As all of my readers know, I love the idea of making money with my internet writing. I've been a professional writer for over 20 years and that is what I do. I also love helping other internet writers make money with their internet writing. It is my way of "giving back" to those who helped me get where I am today. However, there are certain causes and issues that are close to my heart. As a "niche-less gut writer," I write about those causes and issues. I make money off the internet article I write about them.
"How do you justify taking advantage and exploiting of the victims of the Westboro Baptist Church by writing about them and making money off them?" an email I received recently asked.
Excellent question. I am writing about their horrible encounters with the Westboro Baptist Church. I am making money off those encounters. How can I justify that? It is a fine line that internet writers (and all writers) walk. The purpose of writing is to educate, inform and entertain. And, of course, to make money - for those of us who write professionally.
That question has made me pause and consider my true motives for writing about the Westboro Baptist Church as well as other issues and causes that make up my writing portfolio. Is making money off the pain and suffering of others my main objective when I write about the causes and issues I feel strongly about? If it isn't my main objective, how heavily does the money weigh in my decision to write about them? Thankfully, I didn't have to ponder those questions too long. I know my heart and I know my motives.
Truth be told, I made a huge mistake in writing about the Westboro Baptist Church. I never really considered the money I would be making. I got mad. I thought about what they were doing and I got even madder. My anger at those "failed humans" completely overrode the business side of my brain. I knew I would page views. I knew that people would be reading my articles, but that is where it ended. I wanted the truth to be told and so I wrote.
I am going to continue to make mistakes when I write about the Westboro Baptist Church. I'm going with my gut and with my heart. I won't go back and tweak the keywords which is what a good internet writer would do. Whatever travels from my brain down through my arms and fingers onto the screen is what will be published.
That, too, is a fine line I must walk. I know that when I write straight from the heart that is shows on the screen (or page) and there is nothing I can do about that. Those "straight from the heart articles" usually do better than my others. I call that "accidental and unintentional money."
I suppose I could stop writing about things I feel passionately about to maintain some sense of integrity as a writer. If I did that, I would no longer write about politics, animals, my family, the elderly, my faith...The list would be never ending. I would become a "fluff writer" without any substance. That is when I feel I would lose all sense of integrity as a writer. I make no apologies for writing about those topics. Whether money is made off those internet articles is not the reason I write about them. I write about them because I'd go (even more) insane if I didn't.
This blog has been about making money as an internet writer. I am also ashamed to say that. Not once have I addressed the emotional side of writing. It has been all about writing for money. I truly apologize for that. I have left out the real reason that real writers write. That real reason is because we have a thought or a feeling we can't get out until we put it into words.
Despite the fine line between writing from the heart and making money off those causes and issues, that is what we must do as internet writers. Writing fluff is fine; there are reasons to write internet articles like that. Writing those heartfelt internet articles and making money off of them is also fine. We must each find our own moral compass and go where it leads.