Joel's most recent projects include Burning Man 2017, Colorado Hemp Expo, Denver Paper Fashion Shows, Arise Music Festival and more.
It is my belief that it is the duty of seniors everywhere to share from their treasure chest of wisdom, education, tears, and joys for our future generations. From preserving the lost arts, how-to education, and historical events, to sharing their precious moments of life. Senior writing comes best from life’s experiences both good and bad, happy and sad. It is also my belief that old people, like me, can and should also be paid to share their work.
I personally do not consider myself a polished writer, but just as I have self-discovered, even I can write and get paid to do it. Albeit, I don’t make a whole lot of money, but I do, over time, get compensated very well.
For me, my most lucrative piece of writing was a how-to article describing how to get a piece of plywood cut at Home Depot. To date, that simple article has been read over 150,000 times from readers all around the world and has netted me close to $700 for an article that took me three days to write and publish. Even my worst published writing has netted (over the course of three years) about 50 dollars. But on the other hand, if the money is not your primary motivator, but rather a bonus, then this article is right for you. Besides that, as far as the money goes, I enjoy that bonus every month. I call it my fun money.
Now, with all that being said, let's take a look at the basics of how your writing actually can make money, and then we will jump into the fun stuff like what and how to begin writing articles for publication.
Don't Complicate Simple Words
There are no rules, just write." -JD
Show Me the Money!
I like to use a free writing service called HubPages to help publish and market my works. (This article was written using it). The learning curve is simple and the support from the HubPages staff coupled with interaction of other writers is phenomenal. I have been using the HubPages platform for over five years and have found that it continually improves each year. They also make the how-to monetize your writings in an easy to understand approach and have plenty of free tools, tutorials, and tracking reports to help get you started and be successful.
This is from HubPages itself explaining in simple terms an overview of their monetization program:
"The HubPages Earnings Program provides a way for HubPages to pay you directly for the Ad and Amazon Program earnings, and other things like contest prize winnings. Once you hit the minimum earnings ($50) in the HubPages Earnings Program, you will get paid by HubPages directly.
Overtime, this can add up pretty quickly and continues year after year for as long as you want. The key is readership. The more traffic that comes your way, the more you make.
Here is a screenshot showing you one of my tracking reports to give you a better idea.
As you can see above on a segment of my HubPages account statistics, you can review, edit, and sort your readership information.
Here is an actual screenshot that shows you the monetized results.
Snapshot of Some Money I Make Writing on HubPages
So there you have just one way to make a little bit of money with your writing. Even if you choose to take a break and decide not write for a bit, your already published articles will continue to make a residual income month after month and year after year without doing anything else. (Although, it's a good idea to update your writing to keep it fresh.)
Another trusted and writer-friendly platform that generally works the same way as HubPages is eHow.com. This site is designed to be a great starting point.
And Now the Real Fun—Writing!
To get jump-started, below is what I call, my "fab five." There are, of course, more than the Fab Five, but these are the ones I gravitate too depending on my current interest.. Your list might become different as you try different approaches, and you will certainly discover more!
My"Fab Five" Writing Categories
- The Message: Think of a message or moral you would like to share. It can be in the form of a moral, a nugget of wisdom, and even “a warning”. What makes you angry? What would you like to see change? Explain why. What message, if shared, could make a difference to our children's children?
- The Legacy: Your words can go on forever and impact lives far beyond your presence on this earth. The art of your legacy. What parenting skills did you demonstrate that your kids pass on to their own kids? How has, what you have learned through your many years of practice, hardships, and problem solving experiences is good for generation after generation? Write a list of your first hand experiences that others may not know about but would, if they knew about them, be surprising or motivational? Each life is filled with legacy if we share it.
- History Revealed: It seems, the older I get, the more history becomes more important. And, it is! Reporting and revealing history in a truthful and factual way is a building block for the future. Writing about history doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as reporting about a local landmark or perhaps, the impact of an event on the community or even the world. Take a look around you and write about it. Discover the value for yourself, and then explain why the piece of history you are reporting about, is important.
- Entertainment: There is something very therapeutic about figuring out a puzzle, reading a fictional story, or the melodic trance of a poem. Both reading and writing should be fun. Sometimes, the simplest of anecdotes can turn into a reason to laugh and put a smile on someone's face or give satisfaction or escape.
