A blog by an historian, Pagan and fanfiction writer, with left-wing leaning politics. In short, I could be waffling on about anything.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Adventures of a Freelance Writer: Signing Up for Wizzley

Starting out as a freelance writer can feel so onerous. There is the love of writing, that makes this seem like a perfect career choice, but then there's everything else as well. Will the website succeed? Will you actually be able to make a living wage? Will the writing continue to be your passion in life, once you're knocking out articles for months on end?

Yesterday, I signed up for Wizzley. In many ways, it was just another site that I'm trying out for size. But this one feels just that little bit different. For a start, it's inserted a hefty dose of fun back into the writing and that would recommend it all on its own.

How I Found Wizzley

The advertisement seemed plain enough. There's the logo and my three major concerns outlined straight away.


On the other hand, there are about a billion other sites offering the same thing. I've signed up to a dozen in the past three months. Some I've explored, then wandered back out; others, like Suite101, have convinced me to invest hours of my time in researching and writing dozens of articles.

Wizzley came with a personal recommendation attached. The lovely Christian Dörr writes for its German counterpart, PageWizz, and he was gushing on the Suite101 forums about its virtues. I decided to give it a try.

Writing Articles for Wizzley

I've only written one article there so far: How to Write an Essay. That was mostly to try out the formatting and to see if this was the sort of site where I could fit in. I was very pleasantly surprised.

In all of my past writing platforms, I've been confronted with a single blank page, which I then have to fill with words. This is fine. I'm a writer and I enjoy filling blank pages with words. Wizzley is different. It employs a series of modules to fit together in order to create a page. The modules can include anything from videos, polls, content lists, RSS feeds, images, the list goes on! And, of course, text boxes, which is where I really come into my own.

It took me three hours to write that article. That wasn't anything to do with content, as I was relying upon personal experience. It was also nothing to do with actually writing it, as I can produce something of that length very quickly. The culprit was enjoyment. I was having so much fun working out what all of the modules could offer me and my readers! I inserted things, checked the page view, took them out again; inserted other things... Yes, I was playing very nicely. The geek in me was enthralled.

Of course, future articles there won't take half as long. I've checked out all of the pretty possibilities now, so I know what I can use in the future.

I should also note here that the user interface is very easy. The text boxes have standard controls, both in rich text and HTML (the former is the default). The potential modules work on the drag and drop principle.

Reasons That I Love Wizzley So Far

Bear in mind that I've only been there a day, with just a single article to my credit, so this really does reflect initial impressions only.

  • The fun aspect. Who can't love building pages by dragging and dropping a choice of modules into the main event?
  • The presentation potential. I've been slightly frustrated in the past, because I've wanted to insert items that would inform my readers a little better. For example, when I was writing about My Tram Experience, it would have been nice to insert the YouTube footage that I was discussing. On Wizzley, I can.
  • The page view. On many sites, you just have to write and hope it looks good when it's published. On Wizzley, you can do that before it's gone live. The author flits between page view and edit view, so it can be seen in all its glory before anyone else has to spot your typos.
  • The admin. I had a query almost as soon as I signed up. I'd discovered that you can get commission for referring people there (cheekily ninjas in a referral link). This isn't unusual and I should have checked that before I signed up, because Christian had recommended the site. He should have got the credit for that, even if he hadn't provided the link. I asked about it on their forums and, within a few minutes, one of the site's owners had replied. He told me who to e-mail with the name. I did that and he responded to the e-mail immediately. Christian was now credited with bringing me on board.

That last point might not seem like a lot to many people, but it made a very refreshing change to me. A lot of sites that I've signed up for ignore this aspect entirely. Wizzley's administration seems geared towards its writers (we're called authors there) and readers, rather than some distant business model. In this world of harsh, cold recession and dehumanisation of the masses, being simply treated like a valuable asset nearly brought me to tears.

This is why, out of all of the sites on which I've created accounts recently, I'm singling out Wizzley to big up in this blog.

Edit: Ooops! I forgot to mention something important for writers earning a living here - yes, you can insert adverts. They have their own module. You can put in Chikita, Amazon, Zazzle, AllPosters, Ebay and Adsense. You have the revenue on that. Wizzley also have adverts, from which you get a commission. But there are strict rules on the number of adverts that can be placed. They shouldn't be the main event here.


  1. You should refer Anna, Johnny, she'd be a good referral for you :D

  2. Good point! Did she ever join Suite101 too? I'll give her the heads up on this.

  3. Great article. I need to look into Suite 101 and Wizzley. And then look into getting a clone. Maybe I can write an article on cloning. :)

  4. Hi Anna! Yes, I think we'd all do much better if we could just clone ourselves!