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I Work Off The Clock

Make money. Save money. Be happy.

I’ve been writing online for almost three years now, and for pretty much the whole time, I’ve struggled with finding my sense of identity and my place here on the web.  It’s like I just don’t know who I am or something like that.  Or perhaps, I know who I am but I’m not too happy about it.

A huge part of the problem is, of course…money.

I need it.

That’s why I came to the Internet in the first place.

Back in early 2012, I had lost ANOTHER job due to anxiety attacks, and I was sitting in my car feeling like shit, and I ended up going to Google and searching something about being a loser.  And that’s when I came across a guy who also apparently felt like a loser sometimes, and who also struggled with depression and self-esteem.  Well, he also was making a living as a full-time Internet writer, working from home, according to his own schedule (i.e. no real schedule).  This intrigued me and seemed perfect for my situation, and so I set off on a quest to figure out how to make it work for me too.

Nearly three years later…still not working for me.

And as always, I’m still always feeling like something just isn’t quite right about it.  I just don’t feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.  I’ve had several websites on various topics, and I had some interest and experience with these topics (well…almost all of them).  So I wrote posts for those sites.  But every now and then my motivation would crash again and I’d feel like, “What the hell am I doing writing about this stuff?  Who am I to tell anybody anything about any of this?”

I sometimes felt like a failure and even like a fake.  Now I never claimed to be anything I’m not, and all I ever tried to do with my websites was to help people and to provide useful info.  But I still was never really satisfied.  I always felt like…this isn’t really me.  I’m not the right person to be writing about this.

So now here I am, starting to feel that way again.  And I’m trying to find myself, trying to find who I really am and where I really fit on this world wide web.

I just read a recent HubPages article by Bill Holland (he guest-posted here on iWOC a year or two ago).  The hub was titled, “Writing Out Of The Box: Find Your Uniqueness,” and in it Bill talks about how so many of us online writers crank out material that we think the world wants, content that will make us some money, even though there may already be tons of articles just like ours already out there.  Yet we crank and we crank, and we earn our pennies and nickels and dimes.  But we are afraid to be unique, afraid to do something different, afraid to risk losing our trickle of earnings to strike out into uncharted territory in search of real gold.

And that’s exactly the kind of thing I’ve been rolling around in my mind for the past several weeks.  Who am I?  Who am I REALLY?  Am I really being ME?  Or am I really just trying to be like everybody else?

I don’t know what the answer is.  Not really.

All my life it seems like the only thing I’ve ever really been good at is art.  Drawing and cartooning.  I’m not amazing or anything (five minutes exploring on Instagram and I feel like I am the most untalented artist ever).  But if there is anything I am decent at, it’s drawing.  Yet I am so hesitant, so resistant to putting myself out there as an artist and trying to make a living at it.

And again…there’s that damn money thing.  I love what money can do, but at the same time, I hate it too.  Money has a way of taking something pure and beautiful and spoiling it, you know?  Especially when it comes to anything creative or artistic or social or I dunno…all kinds of stuff.

Like, it’s hard to be legit as an artist when you are dying for money and you can’t work regular jobs, so you need to sell your art.  That sucks, and it taints the whole process of creating.

The same thing goes for writing.

And even social media.  I mean, look at Bubblews.  It’s a social network, but money has spoiled it from the start.  99% of the people who interact with you are only doing so because they want you to return the favor and bring some pennies their way, and they’ll disappear if you aren’t visiting them back.  And when the earnings took a big hit this past month, tons of people left to look for other places to earn more money.

So even on social media, it’s hard to be legit when money comes into the equation.  Mark Ewbie wrote an excellent post on his blog about this very problem, and he said it way better than I just did, so just go read his post already.

Even with blogging.  I’ve tried to just make friends with bloggers and read their stuff and visit them from time to time, but then that money thing comes up and I either STOP the social interaction (because it doesn’t seem to be making me money), or I INCREASE the social interaction (because I’m not making much money and so maybe I need to connect more).  And on and on it goes.

So now what?

What’s my point?

I don’t know, and I’m almost ready to quit working on this blog post right here and go to bed.

But that would suck, so I won’t.  And, hey guys, I’m sorry to be such a downer right now, but I’m just frustrated and feeling pretty crappy.

Yeah, maybe I will just go to bed right now…

Sorry for the big, pointless wall of text with no headings and no real point and nothing good to say. :(

I hope you guys are having a better weekend than I am.

Good night.

