When you think back to what you loved to read as a child, what springs to mind? Maybe you were drawn to Roald Dahl’s irreverent Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Madeleine L’Engle’s wonderfully fantastic A Wrinkle in Time, or Maurice Sendak’s classic Where the Wild Things Are. Or — bear with me here — maybe the Sears Wish Book was on your reading list?
Sure, it’s not literary, but generations of kids pored over the glossy pages of the department’s store annual Christmas catalogue. While this slice of Americana fueled many dreams of shiny toys, its pages of product descriptions inspired more than a few marketing writers, too, including one of Crowd Content’s very own. Let’s find out more, as we do some virtual globetrotting and meet four-star writer, self-professed tree nerd, and amazing grandma, Melissa Spicer.
Born and raised in Eastern Kentucky, Melissa lives just outside of Lexington in Campton, population 400. She’s played with words her whole life, writing mostly poetry when she was younger. She went on to study Communications at the University of Louisville and has published pieces on women’s issues for The Clinton Foundation.
Like many freelancers, she turned a love of writing into a viable career. “Writing has always been a hobby, but it wasn’t until 2008 that I realized I could make money doing it,” she explains. She got her start on various writing platforms, which eventually led her to Crowd Content. “I worked with several of the admins here when they were on other platforms, and one of them invited me,” she explains. “The people here are always so kind and helpful. The work is usually bountiful. And the pay on most projects is pretty good!” she says. Glad you like it here, Melissa. We aim to please.
Her versatility makes her indispensable to many project managers, but she has a particular knack for persuasive copy. “Marketing writing seems to come easiest for me,” she says, adding, “I think it goes back to my fondness of the Sears Wish Book when I was a child. I’d read it cover to cover.”
Melissa’s early training paid off — well-crafted product descriptions are required reading for any writers who want to make their bread and butter from PDs. It’s no surprise then, to find out which Crowd Content project holds a special place in her heart. “I think the Darice descriptions were my favorite, especially the batches with Halloween or Christmas products,” she says. I’m quite sure Melissa’s tightly woven copy sold many glittery ornaments and mini pumpkin decorations. (We miss you, Darice.)
You can often find Melissa writing wherever inspiration strikes — in her home office, at her kitchen table or on the back deck — but some days, the words flow less easily than others. We asked her what the most challenging part of writing content is. “I am easily distracted by all the pretty shiny people and things around me,” she admits. On those days, you might find her reading, gardening and studying trees. “I’m a tree nerd,” she says. But her number one favorite pastime? “Playing with my only grandbaby, my grandson, Weston, who just turned four,” she says proudly.
Whether you share Melissa’s love for writing PDs or prefer blog posts and articles, you might be interested in her advice for new writers: don’t get discouraged. “One thing I’ve always struggled with as a writer is taking feedback personally. Remember editors are only trying to help you grow — and meet the requirements of the project brief,” Melissa explains. “It takes time to develop a thick skin, and sometimes feedback still stings, even after more than a decade of writing.”
You know what’s coming next, faithful readers. Hang on, because it’s time to dive into the lightning round.
Who is your favorite author? What’s your favorite book? “I would probably go with Patricia Cornwell. I’m a crime/serial killer junkie. I have all of her books in hardcover. I am also a Stephen King fan. I’ve read most of his work.”
What’s your favorite restaurant or meal? “I love food, but I’m on a low-carb diet due to my health, so I’m usually noshing on meats, veggies and string cheese. It’s a struggle!”
What’s your favorite TV show or movie? “I’m a huge TV buff. I think my favorite TV show of all time is Desperate Housewives. Or Nurse Jackie. Or Weeds. I can’t choose just one.”
If you could change one thing about our platform, what would it be? “The ability to like, love or laugh at forum comments could be entertaining.”
What are the five worst words in the English language? “Adulting. It’s overdone, let it rest. Firstly (followed by secondly, thirdly, and so on) for obvious reasons. Occasionally (because I only occasionally spell it right on the first try). Is three enough? I can’t think of any other words that I dislike at the moment.”
Complete this sentence: When I’m not working… “I love to play with my grandson and sleep!”
We won’t keep you from your sweet grandbaby any longer, Melissa. Thank you for your time, and I only wish I had a Sears Wish Book for you and Weston to read together! And to all of you other wonderful writers, I hope you found some inspiration in Melissa’s stories to spark your own work, or at least start some very early Christmas shopping. We’ll see you next time when another Crowd Content freelancer steps into the spotlight. Maybe it’ll be you.