I've freelanced for different written publications, and currently work for a print newspaper (a dying breed of media, believe me) and I blog as well. I'm new to this forum, just joined and posted my first "Hub", but I digress...
Any thoughts/opinions on this changing technology?
I have been freelancing for about 20 years. I use Hubpages for my "Plan B." A good many of my Hubs are articles that were published in print some time ago I am recycling them, with some tweaking where necessary. Some of the other Hub are ideas rejected in queries to print publications, but I still like the idea so I can publish them on Hubs. Print pays way better at least initially, but print articles can keep on earning on Hubpages. So, its not an either/or for me. I do both.
Writing online is a completely different animal.
Readers come with different usually more focused expectations and are less likely to read solely because of the quality of the writing.
Formatting and visual presentation is of equal import as the text you put down.
Self Publishing on sites like this one isnt just writing, its self publishing, you have to be a writer, layout artist and the marketing / (should you choose) advertising department.
Oh, and dont forget the seo , lol
Look at the example above Is that large wall of text welcoming? Did you read every word or just scan it?
I read every word, and you made that easier by breaking up the paragraphs..I should take note.
I agree with you wholeheartedly that online you're not just the writer, but the editor, publisher, and marketer as well. In many ways, I'm finding this forum more difficult that print publishing, but that may just be because of my preference for the printed word- for a book, newspaper, etc. that I can hold in my hand and physically page through. I even love the scent of paper, so I guess I'm biased! At 26, I don't know that most people my age would agree with this sentimentalism.
Your post seems to have a triggered a "letting off steam" thing that's been building for me (I guess, maybe, because most online discussions focus on the online writing alone, rather than factor in offline writing). Anyway...
I freelance offline these days, and ages ago I also freelanced for newspapers as well as taking other types of assignments. When I found writing online it started as a free-time thing (with the idea of maybe also earning), and then for awhile I took assignments from one type of job-match place or else from content-farm type sites (and that didn't last long, because I couldn't stand it ). So these days I have "day job" projects (but often with the flexibility of working at "whatever" hour) and my free-time/what-I-want writing that earns extra income.
On the one hand, there's no doubt about it that I have some fairly simple, casual, pieces of writing that have earned me hundreds or thousands of dollars OVER TIME, which would never have happened with something similar (or even more professional but similar in time/effort spent. So, I see that as something worth throwing into the overall mix of kinds of writing I do. I generally can't stand taking the most common type of writing assignment from places where people go claim them, because the most common thing is unbearable subjects and horrendously unacceptable pay. While there's benefit in having the online piece that gets traffic and does the earning-over-time thing, it's just not something I'm in a frame-of-mind to do (given my own set of reasons, preferences, and circumstances).
The biggest, and most objectionable, challenge for me is the whole Internet-writing culture. There are lots of perfectly decent and friendly and generally fine people on the Internet - and then there's "the rest of the stuff that goes on". That "rest of the stuff" goes on even more, and even worse, if/when you have writing that gets noticed (particularly if it gets noticed in searches). A person could write a whole set of books on that "stuff that goes on" (if he didn't get too disgusted as he was writing). It's stuff that people (including me) have to just kind of get used to and accept a lot of the time, but once you've run into it often enough, or run into some of the most disgusting examples of it over a long period of time, it can all up. Some people are more OK with it than others. I'm one of the ones who has found it all to have added up enough to the point where I can only care so much, and only take so much of the whole Internet thing seriously.
On the one hand, the kind of stuff I have on here, for example, is most often stuff I couldn't get anyone offline to buy anyway. Why post that kind of stuff? Because I'm not about to post higher quality, more professional, writing on the Internet; only to have it stolen by who-knows-how-many different people. I'm also not going to post something professional-quality that may get a great place in searches, only to have someone else write something similar but add his own specialty which is SEO techniques/tricks, rather than writing; and have what I've written pushed out of the place it earned.
So, I take what I write on a site like this one seriously, and aim to write something decent - but only up to a point. Even with that, there's steal "baloney" that goes on with stuff I'd think nobody else would even want. People want everything. They steal everything from the actual piece of writing to part of it to ideas and onto to whatever else wouldn't ever occur to most people to steal. Online, writing is some people's business. SEO and/or SEO-focused writing is other people's business. Then, though, there's a whole world of people for whom stealing anything and everything else, as well as operating in every sleazy way imaginable, is THEIR business. It's just what goes, and some people are irked more by it than others. I've always made the effort to remain as removed from a lot of it as possible while still earning x amount a month. Of course, in fairness to Internet writing, one problem for me is that I do do it in time I skim from offline projects; and I do it in whatever free time I have. So, I know that by the time I get around to the online efforts I'm not getting to them with a whole lot of overall energy left over. (As with everything else, everyone's situation and aims are different; so what's a challenge for one Internet writer wouldn't necessarily be a challenge for another.)
I do like the flexibility to it, and I like the little breaks offered by the chance to do a little time/wasting/socializing just for a little fun. (You don't get much of that kind of thing when you're working at home and according to someone else's guidelines and deadlines.) The other thing I like about the Internet is that it's there when/if I don't have a new project to start on any given day (or sometimes, week).
After about a couple of years of increasing "Internet burnout", I'm finding (ironically enough or else inevitably enough) that my latest aims to seem to be focused on wanting/needing to withdraw more and more from any "visibility" on the Internet; and, instead, find ways to write on the Internet while also remaining under the proverbial radar, at least when it comes to the more conventional ways people get spotted on that radar screen. For the immediate time, I know that may appear to be the way to guarantee not earning online. There are trends to the Internet, though; and they tend to occur in response to "the general public" at least as often, if not more, as a result of something within any one Internet entity. Right now (and since Internet income is not my main source of income), I'm kind of taking stock, seeing what I think I need to do (with an eye for where things appear headed - not an eye for the way things have always been on the Internet).
We so often see Internet-writing-world people say, "Internet writing is a business". There's no doubt that's true; but there are people for whom it is their only business, and people for whom writing is their business, and Internet writing is only a small part of it. What I've found, as someone for whom writing is my business, there's not a lot of support and/or advice that's right for the person whose writing business has "the little subsidiary" of Internet writing under its "main umbrella". So, much of the time, I've found it isolating not to either fit in the group of people who "write just for fun, but no money" and those who earn their living (or at least try to) by going hook, line, and sinker into "the ways things have to be done if you want to make money on the Internet". I fit better in the offline world than I do in the online world. It probably doesn't help that I'd lived a couple of decades of adult life before the Internet even existed, and so often, so many people seem unaware that there has been a world (including a writing world) that has existed, and continues to exist, long before the Internet ever did. (Maybe that's where the saying, "Maybe I'm just too old for this," comes from. )
The good thing about the whole Internet "deal" is, though, that the Internet has evolved, and continues to; and we all evolve, so the difference between Internet efforts and offline efforts may very much be all that room for all that evolving. Offline writing doesn't always offer a whole lot of flexibility and room for "wild evolving".
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