Blogging for Dough, Does it pay?

Writing something!
Hard at work at my new job!

I first started blogging back in 2010. One tiny blogpost and then nothing for an entire year. I restarted in ernest in 2011 but never got any colossal views on the Blogger site. I added Tumblr to my little blog verse and, again, didn’t really set the world on fire. It wasn’t until I made the move in April last year to WordPress.com  that my views, readership (aka followers) and interest picked up.

I have been doing this for roughly a year and three months and I’m only now getting a solid blog set up, with a lot of help from my “real job” working for the Las Vegas Guardian Express.

I had written an earlier blog about the likelihood of gaining employment from writing your blog. It is possible to make money from it. If you’re an author, it is an excellent springboard for advertising your wares and increasing your fan base, which in turn, will increase book sales.  There are ways to advertise on your blog, but my trips down that particular avenue have not been very profitable.

In truth, they’ve been practically non-existent.

I was approached by a company when my views started going up. I was pleased to think that my ramblings could earn me cash. Then reality hit. The money that they offered me was laughably low. It amounted to around $100 for a year of letting them advertise on my blog.  I also took so long to respond that I missed that particular window of, limited, opportunity.

I then tried the “Adsense” route, or the WordPress version of it anyway. I never heard back. Presumably my little blog is too little to count. I then attempted to branch out and go the freelance route. While my first attempt got positive feedback, the finished product didn’t meet their “expectations” and I was left penniless at the end of the day.

The only income from my writing has been as an entertainment journalist/editor for the Guardian.

I would like to say that my blog was instrumental in getting me this nicely paid job.

It wasn’t.

I got the job almost by accident. I had gone to another newspaper, owned by the same organisation, with the idea of posting some of my short stories on the site. While I busily built my profile, I noticed another advert on the site that was looking for writers. It was the Guardian Express.

I applied.Thumbs up!

To cut a long story short, I received training and tips from the owner/founder of the paper, DiMarkco Chandler. I already knew how to write, so that part was easy. What I didn’t know was how to write for the internet world of news. I’d had journalism a million years ago and remembered all the things you must do in an article.

What I didn’t know was how to utilise those rules in an internet format to ensure that people read my articles.

But it was more than the training that got me swept up in the excitement of writing for a newspaper at my advanced age. It was the chance to work for an organisation  that, not only paid handsomely for my work, but one that believed in dreams. Everyones dreams. That, plus a group of likeminded folks, make this a “dream” job!

So, if I was asked by anyone, does blogging for money, pay? I’d have to answer, “Yes and no.” I’ve not earned one red cent from my blog. But writing it and posting several articles a day, brushed the cobwebs out of my very rusty writing skills and helped me to start to develop a singular style.

It was blogging for fun that got me started on this venture and while it never reached the “blogging for dough” stage (well not very much dough was offered at any rate) it hasn’t paid me one thin dime.

But it was blogging that inadvertently and in a very roundabout way led me to my current position. I still think that blogging is an excellent way to polish your writing and a great way to meet likeminded folks who also enjoy writing their creative, and sometimes personal, thoughts and sharing them with the amazing blogging community.

I’ve made some real friends via WordPress and at least one helped realise that I could still act and was instrumental in making me realise that no dream, even one that had been given up on years ago, was beyond my reach.

So blogging for dough, does it pay? Not really. Not for me, at least. But the recompense in making friends, building a following, and interacting with a wonderful community is much more satisfying than making money. Although you can’t pay bills with that sort of recompense.  But I’ve only been doing this for a short time, I may yet make some “real dough” for my labours!

Michael SmithIMG_0229

United Kingdom

23 July 2013

It’s the Big Four-OH-OH!

Screen Shot 2013-05-04 at 09.26.43

Wow! I woke up this morning and after a long debate on whether I really wanted to get up or not, I finally rolled out of bed. The first thing I do in the mornings is pop the old kettle on for my caffeine fix (aka getting my heart started) and the second thing is to check the internet.

This of course entails checking: E-mail, my blog, YouTube channel, sites I contribute too and the daily news; I also check my “physical” mail.

So imagine my surprise and delight when I saw that my blog now has over 400 followers!

The words pleased, chuffed, excited and grateful spring immediately to mind! I always go all “Sally Field” when I hit a landmark like this; “You like me, you really like me!” Sniffing back tears and gazing at my computer screen with a big dopey grin on my face. (Sorry Sally)

Sally Field reference aside, I am very happy.

