Content creation and monetisation: Is it as bad as people think?

What happens when your blog starts to grow?

There’s an oft-quoted saying “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I couldn’t disagree with this anymore, because the truth is: making money from your passions and hobbies is bloody hard work.

I love writing, I have for as long as I can remember. I have written short stories, poems, novels (both unfinished and finished) and the reality is that while it’s something I love to do and something that makes me happy, it doesn’t pay my bills.

There are of course thousands of authors of all kinds out there making more than a living from their work but for every author who has a book deal, a successful blog or the next great novel waiting for publication, there are 10 authors struggling to pay bills with the meagre income from their writing or working other jobs to pay bills and writing when time permits.

My point is…

You may have noticed a format change on the blog recently, and that’s because, as of this week my blog has qualified for WordAds.

WordAds is WordPress’s monetisation program for bloggers. Basically, if your blog reaches enough people and gets enough views you qualify to run ads on your site and get revenue for views and clicks.

Am I a sell-out?

I mean, yeah a little bit? If by sell out you mean “am I attempting to make money from writing this blog?”

But here’s the thing, like I said above, making money as an online content creator is bloody hard work. There’s no guarantee of a steady pay cheque unless you’re a very well established blogger/creator, and in order to be well established you have to pour hours of work into your content. Whether that time is spent actually creating the content, or whether it is promoting it, responding to emails from readers/viewers or just trying to come up with ideas when inspiration fails to appear from the heavens.

I see it time and time again in other mediums of content creation, most notably on Youtube. There are thousands of comments on popular videos complaining that the creator is a sell out or a corporate whore, for simply accepting a sponsorship deal, or collaborating with a company.

The thing is, people can’t simultaneously enjoy online content and then be offended/mad/annoyed that the creator is using it to make money. That’s like going to a restaurant and being mad that you have to pay for the food you ate. While online content may not be tangible in the traditional sense, it is something that is consumed. The good thing about online content is that it is there forever, you can go back and enjoy it again and again until your heart’s content. All for the “price” of watching an ad, or seeing an ad in the side banner, or at “worst” listening to the content creator talk about a product for a few minutes.

Now, I am in a uniquely lucky position right now, in that I don’t have a full time job and I’m surviving quite comfortably without either a job or an ad revenue, however the purpose of monetising this blog is two fold: firstly, so that when I do make some revenue I can re-invest it in the blog to make it better for readers, and secondly so that eventually I may actually make real money off it.

Basically…

When a content creator monetises their content, it’s not because they’re greedy or want to “rip you off” somehow, it’s because we have to put food on the table and pay the bills.

While I am lucky enough to be working on something I love, it is work. And I do hope that you enjoy it! Because I love making it for you, and this step towards monetisation means that I will hopefully be able to do it for many, many years to come.

All of that is to say, if you’re using an ad blocker, please consider “whitelisting” my blog, so that I may progress my career as a writer/blogger and write the things you like to read.

If you don’t want to whitelist the blog, I understand. Continue to enjoy my blog!

 

 

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The Graveyard Of Dead Projects

The place where good writing goes to die

So, in my mind, there are rooms. Each room is a part of my life, there’s a room for work (right now, the lack thereof), a room for relationships/friendships, a room for the tv shows I’m currently binge watching and then, there’s a graveyard.

Having a mental graveyard sounds really morbid, but stay with me here. This graveyard is full of dead projects. The writing projects I have started and loved, then gone back to a day, a week or a month later and absolutely fucking hated.

This graveyard is littered with bodies of work, of varying sizes, shapes and mediums, all of which had such potential for a while and then suddenly *POOF* nothing.

The “nothing” is the point at which the idea suddenly looks awful, or lame, or so cliched as to be painful.

This graveyard haunts me, because I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, I used to write stories as a kid and then never finish them and as I have gotten older, the size of the unfinished project has grown with me.

Right now I am feverishly researching the possibilities that writing a high fantasy series holds. I have been reading more high fantasy recently and want to explore the possibilities of writing it. However it requires…planning. Something which I love to start and never follow through with.

And therein lies the problem: planning, and following through.

Giving myself the illusion of being organised and motivated isn’t quite the same as actually being organised and motivated. To actually be organised and motivated, one must have discipline, and that is something I very much lack.

At random intervals I resolve to be different, be better, and while I do try, it rarely lasts longer than a week.

I was talking to my cousin the other day, over a very nice brunch, and we were talking about the fact that our mothers both have adult ADD, and we seem to exhibit the same symptoms, which would be an excellent way to explain why I am so seemingly unable to get my shit together, but if I’m honest I don’t really think that’s the issue. I almost certainly have ADD, but being aware of the problem means that I should be able to map out strategies to combat the issue and power through it, after all, knowledge is power.

But, what if that knowledge is actually holding me back? What if knowing that I most likely have ADD is what stops me from succeeding? What if subconsciously I’m shrugging my shoulders and saying “well that’s just my brain and there’s nothing I can do to change it”?

Back to that graveyard, where I have abandoned some really promising writing projects when the initial buzz of starting a new project has passed and it no longer feels new, shiny and exciting to take it out and work on it. Am I just like a kid who plays with a toy a few times and then throws it under their bed? And is that ADD or something else? Am I just spoilt for choices? Do I have too many options for things to do at any given moment of the day? And if that’s the case, do I just choose the things that are the easiest?

Do I binge watch shows on Netflix not because I truly enjoy them but because they require much less brain power than writing a new story? Does binge watching a show give me that rush of doing something new without having to actually do anything?

Is that part of my brain chemistry? Do I crave that rush of “new and exciting” and am I getting it from absorbing other stories through watching or reading them instead of creating them myself? Even when my passion lay with writing, maybe I choose not to because I’m essentially lazy? Maybe I just lack discipline.

I am not going to sign off by promising to be better or new, or more organised, because there are blog posts on that here and here, all I will say is that maybe one day I will stop procrastinating, and start really planning, writing and succeeding.