Taking blogging as a job

I blogged a couple of years ago how I debated considering myself “a professional blogger”. I have a number of good friends who DO blog for individual websites or for blog networks for a living (just a few names thrown there, Lorraine Murphy, Tris Hussey, Arieanna Schweber). On that post, several of my friends including John Biehler and Derek K. Miller made the point that, to be a professional blogger, I would need to make an income out of it.

Live Blogging

Yes, that’s me liveblogging in CoverItLive. Photo credit: Tyler Ingram

I don’t actually make money out of writing for Hummingbird604.com. I don’t even do professional web development. Blogging on Hummingbird604.com is a labor of love. But one that is taking discipline for me, and for which I budget my (rather scarce) time. Given that I committed in the past 2 years to have both of my lives full time, I need to schedule myself to the minute. And I most certainly book time for dealing with blog-related matters.

I recently did an exercise where I monitored the time I spend on social media/blogging matters (purely the website, forget about the volunteering activities I do that are related/associated with social media). On a Sunday morning, I spent 1 hour and 15 minutes writing 4 blog posts (I only had Flickr photos available on my own stream for 2 of them, and I had to search my own website to find relevant cross-links). I spent 30 minutes connecting people with each other and crafting emails. I spent 15 minutes checking Twitter and having conversations. And I focused on each of the above tasks individually. On top of that, I have to liaise with PR folks, read press releases, write the post, make it pretty, communicate with winners, promote my posts on Twitter and Facebook. It’s A LOT OF WORK.

Do I expect to be paid for my blogging? You know, almost 5 years into it, I’m not quite sure. I do know for sure I want to continue doing it, and I take it so seriously that I do all the above indicated activities ON TOP of my consulting/academic activities. My friend Derek K. Miller wrote a rather compelling post a few years ago on whether blogging can bring you income. But more importantly, I found what Derek said and what my friend Arieanna Schweber commented on that post extremely applicable to my case (both quotes are taken from the same post I linked above):

Arieanna:

And yes, I can say emphatically that blogging for a living is a LOT of work. You are *never* done your work. Whether it’s finding more stuff to post, checking on comments, promoting, or reading feeds, there is always something more you can do. As your sites grow, they become more work to maintain, and you have more social obligation to update them each and every day. I work way too much – but I do love what I do. :)

Derek:

If you look at blogs that are popular enough to pay people’s salaries [...] they tend to be very focused and updated many times a day. They often attract lots of comments, which require moderation and feedback, and their posts tend to be well sourced or individually researched, and also well written and concise. In many cases, the words are carefully crafted to attract search engine traffic, and the blogger may spend quite a bit of time writing about things he or she isn’t all that interested in, or at least (as in any job) may have days where the job is just a slog, rather than a joy. Money-generating blogs take a lot of effort, skill, and time to maintain. They’re work.

Blogging on Hummingbird604.com attracts A LOT of traffic and comments, and it’s hard work to maintain a high-quality blog (modesty does not become me, does it now?). But damn, do I ever love it. I absolutely enjoy writing, sharing my story with the world, showcasing food, arts, travel destinations. Even if it’s not direct income, the fact that I take blogging seriously as hard work (and that I put in the long hours that come with it) is giving me A LOT OF SATISFACTION.

That’s why I keep doing it.

Related posts:

  1. Building an Online Community with WordPress (aka Blogging 101)
  2. Taking my blogging as a job
  3. Use an offline blogging tool (Blogging 201)
  4. Blogging 201 Reconnect with old blogging friends
  5. Blogging about blogging, Twittering about Twitter…

Comments (3)

Chris (@lyteforce)January 30th, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Not entirely related to being a professional blogger, but have you ever thought of monetizing your site? I imagine you’d see the odd coin or two and could easily use that revenue stream on either a personal or professional basis.
Chris (@lyteforce) recently posted..Dine Out Vancouver 2011

RaulJanuary 31st, 2011 at 8:06 am

I have thought about monetizing my site, Chris – but I don’t know if it is a viable idea. Google Adwords and “Tip Jar” type of models aren’t really my style. Given the number of contests I run, sponsored posts and contest administration fees would probably be the ones that would have to pay for the hosting and the time.

Chris (@lyteforce)January 31st, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I don’t know much about monetization (outside of what I have on my site), but I imagine there would be a model of some sort for your site which would at least cover the cost of operating your site itself. Heck, I have enough revenue to cover all my different domain costs, hosting, etc. and still have some left over and I’m positive you have far better numbers than I.

Just a thought though, y’know?
Chris (@lyteforce) recently posted..Dine Out Vancouver 2011

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