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What Writers Must Do To ‘Go Pro’ And Create More Values

What Writers Must Do To ‘Go Pro’ And Create More Values

In early 2011, I discovered a damn fine resource website African writers looked up to and drew inspiration from.

If you wanted reliable information on the latest essay competitions, writing workshops, writers’ residencies and freelance writing gigs, it was the go-to website. It published many times daily, everyday.

It announced the job opening for a freelance writer at the now-rested I applied for it and landed what was soon to become my most lucrative and fulfilling source of freelance writing income ever.

A year later, it announced the 2012 Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPMN) Essay Competition. I consumed the guidelines and scribbled an entry that was to facilitate my most rewarding national essay contest win ever.

If you’d guessed I’m talking about Writers Afrika, you’re right.

An awesomely resourceful website, it was. But some things essentially worked against it and brought about its decline, in my view.

It has a big “donate” button above its header, but I do not believe Africans are generous donors. Sometime in 2013, it released a report on 500 high-paying publications for freelance writers and requested each of its readers to donate $6 to its cause to get the report.

It announced few weeks later that less than 20 readers had donated to get the report. Sad!

Many times in 2013, it went for weeks without publishing a thing and bounced back to say its volunteers needed the break to have more time for their own freelance writing gigs (which of course must be paying the bills).

And again, in August 2013, it went into hibernation and, sadly, is still so now that I’m hitting the “publish” button.

Create more values

Photo Credit: jDevaun via Compfight cc

Here was a fine resource site, with a robust social media presence, touching lives and spreading literary virtues … and still went defunct, not because some black-faced hackers hijacked it and not because a court ruling ordered its closure but because, in my opinion, it failed to properly monetize – something that’s indispensable to its sustainability.

Two sayings that enslave writers

Money is the root of all evils.

Money corrupts art.

For a long time, those sayings made sense to me and dominated my life and creative pursuits. Until one day when I saw them for the lies they are.

If money is the root of all evils, is everything that comes from money evil too? [Tweet that]

Certainly no!

It’s irrelevant here whether money begets all evils. What matters to me is that money also begets very good things and I can use it for just that.

Again, if money corrupts art, is art sustainable without money? [Tweet that]

No way!

If art only brings expenditures and not income, the inevitability of earning a living and cutting burdening expenses ultimately would usher in the demise of art.

Come to think of it: the proponents of these sayings are either greedy businessmen or workers employed to do some boring jobs they don’t get joy from. They insist money is the root of all evils, but they don’t seem to mind getting paid for their work or business. In fact, they expect to.

Yet, they want you to offer yours for free.

Here’s what you must start doing and why

If you’re a writer or a blogger, you have every right to consciously charge for some of your services, as long as you provide quality and employ no deceit.

Doing that is not only fine but also essential. Rather than feel guilty about it, you should get armed with the conviction that it’s important you do so for at least three reasons.

First, doing so changes your mindset so that you go from being an amateur to being a pro. It makes you intentional about doing quality work and being regular, as people won’t pay for your services if you don’t.

Second, monetizing your writing and blog positively impacts the world: you’re able to support your family, share with those in need and even expand the reach of your generous impacts.

That’s the reason I’ve been able to award prizes worth over N450,000 to the winners of my 2014 Essay Competition, and help thousands others find their voice and confidence.

Third, it makes your hobby sustainable. If you don’t charge for it, you won’t be writing or blogging for long, however you love it. Aside that it won’t pay the bills, it will also be a major part of your expenses. It may even become a real financial burden.

For instance, as at October 2014, I pay about N1,500 monthly (though I pay annually) to my web hosting company, N25,000 monthly to my email newsletter provider, N2,000 monthly to the online service I use to track essay contest information, and over N8,000 monthly for my Internet subscription.

With these expenses, and the necessity of making a living, if I don’t charge for some of the great values I give, I won’t be able to give them for long.

So, if your dream is to be a writer or a blogger, be deliberate about making a living from it.

And if you need help on how to do that, check out my Pen Money Masterclass which launches tomorrow, November 10, 2014.

So what questions do you have about making money from your hobby? Leave a comment below, I’m here to help.

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-- Dr. Mahfouz A. Adedimeji | Fulbright scholar | Senior Lecturer, Unilorin | newspaper columnist

About Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin

Writer. Difference Maker. Entrepreneur. Author, Your Right To Write & Vertical Writing. Winner, 11 Writing Prizes.


  1. nelly valentino says:

    I’m practically a good writer….it’s inborn.However my dream of writing started to fade when i met people i thought could help #wrong people#. i also fell victim of bloggers who were out to make money or should i say exploit others. Now, I think you’re starting to inspire me but the question is how do i monetize these skill via blogging cos i really love writing. I will be glad if u can help.Thanks!

    • Nelly,

      Glad to know you’re finding my works helpful. What I would recommend is that, if you’ve not done so, you download my new book, How To Make N100,000 Monthly From Your Writing & Blog Here In Nigeria, at the top of this page, and try some of the monetization techniques in it.

      Or if you have a little budget, join my Pen Money Masterclass through the link at the end of this post.

  2. Nice one Brother

  3. Abdulhafiz Akinde says:

    …and do not forget to charge friends and family too because business only thrives when they pay for service rendered.

  4. Very good points. Goodbye to the old days when writers are known to be paupers. Now, writers (especially like Abdullahi….lol) are making real fat money. Kudos!

  5. Inspirational!

  6. Nice one bro, I’ve been following you since I got your link from a sponsored post on FB. And I must confess, I’ve been inspired so far. I’m actually an entertainment blogger and the most difficult challenge I’m experiencing now (which is well-known all over social platform) are the junky news, gossips (tantamount to pple’s character), explicit contents overriding the positive and dynamic stuffs I do. Entertainment blogging is really on the abusive end in this part of the country as a result detrimental to the survival of real/quality contents. Perhaps you should enlighten me on the possibility of breaking out of this norm of misconception.

    • Wole, thanks so much for your nice words.

      I can feel your concern. I had it too when I was to start monetizing my website and I found that the web is filled with trolls fleecing people with worthless ebooks and crappy reports. I was afraid of becoming like them, or even being mistaken for one of them.

      What I did was to gradually establish a reputation for providing quality stuffs for free. Trust followed. In the online space, trust is critical. Lose it and lose out.

      But it takes time to build it. So be persistent. Don’t join them as you might never beat them. And avoid blackmailing them because they would fire back (and you know they’re in the majority).

      Just do your quality stuffs and let your audience perceive it. With time, your work would speak for you.

  7. Hmm! Thank you Abdullah

  8. Olaolu Oriowo says:

    “Money is the root of all evils.”-wrong
    Great post.Thumbs up!

  9. Great post, love your writings. How do i monetize my blog

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