Monday, May 21, 2007

Writing Online

I write. I have for as long as I can remember.

I understand there's a correlation between hypergraphia and Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE). I have TLE, but it is controlled (I haven't had a seizure in 15 or 16 years); and I think I love to write before I had my first seizure at 14. Fyodor Dostoevsky is supposed to have had hypergraphia, so that's not bad company to be in. But I don't think my own drive to write can be described as "an overwhelming urge." I just like to write...

The Internet provides a lot of opportunities to write. Some of them pay money. Years ago I wrote for Suite 101 about Appalachia. I think they paid me something like $15 a month for a minimum of two articles each month. I later wrote for the Suite about special education issues on a couple of occasions and every once in a while I get a few dollars from them in my paypal account for stuff that's still online.

In 1999 I went to work for About Dot Com. About was more intensive. They paid a minimum that changed from time to time. But the goal was to attract enough traffic to be paid "by the hit," or visitor. I spent eight years with About - first as the "guide for Southeast Asia for Visitors (part of their Travel Channel) and later covering the continent of Asia as a whole - Turkey to Indonesia, Tokyo to Tel Aviv. About had a payment model that included growth incentives after the New York Times Company bought them in 2004 (I think, maybe 2005). I made $7,000 or $8,000 as a minimum per year writing from my living room in my spare time for them. There were years when I made closer to $12K and a particular year when I made $20K.

Guess I'll make that third pot after all...


The trouble About Dot Com was keeping up. In 1999 the goal was to present other people's content, to point readers to things we'd found online and "pre-surfed" for them. Over time the emphasis changed to creating our own content. Then links away from our sites began to be discouraged. In 1999 we had to FTP our files after we'd written the HTML (the computer language that makes pages look the way they do on the Internet) ourselves. Over the years About developed tools (kind of like forms) that we used instead. Then the tools would change and some content would have to be reworked, reformatted. A great deal of time got spent changing stuff we'd already written just to keep in looking right - oh, and learning to use new tools. Then came the image gallery tool and the emphasis on pictures. This year the focus began to shift to video formats. The New York Times Company doesn't want you to have to read as much, so maybe video will take over in the future. (What's a hypergraphic to do?) My relationship with About came to an end a few weeks ago after eight year (which is, like, 56 years in Internet time). I outlived a huge number of people there. It's been something of a relief...

At the moment I write for Creative Weblogging. Their page on venture capital investment in China is a fun gig and pays okay - about $6 a blog post for me. The potential is there to make a couple of thousand a year. China Venture News is the site...

Not so profitable is Helium. I have seven articles online at Helium. All of them are technical articles about education. I've made seven cents at Helium in the eight days they've had my stuff. When you've earned $25 they pay out to your Paypal account. So at the current rate I'll get my first check in 2014. One downside: they ask for all rights forever to anything you submit. That might be okay for technical articles (I can always right something else about 504 Plans or Down syndrome); but for creative work it sucks.

Of course, if you just want to see your name on the Internet, there are plenty of sites on politics and the like where you can post comments. Raising Kaine is an example of one here I've posted recently.

I'll probably fid other opportunities to write online. And this isn't an exhaustive list of stuff I've done. But you get the idea...

1 comment:

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