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How are blogs financially helpful to creative writers?

  1. I'm a newspaper columnist and make next to nothing for my work. Later I find it copied and linked to all sorts of places. Would a blog help me utilize my talents better?

    The blog I need help with is psychmatters.wordpress.com.

  2. It would certainly serve as a portfolio if you're looking for freelance assignments. You can even make a blog that JUST serves as a portfolio, with pages instead of posts; each Page consisting of your very best work in a particular genre: listicle, profile, investigative reporting, political op/ed, whatever.

    Rest assured, if you do not start a blog or a website, people googling you will find things others have stolen and possibly altered, or things people have said about you. You need to show you're au courant, especially since the projected growth in the news business is entirely on the digital side. "Familiar with WordPress and most major social media platforms" is a VERY important thing to put on a resume now.

    I teach social media and blogging for professional writers, and they are all very, very happy with their decision to go online, and so are assignment editors. It means you are the peer of the sharpest people in the industry.

  3. Thank you for the words of encouragement. I'd be grateful for more feedback. I'm director/founder of a counseling practice as well as a therapist and columnist. Years ago I was an award-winning playwright but that won't pay the bills. After 10 years my counseling practice is very stable. Also, I have a good, dedicated readership from the newspaper (circulation about 100,000).

    I've been trying to decide how to expand my writing career. At first I thought about a book but I know too many published writers who are discouraged. Then I thought about syndication but I just don't really want to compete with all the lifelong journalists. I totally agree that the way of the future is digital.

    Also my favorite style is typically a personal essay format laced with some mental health advice/thoughts. I just don't know where to begin. Today is literally my second day blogging. Am I on the right track? There's much to learn. Thank you for any thoughts.

  4. Well, I can't give you any career advice unless you tell me what you want to accomplish. What do you actually want to DO, to achieve? Not online; altogether. Because I can't help you towards your goals if I don't know what they are.

    The possibilities are endless. Look, the Executive Online Editor of Vanity Fair chats with me on Twitter now. I know some world-famous journalists, because we blogged together at True/Slant. You can do anything, meet anyone, online, but it's like the title of that book: I Could Do Anything, If Only I Knew What It Was.

    What do you want to DO?

  5. I want to get paid to write. I make $70 an article and I've seen my work copied onto travel guides (pocket cultures, lonely planet, etc) and many other websites and blogs.

    I write about mental health topics of all types like OCD, bi-polar disorder. I also write about general things like organ donation, hospice care, living life more fully, maritial issues...anything related to mental well-being. Ususually, I do this in the context of what is going on in my own life. So I think my readers feel as if they know me.

    So I'm extremely flattered when people seem to like my work but I want to be able to write more often, and to do that I have to generate some income from it.

  6. First thing you should do is check with your editor to see if you've got the legal right to post your work on your own website. If it's also on the paper's, that can cause problems, because Google will see it duplicated on yours and assume you're a spammer and downgrade you. If your work is not on the paper's website, then once you've cleared the rights with the editor, start posting. Use Posts, not Pages, and spend some time in the Support docs reading up on categories and tags.

    And get on Twitter and start Following as many editors you want to work for as you can. Use Twellow.com to find them.

  7. That's very good advice. I have talked with the editor and he said that it can be reprinted as long as I don't print in a newspaper that has the same readership (that would be the Washington Post) and I must reference the newspaper. He said a larger readership would only benefit us both. I didn't ask about internet because I hadn't considered it yet.

    My work is on the papers website. Is there anything I can do about the google problem? Thanks a ton.

  8. Use Copyscape but still copycats will always copy your works.

  9. Everywhere I've found my articles they have given me the credit (which is nice) but I'm struggling to figure out how that can help me get some reimbursement for the many hours I spend writing. I'm also a professional counselor and the insurance companies are just squeezing us out of business. I run a practice that is the main income source for 5 other therapists. My thinking is that if I can introduce a successful blog we might be able to suppliment our practice with some "virtual" therapy sessions. Some people are terrified to see a therapist in person. Does this sound feasible? Knowing so much more than I do about blogs I welcome any stumbling blocks you see...Thanks

    P.S. This forum is amazingly helpful. Thank you. I'll give back when I know more!

  10. If they are giving credit back to you, then at the very least they are helping to build you as a "brand" and that is always a good thing. The more people that are familiar with your name, the better, and having a site or blog on the internet increases your personal branding as well, not to mention that it gives people who read your articles and google your name a place to go to read more about you and what you do.

  11. Chat or other online happens all the time, but body language is a very important part of seeing someone, when are they comfortable, when are the reluctant on a subject, when should you push more on a subject.

    I have a friend that is a therapist and she used to do a bit with email - appointments, reminders from patients to cover a subject next meeting or I forgot to mention this today. But there are new privacy and security issues and laws that have caused her to not even allow her patients to confirm appointments using email now.

    You could always link back to your original articles in the newspaper from your blog, have a short teaser about what the article is about then link back and open in a new tab (so they still have your site open, but I don't like the open in a new tab in general)

    Think about the blog also as a way to build traffic to your practice. Public speaking?, workshops for companies? Maybe get the others in the office to contribute a few short articles in the area they specialize in.

