It’s 2023, is it reliable to be a web writer?

In the second decade of the 21st century, occupations that would have been considered idle have now gained more and more recognition, such as e-sports players, web writers, video bloggers, or web anchors.

Ten years ago, when these practitioners returned to their hometowns, they might all be classified as "computer sellers." But now, everyone in my hometown has a smartphone, 4G&5G&Wi-Fi coverage, everyone can be an audience for games, web articles, videos and live broadcasts.

A single flower is not spring, but a thousand purples and reds are spring. If you take a look at the major video sites, most of the popular domestic animations and many domestic TV series are adapted from the classic Internet IP, whether it is the "Douluo Dalu" that is nearing the end, or the extremely popular "Douluo Dalu" last year. This is true of Fights Break Sphere, or the earlier "Full-time Master", etc.

In the industrial chain of web articles, video content, games, and peripherals, web articles are always in the upper reaches. If there were no web novels, then the annual blockbuster dramas "Langya Bang", "Celebrating More Than Years", and "The Beginning" would not exist, and even the original novel of the TV series "Dajiang Dahe" with a heavy sense of the times is also an online novel.

In other words, the content will be rich and colorful when the IP is cycled.

Sideline and Crossover

In 2002, Qidian was born, and then there were many news about online writers making rich myths. When many writers worked hard for several years to write a novel and publish a paper book, the final royalties were only tens of thousands of yuan. There are a group of web writers who can earn seven or eight figures of income.

It is true that most industries have the "28th rule" or even the "19th rule". For example, many young people who have not been involved in the world have the dream of becoming a master of e-sports, but the reality is that only a very small number of players at the top of the pyramid can compete in the arena. "Kill a person in ten steps, never stay behind for a thousand miles", and more people can only be unknown.

By 2023, the profession of web writers will be both unfamiliar and familiar to most people. We have seen web texts more or less, and the legends of web writers have never stopped, but it seems that in real life, there is no How many people I met were web writers.

Probably, it’s because the writers of online literature do not have uniforms such as white coats or red vests, and the work of writers of online literature is done sitting in front of the computer without having to contact people in reality.

In fact, according to previous public data from the China Audiovisual and Digital Publishing Association, the cumulative number of online writers in China has exceeded 20 million. The number of words added reached 16 billion.

On social media, the discussion of online writing and entry skills has also reached a new high. According to third-party data, Xiaohongshu adds more than 200 new online writing and entry-related notes every month, and the annual reading volume exceeds 10 million.

Why does the group of 20 million online writers seem to have less presence than the group of more than 4 million doctors and the group of more than 17 million teachers?

The answer is a key word: side hustle.

From a certain point of view, the author is similar to the actor, there is a kind of "performance". Similar to "waking up from a 500-meter-long bed every day", it is the result of insufficient life experience, lack of relevant knowledge, and lack of attention and study.

Excellent writers can of course fabricate a web world where true and false are difficult to distinguish. Here, swordsmanship is everywhere, stars and moons are chasing, and the so-called sincerity is the ultimate skill. If the police write about investigations, forensic doctors write about evidence collection, and officials write about officialdom, then naturally It is more handy and allows readers to be on the scene.

The "Report on the Development Trend of Internet Literature on Realistic Themes in 2022" shows that most of the authors come from 57 major categories of national economic industries such as education, health, Internet and related services. Although they are part-time creations, they have created as many as 188 professional images in their works , such as the police in "The Inspector", the communication engineer in "Dancing with the Clouds", and the Internet operations in "Smart Tour Elite", all of which come from the creator's personal experience.

He Xiao is a mother of two children. She has a rich professional experience. As a sideline writer of online novels with realistic themes, she has also achieved remarkable results. In this sideline, she has published more than one million words and published children's literature "The Legend of My Sister" , the representative work "Shanghai Ordinary Biography" won the first prize of the 6th Internet Literature Essay Contest of China Literature Group.

