Writing Experiment Wrap-Up

I’ve been running this writing experiment for a year now, and it’s time to evaluate it.  I’ll answer the questions listed on my About page.  Did I have fun?  Was I good at it?  Did I make any money?

The Big Questions

Did I have fun even when treating writing like a job?  Hell yes. I didn’t enjoy every minute of it.  There were times when I had to push myself very hard to reach the deadlines I set for myself.  There were times when I wanted to quit writing, and you probably noticed that I took a long break in the summer.  But I love writing and I love everything I produced for this writing experiment.  Writing is incredibly rewarding for me.  I wrote a novel, helped some people, and earned a few dollars.  Best of all, I learned a ton. I love learning.

Did people like my work?  I think so.  I didn’t get many readers for my novel, but those that did read it seemed to like it and gave me some good feedback.  I know I have helped some people with my eHow articles, because my 25 articles combined have been viewed 9,872 times.  I think that’s pretty cool.  Best of all, I received several warm emails from newsletter subscribers around the world thanking me for helping them achieve their goals.  That was the coolest result of this writing experiment.

Did I earn enough money to quit my day job?  Not even close. I made very little money from this writing experiment, but I still think it’s OK because I learned a lot.  I’ve been doing much reading lately and figuring out why I didn’t make much money:

  • Lack of search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Sales copy was not persuasive and compelling
  • Lack of persistence and long-term planning (I slacked off for a few months in the summer time)
  • Targeting the wrong customers with my email list (many subscribers did not have credit cards)
  • Not using my email list to the fullest extent, both to really connect with subscribers and to persuade them to buy

In future projects I will avoid these problems and really focus on sales.  It did feel nice to help my newsletter subscribers by giving free information, but my primary purpose here was to generate income to facilitate a career change.  I know it makes me sound like a slimy salesman, but if I want to make this into a livable income, I have got to persuade people to pull out their wallets.

Words Written and Dollars Earned

For the past year I used spreadsheets to keep track of how much I wrote and how much I earned.  Here’s the breakdown for you.

Total Words Written
Total Dollars Earned

As you can see, I didn’t earn much from writing.  If you do the math, it comes out to less than one cent per word.  🙂  But it’s so cool to think that I wrote over 100,000 words in the past year.  I love it.

Despite not earning much, I liked doing it and it was truly extra money.  It’s like a hobby that pays you a few extra dollars.  That’s better than a hobby that breaks even, like sitting around watching TV, and much better than a hobby you have to continuously pour money into, like golf.  Positive cash flows are nice.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Success!

Despite not earning enough income to allow a career change, I’m still calling this experiment a success.  I learned a great deal.  I got out there and found ways to make money on my own.  I gained confidence in myself when I wrote that novel in less than 30 days.  I built a little courage when I put a product online for sale, and learned how to analyze failures when the product flopped.  I was extremely proud when newsletter subscribers told me they valued my advice.

Best of all, my level of interest in writing, freelancing, entrepreneurship, and making money on the Internet has skyrocketed.  I’m totally hooked.

Future Plans

I’m going to keep writing and making web sites, but I’m not going to extend this exact experiment.  It’s hard to write both novels/newsletters/articles and this blog at the same time.  I might have enough time to do it, but not enough focus.  I’m not a hardcore writer that can write for 8 hours straight, especially after a long week at work.  I get too distracted and have too many other goals.  So I’ve learned that I need to pick and choose my writing projects carefully.

Another reason not to extend this writing experiment is because I won’t be focusing only on writing anymore.  I’m going to focus on entrepreneurship and self-employment in general, with a key focus on making money on the Internet.  I’ve been thinking about several different projects where the only writing I do would be for marketing, such as:

  • Creating games and apps for smart phones
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Freelancing as a programmer or SEO consultant
  • Projects that I would outsource to have someone else write/create them

That’s the main reason I’m not going to continue this “writing” experiment: it’s going to become so much more than just writing.

Next Project

My next project is a blog about self-employment.  Recently I learned a lot about creating web sites and getting them to the front page of Google.  If you can find some golden keywords and get to the number 1 spot in the Google results for those keywords, you’ll get plenty of free traffic.  Then you can monetize your site by either selling products or showing advertisements.

I invite you to please visit my new blog, Best Self Employment Ideas, and subscribe to the RSS feed to receive updates.  Some if it is still under construction and it needs a new theme, but I’m working on it as fast as I can.  I’ll be adding new content 3 times per week, at least at first, and hopefully I’ll be climbing the ranks of Google results.  I’ve already progressed from 303 to 269 in the past few days, which is very exciting.

The End

Thanks very much for following me through my writing experiment.  I hope you learned something and enjoyed it as much as I did!

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