A Garden of Delights

Exploring the Content of Associated Content

Posted on: May 4, 2010

Disclaimer: I have not spent days looking about Associated Content and reading reviews and pages they host.  I am simply noting my initial reactions to the site based on the fact that I saw it listed among some of the better online sites to write for.
I’ve been tossing around the idea of actually trying to write for pay for quite a while.  Scary thought, I know.  I barely keep a consistent blog.  Whatever would I do with an editor waiting for my next clip?

I actually work better with a sense of a deadline.  From what I’ve read, a lot of people work well this way (these nifty writing sites use the technique:  NaNo, ScriptFrenzy) .  Deadlines and expectations add to one’s priorities (and allow one to learn what really matters to him/her).  A deadline also give a sense of completion, whereas a project such as a novel can seem ongoing with its many revisions and submissions.

But take an article or an assignment and go past the deadline?  For good or ill, the deadline is gone.  (Yes, I know that deadlines aren’t always craved into the bedrock of the earth for all time.)  Yes, there might be a sense of success or failure for making the date or for missing it, but there is always another assignment out there.  And someone out there is probably doing work on the same topic you are….  So you miss a by-line.  Someone else gets one.  And the world moves on.

So I haven’t been moving too fast on the idea of writing clip-sized pieces.  While I do read a lot of articles and snapshots, I read them with the goal of learning that little extra that will add some depth to the characters, worlds, and scenes in my fiction.  Alien worlds are both becoming more, and less, alien from our own.  Often I find it easier to suspend my own disbelief in a story the bigger the “bug” eyes that are in it.

(The newest version of Battlestar Galactica with its reworking of the Cylons plays on this well.  And it’s cool to see stories that are getting into my head finally in the same way that Dr. Who always did by having aliens who are human…and not.  I want to write the types of fiction I enjoy watching and reading.  Doesn’t everyone?)

So last night and this morning I took a stroll around the web after one of those ever present Examiner.com advertisements showed up on my Facebook screen.  I tend to not click the “Like” button or the little X in the corner of the advertisement without at least Googling it.  Some sites I’ve been pleasantly surprised by, and it costs me very little save a few moments of time to make a more informed decision.

As some have already written, using Examiner.com is little better than blogging.  There might be some money involved, but as you are also giving up your rights to to your work, it didn’t seem to be much to recommend it to me.  Not for the momentary glory of saying I’d gotten a by-line.

However, in reading some of these reviews, I found a few bloggers posting their own suggestions of sites they liked.  Associated Content was discussed several times (including this lovely note here by Anne Wayman which she also follows up on through her blogs).  I was intrigued enough to at least peek at the site.  Figuring that one’s blog is hardly a private project (though WordPress has some lovely privacy features built in that I have been using for some time), I started to reconsider my view on the issue.  Why not be paid to write things like this?

Well, it all comes down to Rights:

  1. In Associated Content’s Master License Agreement read section 2a. Exclusive License
  2. Read the Terms of Use (carefully), particularly section 4. Rights You Grant to AC

Still not completely discouraged, as many said AC paid well enough for their articles and knowing that some articles aren’t worth saving for another day, I decided to at least sign up.  If I never made a dime or even glanced at the assignments page, signing up at least game me comment rights to other people’s articles.  Since this really wasn’t about the money (yet), I chose “to learn something” as my reason for signing up.

It took me to the assignments page immediately.

The assignment list was short: 13 possible pieces, with several based on last week’s episode of American Idol performances and two on Steampunk designing

Since podcasts and videos would require more equipment than I have at the moment, I was able to eliminate five potential pieces immediately.  Then, as I haven’t actually seen a single episode of American Couch Potato, I was able to eliminate six more.  The other two pieces on Steampunk certainly had my interest, but as I’m just a Steampunk voyeur, I had to just sigh and close the page wistfully.

I did however take a moment to peek at one of the American Idol performer via Youtube.  Mr. Michael Lynche during a March performance

Not too bad, but really, not my thing.

But it might be just right for Marcus…..

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