Friday, February 25, 2011

Would You Blog for a Living?

Recently, I've heard of several people who just up and quit their jobs. My first thought was to wonder how awful the job must have become for someone to just quit in this economy. And then I wondered if there are some people who are just better off than I am. I know that economists tell us we should have 6 months to 1 year of salary in our savings account. Yeah, right.

But then I wondered if those people had better jobs waiting, which led me to a different train of thought. What kind of wonderful job would have to be offered to me to get me to leave the safety and the known qualities of my current job for something else?

Well, it's getting hard for me to think of voluntarily trading in my current salary for something lower; in my younger years, if the job looked better, I might not have given a salary cut a second thought. Likewise, I'm getting to the age (45) where I need to think about health insurance and retirement.

So, let's say that all of those factors stayed the same. What would I like to spend my days doing, if anything could be possible?

My friend and I had a conversation yesterday about whether or not we'd really like to be paid to write on a rigorous schedule. She said that even if she was able to write whatever she wanted, she wouldn't want to work out of her home. She needs the human interaction that her job gives her.

Many days, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with human interaction and the thought of staying home writing appeals to me. Would that appeal wear off quickly? Hard to say.

Yesterday, I saw this article about a woman who makes a living blogging, so the topic was on my brain. Of course, if you read the article carefully, you'll find out that it isn't just blogging pays this woman's bills. She does a lot of speaking engagements and some product endorsements, and she's written 2 books. Still . . .

So, if you could blog the way you always blog, but make a living at it, would you want to? Or would that be too much pressure?

I'd do it in a heart beat. I already feel the pressure of a self-imposed deadline; I used to think it was just because I was a student, but it has persisted. I write, even when no one is there to crack the whip (well, no one but me). I wonder if/how my writing would change if someone was there dangling carrots.

9 comments:

Kathleen said...

I'd do it in a heartbeat, too! But I have not monetized my blog, nor will I be doing product endorsements!! If anybody offers just to pay me for doing what I am already doing, I will just say yes!

I'm someone who recently up and quit her job, but it was not one that provided health insurance or a salary. (I up and quit THAT job 4 years ago.) So I am still figuring out how to cobble together a life that will be a little less precarious... Not sure how, but it will all work out!

I've worked at so many things that people expected me to do for love (for free) that I must be skewed in how I approach financial concerns in today's American economy. And I am OK with being motivated primarily by love and the joy of doing the thing itself.

Jim Murdoch said...

I treat my blog as a job. I don't get paid except for free books but I keep a rigorous schedule and commit to regular postings. I also walked out of my job. On paper they made me redundant but that was more because they knew they were partly to blame for working me into the ground. But the fact is I knew when I walked out the door that Tuesday I wouldn't be back. My wife and I now live frugally but we're a long way away from starving and money has appeared from all over the place. Now I write. Every day. For hours every day and I can no longer remember being the kind of bloke I used to be.

But I'm not sure I would like to blog for a living. Nor do I think I could write for a living. I think once you turn something into a job then you lose something. If I manage to earn a few quid from my writing here and there well great. That's a bonus.

Dave said...

Heather Armstrong is a very good writer and deserves her success. To call her "queen of the mommy bloggers" as the Times does is not only condescending but wrong -- she had a huge readership long before she became a mommy.

Dave said...

O.K., that's actually a better article than it started out being. Thanks for sharing it.

renkath said...

I am one of those lucky people who did quit teaching high school to write full time. After two published books I am back. I may be in a minority with a unique tendency toward narcissism but I really felt my world getting to narrow and my writing too. I am a better writer for working outside of my own head.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Teaching adjunct is a wonderful compromise for me...enough time to write, enough fun, energizing work with students, a little bit of space once in a while...

But I do hope to have some kind of stability in this work sometime...

Lyle Daggett said...

I suppose if, in some imaginary world, someone started paying me to do what I'm already doing, and assuming that the pay was enough to live on comfortably, I guess I would do it.

In the real world though, I'm not sure if I would want to make a "living" by writing. It might depend on what kind of writing -- I wouldn't want to write poetry as my job, which would be too much like teaching in an English department where you have to publish in order to keep your job.

My "ideal" job would probably be one with minimal responsibilities, requiring minimal thought, with comfortable pay and benefits, and ample vacation, where I could hang out and visit with people as much as I wanted to, and that would be such essential work (even if it didn't carry a lot of responsibility) that there was no chance I could lose the job unless I decided to quit. And where I could write while I was at work.

Not sure what that job would be, but...

I knew someone (much older than me, no longer living now), a writer, who back in the 1930's worked for a little while for bootleggers (in Chicago, I think) -- her job was to live at the house where the bathtub gin was made (they actually made it in a bathtub), and if the place was ever raided by cops, she was supposed to go and pull the plug on the tub so the evidence would go down the drain.

The bootleggers brought groceries to the house and whatever else she needed, and she could hang out all day and write. The cops never showed up to raid the place. I guess she only did it for about six months, not sure if things changed or if she decided to quit and go find something else to do. As gigs go, not too bad.

Radish King said...

No. My blog is my writing practice the same way I practice scales on my violin every day. I would certainly write write for a living but my practice is for me and only me and my blog visitors are pretty much accidental.

I don't get millions of hits and I don't care what anyone thinks about what I write. I rarely think about anyone reading it though I respond to comments when I get them and have connected with people on an electronic emotion level through my blog to my good fortune. I did add a donation button on my blog for those who are interested because I'm dead dog broke.


Hi.

Rebecca

Kristin said...

Thank you so much, everyone, for your thoughtful comments. Much to ponder here.