Writer Spotlight: Paula Hart – Brave New Worlds

Over the last couple of years, we’ve travelled the world to get to know some of our Crowd Content freelancers. If we plotted their locations on a wall map, we’d have push pins in Canada, the United States, the UK, Brazil, and Australia. But this month, we’re making an unexpected side jaunt to a place we’re guessing many of you haven’t been to. Our guide on this journey is a freelance writer extraordinaire, Paula Hart.

This tale begins in Paula’s hometown in northern England. Paula has been writing professionally for about 10 years, and when she’s working, she’s often set up at a nearby pub. “It’s quiet during the day, the Wi-Fi is fast and the view of the river is great,” she says of her preferred workspace.

But once in a while, she ventures out to explore a hidden world on Earth. Did you know that some of the real-life landmarks, murals, public art and monuments in your neighborhood are portals of energy?

That’s okay if you read that sentence twice. We don’t usually cover alternate universes at Writer Spotlight, but there’s a proverbial first time for everything.

Paula plays an immersive, multiplayer game called Ingress. Using a mobile app, players are tasked with finding and collecting a resource known as XM from various locations around the world. The “agents” work with and compete against others. “I once spent a week stranded in a remote part of Scotland because I was trying to do something in the game and there was a snowstorm,” Paula says. That’s determination!

For those of you who haven’t heard of the game, Tech Crunch describes it as similar to Pokémon GO, but more grown-up and without the “cutesie monsters”: “It’s like capture the flag mashed up with one massive worldwide game of tug of war, with a bit of Matrix-y cyberpunk dressing slathered on top.” Yes, please take a moment to absorb all that.

The world of Ingress sounds fascinating, but unfortunately, there isn’t a demand for finely crafted content here. We’re going to let the agents focus on hacking portals in their digital battlefield, and head back to a more familiar world filled with H1 tags, semantic keywords and bulleted lists.

Paula comes to Crowd Content with a background in computer programming. “I’ve done technical reviews for O’Reilly, but not had my own work published by them yet. I’ve also written for Need2Know Books and Packt Publishing,” she says. She’s most comfortable writing technical content, but her favorite Crowd Content project involves blurbs about assisted living facilities in the United States. “It took me a while to get used to the brief but now I enjoy them,” she says from across the pond. “I’ve learned so much about out-of-the-way little towns in various states of America!”

Thanks to her top-notch writing skills and ability to hit deadlines, Paula enjoys steady work at Crowd Content. But, her freelance journey hasn’t always been this easy. “I was on really bad content mills for a long time,” she says of her pre-CC days. But that’s in the distant past; in fact, she can’t quite recall how she found our platform. “It’s been a long time now, but I think it was via the site Freelance Writing Gigs,” she says.

We’re just pleased she found a home here. “There’s lots of work available and the editors and project managers are always happy to help,” Paula explains, when asked what sets Crowd Content apart from other writing platforms. She also appreciates the flexibility of being able to log on anytime. “At the moment, life is crazy,” she explains. “It’s nice to know that I can pick up work when I feel up to it, and not worry when I don’t.”

Outside of work, one of Paula’s favorite authors to read is Naomi Novik, whose popular Temeraire fantasy series introduces yet another brilliantly inventive world. The nine-volume series reimagines the Napoleonic war fought with an air force of dragons and aviators (note to self: add to TBR list). When it comes to relaxing in front of a screen, Paula gives a shout-out to The Grand Budapest Hotel as a favorite movie. And television shows? “That would be either Space: Above and Beyond or Good Omens,” she adds.

Books, check. Movies, check. Favorite pastimes, check. We’re progressing nicely here, but there’s so much more we need to know. Paula, get ready for the speed round.

What’s your favorite restaurant or meal? “As odd as this sounds, I visited Coldstone Creamery for ice cream once in 2006, then returned in 2011 and it was still as good as I remembered it. Best ice cream ever!”

What are the five worst words in the English language? “Ghost, myriad, whatever, stalker, origin.”

What do you find most challenging about writing content? “Sometimes I struggle to get started….those first few words are always the hardest ones to put down in any order.”

Do you have any advice for new writers? “Always check the brief, even if you have worked on a project before. Things do change and it’s embarrassing to get caught out!”

If you could change one thing about our platform, what would it be? “I wish editors could see the date your work was submitted. I once wrote a huge batch of descriptions and got the same thing wrong in all of them. The editors thought I wasn’t taking feedback on board when they were actually picking up old work for several days after.”

Complete this sentence: When I’m not working, I love to… “Explore new cities and collect unique location visits in Ingress.”

Sounds good, Paula, but please don’t get stranded again. We’ve got a few orders waiting on the boards for you.

Well, this edition of Writer Spotlight has been quite an adventure, and we appreciate Paula sharing her stories and helping us to kick off 2022 in style. As we wrap up, I’d like to also thank all of you for making Crowd Content part of your world. Which freelance writer are we dropping in on next month? Maybe it’ll be you!


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Erin is the Community Manager at Crowd Content, and before that was a project manager here for 3 years. She lives in Massachusetts, is a baseball/Red Sox fanatic and loves spending time with her family.

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