How it all Started

Last year I applied for the writer development program at The Motley Fool. At the time I had just started learning about investing and I saw an ad for the training program which, if completed successfully, leads to a writing contract. I applied, mostly out of curiosity. Next thing I knew I got a request for a writing sample, and finally an interview. I didn't end up getting a position in the program but I did get asked, a few months later, to join their new blog network.

A Door Opens

Before this experience I had a limited view of what potential existed for those with a masters in English. Up until that point I was focused on teaching. But with that invitation to fly to DC for an interview came an idea of potential that I never really thought existed. I know there are people who make money blogging and freelancing but it always seemed unrealistic.

Changing Gears

This past school year I have changed my focus, I am working on getting a certificate in electronic writing. Once I discovered that writing possibilities existed I needed to prepare myself in a way I hadn't. I have, this year, taken classes focused on electronic writing and I'm grateful the opportunity didn't pass me by. I feel I could have maybe muddled through, emulating the style of others but I have become aware of how different the writing and processing of web material is compared to the writing that I have become accustom to.

Different Expectations

I have found that both the readers and the editor of online writing have more complex expectations than I had at first anticipated. For example, readers often read posts quickly and sometimes inaccurately and then leave lengthy comments that are emotionally charged, I was not initially prepared for the occasionally brutal and often irrational responses to some of my posts. Editors are concerned with the reputation of the brand and, in the Motley Fools case are interested in the inclusion of humor and a conversational tone. Neither of these characteristics are emphasized or encouraged in academic writing.


I have felt stuck between two worlds at school. I am not especially interested in creative writing and I and while I love reading and doing research, academic writing has also left me somewhat ill prepared for blogging and even, perhaps, for teaching. Thankfully the classes in electronic writing have made me more aware of how and why these expectations are different so that I am better equipped to take on this new form.

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