Something that might end up being momentous just happened: I published my first “real” travel article. It concerns the trip I took to Lake Kipawa in rural Quebec this past summer, which I first announced in this update.
I’ve written many travel-related blog posts for this website – such as the gazillion entries about my 2017 trip to Belize – but the article I’ve just published is the first travel piece that I’ll be eligible to get paid for. I expect to earn a whopping $0.25 U.S. from it though, because I took a few risks.
First, I self-published the article on Medium.com. I was hesitant to do so, because self-published always seemed like a terrible career move, but a friend of mine who’s an accomplished science writer had good things to say about Medium. I therefore decided to give it a try.
The freedom afforded by self-publishing also allowed me to take my second, likely dream-crushing risk: getting personal.
For those who don’t know, I recently spent almost two years studying wildlife television – and science and environmental communication in general – in more depth than anyone ever should. While doing so, I couldn’t help but think of ways to make those genres better.
I explained one of my major ideas in this essay for The Revelator. It describes my conviction – inspired by the late Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown – that science and environmental communication need to be more personal. We need to do more than just give people facts about “stuff:” we need to give them relatable, human characters. This will require scientists, writers, and presenters to allow themselves to be “seen.”
Thus, my recent travel article on Medium involves existential themes that many people deal with. I do talk about the history of the region I visited and a major environmental threat it’s facing, but those are sub-plots: the real story revolves around my personal journey.
My third, and final, risk with this story is that I took far more liberties with humor than I ever have before. Let’s hope that turns out alright…
If you’d like to read the article for free, either click on one of the many links above or the button below.
While there, why not subscribe to Medium for $5 U.S. a month? That’s probably where I’m going to write my experimental pieces that no respectable magazine/website would ever publish; so, if you subscribe to Medium and follow me, you’ll get to see me descending ever deeper into madness. I also get paid more if you read my story and then subscribe to Medium…
But, because I’m only partially a greed-obsessed troll, the button below contains a “friend link” that will permit you to access my story for free – the same goes for all of the “travel article” links above.
I’m confused. What do you write here on WordPress? I’ve been reading your work here and I thought this was a location for your self-published travelogue entries. Btw I only use Medium for comments to posts I read there. I’m @mel_hopkins_ (I think) on that website . I hope you’ll continue posting here too.
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Hi Mel, I went with Medium this time because they sometimes pay for articles written there, and I’m no longer able to keep writing for free. Unfortunately, their payments are based on how long paid Medium subscribers spend reading your work; so, even though my story has over 150 views, I’m not going to earn anything on it because nearly all of those came from external sources.
I have a few posts lined up for WordPress, so I’ll still be here for a while. But, I sincerely can’t afford to keep doing all this work for free, so I’m not sure what’ll happen after my planned posts are released. I’ll probably leave this site up so people can still find the content via search engines, but there’s no way I can keep spending so much time and money on a pursuit for which I earn nothing.
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I write for a living, so I understand! It can be feast or famine in the beginning. Your writing and research are stellar. I was under the impression you’d created a revenue model for your work through this site. Ok, I will visit you on Medium too.
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Thanks for your understanding! I’m finding it particularly challenging, because I’ve had no training or coursework in journalism. I’m starting to figure things out by trial and error though, which is what my Medium article was mostly about.
I’ve considered monetizing my WordPress site, but I can’t think of a good way to do it. I didn’t intend to make this a commercial venture when I started out, and so loaded up my blog with non-commercial, Creative Commons images that I’d need to remove to avoid potential legal issues. That, in turn, would seriously reduce the quality of my content. I’m kind of backed into a corner then, at least until I figure something out.
I’ll search for you on Medium too!
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