 

Every now and then I find myself getting back to the basics with my blogging and Internet writing.  What the basics means to me is just one thing.  It’s the ONE THING that all writers need to come back to again and again.  It’s the one thing that makes a difference more than anything else you do with your websites.

THE MAIN THING…

That one thing is…writing.

Writers write.  That’s it.  That’s the main thing.

You can spend time on social media.  You can read other people’s blogs.  You can check your traffic stats.  You can respond to emails.

All of those things are fine and good.  And you need to do those things sometimes.  But the main thing that a writer needs to do is write.

So I am planning on doing A LOT of writing this month.

Today I wasted a lot of hours on Bubblews.  I mean, it’s fun to read and interact with other bubblers, and I did make a few dollars, and I also wrote a few new posts and also published some of my pre-written ones from this past weekend.

All of those things are fine and good.  ;)

But I didn’t get anything done on my own websites.  I didn’t create any new content for them.  So how can I expect my passive earnings to improve if I’m not publishing new content every single day?  I can’t.  So that is what I plan on doing this month.

How Many Posts Will I Write This Month?

How many posts will I write this month?  I’d like to publish 100 posts this month on my own sites.  That is a lot.  But I can do that.  Just the other month I wrote 14 posts in 24 hours.  And this weekend I wrote over 50 Bubblews posts in 48 hours.  So 100 posts doesn’t sound so crazy.

But it will be!  This I know haha.  I always go strong for awhile and then run out of steam or just get distracted, so it won’t be easy to do all 100 posts.  But that is the plan.

100 posts, all on my own sites!

Should I Be More Realistic With My Writing Goals?

I’m sure there’s some folks who would be reading this post here and start shaking their head at me.  (Not you guys, but other people out there.  Hypothetical people.)

They’d be saying, “Chris, you dork, you always make these big goals and you always fail to achieve them.  Why do you keep setting yourself up for failure?  You should just try to write 1 post per day or something like that.”

These folks think I should be more realistic with my goals.  They think that setting a goal that you are likely to fail at is dumb.  But I ignore people like that.

I think differently then they do.

I Love Failure!

Yeah, it’s true!  I love to fail at my goals.  I mean, I’m not an idiot, but I try to keep a positive outlook when it comes to failure.

I love that story about how Thomas Edison — one of the greatest inventors of all time — how he failed 1,000 times in his experiments to invent an electric light bulb.  But rather than getting down on himself or listening to the haters who told him he was a failure, he would just say, “I didn’t fail again.  I just discovered one more method that doesn’t work,” and off he would go to give it another shot.

What I’ve Learned From Failing Past Writing Challenges

Well, remember when I attempted that 24/24 Challenge?  I learned that it would be a lot easier if I already had 24 post titles worked out before hand.  So I put that lesson to work on my 50 Posts Challenge last weekend and wrote out 50 post titles ahead of time.  I still failed to write 50 little Bubblews posts in 12 hours (man, that was WAY too short a timeframe), but I made great progress nonetheless, and I still managed 50 posts in less than 48 hours.

I also learned from the 50 Posts Challenge that pacing myself was stupid.  I wasted energy and momentum trying to pace myself.  I should have just jumped into it full speed.  Sure I still would have burned out after x number of hours, but I would have completed many more posts in that time.  So this time I will go full speed ahead right at the start.

Another 24/24 Challenge Coming Up This Month

So to help me achieve my larger goal of 100 posts, I want to do another 24/24 Challenge, and the sooner the better!  So I will be attempting 24 posts in 24 hours.  But I am not ready to do this just yet.  First I want to write out my 24 post titles.  Once I have that, then I am ready.

But…

I would also want to see if anybody else wants to join me in that 24/24 Challenge.  If you want in, then comment here and let me know what day is a good day for you.  I will be busy this Sunday, but other than that, my schedule is pretty open.  If I don’t hear from anybody, then I’ll probably do mine on Monday.

Here were my 2 easy little rules last time…

  1. Each post needs to be at least 400 words.
  2. Each posts needs to be about a unique topic (cannot just rewrite the same post).

So…who wants to join in?

And even if you don’t want to try the challenge…what are your writing goals this month?  Do you have a certain number of posts in mind?  Or are you maybe doing NaNoWriMo?

 

Well, technically…neither.

I’m an Amazon affiliate, and when I refer customers to Amazon and they buy stuff, I get a commission.  But the awesome thing is that I get a commission on EVERYTHING that referral purchases on that visit!

I have a small niche website about flashlights.  Like…really good flashlights.  And I’m typically earning $30-$40 per month in Amazon commissions from that site.

