Almost 5 Years of Online Writing

| January 24, 2012 | 39 Comments

5 Years of Online WritingFebruary 7th will mark my 5th year anniversary of quitting my part-time job in an attempt to earn money as an online writer.

In those 5 years I’ve earned and learned quite a bit. The largest contributing factor to my online writing success was the decision to transition from up front to residual earnings.

The Changing Seasons

If you’ve been writing online for longer than one year, you know how much things have changed in that short period of time. I’ve witnessed even bigger changes over the past 5 years.

Changing SeasonsThe one underlying constant is quality content works and people like to be told what to do. So much of the Internet is either providing information to help people make a decision or telling people how to make the decision. We are a thirsty bunch for being told what to do and how to do it.

Switching Gears

Regular NJFM followers may have noticed the decline in posting frequency. As I look at the evolution of the Internet, the evolution of my interests and changes in my off line life, I’m finding that NJFM holds a different position in my list of priorities.

While I still enjoy blogging here, I’m finding my enthusiasm is waning. There’s nothing worse than placing uninspired content on a blog just to keep things going.NJFM Switching Gears

What am I Saying?

I’m not quite sure. It’s like this. I like to blog, but I like to be inspired when I blog. There are times when the inspiration is hot and on fire and there are other times when it’s not. It seems that I’ve temporarily lost my enthusiasm for writing about writing. I haven’t lost my enthusiasm for writing, it just writing about writing has lost its luster for the time being.

This is not a “RIP” post for the demise of NJFM. It’s an “I have to follow my gut” post because the one thing freelance writing has taught me is to follow my gut.

I’ll continue to post here from time to time, but not as frequently as in the past. Call me crazy, but I think you would much prefer to read inspired content instead of prattling drivel about writing online.

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Category: Blog, Freelance, Writing

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she’s not writing or commenting on NJFM, she’s either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites.

Comments (39)

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  1. Derrick says:

    I’m new here. I met NJFM last year and used its advice and subsequently made some good little money at an article site. Years ago, I got laid off as a community organizer (dangerous words!) and tech teacher. From writing grants, I eventually evolved into online writing and became quite strong as an academic writer. Over time, that market changed, it was intense work, and there was the risk of dealing with hooligans.

    Anyway, my congrats to Felicia for making it over five years. I hope to periodically check here for the inspiration as I try to develop my own sites and pursue ebook projects. The Internet is an incredible instrument.

    Writing for others becomes difficult as you begin to realize you have skills that could very well be used to build your own business. Felicia, thanks for your example.

  2. Christina Crowe says:

    Hi Felicia,

    I’m so happy for your successful last five years. And I completely understand what you mean about getting inspired to write content, rather than just writing to write – I’d musch rather read inspiring content any day.

    I’m starting to realize how very silly it was to go 100% upfront income. Since eHow compensated writers who had provided them with years of content and cut off the residual income stream for those articles completely (my major source of residual income), I started leaning more towards upfront income. I ended up creating an Elance portfolio over six months ago to establish myself as a freelance writer and gradually build a portfolio of writing samples. After my first initial few months writing content for clients on Elance, it’s been an exciting, if slightly challenging, ride.

    Well, I finally hit one of those months where there just aren’t any jobs coming in and so income has come to a complete standstill. I do admit that I learned a bucket-load during the time I’ve been producing content for clients – I don’t regret switching to upfront income, but I do think that I should have diversified my income a bit.

    Now I really wish I had at least some form of residual income coming in. I do earn meager income with Infolinks and the very few residual income articles I did write for Demand Studios. But I really wish I had formed a better Plan B. Demand Studios was my Plan B, actually, until I logged onto my account yesterday and found literally NO titles to be claimed – not a single one.

    But I guess I learned my lesson. I am working on a niche site at the moment that I think will have great results, but more importantly – I think I’m going to start writing articles for content websites again.