She told Ai Faner that the reason why she took the web writer as a side job came from "loneliness and the desire to talk":

At that time, I was pregnant and Hugh was at home. After my husband went to work every day, I had ten hours of alone time to kill. Pregnancy precepts that I learned from somewhere and followed religiously allowed me to automatically filter out sports, TV, eating, drinking, and so on. I was sitting by the sofa, and there happened to be a newly bought notebook on the small mobile table. I accidentally opened a file, the original intention was to record the growth of a fetus, and then I thought, why not write a prequel to record the love of his parents. Thus, my first book, "Love Records in the Magic City", which was shyly shown to only a few people, was born. Thanks to few and few people, their enthusiasm and encouragement made me really walk on the road of web writer in the next few years.

There are not a few people like He Xiao who start writing web articles on a whim, but through the funnel of time and perseverance, not many people can persist. How to allocate time with career and life, how to deal with time conflicts, and how to overcome the idea of ​​breaking a new job are common problems among people including He Xiao who regard online writers as sideline jobs. He Xiao said:

When I saw words such as "lack of energy, time conflict, and want to stop updating", I felt inexplicably guilty, and I always suspected that this was my editor taking the opportunity to give me a slap in the face.

The above state is indeed the state I often face when writing "Weekend Couple". At that time, the main business I was engaged in was facing an industry inspection. This inspection was related to the economic subsidies for the next two years. The boss took the lead in working overtime, and employees like me had no choice but to accompany him. Even if Lu Xun really said that time is like water in a sponge, I really can't squeeze it out. Hard squeeze can only be deducted from sleep time. The minimum update of 4,000 words per day was forced to be changed to 2,000 words. Sometimes there is no time code for 2,000 characters. While standing with the code words with eyes open, I can’t help retreating, thinking, if I’m not a famous actor in the Internet, why not change it?

The idea of ​​breaking the update lingered crazily in his mind, but in the end, he didn't really break it. This is also what I am proud of – we are a person with a sense of responsibility and a sense of mission. Difficulty is the litmus test. Only the strong-willed will pass the test. Writing is a strong-willed hobby of mine.

This will is also what she believes is the biggest gain from the sideline job of an online writer. In addition to income, it is this will and action that give her the greatest confidence in educating her children. Teaching by example is greater than words:

The way I go to bed late and get up early every day to write, the way I bring back a stack of books from the library to read and search for information, and the way I stand on the first prize podium of the 6th China Literature Group’s Online Literature Essay Contest on Realistic Themes, all will be moistened. Things affect my children silently.

It may be accidental that He Xiao embarked on the road of Internet writer, but there is a certain inevitability in Qianliying (pen name). She is the winner of the most popular award in the 2nd Greater Bay Area (Shenzhen) Internet Literature Contest, and she is also the CEO of a certain company.

She said to Ai Faner:

People who choose to be web writers are all interested in writing, right? Otherwise it won't start. Then it’s the same with all hobbies: your day won’t feel complete without it.

One of my goals in life since I was a child was to write a novel in this life. One day in 2019, by accident, I opened the backstage of the writer’s assistant at China Literature.

When it comes to the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a part-time online writer, Qianliying and He Xiao’s first reaction is "to advance can be attacked, retreat can be defended", but they also believe that sincerity and love are the driving force to go further . After all, compared to convenience store clerks and other part-time jobs with stable income and controllable expectations, the competition among online writers is more intense, and the expectations are more uncontrollable. Therefore, Qianliying evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of web writers in this way:

The advantage of being an online writer is "like it and bury the possibility of becoming popular", and the disadvantage is that from the perspective of income, there is a high probability of "being busy for nothing".

From every point of view, it is not an easy thing to take an online writer as a sideline job. Getting started requires a certain level of writing skills, and persistence requires long-term love and firm will. Success also depends on probability.

However, from a personal point of view, Qianliying belongs to the group that does not value money income. The sense of existence of "been here before" is what she values ​​most:

Every era must have recorders, so I insist on writing realistic themes, recording the imprints left by people belonging to our era, and creating the possibility for future generations to discover one day.

Along with the keyword "sideline" mentioned above, "cross-border" is also one of the top ten keywords of 2022 online literature released by The Paper and China Literature Group.

In many film and television works adapted from online texts, the screenwriter column often lists the original author. Sometimes it is out of respect for the original work, and sometimes the original author will indeed participate in the screenwriting work.

