Friday, March 19, 2010

Writing for Residuals: It's a Marathon, not a Sprint

I'm sure there are a number of people online who could refine SEO research down to the finest of sciences. I'm not one of those people. Yes, I have learned what separates good SEO keywording from the bad, but I have yet to pinpoint a formula for making thousands, or even hundreds of dollars in the short term, off of one article.What I do know, is how to keep it real, kind of like J-Lo (just kidding).

But in all seriousness, I will tell anyone who is listening that online writing CAN contribute significantly to a monthly income and it has the POTENTIAL to turn into a full-time job. Will most people be able to quit their day jobs and just write for residuals though? I'm afraid the answer to that question is, not anytime soon.

Making a Full-Time Living from Writing Residuals

Those who wish to live off of residuals need to start writing now and commit to the long haul to build their monthly residual streams. For most people, it could take years of dedicated writing before they are making enough from residuals to quit a full-time job. That said, it IS possible, and can become a reality by following some key steps.
  • Diversify: There are many sites that pay residuals for articles. Some are better than others and each has its own method of assessing performance and payment. As a writer, I think it is important to experiment with each of these online platforms to see which ones work best for you. Writing for a number of sites is also like writer's insurance. For instance, if a website goes out of business, a writer can take articles from that site and publish them at one of the other sites he or she writes for. During that time, the writer will still be earning residuals from all of the sites he or she has written for. Some sites that pay residuals include Suite101, eHow, Associated Content, Bukisa and Triond.
  • Prioritize: By writing for a number of sites, you will quickly learn which ones provide the largest return for your writing time. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the majority your writing time should then be dedicated to those higher-paying sites. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't continue to write for other sites, but just that you should focus the majority of your writing at the more successful sites.
  • Learn SEO Research: Read up and learn about SEO research strategies. It really does help to drive traffic and increase residuals. There are a number of wonderful online resources and learning hubs provide some excellent tutorials for beginners. Absorb all of the information and apply it as often as possible.
  • Write: This should be the most obvious tip, but many people just write four or five articles and expect to see residuals streaming in. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. Instead of worrying about daily stats and earning trends, just keep writing. I always think of a twist on the Nike slogan, "Just Write It". Believe me, writing every day is the best way to create residual wealth.
  • Endure: Luckily, I have run some distance races in my time, otherwise I would really struggle with residual writing. Online SEO writing is much like a marathon. It is all about incremental steps toward a far-off goal, and it requires fortitude. It is so easy to quit at any point along the course, but anyone can reach their goals with commitment and persistence.
  • Plan: Financially successful writers treat their writing as a business. They set work hours and quotas to help them progress toward their goals. One of the best ways to stay productive as a writer is to create a long list of possible articles and post it next to the computer. A list like this allows writers to progress from one article to the next without sitting and pondering the next writing topic. Writers should also set a weekly or monthly article quota for each site they write for. Writers should also set long-term goals. Perhaps they could write a series of online articles that could later be put together to create a book. Each writer will have his or her own goals, but it is important to have an idea of where you are going so that you can create the path to get there.
  • Scale Back: To make a living from writing, many people will have to scale back their finances. This might not require huge changes. It could be something as simple as giving up Starbuck's or renting movies instead of going to the theater. For others, this might require moving to a less-expensive house or even town. I'm lucky as I live in an area with a low cost of living, but I've even found ways of cutting costs here and there. I'm trying to make more food from scratch instead of eating out. I'm also living on a clear budget that helps me keep close track of my finances. If you need help creating a budget, there are a number of budget calculators online that can help you determine your monthly financial needs.
Keep Plodding Toward Financial Success as a Writer

Bottom line, writing is not for anyone looking for a get rich quick scheme. It takes a long time to create revenue streams large enough to equal a full-time job. That said, it is possible to build wealth over a long period of time with focused dedication and endurance. Remember that you are running a marathon and you have to run it to the very last mile to see the benefits. Stay dedicated and keep the faith. You will reap the rewards in the end.


  1. Great post, and so much sense about the necessity of treating writing as a business!

  2. Thanks Rosemary!

    Many days I have to remind myself of the importance of sticking to my business plan, as I run two businesses and it's difficult to divide my time. Speaking of which, I'd better get back to my other job. ha ha. Thanks for reading!


  3. You make a lot of sense here and here's to making a lot of cents!

  4. Peg,

    That gave me a chuckle. You're quite witty. Here's to both of us making a lot of cents!

  5. Wow. Very well said and absolutely true!

  6. This is a great post and very encouraging to us online writers! Thanks for the inspiration!