Thoughts on Selling My Words

I am now blogging for pay on two websites. That’s something I never expected I might do. Blogging has been a hobby and a means for learning about myself. Sometimes I find out what I really think only after I start writing it down.

If you write for pay, you have to reckon with the fact that you are giving up your rights to the words you put together. Those words have been sold and title to them has passed from you to a new owner, just like selling a used car. I tried to negotiate a deal where I could keep the rights, but that simply is not the way the world works in most cases. After thinking about it, I decided that the potential good I could do meant more to me than retaining ownership rights. The extra money could be used to travel to conferences, which are hard to afford on a fixed income. I also realized that I could be selective about what I chose to sell.

I am writing different kinds of pieces for the two sites. One wants only survivorship-type topics from me: how to deal with scanxiety, how to share news with your family, why patients celebrate treatment anniversaries, and the like. I am an inveterate giver of advice, and these types of topics are a great place for me to let that side of me out of its box. The other site has few limits on what I choose to write about, and so far I have been writing more journalistic pieces for them, such as interviews and reports on my experiences as an advocate.

That leaves a lot to write about for free. My deeper thoughts and speculations, my knitting and spinning projects, stuff that has nothing to do with lung cancer, all those subjects are available for this blog when I find the time and discipline to write them. I wrote about lobbying Congress for pay, but I saved the story of walking into a random Metro car and seeing my daughter there, with an empty seat beside her, for this blog. I wrote only one post for pay that I now regret selling. It was my first paid post, and I have been more careful since. Someday I will find a way to rewrite that post and I will publish it for free.

It will still be a wee thrill when I do my income taxes next year and create a new schedule C for myself, choosing business code 711510 - Independent artists, writers, & performers. I have become a writer. That’s work I never thought I would do for anyone but myself. 


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