I has a great conversation today and I’ll be the first to say it was enlightening to me as both a person and a writer. For purposes of this conversation I’d like to remind you that this is a younger person (late teens) and myself, a much older person– talking about writing online and making money blogging.
The start was simply about working online, and I had told him I wrote a blog, about writing. To which the rest of the conversation played out like this
“You write a blog, aren’t you a bit old for this sort of thing?”
“Yes I do. I write the blog Living a Life of Writing and I am almost ready to have a book published. I don’t think I am all that old to be writing either”
“Cool, so why are you working here?”
“Well, I enjoy my job and, also it pays the bills.”
“But you have a blog! What’s wrong with it? Are you not networking enough– that’s the fastest way to make money! All writers make money online. You aren’t successful“
I think I was pretty cool about not laughing in his face. I suppose that I can act better than I think on some days. Or, I have manners. I’m still not quite sure which one it was.
The statement “all writers make money online” is something that surprises me, call me old-fashioned, but maybe it’s the idea that you can make money online and that is the only way you can be successful. Blogging according to this person is where you simply write, and then behold, cash, the getting rich quick.
Unfortunately, making money with writing is a long term process, with networking and being an actual person outside of blogs is a must. The concept is simple: You create a blog, and you publish your blog posts and then you do more blog posts all over again.
Yes, you should learn about online marketing and how to improve your writing… but that sounds like work- at least to this young person.
It must be my age, but I grew up understanding nothing in life comes quickly, and the same holds true about money, you can certainly work for it and gain an audience for your blog, and then have them tell you what they want because, once it’s published you have to have readers and they have to like your writing.
I wish I had the time to have told him that it’s not as easy as it looks, I’d loved to have told him that there are months where if I didn’t have a job, there wouldn’t be a lot of money coming from whatever pot of gold might come my way. AdSense is a great thing, as is a published book, but without a human touch, well just leave this blog alone. I’d loved to have told him getting rich quick as a writer really means working years and years on your writing. Then it might, might make some income.
Something made me not say it. I don’t know what but I didn’t tell him this. Maybe it was that hopefulness, something that deep down I believe I still have… that one day I too will make money online… after all the research and writing is done.
I think the biggest question I needed to ask him was are you sure? Part of the hopefulness comes from too many websites making promises that, long term, they can’t keep. Part of it comes from being young and wanting to prove yourself. Part of it comes from lack of life. I believe this young man has the ability to be successful, but with an interaction like this I realize, no, sorry, this won’t happen to him. He will give up too soon, because all he thinks about is some style of earning that doesn’t happen.
When the fall from grace comes for him, I doubt he will be saying “writers make money online.” I am sure he will be as cynical as the next person, and if he’s lucky he might continue to write, and be a bit more human about it in the process.