Monday, May 26, 2008

Writing as a competitive sport?

Can I be perfectly frank with you?

I've never been athletically gifted. Not even close. In fact, it would be a compliment to hear I run like a girl. I don't think there's anything that runs like I do. Come to think of it, last time I took up 'running' (if you can call it that) I tripped over my dog when he freaked because a car drove past. I sprained my wrist, scraped my knee and hip, and had to limp home. Not my most graceful moment.

And I'm not really into competition. It frustrates the stew out of my son and husband when we'll shoot a game of pool and I'm like, "Great shot!!" "Oh, you were SO close!" and other "we're all on the same team" kind of comments.


Something about Guru's ranking system seems to have clicked for me. And it might just be responsible for some of my success on that site.

I don't know what kind of algorithms they use, exactly, but some combination of revenue, feedback, endorsements, and number of projects comes together to give you a ranking on the site. There are about 15,000 writers registered there right now. I don't know whether they've all got the paid membership, or if some are hoping the free level will do it for them. And I don't know what ranking I started with (because I didn't even know rankings existed!).

But over the past couple of years that I've been on Guru, it's been really fun to watch my ranking improve. I remember breaking the 100 mark, then the 50, the 25, the 10, and the top 5. Right now, I'm ranked at #3, and eyeballing the #2 spot.
(Todd, where are you?! Actually, you're probably doing so much work from other sources that you don't have time to pop onto Guru. Congratulations - and thanks again for taking time to chat with me when I interviewed you. You're an amazing, talented, and very generous guy. Um, I'd probably better get back to this post now.)

Anyway, the ranking system seems to have stirred some latent "let's see how fast this baby'll go" drive within me - and it's helped me build my business. It's also brought me lots of project invitations, which is wonderful. Some clients have told me that the ranking system made it easy for them to connect with a writer, too. By checking feedback and all of that, they get an idea of what to look for before they hire.

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