing with certain requirements such as headings, subheadings, outbound links, etc. The sample article I was required to provide was about dog toys for heavy chewing dogs. Including high-quality SEO in the article was a must.
After completing and submitting my sample article, I stared at my inbox in anticipation for two days. On the 28th of October, I received my reply. The decision was that Word Agents would not be moving forward with me at that time.
Although very disappointed I missed out on the opportunity, I didn’t let my woes last long. I decided to use this “no” as fuel to keep the engine running as I pursue my writing career. I replied to the company with a showing of appreciation for the opportunity. I asked if feedback could be provided as to where I fell short to help better myself moving forward. No feedback was provided.
My Self-Evaluation Process
I continued to carry on without looking back after not receiving feedback from Word Agents. Writing articles for my blogs and continuing to educate myself to become a better writer. I recently, however, have circled back to that missed opportunity with Word Agents. I wanted to mentally go through that process again and read the sample article that I provided that fell short. I wanted to gauge my own opinion with self-evaluation.
If I can’t answer the question of where my article came up short, I won’t be getting any writing jobs anytime soon. If someone has to tell me what’s wrong with my writing without me knowing, I’m probably not qualified to write for that person/company.
I’ve now re-read the dog toy article multiple times, along with reviewing the instructions that were provided to me beforehand. Equipped now with more knowledge, tools, and experience at this point in my writing journey, and it’s pretty damn apparent why they choose not to move forward with me.
After Some Self-Evaluation, Why Did They Tell Me No?
Because my article fuckin sucked… I’m only kidding, but it certainly wasn’t good enough. I’m happy with the way I communicated in the article. My voice was portrayed well and in a way that would have kept the readers engaged. Technically, however, multiple aspects made the decision to pass on me probably an easy one.
I made three key mistakes
- I didn’t ask questions
- poor grammar and punctuation
Reading over the instructions that were given to me, it’s clear that I didn’t precisely follow the directions. When I began writing the dog toys article, I remember areas that I was unclear on exactly what was wanted. The right thing to do in that situation would have been to ask questions. But I didn’t want it to appear that I couldn’t understand the instructions I was given. Pretty silly after some self-evaluation.
Being afraid to ask questions because I didn’t want it to appear that I couldn’t understand instructions, I ended up not following directions. I realize now that there would have been nothing wrong with asking questions. In an environment when writing for someone else, questions should be asked often. It is my job to portray the desired message of another person. If I’m unclear on that message, there should be zero hesitation in asking.
Writing is just like anything else, the more you do something the better you will get at it. I didn’t make it two paragraphs into my dog toy article before I noticed multiple grammatical errors. I knew immediately why I wasn’t chosen.
I’ve learned and developed as a writer since and found a platform to help avoid those costly spelling and grammatical errors. A website called Grammarly is what I use. I would highly recommend Grammarly to any writer. This catches all of my errors and educates me in the process.
SEO is something writers hear all too often. Any job listing you look at will require that you incorporate SEO into your work. If you go to the Word Agents website, which I left a link to in the opening sentence of this post, It reads “Premium SEO content writing services.” The only thing I knew about SEO at the time I was applying for this job was that it stood for search engine optimization. That’s a problem.
I’ve since made it a priority to learn and better understand SEO. By no means am I an expert, but I have a basic understanding of how this works and continue to learn. I use the plugin Yoast SEO, a fantastic tool for writers that helps and educates them on how to implement high-quality SEO into their writing.
My Advice To Aspiring Writers
You’re going to get told no. There’s no doubt about it. Constantly use self-evaluation as a tool. Studying your failures is a primary key in turning those past failures into successes of the future. As you grow, your skills will polish and develop. It’s ok to be disappointed, but never get discouraged. Learn, learn, and then learn some more. All of your failures will make your future brighter.
For tips to help any writer improve, check out the (article here.) You will have access to notes I’ve taken from a beneficial and insightful book, 365 To Vision by Ron Lieback.