The benefits of the internet could be sung forever, by any person willing to raise their voice of their experience. For a writer, the magic of an online publication is one of the many verses. As a writer published primarily online, here are my top reasons for online writing.
1. Your interview consists of a well-written email that follows directions.
My first online publication application was emailing the people in charge and expressing my interest in writing for them. Often, online publications already have a webpage designated for intrigued writers, with clear instructions on their preferences for contact. Some publications have very specific guidelines, such as the Daily Muse, for getting your pitches for articles to them. Others, such as our own, simply request an email that talks about why you want to write for them on x topic. It’s that simple — no uncomfortable clothes or fussy hairstyles, just your best email etiquette and skills.
2. Online publications are easier to juggle.
I don’t want my editors to hate me for this, but it doesn’t take a lot of time to fulfill my duties for The Prospect, even if I’m writing an article. When you write for an online publication on topics you care about, you will probably find yourself developing an article in the back of your mind until you sit down and write it. I will (sometimes) sit down to my computer three hours before my deadline and churn out a solid article by the end of it. It’s not beautiful upon first draft, but because you think on it so much already, editing is easier. On top of this, you don’t have to commute (and internet traffic is a breeze), get dressed for work, or crawl out of bed. Whether you’re an overachiever or as lazy as a summer day dog, online publications help you do things without having to do much else. It’s pretty nice, since it means you can do more while doing less.
3. There’s something else for you to do at the end of the day — in something you’re always passionate about.
I know for many people this may not sound like a pro, but this is how I see it: when I’ve had a bad day, or it’s been unfortunately dull and predictable, I get to come home and create something for a world that can be seen by virtually anyone. Being a part of an online publication can always be wonderful. For example, with The Prospect, I get to go onto the website and there are always new articles, by bunches of people all over the world, offering perspectives about something I’m invested in heavily. I don’t want to claim to know it all about college, or the admissions process, but it’s always a boon to write something and see it put up alongside other articles that describe these experiences so well.
4. Diversity is key in online publications, and you pick up a lot of different techniques in various areas.
Each online publication is different — I’ve set up writing schedules for myself via Google Spreadsheets, Docs, and Forms (interesting that Google is a denominator here…). Facebook groups are community builders or just casual update machines, and the reasoning behind each method is different. Online publications can sink or swim on their abilities to be separate from the herd, and this carries into everything they do, which is a boon for any writer. Learning how to do something is important — knowing multiple methods to get it done is necessary. I can guarantee that I have learned many ways to do anything and found myself offering them up as alternatives elsewhere. The more places you are, the more you learn.
5. The online community is the best support group you never met.
Whether your staff is bare bones on personal interaction or full of inside jokes about that one show you all happen to watch, you’re all writing for the same publication to get out your ideas and show the world something. Every publication has a goal and every staff works towards it. Whatever kind of community your team offers, it’s still a support system for a part of your life, to get it done. They don’t have to be more than that, and sometimes that’s what you need, but often, they can be and even if you never speak in person, they’re there to help you get your writing done — and that’s pretty cool.