  12. Thanks to thesacredpath, I'm not intentionally creating a brand but it's happening anyway and I'm thinking I might as a well utilize it.

    I do know that body language is very important. I have one client who is literally driving 7 hours to see me (3.5 each way). That's absurd...I'm not THAT good. I thought of skype but my 14-year-old cautioned me against it. Wouldn't skype be the next best thing to in-person? You can get body language and voice changes. What do you think? Many people do on-line therapy but I don't want to compromise my treatment. Thanks again

  13. On second thought maybe skype would be banned by privacy laws. I see other therapists doing phone and e-mail but not skype. If it's something that isn't considered "therapy" then it isn't under the HIPPA laws. I guess these are questions for my ethics board. I know you can do phone sessions they are just not covered by insurance. From your knowledge of blogging, would this be an appropriate platform for a free daily thought and discussion forum with the option of telephone sessions from a licensed provider?

  14. I teach via Skype and many thousands of personal coaches use it. You can also get insurance for just about anything, if you're willing to pay for it.

    would this be an appropriate platform for a free daily thought and discussion forum with the option of telephone sessions from a licensed provider?

    Well, WP.com doesn't offer forums. It offers blogs. If you want an on the record back and forth with your patients, WP.com is not the place for it.

    Obeying your professional association guidelines and local laws is up to you.

  15. I'm not sure. Can I be stupid enough to ask the difference between a blog and a forum? I'm just formulating this idea and you've been very helpful. I don't want an "on the record" back and forth with clients. There would be privacy and liability issues. I wouldn't mind if they responded to the daily (or weekly) material. But I would want an option for sessions from a licensed provider.

    Maybe I would direct them to my counseling website. I've had it for 10years and it has a great google rating. I feel like all the pieces of the puzzle are out there and I don't know how to put them together. I'm reading "wordpress for dummies" as fast as I can.

  16. Also thanks to auxclass for this:

    Think about the blog also as a way to build traffic to your practice. Public speaking?, workshops for companies? Maybe get the others in the office to contribute a few short articles in the area they specialize in.

    That is part of what I want to do and my collegues are very interested.

  17. With a blog, considering some might put some personal information into comments, it would probably be best to have comment moderation turned on so that you can review them before they go live on the site.

  18. good point!

  19. Does it sound like a blog is what I need rather than a forum or a regular website?

  20. OK - get rid of the labels!! Don't use the term "blog"

    What we are talking about here is the software to drive a web site. My main site (not on WordPress.COM) uses WordPress software to drive a site on boating safety. The Posts are a series articles related to boating safety, there is the question of the "look and feel." WordPress software drives many business sites - called Content Management Systems (CMS) and they would probably punch you in the nose if you called their company site a "blog"

    The part you want to think about is what do you want to do with a site and how do you want it to look.

    WordPress software and especially WordPress.COM makes it very easy to update and add content to your site. Traditional "regular websites" done in html are a lot of work. I don't think you want to be a html guru nor spend a ton of money getting them designed.

    My guess is that you want to have a nice looking site, easy to maintain, easy to add new content to, so you can spend your time on your practice, the articles are a way to help your practice and maybe make a few bucks, WordPress.COM can do that without breaking a sweat. The best think I did with my main site was to junk the html site and make the whole site WordPress driven.

    Think "what do I really want to do with a web site" then will WordPress.COM help me reach my goals easiest.

    Remember WordPress.COM is just a TOOL to do something, not an end in itself.

  21. My $.05
    1. "blogging" is no different from writing in a journal, at core, except one needs "tech" gizmos/know how in place of the pen
    2. Learning to blog (--'reading WP for dummies') --sounds like
    isn't the issue, for you, Focus is
    3. this & the following are interchangeable --which to do first:
    Read up on advertising (pull up from e.g., Google) before you
    go much farther.

    You NEED to know: if you choose to make money from writing by, for example, putting Google ads on SELF-hosted blog, or DON'T Pay WP to keep ads OFF
    the dot COM blog:
    Author looses intellectual property rights to their OWN
    material --and Forever.

    WP: either Doesn't FULLY GET THAT, or Does and doesn't care/wants
    to avoid, evade topic DETAILS --NOT spelled out in TOS. You MUST KNOW.
    You way DON'T want THAT to happen. --(Simplified) Among other
    things:
    You would lose important edge/claim for 'Cease & Desist' for anyone
    who swiped your work --without giving proper credit (it Will happen).
    Courts are Starting to 'catch up' --but you don't want to loose future
    before you even begin.

    4. May seem whacko advice, to give a therapist, sorry, but you
    have numerous ideas -goals, unclear which to pursue, so I suggest
    the FINEST book (--maybe: ever written on the subject) I know of
    to sort out:
    "Zen and the Art of Making a Living"
    you want: 1993 version
    paperback only
    --find 2nd-hand book stores; Amazon
    Use tissue paper over each page to answer the questions
    (--so you can use it again, some day)
    Superb book (I met the author, he's a genius, spent
    years in his field)

    When you've finished the book: You will know more about you than
    you thought possible; you will know EXACTLY what you want to do
    Next-- with your life, among other things, How to pursue.

