In May 2014 I decided to join Moviepilot as a creator (at that time we still called it a contributor). To be honest, I didn't really know what I was getting myself into, all I knew is that I had a passion for writing, movies, TV and pop culture, in general!
As it turns out, if you have this type of passion, everything else will come to place. A year and a few months, over 80 posts and over 750k reads later, I am really happy with my progress as an entertainment writer, as well as with the marvelous platform and the freedom that Moviepilot has given me.
A significant part of this progress is owed to the six-week course MoviepilotU. Although, I feel that before joining the program I was already an established writer on the site, there were still tons of things that I was able to learn through MPU. By joining this course, I wanted to go back to basics and refine all of the small details in my writing that were preventing me from becoming better. Now, at the end of the program, I am happy to say that my expectations from MPU were fulfilled (and even exceeded).
So, here are three of the most important lessons about writing in the digital age that I was able to learn through MoviepilotU:
1. Consistency and dedication are key!
Before starting MoviepilotU, I was usually writing one article per week (on some weeks even less than that). While, this type of commitment still allowed me to develop a strong online presence, my progress would have been even more significant if I had shown more consistency to creating content on a regular basis.
Due to the MPU requirement of submitting 5 articles per week, I was able to develop discipline, as well as organization and brainstorming skills about my writing that I did not possess before.
Obviously, writing articles is a time-consuming activity and it can be especially tricky when you put into the equation things like attending university, working full-time and having a family. However, if you are serious about creating an everlasting online presence you will put an effort into organizing your diary and having time for everything, whether this is writing a kick-ass article or finally finding time to travel with your loved ones.
If Arnold Schwarzenegger had a full-time time job, worked out for two times a day and studied English in the meantime, then there is no reason why you should not at least try to commit to balancing writing regularly with your other daily tasks and chores.
2. Aiming for diversity is the best way to ensure progress with your writing!
Yeah, Ron Burgundy, what does diversity even mean? In this case, by using this term I denote the ability to write posts in different formats (quick & long posts, reviews and quizzes), as well as feelings that you want to provoke in your readers - nostalgia ('time flies' posts), curiosity (trivia articles) or amazement (fan art or fan casting), etc.
No matter how good you are in writing one or several types of posts, you have to constantly try to challenge yourself and experiment with new alternatives. Due to the fact that I had different topics to focus on in each week of MPU, I was able to challenge myself to write diverse posts about different topics almost every day.
On the other hand, it's also really important to change the topic that you write about in order to become a more accomplished writer. For instance, there is nothing wrong if (from time to time) you forget about comics, horror or sci-fi and dive into independent films, foreign cinema, TV... or maybe even anime?
3. In order to be a successful writer you have to have a clear message and positivity in your work!
Arguably the most important thing in order to write a high-quality article is to know what message you want to get across to your audience. If this is not clear to you, then your writing just won't get the kind of response that you are hoping for.
Although, I already knew this to an extent, MoviepilotU made using a clear message one of the focal points of my writing. As a result, I became more resourceful and selective in the approach, in which I chose what to write about.
Last but not least, another important lesson is to always try to place positivity at the center of your work. Sure, a lot of the movies and TV series that are coming nowadays are not of satisfactory enough quality to meet the high expectations of fans and critics, but writing about the flaws of something without using negativity is an art that every writer should master!
P.S. Special thanks go to my wonderful mentor Samuel James Harries (as well as to the awesome Mike Fleck). Without their invaluable feedback, I would never have been able to learn so many new things in such a short amount of time.
And while we are at it, every member of the MP team is there for you if you have any questions or struggles, so make use of this opportunity!