    I know you still use Suite101, but are there any other websites you earn a bulk of your income from (besides your own blogs of course)?

    By the way, I did download both of your e-books “So You Want to Become a Freelance Writer” and “Make Money Blogging”. I’ll start consuming the information tonight!

    As always, keep on producing amazing content Felicia. And have an incredible Easter (if you celebrate).

    Christina

    • Felicia says:

      Cristina, sorry to hear about your dry patch. I’m also happy to see that you’re not giving up and are getting back to owning your own content.

      As far as earnings, the bulk of my income comes from my own sites. I earn a little from Suite, Demand Studios and HubPages, but that accounts for less than 1% of my earnings. It is my opinion that owning your own sites is the way to go.

      • Christina Crowe says:

        Thanks for your response, Felicia! I’m leaning more towards niche sites as well. It’s just too risky to depend on another company for your income, not after so many are getting slapped with Google’s algorithm changes.

        Thanks for shedding new light on this for me!

        Christina

  3. Joni says:

    I’m glad you were able to erase it too. I know exactly what you mean. My “introduction” to the internet was on forums. First, a political one, then one that was a “flame” forum where the whole purpose WAS to fight. I didn’t realize it to begin with though. There were cliques and I fell into one and the “others” were always putting me down, calling me names. I was very naïve (stupid) back then and revealed way to much info about myself. I more or less gravitated towards one of the cliques and was flaming others myself. It was very negative and I feel I wasted a lot of time. I actually did make two good friends with two of the women in there and we are still online friends. We don’t visit the flame groups anymore; just email each other.

    You and your daughter seem to feel the same way about your dogs as my family does. They are part of the family. My daughter has spent tons of money on her dogs. Things just happen you can’t control. However, when my daughter was in college and had no money for emergencies we had to take a new puppy to the ER. By luck I had just enough left on one of my credit cards to pay but barely. If I remember correctly, the bill was close to $200. I’m probably still paying on it….LOL.

    And yes Felicia, people are mean off-line too. No one seems to take a minute and put themselves in others shoes. It’s easy to put down a group but talking with them one on one is a completely different story. Empathy is missing a lot in our society.

    • Grandma says:

      Joni, that’s what moms do. This one I put on my credit card; it was $85 for everything, compared to $85 that the emergency vet would have charged just to get in the door. This on top of the $900 bill on that (my) credit card for her other puppy that had Parvo about two years ago. He is alive and happy and I am still owing $600 on that one. Care Credit – I got that one for my own use for dental, but it has gone to the dogs. LOL Oh well…payments over time….

  4. Grandma says:

    Ha ha…Joni, I already deleted that post. It was about my daughter’s dog having some serious illness problems and that she had to wait a day to get to the vet because emergency vets are way too expensive…many circumstances involved. People are quick to toss out words like “irresponsible” and “cruel” when they have no clue. This dog has been well taken care of and loved for over ten years. What today’s report from the vet was is that he has a bacterial infection, something about the type of grass in Oklahoma…she got special gentle senior dog food, medicine, and some hope he should live another 3 to 5 years. I wanted to tell those “others” to take a hike. I tried to post a comment, but it was rejected, so since I started that post thread, I was able to erase it (yippee).

    Irresponsible (IMO) is having unwanted babies and opting for abortions as a means of too late birth control, wife beating and things like that. I know there is animal cruelty, but this was not a case of that, and so…I will most likely not do much, if any, additional posting there.

    I should know, I have seen this happen on many forums. (Not here, btw)… people get mad when a newbie asks a common question instead of taking time to find the already answered question…etc. Others put up personal stuff and then people jump all over them. It must have to do with the anonymity allowed by the internet or something. Sometimes a person just wants a little support or encouragement, not a whipping.

    No one knows what it is like to walk in another’s shoes, but they are quick to voice an oppositional opinion. So, writer beware.

