A Kenyan definition, does it have several meanings?
Incidentally, it does.
When Kenyans mention online writing, they mean something quite different from the global definition.
This stems from the popularity of one type of freelancing gig known as academic writing, which Kenyan youth depend on to escape unemployment and put meals on their tables.
So they define it as academic writing; works produced by university students on research reports, cultures, theory proposals, and scientific concepts, among others relating to academic study.
The rest of the world defines online writing as any text created on a computer. This includes formats such as blogging, tweeting, commenting, texting, instant messaging, and emailing. In short, any writing done on your smartphone computer or digital device connected to the internet is online writing.
Using the global definition serves no purpose if you’re searching for freelancing gigs because even the simple act you’ve done of searching for this term on your browser can be described as online writing.
So from this point on, we shall refer to online writing as academic writing.
Types of Online Writing Assignments
University assignments come in different shapes. Some are short and require less research to complete, while others involve intense research, taking days or weeks to complete.
These are the kinds of tasks you do as an online writer. If you’ve been to university or college, you must have done such assignments.
This explains why academic writing is the most popular online job in Kenya; it has a low entry barrier since most people are already familiar with the assignments’ structures.
The most common types of work to expect in online writing assignments include
A short piece of writing on a particular topic or subject. It’s also known as a composition or article.
In both primary and secondary school, writing of compositions was part of the school curriculum. They helped us organize ideas and thoughts on paper and make grammatical sense.
Online writing essays are not any different from compositions making it arguably the easiest type of online writing assignment.
2. Research Paper
An extended essay that provides analysis, interpretation, and arguments based on thorough research on a particular topic.
Research papers are usually longer and more detailed than essays and are designed to showcase strong knowledge, engage with various references, and make original contributions to a debate.
They are more demanding than essays. To write one, you must have good experience with writing compositions and good research skills.
3. Case study
A detailed study of a specific subject which involves a thorough examination of a particular case in a real-world context.
Case studies are quite similar to research papers only that they focus on one incident and have a unique structure to fit their purpose.
For instance, a story about a customer who uses a product to overcome a problem or an in-depth analysis of the events leading to political violence in a country.
4. Creative writing
A form of writing based on the mind’s creativity that goes beyond the bounds of standard literature.
It’s used to express something, feelings, thoughts, or emotions and uses narrative craft, literary tropes, and character development to produce an art of literature.
It’s one of the most interesting online writing jobs which writers with a knack for creative thinking enjoy.
An article of a verbal presentation used to convey a message to an audience.
It’s an essay of a theoretical speech narrated by a speaker to persuade the audience to understand and support a point of view.
When writing speeches, one takes the speaker’s role and writes conversationally to influence readers’ opinions.
A critical evaluation of an object, text, event, or phenomenon written to express an opinion about it. A writer can only write a review once they have used or seen, or experienced the entity in question.
For instance, a movie review gives an opinion about its content and the experience of watching the movie, while a book review conveys an opinion on the ideas and experience after reading a book.
7. Annotated Bibliography
A list of books or other works and descriptive comments about sources cited in a paper. In an academic report, the final section of an article, where every cited source is listed, is known as the reference section.
An annotated bibliography is like an advanced reference section.
8. Critical review
A summarization and evaluation of the ideas of material under consideration. It involves critical thinking where a writer carefully considers both the selected text’s strengths and weaknesses before presenting a rational and practical evaluation.
9. Literature Review
An evaluation of available literature on a given topic or related to a specific research question.
It presents the current knowledge, findings, theoretical and methodological contributions of a particular topic, and hence considered a secondary source of study.
Its main objective is to critically analyze information gathered, summarize it, and present it in an organized way.
10. Project Report
A detailed article detailing the general perspective of a proposed plan or activity. It contains prospects of the proposed activity and data on the basis of which the project has been evaluated and found practical.
Every University student must submit a project report before they graduate. So undertaking an online project report job can boost report writing skills in preparation for the final year project.
These are just a few of the types of online writing jobs. I haven’t even covered the various assignments that students in technical fields such as computer and engineering do.
However, I hope you’ve got the general idea of online writing; it’s a university student paying other students to do his or her assignment.
Does online writing pay in Kenya?
Why would a student drop university to do online writing?
Why would another student quit a job to pursue a career in online writing?
Where do you think Kenyan youths go to when they don’t get jobs?
They do online writing because it pays well and gives them the freedom to live freely and work anywhere.
When I started online writing in first-year, what motivated me was the lifestyle my boss had courtesy of earnings from the gig. His house fully stocked with appliances that most people consider luxuries, such as a fridge, a 50 inch TV, and massive Sony speakers, blew my mind.
He graduated driving a saloon car and moved to a two-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Nairobi. I called him the other day, and he tells me he’s still in the industry and doing quite well. And that’s just one of my colleagues who have thrived in this sector.
I have two close friends who advanced from doing academic writing jobs to selling cars after saving. They didn’t enjoy writing, so they used the gig to launch their preferred career.
So I can confidently say that online writing offers an excellent opportunity for financial growth and independence. It pays a lot if you can put in the work. It’s not for lazy people and certainly not for wimps who cannot withstand the pressures of managing accounts and clients.
How much do writers earn in Kenya
First, earnings generally depend on whether you have an account or not. For an account owner, three factors further determine how much they earn
1. Type of Assignment
Not all assignments are the same. Essays and reviews are considered easy and therefore have a low cost per page. Freelancing companies charge $5 per page for such assignments, and since they take, on average, 60% of client’s payment, writers get $3 to $4.
For advanced assignments such as project reports, the cost per page can go up to $25 in a premium account. Therefore I writer could make about $10 per page. The more complex the assignment is, the more money a writer makes.
2. Niche or Topic
Assignments come in numerous forms due to the many disciplines in university.
For instance, you don’t expect civil engineering assignments to have the same format and writing rules as English literature assignments. All these fields of study have different levels of complexity.
That’s why not all students go to medicine, law, and engineering schools.
These technical courses, which are considered harder, have assignments most people cannot even attempt. Therefore, a limited number of writers can take them and are paid handsomely for their service.
Some computer programming assignments, for instance, can pay writers as much as $10 per question. A knowledgeable computer programmer can solve 10 Questions within a couple of hours and easily make Ksh 10,000.
3. Type of Writer
There are two major types of English writers; English as a Second Language writers and English as a Native Language writer.
ESL writers mostly originate from African, Middle East, and South American countries. Since they use English as a Second Language, they are considered to have less mastery and their work inferior to that of native speakers.
Therefore they are paid up to 50% less than the latter.
Also, they have a lower chance of securing high paying jobs than Native English speakers and thus are left to fight for the low paying jobs.
If you consider all these factors, you can estimate how much writers earn in Kenya. Some people have mastered ways to bypass account registration and can open any account they want.
So it wouldn’t surprise me if I met a Kenyan writer with a Native English Speaker account and are earning hundreds of dollars weekly.
As for secondary writers who don’t own accounts, payment depends on the job suppliers. On average, they are paid between Ksh 200 and Ksh 500 per page.
So if you’re wondering how much to charge someone for a 500-word article (two-page job), don’t go below 300 shillings for a new writer. You should earn 500 shillings, and advanced writers can make as much as Ksh 1000.
If you’ve been in the industry for some time, you can approximate what the supplier is making and name your price.
I guess you now understand what online writing is and whether it can be a good fit for you.
If you desire to be a freelancer, online writing is one of the gigs you can try out.
It has a low entry barrier in Kenya and can quickly set you up for consistent income, especially during high seasons.