Fair warning, this is a bit of a rant…
For the past several weeks I have been throwing my energies into incorporating this blog into my career. It’s always brought me joy, and as I’ve said many times, it’s helped me grow as an artist overall. And yet, I completely accept that I know diddly squat about becoming a paid writer. It’s as if someone was to approach me to randomly say, “Hey, I just found out I love acting! How can I make any money doing it?” I would look at them with pity, tell them to pull up a chair and a beer (a tall beer) and then deliver the news.
One major issue is the stigma that an arts career is a luxury. It is not always seen as a necessity to society, when ironically, I can assure that many temp jobs I’ve had that pay me way more than acting, are very unnecessary to society. The other unfortunate stigma is that it requires little to no “real work.” Also false, more on that below.
Luckily, this isn’t my first rodeo for building a creative career. For absolute beginners, I could imagine getting sucked into the scams. If you Google “How to Be An Actor” you get a long general lists talking about finding an agent and “getting into the actors unions.” And yet, for an outsider, this does nothing. The day-to-day work required to essentially build a product (yourself), a brand (your promotional materials), and financial stability (your “flexible” super understanding well paying job to maintain auditioning in NYC) is much trickier to find. This is why people train and work in the business for years before knowing any of this. I was very lucky to have parents that grew up in the field and told me everything I needed to know to get started, including that it was probably going to suck for a while, a long while.
Either way, I feel a little bit like one of those “I just wanna be a STAR!” girls this week, googling how to become a paid blogger. Here is what I have learned so far, in my basic “I have no idea what I’m doing” journey through Google:
Most websites listed as “paid blogging” sites no longer pay with money, but instead with links to your blog.
This I understand to a point. If your website is set up with paid advertisements, arranging more traffic for your page is essentially like paying you. Fair enough. Exposure is also a wonderful thing.
No one can seem to clearly explain what SEO really is.
Is it just me? I understand that key words in your post and headings increase your chances of being found on Google, but am I missing something? If I literally just name my blog something that people search a lot, it will be rated higher? And how do you write a personalized unique post and name it something that is trending? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of creating an original idea? Maybe I’m thinking too much about this. If I write, football, wanderlust, sangria! Does that mean google will try to find me based on those things now? Or is there a back-end situation I’m missing?
Supply and demand does not line up
I know this is beating a dead horse, but I am a firm believer that artists are not recognized for amount of training and hours they put into honing their craft and career. I, for example, would be a terrible stock broker. I’m an introvert that’s bad with numbers, and I have no training in the field. I would not asked to be paid for that. And yet, I find that the amount of money offered to trained artists is not in balance with the scarcity of their particular skill. Yes, there are a lot of people out there trying to be actors and writers. But there are a lot of people in every industry, each with its own respective skill set. Why are the arts considered a luxury that shouldn’t be appropriately compensated? Rawwwr!!
People LOOOVE lists
I have learned to accept, as I did in my acting, that not every job or opportunity is going to be for me. The same way I did not want to be a lifelong background actor, even though the job paid the bills and was easier to break into, I do not want to apply to any site that is looking for content of any time. If I can adapt my style and philosophy into a list of some sort (like this one) then that’s great. If it’s “10 ways chocolate cake is better than getting married” or “18 ways to take selfies with your cats” I’m not as interested. Just as background acting started to make me hate acting, these will not make me want to keep blogging. I’ve seen job posting that pay $8 a post, and ask you to write two posts an hour. Sweet Jesus! How on earth would the writing be of any quality? Again, perhaps I sound like an amateur because I am new to this, but is this standard? Do people make that work?
On a happy note, there is a fantastic blogging community, and many talented writers
It’s really pretty incredible to wander around WordPress and see the amazing diversity in writing styles. I feel like I started this adventure in a bubble, and all I was really hoping for were a few readers. Yet it took me years to be a blog reader myself. In the long run, I am only going to learn from my fellow bloggers, just as you would in any artistic field.
So I have been flocking towards the sites I connect with personally, whether they pay or not, because supporting messages are important enough. And yet, at first glance, I am seeing that “creating content meaningful to you” is far from the only factor, and I guess I could have seen that coming.
And advice is welcome and thank you as always for reading!