We're Not Competing With Human Writers Any More

Thursday, June 20, 2024


To tell you the truth, it's not so much that I really thought other writers were my competition throughout my career. Not really, anyway. It's more that I recognized who was in the same lane as I was, so to speak. In my earlier days of professional freelancing, I knew who was in my playground. I knew the kinds of writers who would be going for the same jobs as me. They had the skills I did for the most part. And what I didn't have, I knew I could learn and take courses if necessary. 

Since I've pursued writing professionally and creatively, I've known that it isn't a competitive sport as much as an endurance race. Sure, there are awards and prizes and coveted agent representations and ideal publishing houses to be gained. Yet, somehow, I knew about the competition. And as long as I knew they shared one trait (that every one of us had, too), whatever they landed seemed possible for me.

The commonality? They were human. 

About a month ago, I found out a writing job of mine dropped my rates in half. And I was baffled. I thought to myself: What could trigger this change? Then I saw the news that the company that owned the website I was writing for was incorporating more AI in their websites. I realized that was the secret sauce that led to my rates being dropped. I wasn't being replaced with a person they hired who had advanced marketing skills and degrees in SEO. I was slowly being replaced by AI.

Now, I know that many other people know that AI isn't all that cracked up to be. It really isn't, and I'm not just being sourgrapes about it. Google's latest endeavor to change up its search engine results to include AI written summaries is one of countless pieces of evidence of that. 

Yet, there is this ever-present piece of evidence that writers are slowly being cut out of opportunities. I'm thankful that I'm where I'm at now and not where I was 10 years ago. I wonder if there are even entry-level writing gigs available like I had access to in the past. Those low-level SEO writing jobs I landed so many years ago probably don't even exist these days.

And it's tiring. I have no advice except for my fellow human writers to keep at it. At this point, we're all in the sandbox together. Sadly, our competition isn't even human anymore.

Nicole Pyles is a tired writer living in Portland, Oregon. Follow her writing website for more at World of My Imagination.


Angela Mackintosh said...

Wow, powerful post, Nicole! Your last line gave me chills. I'm sorry to hear about your freelance gig, and I've heard a lot of similar stories, unfortunately. I read an article on Forbes that said in the next five years 85 million jobs will be displaced. You bring up a great point about those entry level writing jobs that probably aren't around anymore because of AI. We receive a lot of guest posts/sponsored posts and the first thing I usually ask for is the writer's byline. It's so obvious that they are AI written...like all the flavor has been drained from them. I think the best thing we have going for us as humans (lol - that sounds so sci-fi!) is each other, our connections and community.

Nicole Pyles said...

Thank you! And it is an advantage that we're human and that personalization is what gives us an edge over the competition. I think personal essays and narratives will become far more popular especially because it offers that human perspective. At least, I hope so!

Renee Roberson said...

Ugh! I'm so sorry about this Nicole, and I'm not sure if I've ever expressed my feelings about AI to you, but I can't get behind it in the creative industry. I do so much research online for my podcast and I was just venting yesterday how bad the articles on the news websites are for gathering information and you can tell a human didn't compile them. I much prefer my old archived newspaper articles because a human actually wrote them and they make much more sense! I think companies who depend too much on AI are going to face a reckoning in the near future because the work will be so substandard.

Nicole Pyles said...

Exactly! Writing generated by AI is basic and low level, and removing that human touch makes it uninteresting. I'll bet archived articlese are much better!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your pay being cut.

I agree that it is so easy to spot the articles written by AI. There's one or two facts repeated in five or six sentences. The phrasing varies but the data? Not in the least.

Fortunately we have our fellow WOW! writers to help us hone our craft and find opportunities.

Anonymous said...

Angel mentioned how many jobs are projected to be lost to AI, I wonder if Forbes bothered to mention how much copyright infringement has taken place in order to "train" the AI.
In the illustrator/artist field, Adobe is currently under scrutiny from users who say they have seen AI "art" that is alarmingly similar to their own--but they never gave permission for their creative works to be used in this way. Sadly, Adobe is not the only thief.
Many websites have "small print" stating that the use of their software defaults to an agreement that the site may use your work in any way they choose. This is becoming standard for photo-editing sites, illustration programs, and most social media sites (including Instagram, I believe). As far as jobs go, some companies are beginning to seek out artwork specifically from humans, but how do we function professionally in a digitally-led industry and still protect our creative property? It may come down to some difficult choices.
By refusing to use software or platforms that infringe on our rights in this way, and instead finding other ways to "get the job done," new options will emerge as companies step forward to meet the mass demand.

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top