A Philosopher's Blog

Blogging for Bucks?

Posted in Technology by Michael LaBossiere on February 26, 2009

A recent article by Daniel Lyons presents a common shattered blogger dream: striking it rich through blogging.

No doubt many bloggers entered the blogosphere with similar dreams of making a name and a living by pouring out witty words. No doubt most of these dreams crashed and sank against the brutal iceberg of reality. The sad fact is that the overwhelming majority of bloggers will make very little money. True, a few bloggers have struck it rich through book deals, great advertising revenue and even getting paid a salary to write blogs. But these happy few are just that-few.

When I started blogging I had no illusions about making money. This is because I had years of experience as a free lance writer before blogging was even in existence. I inferred, correctly it turned out, that while blogging was being touted as an entirely new thing it was really  just a new medium for free lance writing.

Free lance writing, in my experience, has generally been a way to make a little extra money for a lot of effort. True, some writers get a lucky break (perhaps Oprah raises them up on high or they manage to hit a rising fad right at the peak moment) and they manage to become overnight stars. Others grind away at writing for years and finally gain success. However, the vast majority of writers make just a modest sum for their efforts. The same has proven true of blogging.

Blogging, like almost all writing gigs, has a very uneven income distribution. The vast majority of bloggers make little or nothing from their efforts. A very few make a lot. In many ways, this can be seen as analogous to acting or sports. Just think of how many people play sports in high school and college relative to each professional athlete. Think of how many actors act at little theatres in their towns relative to the big name stars in Hollywood. Blogging is just about the same. For each blog star there are the thousands of folks like me just typing away for nothing.

Of course, people write for reasons other than money. Since I entered blogging with no illusions about making money (I don’t even post ads) my motivations are obviously not financial. Mainly, I just like to write and know that it is important to “train”at writing. As with running, another favorite of mine, if you don’t practice then you lose ability. Blogging is decent practice for real writing. Of course, I don’t make much money at that either-but I do enjoy it.

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4 Responses

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  1. Alexander Acosta said, on February 27, 2009 at 3:37 am

    I write blogs for the same reasons… In addition to it being a way to keep your pencil sharp, it is also an external representation of ones thoughts. I believe others can get to know you from your thoughts (and thoughts only). Other factors such as race and other physical attributes do not matter.

  2. Michael LaBossiere said, on February 27, 2009 at 11:46 am

    When I set up my blog I debated about how much information about myself I should provide on the site. After all, if someone knows I’m a white male, that can influence how they read my work. Likewise for other people, of course.

  3. kernunos said, on February 28, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    I say we tax the rich bloggers and spread it amongst the unsuccessful ones. :)

  4. magus71 said, on March 1, 2009 at 6:31 am

    I’m all for socialism on the web, since the liberal blogs far outnumber the conservative.


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