You don’t have to be starving to be an artist.

November 7, 2011

Last month I got paid. Really paid. For my writing, for the work I did on here. It wasn’t just “WOOT – 2 Starbucks runs!” anymore, and it felt DAMN GOOD.

I’m not bragging – I understand it’s peanuts compared to many other bloggers. I’m being honest about something that has eaten away at me that I finally came to terms with for what I love to do.

When I started blogging, it was because I wanted to write about my day. I didn’t care about HTML or my design, I had no idea that typing each paragraph in a different colored font was not the best way to have people come back. But as time went on, I became more and more blog savvy, and I began to love the other part of blogging. The part beyond just writing.

I remember posting last year about wanting to be paid for the work I did. Because slowly, this has turned into a part time job. I wanted to be paid not so I could be like, “PORCHE-WHAAAAT?” to all my friends (because let’s face it, I’m no where near even “FORD PROBE WHAAAAT”), but so I could justify the time I spent on this little space of mine.

I struggled with the concept of being paid through sponsored posts, ads, giveaways, etc because in my head – this was bad. This was something people did who were just looking to make money off a blog and didn’t care about pouring their heart out or quality. I felt like if you were a writer, you did it solely for the love of writing and NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT SATAN’S SNARE MONEY. You lived in a hovel with rabid dogs and wrote till your fingers froze off or you starved to death – and you loved it.

Because how you could tell people you wanted to throw your husband off a cliff and needed to see a shrink and then the next day run a giveaway for thongs? I didn’t understand how that could work. It would ruin my blog. At least, that’s what I thought would happen if I played with the “blogging for money” fire. So I backed off.

After BlogHer this year, I had a huge realization.

People?

It’s ok to be paid for what you love to do. 

I have come to see, both through blogging and working on a book, that if you love something and you want to be paid for it – that’s great! And if you love it and just want to do it for yourself, that’s great too!

I love to cook. A lot. But I would never, ever pursue it like I have this. I don’t care one whit if I’m ever paid or recognized in any way for my food. I love it because it gives me great pleasure and allows me to be creative in a different, much needed way in my life.

But writing? Writing is my passion. I want to be recognized in some way for what I pour my heart and soul into every day. I want to be paid for something that I set time aside for and work very, very hard at. I want to be paid so I can continue to do it without the guilt of “What am I spending time on here for?” That’s just me, I am not good at activities that don’t produce some sort of an outcome.

Blogging is a bit different than a lot of other writing or work in general because it requires a ton of self-pimpage. (You like that? Just made that one up.) It requires you to sell yourself, to push your own work, to toot your own horn. It requires a public show of ads, networking, and business that every one can see you do. This can be uncomfortable, and it can easily be taken the wrong way by other people. But that’s the deal with blogging, that’s what it takes. Once you realize that, you have to be ok with it.

You have to be ok with failing publicly, succeeding publicly, and the mess and joy in between.

So being paid last month? Was a big deal for me. As I looked at my PayPal account, I felt this surge of pride that came with nearly 2 years of pouring my heart into this. I love my blog. I love my readers. I love what I do on here; from admitting my faults, to poking fun at things, to emotionally dry heaving,  to pitching you all a product or company I’ve come to love – knowing you’ll love it too.

It’s ok to write for the love of it. It’s ok to write for money. And it’s ok to write for both.

And if that’s what you want to do, then by golly, quit starving and get your self-pimpage on.

16 Comments

  • Rebecca

    November 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Go on wit cha bad self!

    I’m continually impressed by how you are moving this blog forward into Porche territory while remaining lovable, approachable and genuine. You are an inspiration 🙂

  • Autumn

    November 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I love that you wrote this! It IS ok to make money at what you love. I go through the same things with my portrait photography “from home” business. It is so hard to “toot your own horn” as you put it. It takes alot of guts and confidence and I am proud of you!

  • molly

    November 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I love this, Diana. I had the same realization at BlogHer. It’s dumb that it took me so long to realize that I wanted to be a writer and actually be paid for it. I have a journalism degree so at some point I knew that. But ten years later my career is NOT being a writer.

