NaBlogWriMo

Welcome to November! Home of Fall weather hinting at a really cold upcoming winter, election season, and WAY too much leftover Halloween candy.

Oh, and a little something known as NaNoWriMo. You may have heard of it, if you are a writer. Maybe even if you are in close contact with a writer. (Quick! Wash your hands!)

The Unpronounceable Word

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo stands for “National Novel Writing Month.” The premise is this: to spend the entire month of November writing an entire 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

Most writers will tell you two things about this concept. First, 50k words is not a terribly big book. Second, spending the entire month doing nothing but writing 1,500+ words a day, every day, is not going to leave you a lot of slack for things like proof reading, editing, etc. In short, on November 30, your novel is going to be crap.

But that isn’t the point, really. The whole idea is to spend the month developing and exercising the discipline required to put 50,000 words, one after another, on paper. If you can go through that process (what we writers call word vomit), you can then expand, proof and edit at your leisure. The idea is to get the work out there in the universe in the first place.

NaNOWriMo

Those of you that follow Misdirected are already aware that I had a nightmare of a time during my last attempt at participating in NaNoWriMo. Not only did I fail to produce one novel, but I actually failed to produce two, having switched boats midstream. (Note to other authors: don’t do this.) I worked so hard and failed so miserably that not only did I not have a finished work to show for it on November 30, but I actually crippled my creative process, resulting in a case of writer’s block that lasted well into 2018.

But, the concept behind NaNoWriMo still really appeals to me – the unrelenting discipline of creating something every single day. So, I’ve decided to put my own spin on the process.

Behold: NaBlogWriMo. National Blog Writing Month.

It may be that there is already a month dedicated specifically to blog writing and creation. Frankly, I don’t care. This is my attempt to play with the big kids in something that proved to be WAY above my weight class last year.

A Return To Our Roots

You may remember those bygone days when this blog, Misdirected, was a little less…focused. I talked about games, about writing, about epilepsy…pretty much whatever was on my mind on any given day.

And that was the thing…I put out content every single day, 5 days a week, for almost two years. It took the onset of bariatric surgery to narrow the focus of Misdirected, along with a resulting reduction in content. Misdirected became weekly, then monthly, then completely irregular. Now it has devolved to “whenever I feel like I have something to say pertaining to my narrow but focused audience.” Which, frankly, isn’t very often.

So, for my participation in the “writing in November” project, I am returning Misdirected to a daily feed for November 2018. Five days a week, throughout the month, our readers will be getting content.

The Chaotic Result

Now, the fact remains that I am not going to have 20+ days worth of bariatric/exercise/lifestyle advice to create blog posts around. So, for this month, Misdirected will be returning to its previous format, where I write about pretty much anything that captures my attention on any given day.

This will undoubtedly drive some of you crazy. I know several thousand of you subscribe specifically for bariatric lifestyle articles. To those of you that this applies to, let me apologize in advance, and warn you that you may want to only check in once a week or so during this month. That way, you can cherry pick those articles which seem like they might be relevant to you.

To everyone else, welcome back to the previous, schizophrenic Misdirected, where I released out to the world my thoughts on just about anything on any given day. I can already tell you that there are going to be posts about media, about politics, about writing, and more items that are not going to have much of anything to do with weight loss and maintenance. Which brings me to my last point…

Our Special Guests

During this month-long revision to Misdirected, I will also be bringing aboard a few guest bloggers. They are all writers whose work I admire, who I think have relevant and exciting things to say, and who I think will enhance your life just by sharing a blog post with you. I encourage you to go check out what they are doing outside of the confines of our little community.

At the end of it all, we won’t have produced a 50,000 word novel. But we will have achieved 20+ articles that I believe will be completely worth your while to spend a little time investigating.

Thanks for your continued support of Misdirected! I appreciate every ounce of help we get here, from our Patreon supporters, to our subscribers, to those who drop in with kind and encouraging words every week. I look forward to spending more time than usual with you all during the month of November, and hope that at the end of this experience we all come away with smiles on our faces.

See You Again Tomorrow,

* Jeremy

The Dry Creek Bed of The Revenue Stream

Dry Creek Bed

Let’s draw back the curtain on trying to make a living as a blogger, shall we?

I mean, let’s face facts. The idea that people would actually pay to come to visit a blog is kind of ludicrous, right? There is just so much good, free content out there. Why would anyone actually spring for some money to read a particular blog?

But ads…that’s a whole different thing, right? People put up with ads all day long, in various formats. Billboards. TV and radio commercials. Heck, pop-up and click-bait ads on their favorite social media sites. They are just a fact of life. So, adding them to a blog…well, that isn’t too bad, right? And if a blogger gets just enough followers – maybe this can turn into something that allows them to do nothing but blog all the time!

The Grand (Failed) Experiment

So, once upon a time, I monetized my web page. I hoped to maybe pay some bills and keep the lights on. A secret part of me also hoped to provide a monetary motivation to keep providing content to the blog readers.

A few months back, I received my first disbursement check from Google AdSense. It worked! was my first thought. Here was $112 for writing blog posts. Hooray!

Then, this morning, I received an email from Google AdSense that made me re-evaluate the whole thing.

“Your revenue dropped by 16%.” was the lead on the email. Curious, I opened the email to check the numbers. Turns out I had 5,363 ads shown during last month. Over 5,000! Wow! And this led to a total revenue of…

$4.59.

Yup, no joke. 5,000 ads viewed by my readers turned into less than five dollars in revenue.

