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The Value of an Online Writer

Updated on September 30, 2010
Made by SognoPiccolo. Thanks!
Made by SognoPiccolo. Thanks!

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The Odds in Writing Online

Measuring the value of an online writer means measuring value in oneself. In a world full of people aspiring to have their online niche, the value seems narrowed to how much a person can make online.

As I write this, it is with a mind on the worth of myself as a writer on the internet. It is with the feeling of frustration at feeling amateurish or not finding topics that I can write so confidently about. My current niche is on hearing impairment and cochlear implants. I value my experiences in growing up deaf in a hearing world, that it seems to draw other people in for a read. But is it enough?

There are close to a million writers online marketing and publishing their writings. Maybe more, if you can find the data and do all the math. All told, Hubpages has around 180,000 writers earning their money through adsense, kontera, amazon, and ebay. Squidoo has approximately 120,000 writers doing the same thing. That’s not to mention sites like, Suite101, eHow, and eZine Articles. Then, there’s the professional and even personal bloggers who affiliate their blogs with advertisers like adsense.

Pretty overwhelming, isn’t it? What are the odds that you sign up to one or more of these sites and you can actually make money? What are the chances that, out of many of these writers, you can find your niche? More and more, I am finding people in two distinct camps of writing. Yes, there are those in the gray in-between.

Two Camps Going Strong

1) Writing for pure pleasure.  This can be found in any writing platform.  There are a good few that actually find their niche doing this and gather large amount of traffic.  For them, it is the simple pleasure of having readers enjoy what they write.  Sometimes, it’s not even that; they just enjoy writing, period.  They need it since it’s so cathartic and being part of a community feels wonderful.  Getting income from that? A lovely bonus.

2) Writing for income.  There is a hard, fast focus on income in this camp.  They find their niche in the hottest topic and the hottest trend of the moment, while interspersing their writings with hubs that are not quite hot topic but can get long-term visitors over time.  For them, the numbers game is fascinating and fun.  They hope to make their living off of their writings and very few successfully do.  Getting readers to become loyal fans? A lovely bonus.

Being In Between and Finding Value

What’s wrong with being in between?  Having the best of both worlds? Maybe that’s where one of the keys to success in writing can lie.   The diversity is what helps boost the quality of writing over quantity.  Sometimes, I wonder if it’s all worth it.  I think many online writers do, aside from scammy/spammy writers who really couldn’t give a flick.

I’ve hit that wall myself right now.  I have several reminders for when I’ve bounced against a wall after throwing myself headlong into what I thought was a niche.  Sometimes they soothe that bump on my head, sometimes not.  While I know commercial writing comes nothing close to passionate writing, having written things and publishing them still feel very personal.

My Reminders

  • Remember the immortal words of Jack Kerouac.  
  • Remember Stephen King’s abundant advice in his book On Writing.
  • Let things take form over time because writing isn’t a get money quick scheme, no matter what others say.  Traffic, readers -- it all has to accumulate.
  • Things will play out as you need them to, especially adsense.
  • Writing is always a progressive event.  There is always room for learning, for branching out, for finding styles and niches that are unique to you, and for discovering topics or genres to write within.
  • It’s okay to leave amateur work published and improve on them over time.  Allow yourself to see how much you’ve progressed from the beginning.
  • Find other writers who inspire you with mental images or desire to write when you feel like you are falling short of your writing abilities.

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars, and in the middle, you see the blue center-light pop, and everybody goes ahh..."

Jack Kerouac

Inspirations from Jack Kerouac

I’ve never read his books. I came across his name only recently and looked him up. What I saw being written about him inspired me so much that I bookmarked several things. I have also added his novels to my books TBR pile. Here are some of the key things that really jumped out to me as inspirations that has compelled me to feel more inspired about hubbing and writing in general.

  • Submissive to everything, open, listening
  • Be in love with your life
  • Something that you feel will find its own form
  • Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
  • Don't think of words when you stop but to see picture better
  • No fear or shame in the dignity of your experience, language & knowledge
  • You're a Genius all the time

I feel that these are urgent promptings for passionate writing. His list of essentials in its entirety is no gentle nudging, but a push off of a cliff and then joining you in the wild dive towards an uncertain shifting waters.

I blush at the words, “No fear or shame”. Looking back over my hubs, I see amateur written all over them. I feel ashamed and yet my main reminder is to let things progress and to learn from it. Expand as a writer and keep the patterings of inspiring words close to heart should all else fail. Inspiring words like Jack Kerouac’s list of essentials for writing.

Stephen King is Famous Because He Knows

He strikes close to home in nearly everything he writes.  It is captivating.  With him, you either love him or you hate him.  When I had a copy of On Writing and sat down to read, I barely stopped or put it down.  Out of all the books on writing, his was the best to my eyes.

The two things that I remember the most that I try to do in every single writing I do are thus:

1) Write what you know.  If you must learn a topic, it is surely in coming to know every bit of it that you can that you will write it confidently.  Frame what you already know around the new things you’ve learned.

2) Daily 30 minutes writing rule.  If you are busy on a particular day or you feel you must do something else, tell yourself, “Okay, let’s just do 30 minutes of writing, THEN we can do something else”.  Give yourself some dialogue to explain to that stubborn dude, Mr. Writer’s Block, that you promise you’ll do something else if you put in 30 minutes of writing.  If Mr. Block decides to stay quiet and let you continue after 30 minutes, keep plugging away and fulfill your promise afterward.