    My blog, however, is my writing outlet. But now, it’s more. I’m not close to a Ford Probe. I’m not even close to a bicycle or roller blades. But I’m getting there. Gaining exposure through some writing gigs OFF of my blog is job one for me. Especially since I just can’t seem to get my readership up lately. I think I’m a debbie downer blogger and most people just don’t like that.

    But I do appreciate it and feel so good about myself when I get paid to write something. It’s an amazing feeling.

    Hope your book writing is going well 🙂

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife

    November 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Well said! I really need to get better at self-pimpage. (If we use it enough it’ll catch on!)

  • Cynthia M

    November 7, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    I think it’s great that you’re getting paid for what you love. I’m glad you posted this because, as a new blogger myself, I’ve been struggling with these same feelings. It’s not my nature to be forward, so self-pimpage isn’t coming easily for me either.

    1. Diana

      November 7, 2011 at 9:45 pm

      It’s hard to be the only one out there singing your own praises – it’s not an easy thing to accept doing. But I’ve learned that as much as people might love your blog, you have to do the work to make it grow.

      And don’t give up! It’s taken me 2 years to even get paid a little bit, so just keep going.

  • Kim

    November 7, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Self pimpage!! That’s one of your greatest lines ever. Write on, lady!

  • Crystal

    November 7, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Hey you…I’ve been AWOL for awhile. I hope you are doing good!! I would love to get paid to blog. What steps did you take? Any advice or strategy?? I struggle with the ads and giveaways…because I also think it would “ruin” my blog (although, I’ve neglected it quite a lot with hubby deployed!!) If you care to share some insight…I would appreciate it!

    1. Diana

      November 7, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      Hey!! I have missed you. I need to catch up on things with you – you’re halfway through right?

      I just kept at it with blogging. I don’t make a ton, I don’t make enough to live on by any means. But the best thing someone ever told me was to act like it was a job. Every day. No matter what. And for the past few months, I’ve started to take it seriously. And things began to happen.

      Anyway, email me so we can chat more!

  • Anne-Marie

    November 7, 2011 at 10:18 am

    You know what else is awesome? Being a role model for your daughter who is not afraid to say “Writing? Yeah, I’m good at it. I get paid for it because I’m good at it and worked to get that out there.” Because there’s an undercurrent in your post that reminds me of something that’s more common in women: “oh, this just happened, it’s not me!” You have to own the awesome. You worked hard, sure, but you are also damn good at writing a blog. Say it! “I am awesome.” In fact… go ahead and wear one of these around, so everyone knows that you know that you are “Full of Awesome”: http://www.pigtailpals.com/fullofawesome.html

    1. Samantha

      November 7, 2011 at 10:34 am

      Amen and Amen. Couldn’t have said it better. I know it’s hard to say, “Look at what I did – I’m really great at this!” Especially as a woman, because we’re not supposed to do that. But you are good, so don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back in between pouring out your heart on here. We love you.

    2. Diana

      November 7, 2011 at 9:41 pm

      I love you. Please comment forever. 🙂

      In all truth, there is the hesitation behind there. For many reasons. Mostly because if I were to put that, someone on here would read and say/think, “I don’t make money and I write – does that mean I’m not a good writer?” And I don’t want to give that impression because it’s not true, but I also don’t want people mad at me.

      *sigh*

  • Samantha

    November 7, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I don’t know which I laughed harder at, rabid dogs or Porche-WHAAT?

    Yes and yes. Blogging is such a different form of writing, but it’s good.

  • I’m PR Lazy — The Martha Project

    November 7, 2011 at 9:35 am

    […] read this post and it sort of struck me. I’m really bad at making money. I thought of the few offers that I have […]

  • Amber

    November 7, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I struggle with the self-pimpage, so thank you for this post.

    I, too, love writing. Yet, for whatever reason it wasn’t until recently that I even TOLD people that I had a blog. Same with even trying to get paid for my writing.

    I’m slowly getting to the point of “it’s ok to get paid for what I love to do”. Thanks for the encouragement to get there a little quicker. 🙂

    1. Diana

      November 7, 2011 at 9:39 pm

      Welcome – I got encouraged from so many amazing bloggers out there. It’s still something I struggle with but it’s getting easier to do. I love what I do on here so why not make it also something that pays me to do it?

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