- Education: Actually, for me personally, I enjoy writing how-to articles the most and presenting information about subjects that I have learned and write about them from my perspective. I love to teach using methods that bring both word pictures and visual reference using pictures.
And again, like I said earlier, age certainly does make a difference simply because there so many more experiences to reference the older you get. What do you know how to do that others may not? Do you think you could explain to another person how to do something? It can be a craft, a lost art, the sciences, subjects like language arts or, like in the case of this article, Why and How Old People Should Write!
Take a moment and ask yourself, “What do I know how to do or have experienced that I could teach someone else?” Make it simple to start, you will find that a simple concept can quickly get complicated as you add details to further explain your subject. For me, teaching through writing helps me deal with my social awkwardness. Face to face, I talk very little, but when I write sometimes, it's hard to shut me up.
There are dozens of other categories that you could list here. The trick is to concentrate and focus on one at a time. What happens, as you begin to share your life more, article ideas for your next article will reveal themselves. I keep a running list of article ideas, just in case, my imagination quits working. (So far, that list hasn’t gotten any shorter).
Don't be in a rush,
Keep it simple and slow.
Before you know it,
You will grow,
Over the years I have developed certain writing habits that may not be “textbook” but seem to work for me. The important thing to remember is that regardless of your critics, your writing style is a big part of you. After a short time, even after several completed articles, you will start to recognize a pattern that seems to work. Don’t worry about writing “correct”. The biggest danger is not writing at all. Writing isn’t about perfection, in fact, it's those little imperfections that make it art.
Just like baking a cake, what are some of the first things you need to do? Gather the ingredients, right? The same is true for writing articles. My first step is simply “the idea.” From there, I write one paragraph and try to answer the “Who, What, Where, When, and Why” about my article idea. That becomes the basis of my outline.
I find that by using an outline format and by writing one paragraph for each of my points, I am quickly able to generate a rough draft. My subsequent paragraphs, follow the same approach, answering the questions in greater detail.
When I start, I outline and write paragraphs as quick as possible without taking the time to fix spelling or grammatical errors. When I go back and reread what I have written, I will start editing, rewriting, and reorganize my paragraphs into a more organized and readable copy. I usually do a rough edit, and then a final edit.
Another one of the nice things about HubPages and other writing platforms is that even after I push the publish button, I can go back and re-edit anytime I want to. It’s amazing how many times I don’t see mistakes until after I publish or another writer points them out!
Old People (Like Me) Should Write!
If you aren't already in the habit of writing, now might be a good time to start. Like I always say, "I've got a lot more miles left in these boots and I plan on squeeing in every inch."
There are ears that want and need to hear what you have to say. Your connection to your readers may just end up being a pivotal turning point in both your lives.
Thanks for reading,
Write What You Read
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Joel Diffendarfer (author) from Jonesville on April 13, 2018:
Playing with the idea of teaching "how to publish" to seniors in a local center. There is a wealth of history that should be tapped into.
Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on April 11, 2018:
Larry W Fish from Raleigh on April 08, 2018:
Joel, I am one of those older people that likes to write. I wanted something to do when I retired and writing is something I can do at home. I have 4 published works of fiction. I like it here because I can write something every few days. I like to write fiction, it allows my mind to wander in a thousand directions. As I approach 70 writing keeps my mind sharp.
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on April 06, 2018:
Very interesting and easy to read article, Joel. I am an old guy too, and I agree. it is our legacy to pass on our knowledge and experience to the younger generations and the world. Very good tips here too. My earnings are nowhere near your here at HubPages but the monthly turnover has doubled in recent months so looking good.
Joel Diffendarfer (author) from Jonesville on April 05, 2018:
Writing is like breathing. Every exhale is a new story.
Leonie M from Belgium. on April 05, 2018:
This article is very encouraging. I enjoyed reading. Thank you for sharing.
Readmikenow on April 05, 2018:
I enjoyed reading this article. You make some valid points. Writing is a personal journey where we can find ourselves and connect with others. This was well written.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on April 05, 2018:
You have given excellent ideas here. I appreciate your writing this. I am now a Senior as well and I write for reasons you have mentioned. I am glad you are getting fun money. I just get fun, some money, too but I give it all to charity. I spend more because of blogs I keep and you're right, I should just have stuck to the platforms. Still, the fun and the learning are worth it.
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on April 05, 2018:
It sounds like you do quite well on Hubpages. I generally like to write about films I've watched and books I've read.