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Trying Out Helium – A Writing Site

31 Aug

I’m testing out the Helium website. A number of writers on the eHow site were recommending it, so I decided to give it a whirl. The site prides itself on quality writing, both essays and creative writing. The mechanism for maintaining this quality is peer review.

To earn money on Helium, it isn’t enough just to write well and often. One must also compare side-by-side articles of other writers and select which is better. I found this part rather difficult, as I preferred to be writing. At times, it was easy to choose one writing example over another, but sometimes both articles had problems or both were fairly good. When that happened, I struggled to sort out why one was better. After reviewing enough articles and earning reviewing stars, then your own articles can start to earn money. The reviewing doesn’t stop, as each month participants must review more articles and poems to maintain their reviewing status.

Here are the ten topics I’ve submitted to Helium so far:

  • Meaningful Christmas celebrations for families (ranked 1st, but only 2 articles on the topic)
  • Poetry: Boredom (ranked 15th out of 197 poems on boredom)
  • How to keep your neighborhood safe and welcoming  (ranked 2nd out of 13 articles)
  • Amateur writers: Making the most out of writing workshops (ranked 3rd out of 12 articles)
  • Reading as a hobby: Escape in a good book  (ranked 1st out of 75 essays on the topic)
  • Humor: Golf
  • How to use the Internet to promote your writing
  • Travel experiences: Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Ways to save money while camping in a RV (my first Helium article)
  • Memoirs: Family memories begin in the kitchen
  • Oops, I just rechecked the rankings on my articles and see I’ve slipped on some. This rating method is really fluid apparently. It seems the important thing is to have a combined score in the upper 25 percent so that you qualify for various badges which lets you write for some of the better paying writing assignments on the site.

    This site appeals to writers with a competitive streak, as you can check your results daily to see how your writing is ranked. They start each submission out in the middle of the pack and as it gets reviewed, it moves up or down in the rankings. Fortunately I don’t have any articles or creative writing ranked at the bottom. That would be a little demoralizing, I’d think.

    Other than receiving a $5 bonus for submitting my first article, I’ve yet to earn anything with my articles on the site. They have a variety of incentives, requested articles and contests, which I’ll have a chance at once I’ve completed more reviews and submitted more essays and creative writing. There’s a lot to learn about how the site functions when you first start. (Update: a few days later, I’d earned $2 more.)

    One aspect that I find challenging is selecting a topic to write. On eHow, I could write about anything that came to my mind and usually based those on my recent experiences. On Helium there are article titles in a variety of Channels. You select a title and then write an article to match.  You can also submit a new title that you would like to write. There’s a bonus for being the first to write on a title.

    If anyone would like to write for Helium, let me know and I’ll send you an official INVITE. I get a bonus for signing up new writers.

    My Helium Profile

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    Posted by on August 31, 2009 in Writing

     

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