    • Felicia says:

      Grandma, that’s exactly why I participate in very few (if any) forums. So many people are too quick to appoint themselves the judge, jury and executioner.

      It’s not just online. Take a look at the news and reality TV. There’s a lack of understanding and sympathy with a growing trend of judgment and condemnation.

      I’m glad you were able to delete the thread.

      • Crystal says:

        Sorry for your unpleasant experience, Grandma. I’ve also witnessed some unbelievably bad behavior on forums and pretty much steer clear of them. And I wasn’t even involved in anything controversial. I mean, how nasty do you suppose women coming together to discuss quilting or homemade Christmas gifts could be? Geez!!!

  5. Joni says:

    Ok Grandma….you got me curious…where did you post your “thoughts?”……don’t tease us like that..LOL
    joni

  6. Grandma says:

    Oh I am not sure where to put this, so I will put it here. It sort of fits…topic of online writing.

    When, oh when, will I learn NOT to post personal thought or opinion on an online forum? (Not here, btw) It only opens a person up for some weirdo attacks.

    Have to remember: just because someone says something does not mean it is true.

    I really should know better by now!!!!! No excuse for stupidity.

  7. Edward G Gordon says:

    Whatever happens Felicia, don’t you dare stop adding to this site. NJFM is an incredible example of what one writer’s passion can achieve – and inspire.

    I understand all too well what you mean about changes in priorities; just remember we need a “NJFM fix” every now and then. I’m confident that I’m not alone when I say that the idea that you could lose interest in NJFM is a horrifying prospect.

    Your newsletter and Monday morning inspiration is required reading, even if sometimes it’s Friday before I get around to reading it.

    By the way: Congrats on breaking the five year barrier. Keep up the good work. It is appreciated.

    • Felicia says:

      LOL. Edward, I’ve got a host of NJFM posts and motivational newsletters roaming around in my head. I’m trying to quiet my brain just long enough to get them down on paper.

      I realize it’s been a while since I posted here. As a matter of fact, I had forgotten my WordPress password and had to reset it (that’s really bad).

      I’ve got a few real-life challenges on my plate right now, but I’ll get back to writing posts soon. I also have to apologize for the gap in motivational emails. I’ve got to rectify that too.

      • Edward G Gordon says:

        lol, Good. I’m not sure what I’d do without a bit of uplifting now and again. It only takes reading a couple of your posts to get me back on track again.

        Good luck with the real life challenges – I trust that they will work out in your favour.

        In the mneantime have a good weekend.

  8. Missie says:

    I know I am a little late but congrats on hitting the 5 year mark! Febuary 7th is also my mom’s 50th birthday!

  9. Bill Swan says:

    I know this will sound odd, but I saw Anne Wayman do it about a month or so ago. Announce a guest posting month and take time off.

    Another idea, switch the blog to whatever you are currently working on. NJFM is still about freelancing and not having a job – which, I add, you still don’t right?

    A third idea, bring back an old group of posts that might still work as a visit to the past. More time off. Reduce posts to three times per week maybe.

  10. Trent Adams says:

    I understand. In the post-Panda era, I’m striking out in unlikely directions — changing things up revitalizes me.

    Yesterday I ran across a blogger who suggested ways to apply “less is more” to blogging. Sounds like you’re there — and I agree. I resisted blogging for most of my three years of making all of my income online — the only way I manage to write most days of the week without becoming completely burned out is by mixing it up a lot.

    I’m musing about ways to structure sites to appeal to readers — and my own quirky fascinations — and I’m planning to limit each site. I’ll update them, but I’m not going to live there.

    In the time I’ve been following you I’ve been struck by your big-hearted and intelligent approach to your work. It makes sense to follow your heart and limit your time here to when you’re feeling it.