Happy to know that there are, at this count, 402 of you who have obligated yourselves to reading whatever drivel nonsense thoughts that I set to computer screen. My old grasshopper brain continually comes up with things to write about and I am so grateful that so many of you have taken to the time to follow my literary hopping around.

So thanks guys and gals (and businesses) who have shown the ultimate sign of acceptance and followed my little blog.

“You all ROCK!”

*I also have to thank WordPress for having a site that allowed me to reach so many folks. Much more than any other site I’ve been on. So suffice to say, “WordPress, you ROCK!”

Photo on 27-03-2013 at 09.03
Cheers!

Waiting for Freshly Pressed: A Timeline

Sat, 25 August 2012 1554 – I  post a pithy post (say that fast three times, I dare you) on Freshly Pressed and have a moan about my comments not showing up in the Freshly Pressed comment section.

Sat, 25 Aug 2012 15:59:40 –  Get an email from Cheri Lucas telling me that my urban exploration post had been picked for Freshly Pressed.

Huh?

Sat, 25 August 2012 1600 I try to tell my daughter that I’m going to be Freshly Pressed. She is playing a game on her vita and has her earplugs in. I decide not to wait for her to get to a save point and start playing MOW3 to keep me occupied.

Sat, 25 August 2012 1700 I try re-reading the email and inadvertently delete it. In a state of panic I almost hurt myself trying to retrieve it and re-save it.

Sat, 25 August 2012 1730 Back to MOW3 and reading the odd blog on WordPress. I make a few comments and read a suggestion from Andy about changing my email address as it might solve my spam problem.

Sat, 25 August 2012 1800 My daughter and I make tea (that’s dinner if you live in the US) and decide to watch old episodes of Spaced with the brilliant Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and co.

Sat, 25 August 2012 2359 I decide to go to bed and stop checking the Freshly Pressed page every two minutes. Despite my excitement and paranoia about my post not going up yet, I drop right off to sleep.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 0630 I wake up early because the temperature has dropped and I am freezing to death. I go downstairs for a drink and a quick look at my laptop. My post isn’t up yet, as I am half asleep, I don’t spend too long on the site. I opt to go back to sleep.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 1030 I wake up for the second time of the morning. Warmer and better rested I go downstairs to see if I’ve been posted yet. Checking the page and no, not yet.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 1100 I decide to check the Freshly Pressed page again and see that a new post has been added, but, it’s not mine.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 1130 I start hyperventilating slightly as I look for the fourth time at the Freshly Pressed page. I decide that it was a mistake or a practical joke (who says I’m paranoid, who?) which I decide would serve me right after my ‘snarky’ post about not being Freshly Pressed.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 1200 I make the decision to not check the FP page every half hour. I decide that I’ll just relax and not get so impatient, a trait that after 53 years of living I still cannot rid myself of.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 1230 I totally disregard my earlier decision to not check the FP page half hourly and check again. I go upstairs and talk to my daughter for a half hour in an attempt to keep my mind off of the fact that another post has been put on the wall and again, it’s not mine.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 1300 I now decide that I probably should have replied to Cheri’s email. I set down and because of my increasing paranoia that this is some kind of horrible karma or bad joke it takes me 14 minutes to write a simple email.

Sun, 26 August 2012 – 1330 I go outside and sit with my daughter in the lovely sunshine. My contribution to the conversation is minimal. Why? Because I’ve seen another post on the wall that is, again, not mine.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1400 I finally decide that this whole thing is a wicked joke, serendipity, or just ironic. I finally decide that it must be the real deal. Hyperventilating slightly, I check to make sure that I sent an email to Cheri thanking her and expressing my excitement.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1430 I make a snack and while I am eating it, I compulsively keep checking the Freshly Pressed wall for my post. I discover that I’ve given up the ‘not checking every half hour’ and I am now checking it every few minutes.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1500 I finally decide that I am a truly sad individual to keep checking the bloody page. It will get posted when it gets posted, so stop checking dammit.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1515 I decide to do this timeline and about halfway through I mistakenly hit the wrong key and lose half of the timeline. cursing wildly I try to find an earlier draft. There isn’t one so I have to re-write half the post over.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1557 Pausing for a moment to give my poor fingers a break, I notice I’ve gotten another email notification. I check it and it’s from Cheri. She tells me it will be late this evening or early tomorrow when my post will be added to the wall. I relax, a bit, and send a hasty email back thanking her.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1600 I am now more relaxed and a bit calmer. The excitement is still making me a bit giddy (giddy?? Did I just say that a 53 year old man was giddy?? I must be if I’m describing myself that way) but now that I’ve had a ‘confirmation’ email from Cheri, I’m hoping that my pithy whiny post has been forgiven.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1700 Get another email from Cheri, so now I’m definitely feeling like this is going to happen. I still cannot stop looking at the FP page and then refreshing it to see if my post is up yet.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1800 Finally decide to make tea or at least to think about making tea. As we are both peckish it seems like a good idea. I check the wall yet again.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1830 We put Dario Argento‘s Suspiria in the player and watch while we eat our meal. My laptop is closed for the first time today.