I just made over $3 last night in my sleep when a reader from my website went to Amazon and bought a flashlight…and a pair of sterling silver blue pressed flower teardrop earrings.  It just so happens that Amazon is having a big jewelry sale this month, and so I guess they are pushing hard to get customers to check it out when they come to the site.  And during this promotion, Amazon affiliates earn 9.99% commission on jewelry sales that originated through the links on their websites.

So I’m pretty happy about that.  I made about 40 cents on the flashlight and over $3 on the jewelry.  I didn’t have to write about jewelry or promote jewelry or know anything about jewelry or link to any jewelry.  But Amazon hustled to sell some jewelry to that customer…and they sent me a commission anyways.

I love being an Amazon affiliate marketer WOO-HOO!

I just completed the 50 Posts Challenge that I gave myself on Bubblews Thursday night.

Yes I slept haha.

Twice!

No I didn’t publish any of them.

Yet.  ;)

Building Up A Reserve

So I just finished writing my 50th post of the weekend.  What I’m doing is building up a cushion of extra posts.  So that way it’ll be easier to consistently publish 10 posts a day this coming week.  I’ll still write posts here and there throughout the week, and then I’ll use my backup posts to hit my daily target.  Then I’ll refill my reserve by writing more little posts next weekend.

That is the plan for November, at least as far as Bubblews is considered.

I am still making a decent little return on there despite the recent changes, and I just got paid another redemption, so that’s why I haven’t abandoned it yet.  Plus, I enjoy the friends I hang out with there, and I guess I am hopeful about the future of the site.

So writing 50 posts is not that easy haha.  The actual time spent sitting at my computer was probably around 7 or 8 hours, with breaks every now and then.  My wordcount for this 50 posts challenge is up over 11,000 for the weekend.  That is pretty good for me.  And it was fun writing short posts about anything and everything.

Free Ebook Of Bubblews Tips Is Coming

Just about half of those posts were Bubblews Tip Of The Day posts that I am writing as a series…lots of tips that I’ve picked up from other users and from my own experience on Bubblews and other sites.  I will be compiling them all (101 tips total) and offering it as a free ebook here on iWOC, probably around early March.

A Break. And Then…

Now it’s time to take a break for the rest of the night and tomorrow.

Recharge, refresh, and refocus my energies so that I can hit the ground running strong on Monday morning.

Since I won’t have to spend much time writing bubbles, I’ll have time freed up to write more posts for my niche sites and maybe for iWOC too.  And maybe for Pukitz too.  I’ll figure it out tomorrow.  Right now it’s time for a break!

THE PERFECT CONNECTION

What is the perfect follower to have on Bubblews?

I thought through this question as a little mental exercise. I admit, that this discussion is going to sound pretty spammy haha, so take it or leave it. But I thought it would be fun to think about, even if I never really act on it.

But what is the perfect connection in terms of making money?

If I was going into FULL SPAM mode – i.e. maximizing profits without any real care for genuine interactions – this is what I would look for in an ideal follower…

  • – Joined Bubblews more than 6 months ago
  • – More than 1 successful redemption
  • – No missing redemptions
  • – No spammy comments or posts
  • – Following less than 1,000 people
  • – Active nearly every day
  • – Reads, likes and comments on almost every post I write
  • – Publishes very few posts per week

So why do these qualities make up the ideal follower?

Well, the ideal follower (again…in terms of profit, not friendship), is a low maintenance follower who posts infrequently. In other words, I don’t have to read, like, and comment on 50 posts a week from him in order to have him read, like and comment on 50 posts a week from me.

This person has been on Bubblews for a while and has redeemed successfully every time. Why is that important? Because it means that they are not likely engaging in spammy practices that would get them deleted and would cause me to see a reduction in my bank when all the views, likes, and comments they gave me disappear.

If they’re active every day, then that is gold, since I’m publishing 10 posts every day (hopefully). And, they don’t just go on liking sprees, but they leave comments on just about every post too. That really adds up, especially when I comment back (yes, we do currently get paid for OUR comments on our own posts!  Test it out!). And since they don’t follow a million people, my posts don’t get lost in their notifications feed and will likely get more traffic from them.

Whew.

So again, like I said, this was more of a brainstorm, not so much real advice that I would act on or encourage others to act on, because let’s face it…nobody wants to be treated like an ATM machine. We all prefer genuine interactions — even if we are on Bubblews for the money — so don’t take this post too seriously or start wondering if I am just pretending to enjoy being friends with you on Bubblews haha.  ;)