Writer's Journal: I keep Learning

Sometimes, I wonder if this has been the wrong way to go about writing. I've been reading a forum that says, you must never ever write for free. They say you're only ever allowed to write letters for free. I'm not griping about not being paid now, I'm just thinking out loud. Does writing for free cheapen it? It certainly makes it more difficult for any writer that comes after you to make a living off it. For instance I do not think that Bellanaija would ever pay someone who writes like I do, and thinks like I do, when I was out there gifting moderately well written articles. I chose to write for them for exposure. "I need to get my name out there" I thought at the time. "I need to court their audience and steal it for my own" I continued. "If I have even a fraction of their audience, I can monetise it. I can take it to a bank and make something of it." That was the plan. It's still the plan, but I'm not sure if it's a very good one. It's all well and good to be a decent writer, but what many don't realise about writing is that you're a living business. You're exactly the same as a consultant, or an entrepreneur, except that where a consultant sells a service, and an entrepreneur sells his products, you sell the results of your creativity. A bad business decision will fuck you no matter how artistically viable or satisfying it may seem at the time.

There was a time when I wanted to be everywhere. I wanted articles on ynaija, 360 nobs, the Thought Catalogue, the Huffington Post and Ono Bello. I got on ynaija easily. In fact, I was on ynaija before I knew I was on ynaija, because the website has a nasty habit of filching your work without telling you about it. I was googling myself one day, when I found that an article of mine had been taken word for word and image for image and plastered on there, in a horrible and terrible way. They didn't even align my pictures in a manner that was encouraging! They did say that it was by Afam, but no one knew me then, and Afam isn't a particularly unique name. They didn't even link the blog. It's the worst thing you can do to a writer I think. 

I didn't know that when I sent them an article to put up, but they still didn't link the blog. That was a poor business decision. I cannot write with the frequency with which I'll need to for the general public to look at an article I write on Ynaija and immediately connect it with the good dear old blog. That was me giving my work out for free. Believe it or not, I do not consider my writing for the blog, to be free. Writing for the the ramblings of a madman gives me a level of satisfaction that I cannot attach monetary value to. It's an investment. It will pay off later. That article on ynaija with no link backs, or short profile about how it is I may be reached will never pay back. I don't feel that silly about it anymore, but you live and you learn no? 

It's funny how it changes you though. I used to be so gung-ho about it all but now I'm quite reserved. Getting new gig, only to find that it cannot compete with the blog, and that sometimes you cannot do both was something I had to learn. The thing that I found astonishing was that I picked the blog every time. 

Happy Days, 


Ebun Oluwole said...

Sigh. I can relate.

I've also deciding to reach out to more paying gigs. Writing for free has gotta stop except maybe there's a sort of exposure coming back. If not, nada!


FunkyW said...

Affffaaaammmm, I think in the long term it will pay off to court the audience of bigger blogs even if it's free for now, its the creativity and diversity of their articles that bring the audience.

Do you think you could invite other good writers here (especially those that are not too popular) so that the versatility attracts millions **awaiting a response**

Olamide Amosu said...

I totally agree with you. It is not easy but very few people can see that. The idea for writing for your own blog goes way beyond that. It is ones self achievement.

Although I don't write for the money but I think it should be a personal decision. At some point you need to build your structure to fit into monetary value.

Check out my blog www.livinginlekki.com

About Us