Welcome back to our writer interview series where we give readers a closer look at the background of the writers that work with iNeedArticles.com.
Our fourth interview is with Jesse L., who is one of the most prolific and popular writers on INA. Jesse has written more than 23,000 articles for INA – he’s part of the writer team that has been with INA since the time the original owner started the company. We are most grateful to have Jesse as one of our writers – and can’t wait for you to get to know him better through this short interview.
Without further ado, we’re confident you will enjoy this latest writer interview:
- What’s your professional background?
I graduated from Texas State University in 2010 with a BA in English with plans to pursue a teaching career and write on the side. While finishing up school, I had the privilege of teaching in different capacities. I was the lead instructor for an after school program, the camp coordinator for two summer camps, an assistant counselor at a church summer camp and an assistant youth pastor at a church. Following graduation, I pursued a full-time writing career in 2011 and have been working online ever since.
- Tell us about your writing experience
I have always enjoyed writing, ever since I was a kid. I enjoyed writing poems and short stories then. Writing has always been a passion and a favorite hobby of mine. In 2002, I wrote my first full-length book, which I have yet to publish. I have been writing articles, eBooks, product descriptions and just about any type of online content since 2011. I have self-published some of my stories on Kindle throughout the last several years. I got close to publishing my first book the old-fashioned way back in 2003, but I was given yet another no after the company requested the full manuscript. Every experience as a writer has helped shape who I am today and continue to push me forward towards the future. I had plans to continue publishing my short stories on Kindle and then release that first book after ramping up my online marketing efforts and developing that initial foundation. However, I feel strongly about another book idea in the works that I feel should be the first release now. We will see!
- Tell us about the best book you’ve read recently
While I do love to read, very much so, the last time I was able to read a lot was when I was finishing up school at Texas State. Nowadays, I mostly only read the Bible and a devotional. I do keep a full library of books though. As a writer, I find that I’m always writing and just don’t have time for reading. I do stress though that I strive to read my Bible and a good devotion daily. My faith and my time with God is important to me, and I consider the Bible the absolute best book to read.
- Which blogs do you read?
Honestly, I don’t really read much online either, unless I’m doing research for an article or find an eye-catching headline that grabs my attention. I do tend to grab at news headlines and keep up with current events. And of course that can be anything related to pop culture and not just posted on network news sites or on the nightly news. I do use Twitter quite often, and so it is easy to grab at what’s going on by just browsing there.
- What professional organizations do you belong to?
I do not belong to any professional organizations. When finishing up school and planning to teach, I was into that and was ramping up my resume in regards to my profession. Perhaps I should network and join some writer’s organizations, but I just haven’t moved in that direction, yet.
- What do you enjoy most about writing?
To be quite blunt, I enjoy telling a story. Whether it’s writing an article, a product description, a poem, or an actual story, I enjoy telling the story behind the piece. Overall, writing is a passion of mine, a hobby that turned into a career. I have enjoyed the people I’ve met while working as a writer, most of whom I only know online but have networked with for years. I enjoy everything about writing, and I am thankful that it ended up being my career.
- How would you describe your writing style?
I would describe my writing style as story telling. I somehow find the way to tell a good story, no matter the type of piece. Sometimes it’s easier to do than other times, but that is my strategy and first inclination. I inject my personality into every piece, and I have an expansive vocabulary. I favor alliteration in terms of literary devices and have an expansive vocabulary. Those are my strengths as a writer. As for my personal projects and my style, I am eclectic and I can tell you that I try to simply write what I know and learn more.
- How do you perform research for writing assignments?
Most of the time, I am Googling and going to whatever lengths it takes to find the information I need to write an article. I also use life experiences and information that other people tell me to write articles. It always amazes me how what I learn in all ways ends up making it into my articles. Chiefly, I enjoy when I get to share my faith in some way, whether directly or just through my personality and writing style. I am also definitely old enough to have written in other capacities using printed resources for research. The nature of my profession these days, however, points me to Google.
- How do you proofread or edit your own work?
As fast as I type, I mostly proofread my work as I’m typing. I will give an article a once over if I feel it is necessary. And honestly, how I proofread depends on the nature of the piece. I value all writing jobs. Yet let me be the first to tell you that if it were an article for the NY Times, you better believe I would be pulling all stops. I have written pieces in the past where I mad it a habit to proofread and edit more often, and I always loved using a thesaurus. What’s great about my past is it has given me the ability to do what I do today, counting on that knowledge I still have.
- What makes good content? How do you know if a piece of content will perform well?
Simply put, good content is relatable to the reader and provides valuable information. Quality content is also unique and from the perspective of the writer. In my case, I mentioned that I like finding a way to tell a story, which is different for each piece. Good content has personality and is aimed at filling a need.
- How do you talk about a dry or technical subject without relying on industry jargon?
Relying on industry jargon is like feeling the burden of keeping a piece completely intellectual. That is how you bore a reader. When a subject is technical, I try and do two things: Inject personality and tell a story.
