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I've Made Over $1000 Writing Online And I Wish I Hadn't

by Lena Simons about a year ago in success
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Monetizing your hobbies kind of sucks

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Sometimes I wish I'd never made a dime writing online. Sometimes I wish it could have remained a hobby. Something between me and myself. My little secret. 

When I first began writing, it was fan fiction. Not to be confused with smut. I wasn't writing anything explicit. Just recreations of my favourite stories. I enjoyed making new stories out of my favourite existing stories. I rewrote Twilight to include some more characters of colour. Even before the movies came out, I knew Forks could use some diversity, so I wrote it in. 

I'd write with some of my friends to recreate some of our favourite worlds. It was fun. Writing was my favourite brand of creativity because it's the only one I'm good at. I can't draw, paint or do graphic arts. None of the visual arts were ever my strong suit. 

I could never paint a world for you, but I could write one. I could write a world with such incredible detail that I didn't need to be good at painting. I'd just use all the words I had at my disposal. There are infinite words and infinite colours for me to describe and create with. It was art.

As we start to age, we start to need money. We start needing to buy things. We realize our jobs aren't making enough, so we look for a side hustle. And when you're looking for a side hustle, you have to lean on your talents. Whatever skills you have. 

Part of me was excited to make money writing. Originally, I'd made only $20 an article for an online magazine that no longer exists. Then, it turned into writing online and selling articles for around $100 each. At first, it was exhilarating to make money doing something I really liked. 

They say if you, "Do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life." But, I never found that to be true. I loved writing, but it still felt like work. It still took time. I still had to show up as I would any job. There were other aspects of the job that weren't just writing. I had to make invoices, pitch, get rejected and do it all again the next day. Doing what you love helps with the incentive needed to last longer, but it doesn't stop what you're doing from feeling like work. 

Quickly, it started feeling as monotonous as any other job. I started writing things I didn't care about, for people I barely knew. I started writing to try and appease an audience. I started caring about who read it and how they felt about it. 

People started telling me how they felt about my work. Getting feedback on all creative work is good for your craft, but most comments online aren't writing feedback. They're not about sentence structure and wording. They're calling you names or telling you your ideas are poorly formed and juvenile. It doesn't get to me that much, but I miss when my writing was just my own. When I didn't feel like I had to go through all of this. 

I started caring so much, it lost the charm. I didn't feel like writing simple, imaginative things anymore. I started spending my mental energy writing to earn something from it. It was soul-sucking. 

I'm grateful for every dime I've made writing, but it'd be nice if we lived in a world where hobbies could stay hobbies. Where there's no pressure to monetize everything we enjoy. 

A world where things that are magical and free can stay that way.


About the author

Lena Simons

I need lots of external validation to keep myself going each day.

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