One of the services that I offer through my company, Ampersand Editorial Limited, is creating online content for businesses.
In mid-2018, when I started offering to create content, I was feeding a blog on my ampedit.uk website to show the sort of things I was writing each week for a long-standing client: Croner-i.
My decision to re-invent myself as an online content creator was driven by Croner cutting back the amount of work they were commissioning.
Following a takeover at the end of 2017, their priorities changed, as did the amount and scope of articles I was being asked to write – to the extent that things had never been so bad for me work-wise in some 20 years of freelancing.
Turning work away
When I started working for myself in June 1998 (trading as European Information Services), I quickly attracted a variety of clients who wanted me to provide writing- and training-related services focusing on the EU (how I got started in that line of work is something better addressed elsewhere – perhaps in a separate blog post). Things were so good that there was a point when I was turning work away.
For various reasons (including the financial crisis and the period of austerity that followed), clients fell away and I found myself in 2017 and 2018 having to think very hard about how to adjust to a much-changed situation.
One of the issues that I struggled with was how to define myself; what could I call myself that people might think interesting and – perhaps – worthy of further investigation?
I took a couple of courses in proofreading and tried promoting myself as a proofreader, but struggled to make any impact. (That situation has now changed; I’m getting proofreading work and have renewed my membership of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders – the SfEP.)
Then it occurred to me that for the 20-plus years of my freelancing career, I’ve been creating content. I made my first website way back in the mid-90s and have been putting words and images online (for myself and others) ever since.
Online content creator
Googling ‘online content creator’ and similar phrases revealed that it is a recognised role. It also seemed an easier sell than ‘proofreader’ – although, as six adverts in a local business-focused monthly magazine resulted in no response at all, that wasn’t really difficult.
And so I started promoting Ampersand Editorial as a creator of online content for businesses, offering words and images for websites and social media platforms.
Keen to show that I was actually writing stuff, I started the AmpEdit blog, where I provided extracts from articles I’d written on topics such as construction, international trade and human resources, to give a flavour of both the scope and style of my writing (the latter will not, I know, be to everyone’s taste).
However, with Croner cutting back ever more, the blog became harder to sustain, as both the number and range of articles were reduced.
In May 2019, I therefore decided to cut the blog from my website and to seek a different platform from which to promote the writing side of my business.
Not the DoodlyDog blog
When I started creating animated doodles at the end of 2018, I wanted to differentiate that side of my work from the rather boring-sounding Ampersand Editorial.
A number of elements came together to suggest the name DoodlyDog:
1 – the animations are created using Doodly software;
2 – I wanted a name that was short, playful, and easy both to read and to pronounce;
3 – the name had to be available as a Twitter handle (‘DoodlingDog’ and other options were already taken); and
4 – some years ago, I found (and bought) the cartoon dog image used in the DoodlyDog logo and was keen to put it to good use.
And so DoodlyDog was conceived. The name just seems to roll off the tongue; the logo (which uses the font Big Bottom Cartoon!) is, at least to my mind, distinctive; and it encompasses the playfulness I was after. I just love it.
Having decided to try blogging again, the opportunity to register the domain ‘doodlydog.blog’ was hard to resist. But resist I did, as I decided to keep the animations side of my business separate from the writing side. Which is why this is the ‘I Wrote This’ blog and not the DoodlyDog blog.
If you’ve got this far, well done – and thank you! I’m not yet sure what else I’ll be writing about, although I’ll certainly be adding two articles that appeared on my AmpEdit website, but which no longer have a home there: one on running the International Snowdon Race after knee surgery, the other on a nasty condition called IOHC, which one of our dogs suffered from.
Yes, I have ideas for other posts, but will have to see how they work out. What I intend to aim for is variety, with topics covering both my working and home lives. That means that future posts could range from life as a freelancer, to networking, walks in the woods, marathon running, gardening and what’s on my bookshelves.