I’ve been a member of Digital Journal, a “citizen journalist” site, for several years. I even wrote for them, way back when, and made a reasonable amount of pin-money for the effort involved. I finally dropped out of this income booster because I’d completely burned out on writing nonfiction, especially the kind that had specific requirements. I’d convinced myself, over the years, that I was too unimaginative to write fiction, and since I was so good at nonfiction, I should stick with what I did best.
But my inner novelist was always yearning to get out, and in 2009, I hopped onto the NaNoWriMo train. What I let loose was a whirlwind that hasn’t slowed down yet. But finding success as a writer of niche fiction is a slow process, and the cost of living keeps going up. So I’m back at the nonfiction grindstone at Digital Journal.
Why Digital Journal? It’s at the top of the heap for pay per view writing, though that isn’t exactly how it works. Instead, views and comments establish your share of the advertising dollar, and the dollars are good enough for some writers to have been there for years. The site is also widely known and is a good way to get your name out without having to beat the “buy my books” drum.
I’ll be publishing my first article today or tomorrow, and since the subject was listed as one that the owners want covered, it’s likely to get a lot of hits. And that subject is . . . Fifty Shades of Grey. Yes, I actually said it. I’ve never read the damned thing and never will, but DJ just wants a report on its popularity. That I can do. And in the doing, I’ve figured out how to lessen the pain of researching and writing news articles, so that maybe I can actually stick with the journalist side of me.
My secret is: do it a little bit at a time, over a couple of days, at least. This one does have a deadline, but a generous one, so I haven’t had to push myself. First, come up with a bunch of talking points. In this case, reasons for the book’s success. Next, hit the Google and dump a bunch of URLs. Pick out relevant and interesting quotes from the sources. Comment on them. Fill out, organize, proof read — and done.
By the way, I don’t really consider writing for DJ selling out. It’s a legitimate news site that has room for a variety of approaches. I’ll probably be writing mostly op-ed, but when an inspiring topic comes along, I’ll put on the journalist hat. I’m not an on-the-scene person, so my news articles will be the more typical rehashes that bring together a bunch of sources. DJ’s success is based primarily on making it easy for readers to keep up with world news without having to hunt through a lot of sites. The quality isn’t always the greatest because DJ staff keeps a hands-off attitude, for the most part. And a lot of the writers are from non-English speaking countries. But it’s a site that really has a lot to offer for nonfiction writers.