Now, AdSense doesn’t give me immediate access to that money. Of course not. Because that would be too easy. I might go buy a latte with it or something. Instead, AdSense makes me wait until I have over $100 in credit “banked” with them before they will release a disbursement.

So, doing a little back-of-the-envelope math, that means my next disbursement will come in…

20 months.

So, yeah, in June of 2020, to celebrate my 50th birthday, I will have another $100 check from AdSense.

Swell.

The Painful Crunch of Numbers

Intrigued, in the “can’t look away from a car accident” sense, I did a little more off the cuff math.

What would it take, I wondered, to come up with a meaningful amount of ad revenue? Obviously bringing in a full-time salary of 50 grand a year or so was astronomically improbable. But, what about, say, enough to get a $100 disbursement every month?

Let’s look at the numbers.

Between subscribers, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, Misdirected has roughly 30,000 followers. I still think this is an amazing number, and I love every single one of you and wish I could buy you all presents.

But, those 30K followers generated about 5,000 ad views last month. Which turned into (rounding up) about $5.00 in revenue. I am making roughly a tenth of a cent for each ad view.

So, if I want $100 in a month, I am going to need 20x more ad views. That is 100,000 ad views every month.

Let that number sink in a minute.

But the numbers get more impressive. In order to get 5,000 ad views, I have to have about 30,000 followers. So…to get 100,000 ad views, I am going to need…

600,000 followers.

Just for context, a Youtube channel with 600,000 followers is making BANK. Like, “doing stupid stunts involving setting cars on fire” kind of money.

Whereas a blogger using Google AdSense with 600,000 followers is apparently almost making enough to pay the light bill.

Frankly, I am not sure there are half a million people on the planet interested in bariatric surgery and epilepsy stories.

The Final Conclusion

Short version: Google Adsense sucks as a revenue stream.

And this is why sites like Patreon have to exist. Again, THANK YOU to my patrons. Without you, Misdirected would not have hosting, backups, name registration…it simply wouldn’t be viable. And now I understand why Patreon allows subscription rates as low as $1 a month. I could make the same amount from 100 Patreon supporters as I could from 600,000 followers being filtered through Google AdSense.

I’ve bought ad time from Google in the past. I guarantee you I did not get anywhere close to 5,000 views of my writing from spending $100.

Somebody somewhere is making bank off these ad rates.

Apparently, it just isn’t the creators of the content where the ads get embedded.

Considering Standing On a Corner With A “Will Blog For Food” Sign,

  • Jeremy

Processing

I would really like to be able to put together a coherent post today. I honestly would.

However, some news came in yesterday that has left me pretty scattered and unfocused. And I would normally talk to you about what was going on. But, while this news impacts me personally, it is not exactly my news. Not my story to tell and all that.

So, rather than make you suffer through 500+ words of oblique language and non-specific references, I think I will just give Misdirected the day off instead.

We’ll catch you all again on Thursday, when my head is screwed back on straight. Thanks for understanding. Go spend some time doing something nice for yourself as a reward.

Jeremy

How To (Not) Write A Successful Blog

Photo Credit: Adam Mulligan via Compfight cc

As someone who writes a blog, I tend to read a lot of other blogs. It perpetually amazes me how many blogs are not about people’s lives, thoughts, or experiences. No, the great majority of the blogs out there right now are focused on…wait for it…telling other people how to write a blog.

I’ve looked over many of these other sites, and have come away with two potential conclusions. Either I don’t have the slightest idea what I am doing, or everyone else in the blogosphere is out of their minds. See, the most successful writers out there are making suggestions on using their platform to make money by telling people how to create a blog that will tell other people how to make money writing articles talking about using your blog to make money.

Go ahead and read that sentence a couple times, if you need to. Essentially, it works out to being a pyramid scheme at worst, or a distributor/representative kind of relationship at best. The product being sold is nothing more than the idea that you can be successful selling the idea. It spins the head right around, but that is not preventing people from shelling out money to buy guides on how to achieve success.

Why, on Earth, am I tackling this subject? I’ve finally gotten one too many emails from supposedly well-meaning souls who claim they have read Misdirected and want to sell me their special guide (for anywhere from $.99 all the way to $49.99) telling me how to fix it. Curious, I have gone in search of some of this information for free, and I have learned I am making the following mistakes:

“Misdirected comes out too regularly.” Apparently, I should be “reserving” my content for publication only one day a week. I should write down post ideas as they come up, but not share them immediately. I should spend the rest of the week after writing my one article out on social media, promoting my special single article for that week.

“Misdirected articles should be in a bulleted or numbered list.” Called “listicles”, I have written a few of these for other blogs and websites. Not sure how that would translate here: “5 Things That Lead To Obesity” or “3 Ways to Not Fall Off The Roof of Your House”, perhaps?

“Misdirected should contain a lesson and end in a challenge.” Hmm. How about “Overeating leads to obesity. Now put down this blog and head to the gym!” Is that about right?

Seriously, now, folks. I write Misdirected more as a journal than an advertisement. It is a conversation I have 4 days out of every 7, with about a thousand people a month. I included AdWords support a few months back, yes, but that is probably about as far as I want monetization to go. I have no desire to start heavily promoting the blog – what would I say? “Obese person records his life! Film at 11!”

Thanks to everyone who is reading Misdirected due to their interest in the journey Lor and I are taking through Bariatric Surgery. I have no intention of embracing the “fix your blog” advice I get on a daily basis, but if you want to write your own blog, feel free to use the tips above to drive your creation to many thousands of hits a day.

You know, no charge.

Monday Is Liquid Diet Day,

– Hawkwind