Saturday, 15 January 2011

Wheat, chaff and the golden calf

Writing professionally is based upon three cornerstones: the ability to produce quality material, having the necessary time to do it and getting the money afterwards. The way I see it, take away any one of that trinity and you're left with a very wonky stool indeed - and one that's lying on the floor. Or perhaps a pleasant hobby. Or an unpleasant one.

The Internet is not just a beacon of hope, it's a veritable kaleidoscope of potential, possibilities and paydirt. And some other 'p' words too that we won't go into right now. But there comes a time when even the hardiest and most optimistic of writers (unless they have a private trust fund) has to turn their editorial eye to the balance sheet and cost-justify some of their activities.

On the basis of numbers and probability (see, another 'p' word), there will certain business models on the Internet that work for a certain amount of time or a certain amount of people. Sometimes it's the newness of a thing and other times it's the originality or timeliness of a concept. But it's a wise soul who knows when to get off that bandwagon that you ran so fast to catch up with, even though it was already full of people who were counting their money and quite a few who weren't.

So I'm starting the year off by casting a critical eye over my all-seeing spreadsheet to separate the profitable from the what-if-able. I've waxed cynical in these posts before about the Battle of Craigslist, but despite the occasional skirmish, it is still a fertile site for doing business. Some opportunities are more long-term for payback and it's still a case of keeping your eye on the ball to ensure you're not just wasting your time.

My dalliance with Absence (see what I did there) for example seems to have run its course. I didn't mind the trickle feed so much as the four light years it would seem to take before I saw that trickle reaching my pocket. It could be that I just wasn't writing the write sort of content or it could be that the sites I write / wrote for were more aspirational than operational. In the final analysis, I could be spending the time more productively somewhere else. (I gather shelling peas can be quite popular, for example.)

The two stars in their ascendancy are ghostwriting and copywriting. Each assignment is music to a writer's ears - a brief, a timescale, a pay rate and pay date. And depending on your specialisms, it's a very creative way to turn a buck.

Principally: Green Living; Mind, Body & Spirit; Project Management; People Management; Personal Achievement and Goal Setting; Humour; Relationships; Comedy Writing and Creative Writing - seeing as you asked.




2 comments:

  1. Before the Internet, getting ahead - getting your hands on that crucial opportunity - was all about getting connected and then using those connections (as everyone does) to advance yourself.

    And now, during the Age of the Internet, it's about exactly the same thing. We still have to sort out the good connections from the bad, the con artists from the real deal. People are still people, even - and perhaps especially - on the Internet. It's just that now we have more connections to choose from.

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  2. Indeed. I think now it's also about being distinctive because there really is a crowd to stand out from. In fact, there's a multitude.

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