The one thing that I have noticed since deciding to be a writer, is that there are so many people out there looking for “how-to” and so many more offering simple words of advice. Words like “just sit down and write”; or “give it time” when it comes to earning money; or the famous “write what you know”. What I haven’t noticed, or rather have noticed a lack of, is the number of people who can take you from the very beginning right up to where they are today.
So, here’s how I came to write this. First I asked myself some basic simple questions.
1. Do I want to write, or do I want to write for money?
2. Do I enjoy the writing enough not to really care if I earn any real pennies for it?
3. Do I want to write my own stuff, or do I want to be handed topics and simply write what I am asked to?
I’ve come to the conclusion that, for right now, yes it doesn’t matter how many pennies I can make at this. I want to write. I know that money won’t come easy, it never does when you want something to live off of. But I want to write. It doesn’t matter if I can afford it or not, it’s what I must do to make any happiness in my life. It is what makes sense of things to me. It gives me something to look forward to each day. I’m not looking to be the next Tom Clancy; I just want to be me for right now.
Yes, I can write. Hell I can write all day if I didn’t have to do the day job to earn a living. And that’s my goal eventually; to get to do what I want and earn enough of it to stay alive. Right now, I’d be happy getting up to $1,000 a month as a writer. That would pretty much replace my income at the JOB. Yes, I make next to nothing. But, to get there, as with any “business”, it will take lots of work and time. So for now I go out and look for ways to get my name out there. A writer needs exposure, the exposure gains the first few pennies. And yes, it’s like the snowball analogy – it gets bigger and better along the way. Well, I am just starting with the tiny snowball. Let’s hope it gets bigger.
For now I’ve started with three PPV sites; Triond, Helium, and Associated Content. I’ve got about eleven articles on Helium with a total of 95 cents earned thus far (I’ve only been on for a couple of months). Triond has about six articles; and as of today, I earned my first penny there. I’m still waitig for approval of content from AC. But, before you all go “so”, it’s a start. I’ve got published credits to my name, ever so small they may be. Right now I’m going for all the exposure I can get. I’ve begun building my own website as well. And for now, it rests comfortably on Tripod as a free site. Yes, there are banners and it may not be “professional” for a lot of people, but just starting out you go with what you can for as little as possible.
I’ve also managed to get a blog here, and another on America Talks Back. This may eventually lead somewhere, or maybe not. I just like to write about things that interest me some days. There’s also my MySpace blog. I use that for offbeat comments and observations.
For work, I go to Online-Writing-Jobs which is a free job board for writers. There’s a link to that someplace around here. And while the “free” part means low pay or no pay jobs, it still gives the writer some access to work. I check in there about twice a week or so. If you apply to a few jobs there, something will come to you. Keep the emails flowing out and someone will get back to you with an assignment. Just watch what you apply for, and make sure you can handle the work. Then, as with any business endevor, any income you get, reinvest it into getting more work. If you gain enough to afford a subscription to another work site, get it. That’s my next move. Then the plan is to keep sending emails and keep getting more work. Meanwhile, I’m writing more articles for the PPV sites and blogging to keep my writing fresh and flowing. Also, I’m in the middle of trying to get onto a couple of sites as a columist or contributor. Yes, again, it may be for no pay – but the whole game starts with exposure. I know enough from being in business; no one will care if they don’t know you’re there.
So there you have it, my first few steps trying to make writing move from simple hobby and loveable pastime, to something more. I don’t know how long it’s going to take; and in a way, I don’t really care. Some days it will matter more than others I’m sure. But for now, if you are a real writer, just writing can be enough. It just makes the day feel better.