However, in the past two or three years, there are certain particularities. The film and television industry and the script killing industry have been hit hard, so many screenwriters and script killing script writers have reversed to the world of online literature and become online writers. As a weather vane, in the selection results of the 2022 Twelve Heavenly Kings on the starting point Chinese website, before leaving Bawanli (pen name) was a screenwriter; Nanqiang Beidiao (pen name) was a game planner and script writer.

Walking away for 80,000 miles is the first batch of graduates majoring in drama writing at Zhejiang Institute of Media and Communication. He has experienced the prosperity of the film and television industry, and also relied on the transformation of web writers to survive the difficult period of the industry.

Similar to He Xiao, traveling 80,000 miles to go online is also a bit accidental. In 2020, because of the epidemic, he was preparing for a two-year rescheduling of the drama. He was trapped at home in Hangzhou and spent a lot of time out of thin air, and his anxiety gradually spread. So, as a senior reader of web articles, I traveled 80,000 miles and started writing web articles.

Even though he is a professional and experienced writer, but he crossed over from a screenwriter, what awaited him was not smooth sailing, and the water-testing work "I Become a Saint with Idle Books" was rejected one after another.

When the screenwriter writes the script, there will be corresponding screens to present the plot together, but the online article only has text, and there is a huge difference between the two. At the submission stage, there is a version of "I Become a Saint with Idle Books". Internet articles will make readers confused.

After many revisions, "I Become a Saint with Idle Books" finally hit the shelves and exploded.

During the creation process, some of the screenwriter's methodologies also helped to get out of Calvin's predicament. The creation of online articles combines physical and mental work, and under high-intensity updates, it is very difficult to ensure that the plot advances and the rhythm is smooth, and the author is very easy to encounter creative bottlenecks. Unlike most people who create web articles alone, the working mode of screenwriters is to brainstorm. Whenever I get a text, I will communicate with my peers and readers to broaden my thinking when I travel 80,000 miles.

At present, he still retains his job as a screenwriter after leaving for 80,000 miles, but he has also begun to decide to focus on the creation of online articles and reduce the workload of screenwriters. As far as he is concerned, the balance of main business and sideline business has been tilted to the other side.

reality and path

In the interview, Thousand Miles Eagle mentioned:

A professional degree in writing can already realize personal business and social value. I have great admiration for writers who have made it this far, and I hope I can become such a person one day. Who doesn't want to be able to go from an amateur player to a professional player?

Regardless of sideline, cross-border, or full-time choice, in essence, an online writer is a real profession, even if the production results are online.

▲ Electronic factory workshop

Unlike the aforementioned white-collar or gold-collar people who devoted themselves to the creation of online articles, Song of Thorns (pen name) chose to work in an electronics factory in Guangdong after graduating from high school in 2008. He worked at least 10 hours a day and 6 days a week. . Working so hard, the monthly income is only two to three thousand yuan. Under high-intensity work, reading online articles is one of her few leisure ways.

Then in 2015, Song of Thorns returned to her hometown in Henan from Guangdong, and began to work on beauty related work, and her fragmented time increased. She also changed from a reader of online articles to an author of online articles. Unlike most online writers who sit in front of a computer to create, Song of Thorns did not have its own computer when it began to create, and the writing tool was a mobile phone.

The first work "Counterattack with the System" is closely related to the beauty work I am engaged in, but Song of Thorns, who only received school writing training in school, was not an excellent author at this time, and the work did not have much influence.

At this time, a reader who criticized her work and received a positive response gave a reward of 200 yuan, which made Song of Thorns realize that her work is valuable. It wasn't until the end of 2016, when she started writing her second work "The Chronicle of the Green Stranger", that the income of Song of Thorns began to rise.

By the middle of 2017, her income was enough for her to buy two modest houses in her hometown in Henan, one for her parents and one for herself.

Today, Song of Thorns has written nearly ten million words, and is a senior writer of Qidian Women's Channel. The leap from a migrant worker girl in Nanpiao to a high-income online writer may be an inspirational template for many people to devote themselves to this. Of course there are reasons for continuous writing, but Song of Thorns believes that it is important to experience life seriously and read and think from time to time. The only way to maintain the continuity of creation.

