Despite the zombie apocalypse known as COVID-19, Crowd Content’s long-running Writer Spotlight forges on with its second installment. This week, we ask you to take a socially distanced break from hand washing, news watching, homeschooling and, of course, writing to learn a little bit about Crowd Content writer Carrie McCarthy, aka Alana.
One of Crowd Content’s most skilled writers, Alana has completed over 1,400 orders and written nearly 800,000 words for our clients since joining the platform in May of 2016. Her knack for writing compelling marketing copy has earned her frequent praise from numerous businesses, and she’s often the go-to writer for project managers who need high-quality sample or calibration orders for new clients. “I do love onboarding new clients though and doing samples. It’s especially rewarding to help bring CC business and play a role in shaping project briefs,” says Alana.
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Born in Ohio and currently living in Las Vegas, Alana has a varied background. “I spent 15 years or so as a professional musician, then I dabbled in culinary school and worked in restaurants as a server, corporate trainer, and sommelier.” (that’s a wine snob – I had to look it up).
After a life-changing car accident kept her at home, she began freelancing full time in 2013, and it “basically saved her life,” she says. She doesn’t quite remember how she stumbled upon Crowd Content (it was four years ago, and I can’t remember what I did two weekends ago, so we’ll let it slide), but she thinks she may have migrated here with a group of other writers who left another platform because… well, we’re just better. That’s not a quote, but I’m going with it.
Alana’s preferred type of content is “anything with a little voice to it. I specialize in bringing personality to sales pages and web content,” she says, “but my main passion is food and wine writing.” She writes at home after her children are in bed and sometimes moves the workspace out to the porch but not too often because “we have Las Vegas heat to contend with. And also coyotes.” Yikes.
Not one to shy away from the hard-hitting questions, I dug deep to get a true feel for who Alana really is. Enjoy the spoils of my investigative reporting:
Do you have any hobbies or unusual interests? “I have two young children. My hobbies are cleaning crayon off of walls and sleep typing.”
Who is your favorite author? What’s your favorite book? “Poe. Dorothy Parker. I also really like short stories, so I read anthologies more often than not but I also have a deep love of nonfiction — biographies, anything about travel. I read cookbooks like they’re novels.”
Have you been published by any notable sites or organizations (digital or traditional)? “A bunch, many as a ghostwriter though. My favorite ‘notable’ project is a profile I wrote about legendary winemaker Mike Grgich. It was published online; his staff saw it, and they said he loved it so much that he had a bunch of copies printed and handed out to guests at his (mega big deal) 93rd birthday party/book release. Meant a great deal to me as a writer and as a wino.”
What’s your favorite restaurant or meal? “I will never turn down a good sandwich. My life is pretty much sponsored by Boar’s Head and Jersey Mike’s.”
What’s your favorite TV show or movie? “The Princess Bride, forever and always. As for TV shows, I frequently rewatch Friends, The Office, and 30 Rock. But Fleabag is an absolute masterpiece. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the kind of surprising, authentic, comedically brilliant writer I inspire to be.”
Complete this sentence: When I’m not working, I… “love to play with my kids and sleep.”
What are the five worst words in the English language? “We’re out of Diet Coke.”
Let’s get to the good stuff before Alana resumes her Diet-Coke-and-wine-drinking, crayon-cleaning, sleep-typing days. What can you gain from Alana’s experience, and can we get some unsolicited compliments about our platform? (ok, maybe not completely unsolicited).
What do you think sets Crowd Content apart from other content platforms? “The staff. The platform is great (and about to get better); the clients are solid and delightfully varied, and the interface is fairly intuitive, but the PMs and other admins are why I stick around. I had pretty high status on another well-known content platform but I couldn’t stand how the staff treated the majority of writers — like they’re disposable. CC listens to and appreciates laptop monkeys like little ole me and that respect goes a long way.”
If you could change one thing about our platform, what would it be? “I abhor the TAT system and think rewarding speed while expecting accuracy/quality is the exact wrong approach. Sorry(not sorry)!”
Do you have any advice for new writers? “Don’t ever disqualify yourself from a project unless you’ve already tried it and know for sure it’s not a good fit. I’m totally self-taught, and I’ve advanced because I’m willing to learn on the go. Mastering a new niche while writing requires dedication (and lots of sandwiches), but it’s totally possible and will vastly expand your professional potential. Also, use a thesaurus. Repetitive content is the pits.”
What do you find most challenging about writing content? “Creativity on demand. Sometimes the muse just doesn’t want to play and having to come up with all the werdz when you really just want to watch Love is Blind and dream of pudding is really hard.”
I don’t know about you, but I get the impression that Alana is hungry. Go grab yourself a sandwich and big bowl of pudding — and maybe some wine; you’ve earned it. We appreciate all you do, Alana. Keep up the great work! Join us next month for a peek into the mysterious and glamorous life of another Crowd Content writer. Maybe it’ll be you.