Have you ever been on a seemingly perfect date, only to never hear from that person again? You thought you said all the right things, made the right moves, and were perfectly charming. Unfortunately, sometimes the other person just didn’t feel it.
Just like dating, there are many reasons writers may not be a good fit for Media Shower. First, we receive applications from many more writers than we are able to accept. This means our standards are incredibly high; not everyone makes the cut. If we ask you to write a test article for us, think of it like a first date. Not every date is going to flourish into a relationship. And just like the world of dating, there are a lot of things that can go wrong.
Here are some of the most common reasons potential writers are not invited to work with Media Shower, even after being invited to write a test article. Once you can identify potential mistakes in your writing, you will be able avoid these pitfalls.
Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
Submitting a test article with grammatical errors is like wearing a wrinkly, dirty shirt on your first date; not a good way to make a first impression. Yet we get plenty of test articles with incorrect punctuation and spelling, misplaced modifiers, and problems with subject-verb agreement. At best, poor grammar makes you look sloppy. At worst, it makes you look like a bad writer. To avoid this, become familiar with common grammatical mistakes and figure out ways around them.
Lack of Clarity
No one likes being on a date with someone who talks in circles. Similarly, we look for writers who can write clearly and concisely. Clarity is imperative: if people do not understand what you’re saying, they have no reason to read or share your content. A common lack of clarity comes from awkward phrasing or wordiness. Try to focus on writing in the most efficient way possible. Don’t use a complex phrase if a simple word will suffice. Simplify your writing, and readability will follow.
Not Following Instructions
There’s a guaranteed way to not get a second date: go to the wrong location on the first one! Sticking to plans is important in the dating world, and it’s not so different at Media Shower. When we ask writers to submit a test article, we give them special instructions on how to write the article. A big part of our review process is making sure you can follow these rules. Our Writers’ Guide is your roadmap; follow it and you’ll find yourself at the correct destination.
Clichés in your writing work about as well as cheesy pickup lines in bars. Why? Because everyone’s already heard them before. It may be tempting to use ready-made expressions, but clichés can actually make your writing less digestible. Many sayings are frequently misused, or don’t add anything meaningful to your writing. Just like that guy who starts a conversation with, “How much does a polar bear weigh?” trite phrases are often devoid of purpose or meaning. They’re just fillers, and your readers can tell.
Clichés aren’t the only way your writing can suffer from lack of originality. In general, your approach to your topic should be fresh. We’re looking for writers that are ready to bring their unique take to topics.
It can be grating to go on a date with someone who acts like an authority on a subject they don’t know much about. Many rejected articles we receive include blanket statements with no sources to back them up. While it’s always good to seem sure about what you’ve written, simply stating grand ideas without any background information won’t earn your reader’s trust. The practice not only makes your article unreliable; sometimes it makes your article totally wrong. When making broad statements in your articles, its best to provide another authoritative source to back up your claims. (Here’s a primer from Jon Gingerich, editor of O’Dwyer’s magazine.)
There are behaviors you want to avoid in certain situations. You probably wouldn’t let out gas in front of your date, so why would you behave unprofessionally in front of your potential employer? Check your emails for typos before sending them, save your files with professional names, retire that immature email address. Make sure everything you are submitting for review is top-quality. Your resume should be properly formatted. Your application should not be overly colloquial. Freelance writing may be an unconventional profession, but it always helps to present like a professional.
As magazines like Cosmopolitan have being claiming for decades, there are ways to improve your chances of success in the dating world. Remember these writing tips and you’ll be prepared to take on any writing application… and maybe try out that new dating application on your phone, too.