- What do you do to create SEO-friendly content?
Having written content online for years, I have honed my craft and am much better at picking up on how to use keyword phrases in a variety of different ways. I tend to run into the SEO trends as I continue my career, and that helps me continue to grow as a writer. I will stress, however, that writing SEO friendly content is just as much about personality, relatability and telling a story as it is the keyword phrases and technical aspects of writing. Moving forward, SEO is increasingly about the user experience.
- How do you decide what tone to use with a particular piece of writing?
This is honestly where I have to watch myself. With some topics, I can find myself injecting too much of my personal opinion into a piece. That can be a strength when harnessed correctly. Yet I can overdo it, and so that is one instance where I have to watch my tone. I always try to keep everything positive, and try to encourage people through my writing.
- How do you determine whether a source is credible?
It depends on the piece. I will use blogs for information when I’m writing general content. I certainly also use my common sense, but I am not perfect. In the content world, there are so many types of pieces and so many types of sources. Source credibility is indeed important no matter the project. I learn as I write, and using that foundation, it increasingly helps me to identify sources that I use over and over again, too. For heavily researched articles, I find that the keyword requests also direct you towards the right sources. Content requesters do their keyword research. Overall, I strive to get credible information for every piece so that I provide information that fills a need.
- What experience do you have with non-text content (images, infographics, etc.)?
My experience with images can be summed up by telling you that I have always loved taking pictures. I have absolutely zero experience as a professional in this industry.
- Which style guide do you prefer to follow?
What? In all seriousness, when I was in college, it was all about MLA vs AP. Now, I mentioned my major was English, and as for my minor, it was History. Therefore, I had English professors telling me to use MLA, and then History professors telling me to use AP. To be quite honest, while I think style guides are important for certain types of projects, I think that after my years in school, I began marching to the beat of my own drum so to speak. I learned what I needed to know, and over the years, I have developed my own personal style. That being said, if a piece requires following a specific style guide, I can easily break right back into academic mode. I just feel that cumulatively, I have learned that following a style guide is not even close to the list of the top 10 most important things for writing any type of quality piece. I do not want to speak too finitely, however, because my writing career continues to show me new things each and every day.
- How did you find INA?
Back in 2011, when I was looking into starting a writing career, I was working for a telecommunications company in the Internal Resource Center. I ran across a company known as Crowdsource at the time, now One Space, and I was writing product descriptions for them during my downtime. After running across some requesters on MTurk, I subsequently took a leap of faith, quit my day job and began pursuing writing full time. It was definitely a risk, given the opportunities at the time, but that is how I met Jonathan Leger online. Originally, he was growing a group of writers and providing his work on the Mechanical Turk platform. I believe 2014 was the year he founded INA and transitioned us all onto his own platform there. Jonathan Leger is a great man. INA is a platform where all requesters can submit orders for content. Liz and Joel have now been the owners of INA for a year, and I cannot begin to describe the passion they have brought to the site and growing their business. They are great people, and I enjoy networking with them and the other writers at INA.
- Why do you want to write for INA?
Jonathan Leger has a big heart. As he built the foundation of INA, he structured it to be the best site for both sides, writers and requesters. It was and still is the best site to write for. And Liz and Joel continue to seek out growth initiatives to take INA to new levels. They have already done so much. We are also a community at INA, and we all talk on the forum. Most of us have never met each other in person, but we have been talking and working together for years. INA is hands down the absolute best site for ordering content, and it’s the best site to work for as a writer.
- What are your favorite writing assignments?
My absolute favorite writing assignments are travel related. My second pick would be anything related to investing. Those two broad topics include so many types of writing assignments, and I am blessed to run across a wide variety of work in each category. Occasionally, I get to write about my faith, and that would be chief. While I don’t run into as many assignments in relation to my faith, I mentioned earlier that I often find ways to voice my faith in my writing.
- What experience(s) do you have with ecommerce or internet marketing?
I have dabbled in ecommerce and Internet marketing over the years. I do currently have a website under my name, but I’m going to stop there with my explanation of my experience in this field. I know nothing. Lol After that piece of humble pie, I will tell you that I have learned quite a lot over the years writing pieces for Internet marketers and even writing about industry related topics. Simply put, however, I’m a writer and an investor. I do not claim to know much about Internet marketing because I would, in my mind, make a comparison to what I know about writing as a profession. I can perhaps hold my own, but I will let the writing and investing I do steer the wheel, God in the lead.
- Bonus: Are you a published author? How do we find your content?
Yes, on Kindle. I have not been published in print by a major company, nor have I self-published in print. Thus far, I have only published short stories on Kindle. I planned to move faster on those projects, but many are still sitting in the drawer as I start more projects. When the time is right, I will continue to publish more. I have really found my current niche at this point in time as a ghostwriter and an investor. I know that I will still publish that great American novel as they say, but there is a season for everything. You can find me on Kindle, and you can network with me on Twitter.