Just like her first work on beauty, Song of Thorns’ advice to novices is to write about their own life experience, or to enlarge them if they know more about them, and then weave and describe some materials, so as to compare It has a sense of reality, and secondly, there will not be too many bugs that some readers don't like, and it will gradually improve my control over writing.

The work experience of Song of Thorns exists in her works in the form of fictional adaptations, and she had her teeth corrected for a period of time, and she had a lot of eating restrictions, which also became the driving force for her writing food topics: she wanted the characters in the book to replace her Try it all.

One of the little troubles of Song of Thorns now is that she, who loves to grow flowers, considers writing a fairy novel related to growing flowers, but she has no good inspiration yet, so she can only put it in the subject matter to be written.

La Lalin, editor-in-chief of the Reality and Short Stories Channel of China Literature, noticed that online literature has developed for more than 20 years, with a variety of themes, and there are even more works. In addition, new trends have emerged. Judging from the recent film and television market, especially from the trends and changes in the East Asian film and television market, film and television works in Japan, South Korea and other countries, as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan, all have special themes based on realistic backgrounds. A large number of novels have emerged, such as combining social suspense, criminal investigation, social issues, female themes, etc., among which a large number of hits have appeared, and these works can be regarded as realistic backgrounds in the classification of themes.

In the field of online literature, the overall development of realistic themes is relatively slow. On the one hand, it is limited by the cognition of the theme. Many authors will define realistic themes as the main theme, which is difficult to control. On the other hand, the monetization model is relatively special, and it is relatively difficult in the subscription market. success. However, realistic themes have a lot of value for commercial realization, such as physical publishing and film and television adaptations. The hundreds of thousands of words of novels required further reduce the time and cost of creation, and the overall income is not low.

Whether it is the first step in finding a side job for a novice, or looking for a blue ocean of creation, reality is a key word that cannot be avoided. The thesis that art comes from life and is higher than life still applies here.

Even though the first work went away for 80,000 miles, the source of inspiration and core setting of "I Become a Saint with Idle Books" still comes from his university major, interest and career direction.

▲ Stills of the movie "The Story of the Boat"

To some extent, becoming an online writer is not a choice to make quick money. A successful person is like a song of thorns. The first year is also very bleak, but writing is not only invested in the current time, but also I have many years of life experience.

Therefore, when it comes to the foundation and ability needed to become a part-time web writer, Lalalin believes that in addition to qualified narrative skills, the first requirement is a very strong creative consciousness. Because part-time creation needs to squeeze a lot of life time of the author, especially in online literature, because of its long-form serial nature, it requires the creator to invest a lot of energy in creation and conception every day. Self-discipline and self-consciousness, just having an initial creative impulse, writing may not last for too long.

As a sideline or even a career choice, web writers can actually be divided into two types. In Lalalin’s view, many practitioners in popular industries, web writing is a life choice, not necessarily because they want to create As the main source of income, for example, the authors of "Dancing with the Sand" and "Dancing with the Cloud" based on the novels based on Huawei engineers going to sea, after years of accumulation in related industries, have the conditions and opportunities to create and participate in online literature. Come.

And there are still many people who are engaged in traditional industries, and their income may not be high. The income from online literature creation can indeed provide them with better material living conditions, and even provide them with the possibility of another life.

In the end, whether it is sideline or cross-border, or respect for reality or path choice, it comes down to one key word: life.

Internet writer Qianliying said that even if I become a full-time writer, I still think it is still necessary to have a life and accumulate materials in life. La Lalin, editor of online articles, said that part-time writing needs to squeeze a lot of life time of the author. He Xiao, Exodus Eighty Thousand Miles and Song of Thorns all prove that writing without life accumulation is a castle in the air.


In fact, there is no contradiction. When you decide to become a web writer, it is actually the beginning of respecting life. What is compressed is the part that was originally wasted.

▲The title picture is a still photo of the TV series "The Beginning"

In the plastic greenhouse of fate, every cabbage that has been sprayed with too many pesticides once had a dream of becoming a pollution-free organic vegetable.

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