I have always been a creative person. Since I could talk, I would tell stories. Since I could draw, I would use my drawings to tell my stories. Then, when I learned to write, I would start to write my stories down.
As an adolescent, sold a story to my school’s newspaper for five dollars, and discovered that I could actually make money from my writing. At that point, it became my goal to make my living as a writer, or in some other creative way. So I started researching how to sell my stories. Since this was the late seventies and eighties, that meant mailing stories to magazines, and stacking up rejection letters. A very time-consuming and (for a teenager) somewhat expensive process.
The advent of the internet eliminated the extra expense of submitting stories, as well as shortened the time span for rejection considerably. It also opened up new markets. As the internet and technology itself expanded, so did markets and opportunities. Now, at fifty years old, I find myself on the verge of (finally) making my living from my creative endeavors and I’m here to share some of those opportunities with you. Bear in mind that this is by no means a complete list, but just some places to get you started.
First is writing. Yes, there are any number of websites out there ready to tell you how to blog for money. And yes, that is possible, but the vast majority of bloggers do so for fun, simply for the joy of sharing their thoughts with others. A much more common way to make money is to sell your writing directly. I, for example, have been supplementing my income for almost five years by writing articles for Worldstart.
There’s also http://www.upwork.com, where you can find freelance jobs, paid by the job or by the hour, for everything from writing and proofreading to web and graphic design.
Not to mention sites like http://www.cracked.com, the online version of the humor magazine Cracked, where you can let your love of the funny and zany out to play. You can also publish your short stories and novels to the online marketplaces of Barnes and Noble (www.bn.com) and Amazon (www.amazon.com).
Another neat marketplace offered by Amazon for those of us who enjoy performing is the Audiobook Creation Exchange (www.acx.com). Here you can create original audio content or search for authors looking for people to produce their works as audiobooks, for which they will pay you a fixed amount per finished hour, or allow you share in the author’s royalties.
Two great resources for the artists among us are Cafepress (www.cafepress.com) which allows you to create an online store to sell your work as T-shirts and mugs among other things, and Etsy (www.etsy.com), which will allow you to sell just about anything that you can create. For instance, on Etsy, a friend of mine found a wedding present for her geek son and his fiancee, who has a tattoo of Hello Kitty as Lt. Uhura. It was a Star Trek clock, featuring small models of different ships from the Star Trek universe as numbers.
For the musically talented, there are sites like http://www.bandcore.com, which will sell your music through distributors like Itunes and Amazon for a flat fee per month, allowing you to keep 100% of the proceeds, and http://www.bandzoogle.com, which allows you to sell your music and concert tickets through your own online store.
So following your bliss in the 21st century is easier than it’s ever been. So get out there and be creative!
~ Randal Schaffer