Shifting from Blogging to Writing: payoff or payoutSince I started reading several online blogs over a year ago I have noted a slow but sure movement of print publications emerging by bloggers. It's almost as if us bloggers are Clayton Christensen's Disruptive Technology of the writing world. Finally, an applicable analogy from my MBA that I can use in my blog for real. How cool is that.
I often wondered if people could turn blogging hobbies into writing occupations successfully - and now I am sure one can. In support of my statement I refer you to Dooce and Kottke - both quit their day jobs well over a year ago to blog full time. A few other high profile notables include:
- Opinionistas (book in progress, noted in her blog today)
- Rob the Bouncer (book deal signed a month or two ago)
- Belle (book released last January)
- Paul Berger (of an Englishman in New York ) edited Blog!: How the Newest Media Revolution is Changing Politics, Business, and Culture.
What about cash flow NOW? Read the small print on Heather Armstrong's website (Dooce). This professional blogger charges $390/month per advertisement and by my guess by her ad count & space that gives, on the low side, $5k/month in revenue. Now, at 75,000+ hits a day I would assume there are some large hosting costs to navigate but still, that's pretty good cash flow. At my daily hit rate I estimated it will take me about 20 years to get that good. So much for me having cash flow now.
"What do you really want to do?"
"Let's just be writers and live a life of luxury."
"Yeah, that was probably the dumbest thing that ever came out of my mouth."
Swiped from Dooce.com (September 2004)
I probably outline 6 or 7 stories a week, but only 2 or 3 good ones make it to the blog. I alternate between contemplation and writing, interjected with several rounds of refinement. The goal is to crescendo into a literary fever which hopefully makes me sound like the philosophical, bibliophile person I wish I (sometimes) was. This translates to 3 or 4 hours to distill a rough thought into an appealing and entertaining post. As for cash flow this means at $5k of income a month I would be paid $100/hour to blog. Holy crap - How do you like 'dem apples...
For me, it's still payup time as I wrestle tirelessly with my perceived lack of writing talent. Yes, five years of engineering and drafting patents will degrade anyone's writing skills, but my MBA hopefully resurrected some flowing prose that runs in my family:
- Engineering work made me write simple, short & to the point.
i.e., John drank beer with his friends after dumping his girlfriend.
- Patent drafting work made me write long winded fact based content with 1 long paragraph as one legal sentence . Need 1 entire page as 1 sentence? I was your man!
i.e., John drank copious amounts of beer from a round and tall glass, while at the bar with his friends, all the time while Mary waited patiently at home in her kitchen, baking cookies and hoping that John would be home in time for dessert instead of leaving her for the other women in his life like he had discussed on the phone earlier that evening...
- MBA made me learn how to not write short, nor an entire paragraph as one legal sentence. Flowing prose with the occasional "synergy" and "strategy" terms thrown in for good measure.
i.e., John was drinking again, toasting new found freedom with his buddies at the local bar. "I told her tonight", he boasted. "She's out of my life but somehow didn't get it." "I heard she's still at home baking cookies for you," piped up Martin, pouring another round for the group. "Yep," John noted, his attention wandering towards the new group of ladies that entered the establishment. "But you know what they say - you can look at dessert as long as you come home for dinner. Well, I'm a dessert for dinner kind of guy, you dig?"
Now which one would you rather read? Thank God I did my MBA but in retrospect you'd think I would have learned it would have been easier not to learn writing three different ways...
Maybe, yes, one day in the distant future I will hit payoff but that's not the point or goal of this blog. Rather it is to write some contemplative and amusing stories for some of my family & friends. If any others get entertained, inspired or motivated to do something, all while giving me a outlet for some of my recent experiences, I'm happy. If you like my posts and blogroll, link or pass them on, I'm really happy - like a fat kid on a smartie!
Besides writing this gives me a real reason to read other blogs. "It's not entertainment I'm surfing the web for honey - it's research!" "Yeah, whatever. Just go change the dirty diaper".