    Thanks for the gift of all that you’ve shared here.
    Trent

  11. Joni says:

    As long as Felicia continues to write, we will be able to keep up with her! As I read your post and realized what you were saying, I slowed down to a stop. I did not want to continue only to find out I was losing out… (my inner child immediately pouted for a half second). Then I realized how lucky we have all been to have experienced Felicia A. Williams and her talents. I have learned so much since finding you. My life has been enriched and that is always a positive.

  12. Ken Muise says:

    Peace, love and happiness. We all get wrecked sometimes. Perseverance and resilience in each of us are what determines if we can pull ourselves back together and continue on.

    I went through some stuff myself recently and am no just getting back to normal.

    Write, love, drink scotch and be merry! See you on the flip side!

    Take care…

  13. Tiffany says:

    I understand where you are coming from as there are times were I am really passionate about my blog but other times it just seems like I can’t come up with anything to write about. The thing is I have plenty of other sites to keep me busy so it is nice being able to write on a variety of different topics.

    Congrats on 5 years as later this year it will be 5 years online for me as well!

  14. While it’s important not to write when you have nothing to say, it’s also important to trudge and force your way through patches when you feel you have nothing to say here. In fact, you just wrote a very successful post for NJFM about having nothing you want to say here.

    On So Much More Life, I’ve often written about not getting anything done, and some of those posts are among my favorites and my readers’ favorites.

    Gip

  15. Loretta says:

    Felicia, I completely agree with Ken and Chrystal. They said it all. I can only add – what I have told you many times before – that you have been an inspiration in my life. I always look forward to reading your NJFM posts and miss your regular delivery of writing wisdoms. However, I can certainly understand that you must follow your heart. I will continue to read NJFM whenever you shift gears – albeit occasionally – and post something there. By the way, I am enjoying your newsletter. God speed to you, Felicia.

  16. Shelley says:

    Since I’ve only been following you for a relatively short time, no doubt you have enough to keep me satisfied for quite sometime.

    One thing about writing, you never really know where you’ll end up.

    Deanna, I started my own site based on my freelance journey. It’s nice to see someone else begin this way, but end up in a totally different realm. I suspect this may happen to me, as well.

    I join with Crystal and ask that you leave us all a trail!

  17. Deanna says:

    Felicia, I completely understand how you are feeling because I went through this with Write Moms. At first I thought I would keep it going, but truth be told, I was no longer inspired to find and share new freelance writing opportunities. I have moved on instead to doing what I’ve always wanted to do – novel writing – and I am so happy that I did.

    NJFM is a wonderful blog full of useful information and posts that inspire people to follow their dreams – and it will continue to be that whether or not you decide to keep writing new posts. Sometimes, it is just time to move on. Life is too short to do something you feel you have to do but don’t want to do. Do what makes you happy! 🙂

    • Felicia says:

      I remember when you gave up Write Moms to get back to writing novels. I admired your decision and now fully understand how you felt.

      I’ll continue to dabble with my online properties until I find my next calling or direction.

  18. Crystal says:

    I enjoy each post and miss you when you’re quiet, Felicia. I’ve learned so much here at NJFM and am forever indebted to you for sharing so freely and allowing the rest of us to join in. But I know that the reason NJFM is so great is your quality content written from the heart. So I will be sending positive thoughts your direction for renewed inspiration while patiently awaiting your future posts. Best to you in all your online endeavors. Anywhere else online we all might look when we need our Felicia-fix?

    • Felicia says:

      Thanks for the support, Crystal. I’ll be dabbling here and there. Playing with some of my old blogs and working on a few new ones (when the mood hits). 🙂

  19. Ken says:

    Felicia, anything you write is inspiring. You are inspiring. Sometimes though, breaks are necessary. Enjoy your writing, enjoy life. After all, isn’t that why we wanted to freelance from home in the first place? Your readers will be here.

  20. Syn says:

    I’ve never really reduced NJFM with just a writing blog. The name doesn’t restrict it.

    Feel free to post your stream of conscious thought here as you pursue any endeavor while not having an official job. 🙂

    I’d love to read it.

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