How To Earn a Full-Time Wage Writing For Free
Hint: Bank your stories on Medium and watch your numbers climb.
There is a world of difference between writing for free and writing on spec. Many writers do not understand that difference.
Consider this: You are an investor. Whether you are playing in the stock market, collecting comic books or dabbling in real estate is of no matter. You invest funds into a given vehicle and hope to see a return on that investment.
Said ROI will be based on many factors, and your investment will always be considered risk capital. When your enterprise returns more than you put into it, you profit. If it returns less, you lose.
Medium, to me, is an investment. Not an investment of money per se, but an investment of time.
Time Equals Money
What’s the commonality, then, considering I just distinguished the two?
It’s simple, really. The time I spend of late to write on Medium I can use to write my screenplays, or novels. Or, I can elect to work a full-time job.
Instead, I am investing that time on this platform. Specifically, five hours a day. I allot the same period for my creative writing endeavors. All told, my writing life is 10 hours daily. I begin well before dawn, and am done well before dinner. As I am an arts entrepreneur, I take meetings, make my phone calls, market myself on social media and produce various projects for several hours within the 14 I have left, and the four or five I reserve for sleep.
Those fortunate enough to be responsible for their own income do not work conventional hours. I look at it this way: I can work a full-time 40-hour a week “normal” job at $20 per hour, earning $41,600 per year. Let’s say I’m earning $40 an hour, even; my yearly income would equate to $83,200. If health insurance is included, all the better.
There are those writing on this platform that are earning considerably more than that latter figure, however. This has been verified. They have invested their valuable time into their writing, and are reaping the rewards.
Again, I am presently investing five hours a day on Medium. This investment will likely soon pay off dividends, such as what follows.
“The Write Brain”
“The Write Brain” is one of my favorite publications on Medium, and their lead writer, Shaunta Grimes, is immensely inspiring.
See one of her articles, here:
How I Increased my Medium Earnings from $180 to $3000 in Three Months
Medium gives its writers an estimate of their weekly earnings every Wednesday - and on the last Wednesday of the month…
Shaunta has been a member of Medium only since 2017. She has 25,000 followers. We have never met (though I hope that changes), nor have we ever spoken, but I encourage everyone reading this article to check out her work.
You’ll be motivated for weeks, because Shaunta is one who has put the work in — she has invested the time — and her results prove that you can do it too.
Free vs. Spec
I opened this article with the statement that most writers do not understand the difference between writing for free and writing on spec.
For me, writing for free is being asked to spend your hours writing for anyone other than yourself, with either the promise of gaining “experience” or becoming “attached” to a particular project if/when it sells. There is frequently no contract in these matters, and no real financials have been negotiated. Remember, no contract invites stealing of your hard work. The person who asked you to write for them can do whatever they choose with the material, as you have no legal recourse.
Writing on spec is a whole other beast. You can write for yourself, and try to sell it. Or, you can enter into an arrangement with a partner (can be a company) and write with the hopes of selling, usually in exchange for a split of the profits. Of course, there is no guarantee of even a sale, so writing on spec must be an effort that you are willing to undertake based on belief of its appeal. To differentiate further between “free” and “spec,” the latter requires a legal document.
Note: These definitions are mine alone, and not hard and fast rules. The bottom line: Never leave yourself without legal recourse.
Why Writing For Medium is Not Writing For Free
You will not be paid upfront for Medium articles. Your success is based on the number of reads of your stories, and the claps they receive. (This model has recently changed to favor the volume of reads; however, claps will still make a big difference in income if appropriately proportional).
We’ve been through the methods of how to attain reads in various other of my articles (which I will soon collect and post as a series): Sharing your work on social media, writing for Medium publications, email lists, etc. Follow these general guidelines, more Medium members will take notice of your work and your followers list will increase substantially … which, in turn, will lead to still more readers for your material.
When that happens, your work here earns daily. Every night, at approximately 6:00PM Pacific, I check my Medium Partners account for my cumulative new earnings per story. $1 here, $2 there … $50 dollars and above. Multiply these numbers by three articles I post daily, and it certainly adds up.
You see, I truly am banking my investment. That investment is my Medium output, which lands as a direct deposit into my savings account at the beginning of every month.
Which makes me grin until my cheeks hurt.
Thank you, as ever, for reading.
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