I love to write. I also love to talk. I’m not sure if I like the sound of my own voice better than seeing my own words in print, or vise versa. Both are entirely delightful to me. I don’t really know how other people feel about this, but for me, it is hard to choose.

Writing has been an outlet for me for a long time. I can put my thoughts into words, something much better when I’m writing. I don’t have to try to get it all right as I can go back and edit. I can rethink what I wanted to say and undo what I’ve already typed.

Writer's workstation by john_a_ward

I have been known to talk myself out of an opinion the more I write. I begin with a premise, start to type, and spew forth words at an alarming rate. By the time I get to the end of my rant (or highly thought-out essay) I may have actually changed my own mind. Maybe I wasn’t as clear at the outset as I thought I was.

There are times when I’m fairly determined to stay the course, too. Once I begin something, I’m usually determined to continue. And this is my current dilemma. How long do I continue? What is the logical stopping point?

I began writing history essays for RGQ years ago. I managed to keep it up for about three years before I was asked to take on a different task instead. Today, I don’t write my history three times a week, instead, I write the lead article once a week. Same pay, so what the heck.

When I first began writing my Little Bits of History, I was really only writing little bits. I wrote a paragraph or two and found some quotes. I expanded on the idea. Then I thought it might work to make this into a book. So I began writing four paragraph essays with four quotes appended. I published three paragraphs and three quotes on RGQ, thereby being able to say my essays were first runs.

I filled in the four days a week that weren’t used at RGQ and had a book. But I’m not a business person. I’m not a marketing executive. I’m a writer. And while I think I write better than average, I market well below average. I was never going to get my book into print simply because I wanted the magic fairies to do that for me and there are no magic fairies.

So, like all my other writing, I decided to give it away for free. I began a blog and put Little Bits of History, Volume 1 up there for free. I did minimal advertising (I put a link in my signature line at MWC, my writing forum.)

Another writer was working for Examiner.com and offered me an invitation to write there, too. I took the bait. I’m still unsure about the outcome. When I was researching the place, I was told the average payout for each article was about $5. I took this at face value. I know enough about math to have known better. But I had stars in my eyes.

I signed up and began being paid for my writing. The payout was significantly less than the above mentioned figure. But I kept trying. I put up an entire year’s worth of essays – Little Bits of History, Volume 3. Both volumes 1 and 3 were completely written. All I had to do was find a picture without infringing on any copyrights, and post it to my page.

I kept this up for an entire year. Once, just once, I made over the $5 for a single article. I was getting a bit higher payout by the spring. Now school is out and my payouts have once again dipped to lower numbers. And so, with my feeble math skills intact, I have had to do a cost/benefit analysis.

I was now putting up Little Bits of History, Volume 2 and it is not completely written. It is researched, but I have had issues with several topics as I have gone to write them up. It makes for more research and more writing. And then I still have to find the picture, without copyright infringement issues, find a video that embeds (for most articles this is possible) put it up with all the formatting, and post it.

What I’m paid doesn’t even cover the relative costs in time and effort for all the things NOT associated with the research and writing part. In other words, it is economically unsound to keep up the practice. Rather than make this much work for myself with so little return, I’ve opted to quit. At least for now. I’m not sure what I will do when school resumes. Options remain open.

I believe I would have a bigger payout if I went ahead and put the ads on my blog page, advertised in the same manner (via a Facebook link and at MWC), and got the few pennies per hit that way. But it is more than I care to do. I am not motivated enough to go after the payouts.

All I really want to do is write. I like the sound of my own words. Typed or spoken. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.