Sun, 26 August 2012 1900 –2230 Put the dinner dishes in the kitchen, watched the rest of the film and talked about it for a long while after eating. We then load up Netflix and then Lovefilm and start watching Crazy Eights, a low budget horror film.

Sun, 26 August 2245 – 2330 I put the dishes in the sink and start washing up, still haven’t looked at the FP page. I am very proud of myself.

Sun, 26 August 2359 – 0100 I fall asleep in my chair after doing the dishes and ‘old man’ thing that drives me to distraction. I check the page again and find that four more posts have gone up. Again none of them mine. Decide to go to sleep and not look at the FP page till later this morning. I feel like a kid at Christmas waiting to open up my presents, excited and just as impatient.

Mon, 27 August 0930 – Get up and stumble down stairs half asleep and thirsty. Turn on the laptop and gulp down some squash. I come in and click on my WordPress link. My post has exploded! It’s finally happened, it is up!! Now I am too excited to do anything else but keep checking the view counts and follower counts (which I need to keep track of so I can follow back) and ‘likes’ and comments.

Thanks Cheri Lucas and Word Press! You’ve made my day! 😀

Balloons and confetti By tamara.craiu courtesy of FLICKr

Freshly Pressed, Hold the Wrinkles

Do you want a crease in that?

I will come right out and say it, “I love the Freshly Pressed section on WordPress.” But as much as I love their ‘picks’ of the day and the introduction to new or not so new bloggers, it also frustrates me just a little.

Some of the blogs picked are erudite, clever, and so perfectly put together it makes me shed a tear of envy. Others make me wonder whose biorhythms are shot when making that particular choice.

Seriously though I can usually see why they choose the ones they do. If not for content alone, the subject matter seems to be a major driver. Pictures also are a factor, although not a necessity, and if said pictures are taken by the owner of the post it’s even better.

I can well imagine that most, if not all, of the folks who contribute to the WordPress blogging community dream of getting their blog post exhibited on this prestigious wall.

I know I do.

It’s a bit of a silly thing to wish for. I only say that because I do not blog for praise or recognition or recompense (well, not yet anyway). I do love the immediacy of blogging. If someone ‘likes’ my post and hits the corresponding button I am happy. I have said this before in other blogs.

If I have more than ten people read a blog post (that is assuming that a ‘hit’ equates to a ‘read’) I am also very pleased. I have a very low expectation threshold.

I do, however, get annoyed when I try to leave a comment on a WordPress post that is ‘helping’ the community to adhere to certain practises or formats to help them to get Freshly Pressed and said comment never appears. These articles are very helpful actually. I had never put pictures in my earlier blogs on another site.

I can only think that my remarks, comments, or pithy observations are getting relegated to the spam bin. I’ve had problems with this before. One of my friends on another blog site, Tyson Carter from Head In A Vice told me that for some reason my remarks were getting posted to his spam folder. A problem I’ve encountered with other WP sites leaving comments on my channel.

So I must admit to a little frustration at the current situation. Not only am I waiting, not so patiently, for inclusion to this illustrious page, my comments aren’t even showing up. Comments, I might add, that are always congratulatory in nature.

So I will end this little diatribe with a thought that I wrote on the comment section of a WordPress post not too long ago.

Guys, I love your Freshly Pressed feature. I am however beginning to think that the only way I’m going to get one of my posts freshly pressed, is to take a steam iron to my laptop.

I think there might be a wrinkle here…