A quick search on the net reminds me the following things from his book:

  • If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.
  • I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.  This is one that I keep so, so, so close to heart! Overdoing an article with descriptors are killers, I say.  Killers.  So, you must kill them before they kill your prose or article.
  • Take a kamikaze approach to your first draft.  Just do it after you have finished writing because taking a side trip to proofread will and can discourage further writing.

credit to
credit to

Online Dedication

Working online usually means that you’re working from home. Working from home is not entirely cracked up to be what you think it is. I’ve experienced so many distractions trying to write. For one, working in an intimate and cozy environment is completely different from working in a much more professional setting.


  1. Distractions like obligation to your home, children, and pets may actually detract from your time and ability to write.
  2. For some, having your own space may just not be possible.
  3. Doing things at your own schedule may mean less writing and more doing other things.
  4. You may feel your creativity being stifled in this setting.


  1. A cozy environment with a lot of distractions can teach writers a lot of things on patience and determination.
  2. Have your own space set out exactly as you want it to.
  3. There are more opportunities to take your time and do things on your own schedule, at your own pace.
  4. You can become so much more creative in this setting, more willing to open yourself up to new ways of earning income.

Events of a Hub Writer

I keep a list of favorite topics in a physical notebook, where I also write little tips on how to improve the quality of my hubs. I jot in quotes, keywords, and fascinating little information I come across. I doodle all over the cover of my notebook while daydreaming on what I’d write next. When it comes down to actual writing, I pull up my google docs and just begin writing.

My goal has evolved from making income as much as possible to exploring my skills in writing. I still retain the mindset of being excited when my scores, traffic, and income rise. It’s small potatoes, but fun to watch nonetheless.

A hub writer will get epiphanies, indeed.

Important Events Of an Online Writer

  1. Realizing that patience is possible when everything seems so impossible and slow-going.
  2. That first dollar appearing on your adsense!
  3. Receiving positive comments from people who actually read your entire hub.
  4. It’s okay to get help by reading the best hubs from elite writers on the subject of earning online income.
  5. The first 100 followers and receiving an accolade for it.
  6. You actually convinced someone you know off-line (psst, I'm looking at you, SognoPiccolo!) to try out Hubpages, and then that person ends up discovering more about things you never knew about. Talk about always learning, huh?
  7. Figuring out that you are making tons of mistakes at first, and it’s actually a little funny when you figure out how you’re making them.
  8. Realizing that you actually contribute to high ranking site which puts a lot of stock by quality. Mark Knowles says we have enough writing garbage on the internet.
  9. Realizing that you have actually been a member for over a year. (Despite having quit two months into hubbing, and then starting back up again after the first year mark).

Enjoying the Ride

When writers find in themselves a strong determination to go forward, despite the initial slowness of things, it is worth it along the way.  The journey may be perilous or downright irritating at times.  I believe it is in this journey that the value of an online writer takes on so much more meaning and depth.  It will be discovered from all angles.

In the meantime, enjoy the inspirations I have included below.  These other hubbers inspired in my first baby steps and perhaps they will inspire you too.


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    • Sunny Robinson profile image

      Sunny Robinson 7 years ago from Tennessee

      epigramm, thank you. :) That's cute. Hubbalicious!

      ethel smith, thank you!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      That a great round up of you writing experiences and hopes

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 7 years ago

      ..there's a lot of value in your hubs - well just let me spit it out - they're so hubdelicious!!!!

    • Sunny Robinson profile image

      Sunny Robinson 7 years ago from Tennessee

      Hey, MM! I can handle a few adverbs here and there, silly woman. Lol. I do so love adverbs, but there *is* such a thing as too much of a good thing sometimes. ;)

      Fantastic. I'm going to have to edit this hub to add members' suggestions because this is great and also going on my TBR pile! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      This hub is (deliberately omitting adverb)fabulous. Practical, thoughtful, and at the same time very personal. Chock full of helpful references, too.

      One of my faves on writing is "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott.

      Glad to have discovered you, Ms. Sunny! MM

    • Sunny Robinson profile image

      Sunny Robinson 7 years ago from Tennessee

      saket71, I am adding that to my TBR pile as well! Thank you very much.

    • saket71 profile image

      saket71 7 years ago from Delhi, India

      Thanks for writing such an informative blog. To add to what you have written, I suggest you should have a look at the "The Summing Up." by W. Sommerset Maugham, an excellent book which in my view should be mandatory writing for any writer.

    • Sunny Robinson profile image

      Sunny Robinson 7 years ago from Tennessee

      @lorlie6, that's exactly it. Those were our first attempts and they are worth it. They're worth keeping as they are as you progress forward with newer and better hubs because it's such an obvious progress! Thank you for your comment, you're too sweet. :)

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Sunny-I am so glad to be following you! What a wonderful hub you've written...I've voted it up, useful, awesome, and quite beautiful!

      I feel much the same way as you described when I read over my older hubs, somewhat ashamed at the obvious newbie I was a year ago. But these hubs are incredibly meaningful-they were our first attempts to 'put ourselves out there,' you know?

      Boy, I'll risk repeating myself-I'm proud to be a follower.

    • Sunny Robinson profile image

      Sunny Robinson 7 years ago from Tennessee

      @SognoPiccolo, aww no no no, you are! :) I'm so glad you hub with me now.

      @selfbetter, I've not read that book. Thanks for adding to my TBR pile! ;)

      @MPG Narratives, thank you for reading. :) I hope it really did help.

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      So many useful tips for online writers. Now, time to write... thanks SR.

    • selfbetter profile image

      selfbetter 7 years ago

      This was really enjoyable to read. I would add to your list Sol Stein's On Writing.

    • SognoPiccolo profile image

      SognoPiccolo 7 years ago from Wilmington, Ohio

      You are more awesome than you know. I can't thank you enough for getting me started on here and getting my rear in gear to write.