I was recently reminded of my treacherous journey starting as a writer, and in this story issue, I’m going to talk a bit more in detail about my experience, which I prefer to call an adventure.
As funny as it may sound, back in 2021, I accidentally became an expert in failing to find a good and profitable market for my writing, as I was (still am) writing from a country where writers don’t get the recognition they deserve unless they’re a journalist, already a form of celebrity, or they’re known for things other than writing.
Some could say my choice to devote myself to the craft of writing for three years (I actually started in 2019 btw) prior to venturing into the business of writing was a mistake. Well, I disagree, and here’s why:
I wanted to be a writer of books first and foremost. If I didn’t give my passion for writing fictional, full-length works the time and attention it deserved, I would have been wondering to this day if it was even for me and would have ended up with regrets (which I hate), and so, I gave it my all.
Then, as the COVID pandemic became more and more something we were going to live with, life started getting back to a new normal.
In the new work-from-home economy, writers and editors naturally seemed to be the people who could by any means succeed, so I gave it a try. Again, no regrets there. But before this was even possible, my geographical location was always the highest hoop for me to jump through when it came to the financial aspect of writing/working online.
Who could have thought that in the 2020s, people from the DRC couldn’t still get paid online like everybody else due to inadequate financial laws and technologies (FinTech) in place?
I, for one, didn’t. And I was constantly hurt when I saw great publishing opportunities in the market pass me by simply because I couldn’t get paid via PayPal, which at the time I could use only to make payments, but now it’s even been banned.
Because of that, I even wanted to become a digital nomad and travel where this part of the business is much easier, but that came with a set of disappointments (which I shared in an older issue with my newsletter subscribers) that set me back to trying to make it from home.
I remember when I made my first $40 on the internet; I had to ask my brother who lives in another country to receive the payment on my behalf and send it to me. Minus the processing fee at the money transfer agency, came $35 in my hands. I swore I would never have myself go through that again just to get paid.
As of now, I have literally tried anything one can think of (i.e. submitting my creative works to publications, pitching my services on Upwork, Etsy left the group chat, doing free portfolio work, you name it) and I’m not even through with my list of moves-yet-to-be-made.
Surely, the world around me is changing, but not fast enough for you to hear my big writing success story (yet). I still have some legwork to do and I’ll be sharing everything I can, hoping that some of you find your holy grail (or the hill you’re willing to die on) like I have.
I’m happy with my experience and ability to experiment with new things, but now, I’m more focused on finishing what I have started and building something more stable for myself as an entrepreneur.
Everything I have now, I owe it to that initial spark that caused me to pursue writing as it opened me up to things, ideas, and even encounters that have added more joy to my experience.
My days of publishing on Substack, wishing my world was easier, are gone, and here come the days of me having options to choose from based on what makes me happy as I tap into my full potential and improve from it. This brings me to why I’ve ditched the platforms with an existing audience to create my own website to share my work.
It’s all about ownership. This is something I learned from a speech by Tyler Perry, and it never left me. I love having ownership of my work and through it having people attach its successes (or failures) to me.
As long as someone out there knows about me, even if I’m not yet “big” that means I have a responsibility toward them and myself. It keeps me accountable, which keeps me challenged, which keeps me creative and I find myself iterating what I do and copying less of what others are doing.
Is it worth it?
Time will tell.
And this is where I leave you, for now.
With a smile,
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Have a great day!
Priscille B. Fatuma is a content creator, writer, editor, and marketer. She specializes in B2B content marketing with a focus on topics related to publishing, health/wellness, and digital marketing. She can be found musing on Twitter @PriscyFat, and making sense on LinkedIn at https://linkedin.com/in/priscille-b-fatuma