Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Never Been Paid

I have been mulling something over recently.

I think I am a reasonably good writer. I have certainly had positive feedback from others about the way I approach covering issues. I'm by no means perfect and I do sometimes look back on old blog posts and wonder if I could have done things a bit differently.

I have written close to 1,500 posts for this site in the 4 and a half years it has been going which is close to an average of one per day. Which I think is a pretty good level of experience.

I have won awards for this blog and I think I have a solid reputation amongst my peers. I have also had my work published by various online media including The New Statesman, The Independent, The Guardian Datablog, Left Foot Forward, Liberal Conspiracy, Lib Dem Voice, Conservative Home and others.

But there is one fact I cannot escape.

I have never earned any money for my online writing. Ever.

I have written myself about how the structure of journalism and making a living from writing is rapidly changing and the past is certainly no guide to the future. So in this context maybe my lack of any sort of remuneration is not particularly surprising. But it does make me wonder just how high the bar is set.

I am just one case. Maybe loads of my online contemporaries are coining it in. But I doubt it. Those who have managed to land columns with newspapers and magazines off the back of blogging I am sure earn from it. But I know of others who regularly write for online sites where you might expect they would be paid and are not so even that is no guarantee.

I have actually made some money from my online media activities but it has been tangentially through radio and TV appearances. I never would have got the offers were it not for my writing so it has sort of been inspired by my writing but not directly for it.

One thing I have decided to do is to start to ask if a fee can be paid when I write for other outlets. Because I do realise that I very rarely bother doing that assuming the answer will be no. But if you don't ask you don't get.

I am not reliant on my writing for my living. Good job or I'd be in real trouble! For me it is just a sideline. But if I had any expectations of ever making it more than a sideline as least I am under no illusions about just how hard it is to make a living at this game.

One final note. It is currently mid way through May. So I am going to tack one more item onto my predictions for 2013 and it is this:

12) I will be paid something, anything for one of my pieces of writing during 2013.

Let's see if I can make it happen.

I would also be interested to hear other people's experiences of getting paid (or not) for their writing in the comments below.


David V said...

I've followed your blog for a while and started my own. I've written two posts in four days and realise now, just how hard writing is. I'm rubbish, but its a good release. Hats off to you for not losing faith and good luck.

Mil said...

I've written over 3000 posts since 2006 on my current blog (wrote many more on a previous one) and I've tried to earn some income, mainly with Newstex and Kindle - but the earnings are tiny (at least in my case).

I think you're a better writer than I am and I think you write more about things people want to read, so if you can't manage it then I really don't think any of us will be able to.

I'd love to be paid for my writing, of course. Who wouldn't? But, in the end, like so many writers, you write because you need to. Writing is like breathing (for people like myself, anyway) - and like breathing, must be done. That's what's kept me going, in fact.


Andrew Hickey said...

One thing you could do is publish some of your writings in book/ebook form. That's the only way I've made money from my writing, but it brings in a small but real amount each month,

asquith said...

Oddly enough I've never been paid either, perhaps because no one gives a toss what I have to say :)

I know this is a controversial suggestion, but have you ever thought of allowing donations? I've paid towards people who offer up their writings for free if I think they deserve a reward for their effort. I admire most of all the model of voluntary contributions and I'd like to hope it brought something in.

You'll have to forgive me if I don't talk at any greater length about crowdsourcing and what have you because I only had my tea a bit ago and I'm not feeling it. But that is what leapt to mind.