The biggest challenge for any artist whether it be visual arts, writing or music is the same as it has been over the centuries. How do you make money at it? Where the very lucky have patrons or wealth from other avenues that they can use to support themselves while they hone their craft many of us do not. However there are many who do make a decent living writing and it is my goal to be one of those people.
I am writing now for Associated Content and Helium. com. They are both awesome venues to learn my craft in a hands-on manner and it brings in a few bucks now and then. The name of that game is volume and choosing content that is timely that the public is hungry for.
I liken it to a game of Hungry Hippos where many writers are out there trying to grab those hot titles and write to them before the topic is too saturated or the fickle public has already moved on to its next distraction. At first it seemed a little frustrating however over time it became exciting and fun.
It is easy to get your work accepted for what is called PPV- paid per view. You get paid based on the number of people who click on your page and view it, easy enough. This has driven the industry I feel to move toward the controversial, at time damaging, titles some which are more than a little misleading.
By mentioning a hot button word that gets folks fired up examples like abortion, gun control (they are taking our guns), or things like Jersey Shore you can get clicks. If you mention Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck you can get some clicks. Gay rights, immigration and drug legalization generate some clicks as well depending on the way the title is worded. The thing people do is to make people irate so they click, comment and share. It is good for getting paid but in my opinion it is not very healthy for society.
One of the challenges as I transition from hobby writing to professional is how to bring in the clicks without feeding the monster that media has become. That which the Rally to Restore Sanity spoke out about. I have a lot of moralistic ideals and not much money. That is one thing I wrestle with on my journey. Can I keep my ideals and my identity and still make money in this trade? We'll see.
The goal is to crack the code that will allow me to obtain larger up front payments for stories. I have not as of this moment cracked that code. One thing I know about myself though is I am very analytical and tenacious. In addition my kid's futures depend on my success. And as a mother that is more than enough incentive for me to figure this out. I'll leave it at that for today.
Sophia Tesch is a graduate of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. Sophia is a community advocate. She lives in San Tan Valley, Arizona with her husband and children.