    The "blogging" stuff is distant second to Focus.

    For all the unfamiliar: just Bookmark an on-line tech dictionary
    or two -or put the term in a search window -or look up in Wikipedia
    (You should probably Bookmark this whole thread, to look up
    things easily, as you get farther along)

  22. What a great community here. I take away two really important concepts.

    A) I've now got a new vision of a blog as a professional internet tool. I did need to recognize that! Great reframe -- psych term :)

    B) I should be careful not to lose the right's to my written work. So if ads are on my blog then I've essentially sold the written materal to the advertisers or the host site? Something like that. Is that true?

    Also, I believe in focus and will definately get the book suggested. I do some career counseling and I'm still referring to "What color is your parachute" I'm feeling outdated.

    I'm focused on two things: writng and counseling. That's my life. Blogging interests me as a way of integrating those two worlds. With all this good feedback I'm beginning to see how this might happen. All ideas are welcomed and appreciated.

  23. Poppy, please don't spew harmful misinformation around the forums. You look deranged.

  24. B. Your intelectual property is yours, always and forever. WordPress get the rights to display it (otherwise they could not put it out on the web for you) but you are and forever will be the owner of your content, that is unless you were to put it into the public domain.

    Copyright starts from the first word you put onto paper, automatically, even if you never publish it. That is US copyright law.

  25. @the sacred path - so glad you clarified the rights issue. ;-)
    Enjoying reading this informative thread.

  26. @rebekah, you're welcome, and take a look at what two members of staff said in this other thread.

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/if-you-dont-pay-wordpress-to-remove-adverts-then-do-you-lose-all-legal-rights?replies=6

  27. Just wanted to add 2 cents to the writing aspect of the numerous topics psychmatters has raised.

    As someone who has written for print and broadcast media as well as technical papers to an audience of 3-4 people, I am finding blogging very different than other media.

    Blogs offer the immediate interactivity of broadcast in a print format. This new media brings all other formats into one. Try showing a video in a hard copy newspaper.

    Blogging, because all media formats can be incorporated, is very different from different every other writing.

    I'm just a couple-3 weeks into my first blog and it feels as though an entire new world has opened. Links have replace footnotes in formal essays, one can be erudite, conventional or colloquial all in the same sentence.

    Blogs can serve as an info filter like traditional journalism. Blogs can serve as an unfiltered deliverer of the same info.

    It's all up to the blogger. Isn't that a liberating idea. Oh man I'm having fun. Hope you are too.

    I don't know if blogs offer us the best of all worlds or not. It's obvious blogs offer us some of all communication formats.

    The basic rules of good writing apply. Write for your audience and advance the story with every line.

    In terms of interactivity, the vast majority of your audience will never post on your blog. Just like the vast majority of readers never a write a letter to the editor. The vast majority of listeners never call in to a radio show.

    What the vast majority of your audience will do is enjoy how you respond to those who interact.

    I'm definitely at the beginning of the learning curve. Oh man, it sure is fun.

  28. brad thrasher: "Blogs can serve as an info filter like traditional journalism. Blogs can serve as an unfiltered deliverer of the same info"

    I think for experienced journalists and writers, is to get published with bigger name online publications that also have a parallel/similar hard copy version plus also e-version that allows readers to post comments.

    It's important to understand that established newspapers also sell their article access to information aggregators/database publishers who charge money for people to search and access their extensive research content databases.

  29. Yes and no maidiebike. Mainstream approval and branding is not the answer for all bloggers. Blogging works in part, because it is not a one size fits all platform.

    You're probably way ahead of me on the learning curve. I'm still focused on the craft of blog writing and learning the software to be concerned about publishing opportunities or networking my stuff.

    For example, my blog grew out of my posting on a mainstream media website. Over the course of a year -18 months, my alter ego, "backcheck" outgrew the confines of responding to the articles posted by the experienced professional journalists.

    For the moment, independent blogging is right for me. At some future point, after I've honed my skills and found my voice, partnering or even employment in corporate media or an Alt News site might make sense.

    Took a peak at your site, Third Wave Cycling. Wow. You are definitely ready for Architectural Digest and/or becoming a go to source for agencies like Urban Land Institute and urban planners. Congratulations.

  30. I'm learning so much even though the technical part is a struggle for my right brained personality. Like, I still haven't managed to link my "practice" cite located at howtomakelemonade.wordpress to my psychmatters icon. Heck, I don't even know the termonology. But, thanks in part to raincoaster, I can see that every business owner should have a blog rather than a flat traditional website.

    In terms of writing, it occurs to me that my former writing experience was in playwriting. Like bradthrasher, the versitility of blogging. I love the back and forth dialogue. I do know about psychology and that is an interesting topic for many folks so I'm giving it a go. I haven't learned any of the widgets and gizmoes but I'm trying.

    I have three questions:

    1) Can I attach another wordpress address to my psychmatters icon?
    2) Does anyone know a good blog that utilizes many of the available features?
    3) What do you see as the future of blogging.

    Sorry if I'm breaking the rules and should put these in different threads. Let me know.

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