Why I Have Decided Not to Make Money With My Writing
In February 2020 I told my brother as a joke “I should have a blog to express my ideas” and he proposed to host it on his server.
“Why not”, I thought.
And so I started a blog.
I didn’t have any plans at the time. I just wanted to put my voice out there and express in writing my ideas.
I needed some sort of physical support for all the crazy thoughts that were going through my mind. I wanted to get them out of my head and into the world.
When I started, I didn’t fix any goals. I knew I wasn’t really good at committing to long-term work. I didn’t see myself writing more than 10 or 15 articles, and expected to quit as soon as I’d be bored, which is usually pretty early.
So I had decided to commit to nothing. Making the blog was free anyway, so I wasn’t going to lose anything if I decided to quit the next day.
And so I wrote my first article. I enjoyed it. So I wrote a second one. Then a third one. Quickly enough, I reached 20. It was fun.
In fact, it was amazing.
I could write what I wanted when I wanted. I didn’t have any guidelines to respect, no one was giving me a note at the end and I was the sole judge of my writing.
If I liked it, I published it. If I did not, I didn’t.
When I told people about my blog, they would directly ask me about my readership.
I had none, but I didn’t mind. I wasn’t writing for others. I was writing for myself.
Writing eventually wasn’t as much about spreading ideas as it was about learning WordPress, SEO, and being able to directly export my thoughts to my friends. I was happy to send them my articles and ask them what they thought of the topic I had written about.
Writing enabled me to quickly gather feedback about important ideas. I didn’t have to lead conversations about them anymore. I could just write something and ask “what do you think”?
The blog also really helped me with Tinder!
After a brief introduction, I would share my articles and ask girls what they thought of them. It was a nice, non-boring way to get to know each other, and it increased the number of dates I managed to get.
Overall, the writing was great.
I had finally found a routine of something I enjoyed and that stood in time.
Then one day, it changed.
Should I make money with my writing?
I don’t remember exactly how it happened but one day, I ended up discovering Medium, Quora, Linkedin. I found out that I wasn’t the only snowflake writing in this world.
I also found out people were making serious money out of their writing.
Naturally, it bit my interest.
I started learning about email lists, digital products, affiliate marketing, newsletters, sales, copywriting, AdSense, and freelance services. Every day, I was eating dozens of articles with titles such as “How I am making $1969 every month with my online writing side-hustle”.
I was addicted and couldn’t stop.
Somehow, a need to make money off my writing started to develop. I registered on Fiverr and started publishing my own articles on Medium, Linkedin and Quora.
I started becoming obsessed with statistics. I was going to sleep thinking about strategies to “find a niche”, “market my writing” and “write what others want to read”.
From a passion that enabled me to relax and enjoy my life, writing became a job with its lot of procrastination, long hours, and completely unrelated tasks that “needed to get done”. Making money writing, I read somewhere, was about doing marketing 80% of the time and writing…20%.
Suddenly, what had started as a joke became stressful and ate up most of my free time.
Then one day, I came to my senses.
I realized I wasn’t enjoying it at all. I realized that looking for the perfect click-bait title wasn’t something that was adding any type of value to my life. Writing with the perspective to have others read me wasn’t something I liked either.
I just wanted to write. I wanted to express what interested me. I wanted to go back to doing what my blog was originally intended to do: speaking about things I wish I had known when I was 18 or so to avoid making the mistakes that I have subsequently made.
Ultimately, I understood that readership did not matter as much as the pleasure I got from writing about my own thoughts, ideas, and mistakes.
I can’t deny that having an audience and people to interact with would be nice. But, I never intended to become a professional writer at first, and do not think I’d like to become one anyway.
Writing is not my job. It’s my hobby. It’s what puts a smile on my face.
And if making money doing so involves spending days of doing sales work, copy-past my work on multiple platforms and social media, interact with people in the comments, build email lists and fight for paid work on Fiverr…then that doesn’t interest me.
I would rather keep it as a hobby.