The Root of all Evil?

I started blogging more than two years ago. It started innocently enough. I would write a bit, now and then, when I had time and inclination. But as any of you with your own blogs will understand, this shit is addictive. I slowly wrote more and more until it usurped any remotely ‘hobby’ status. Now I spend far too much time writing, and furthermore thinking about writing. Any time off from my mama job, I can hardly wait to get to a computer. Disgusting. But also, wonderful, validating, rewarding and downright fun.

I write for myself, above all. Let that be known, and understood. But sometimes… I do feel swayed by the idea of getting just a tiny bit of (monetary) compensation. Who wouldn’t? And thus the ‘blog ad’ was born. I don’t know how much those little siren call’s really pay, but I suspect it’s nothing to get excited about. I haven’t looked into it, because when ever I get close to thinking about it I get the jitters. I know many of you have blogs, and many of you have ads on your blogs, and I totally understand how you got there, but I have to wonder, is there another way?

Can we circumvent The Man? Can we devise a more direct route for that hard-earned EvilRoot? Instead of giving Amaz*n $19.99 and your favorite blogger 14 cents/click, what if you just gave your blogger $2, straight up? You save $17.99, your blogger earns $1.86 extra, and we save the world from one more consumer purchase and your brain from one more corporate logo!

Doesn’t that sound divine? It’s living the dream, a gift economy. I give freely of myself here, expecting nothing. And any of you who so choose, can give something to me. A cup of coffee, lunch out, an hour of babysitting.

Am I living in a fantasy world? Why would anybody pay cold, hard cash for what they can get just as easily free of charge? I am no saleswoman, and I’m not about to start NPR-style fund drives. But I have finally decided, after much deliberation, to insert a little Paypal button over there in the side bar.

If you have appreciated my writing, if you would buy a book if I wrote it (for $19.99 from Amaz*n) consider that this blog contains 228 posts, more than 400 pages of text! I don’t kid myself, I’m well aware that most of it isn’t remotely book quality, but surely some portion of those pages are pretty darn good and I don’t have to bow to any publisher.

In the midst of my internal debate, I emailed Erica from NW Edibles and asked her advice. Turned out that she was poised on the edge of such a button as well, so we’ve decided to break our cherries on the same day in an act of virtual solidarity.

Even better than having a buddy for my entrance into the world of blog based capitalism, Erica had the fabulously brilliant idea to call our button a “tip jar.” The Paypal button (just below the jar) will take you to a secure Paypal page, where you can choose how much you’d like to give.

Let’s live the dream! Stick it to The Man! Eschew corporate marketing, and just give us your money!

17 thoughts on “The Root of all Evil?

  1. Oooh…getting dangerously close myself to this point…I’m going to see where this slippery slope leads you two, then probably dive in! I am just getting started on blogging as a way to not constantly update my website. I feel as tho’ I’m beginning to spend more time writing about what I do than actually doing it! Maybe this will help finance the actual activity! btw…you inspire me! I have 3 boys & fully understand how little time Mamas have. Go, Girl, Go!

  2. I don’t know. I replied over at Erica’s blog about this. You both write great blogs, but I guess I got a sense of personalisation from your posts, like your writing connected with me, and now I am thinking, maybe your making it up, so people will give you ‘tips’? Does that sound harsh? I know you are not making it up, and you are one of the few brave bloggers who tell it like it is… oh, I’m saying this badly… would you still write like this, even if no one gives you money? Is your writing going to be influenced by ‘this will get the readers in & they’ll tip me more’? I don’t think either of you will, but that’s always the sense I had from blogs with ad’s, which I pretty much avoid.

    Maybe I’m just a tightass scrooge who doesn’t buy books, newspapers or magazines and expects to be educated and entertained for free??!!

    Good luck, no doubt you’ll still be producing great work (no pressure now!!) and I’ll just feel like a scammer for continuing to read and not tipping you accordingly?

    1. dixiedear,
      thank you for being ballsy enough to be so frank.
      those are the very reasons i debated so long. for me it came down to this– i’d like to write more. i’d like to get a babysitter for two hours a week so that i could do that. i think it would be cool if my writing could buy me the time to write. or more possibly, just 1/4 of my writing time.
      i don’t have any doubt that i will be able to keep up the sass and dark tangly truths. but i so understand your fear of that.
      as far as feeling like a “scammer” first of all, you write a lovely blog of your own, which i read and enjoy, and i feel like that takes you off the hook (if there ever was a hook), secondly you often write long and thoughtful comments, which are even better than monetary tips for me– knowing that people read and care about what I write. thirdly, i really truly do not want there to be a hook at all.
      thanks again for your honesty.

      1. Thank you, I know your sass/ honesty/ mojo wouldn’t change because of money, and I think you have several books in you, that people would pay money for! I think that money has never been a part of why I blog (I should be paying people to read mine!) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t for others, for whatever reason (pay the bills, pay the babysitter, pay for a pair of pink Hunter gumboots just because) but I guess I just reacted yesterday as though the genuineness or authenticity could be affected because of bringing money into it. It doesn’t have to, of course, and when it comes down to it, it won’t even affect me… I will still read, nod in agreement, or laugh out loud, leave overly lengthy comments, share links to your posts around, and be glad you are generous enough to share your talents with the us! (Same goes for Erica).

  3. Ya know what I think? Initially I was like well how’s that gonna work since we too have blogs and if everyone starts charging each other it all cancels itself out so that a messy business…. But I do get where you’re coming from. I have been doing freelance articles for a bit and not been paid a penny. But I did say to my dear friend Julie a while ago, don’t pay me for that article, just make me a jar of pickle, or a bookmark or something. And then a few weeks later, she sends me THE MOST AMAZING pair of hand knitted rainbow socks ever, made just perfectly to fit my feet. And a beautiful card, full of praise for my writing, and a note telling me how she knitted them in her garden and thought about me as she made them. Now I don’t know about you, but there’s something to be said for things MADE WITH LOVE and appreciation rather than a few dollars…. How bout you sell templates for people’s blogs using your amazing talents as a sketcher doodler and person who draws pretty beautifully, and ask for personalised appreciation sent to your real mailbox instead of your virtual one? It will feel ten times more rewarding and satisfying than cash. Adverts for nice products Of the type that your readers would buy anyway Would not be offensive in anyway.

    1. anytime anyone wants to knit me rainbow socks, bring it on! or anything else for that matter. i’m all for non-monetary tips.
      my “amazing talents as a sketcher doodler and person who draws pretty beautifully?” you must have me confused with another blogger, i can’t draw for shit. thanks for believing it though!

  4. I honestly think that we all do what we do and that in the money is like water train of thought, if some flows your way then that’s just great.

    And writing is your job, right? I mean, aside from mama-ing, of course. So this is a way to funnel some funds in to what you love. I love knitting, and one day I hope to have enough knitting to sell some in a market or on a site. And it will fund more knitting. So knitting for money to get more knitting. If you take out the money part, it’s just knitting for knitting more. Now, you like writing, if it gets you money you get to write more because you can get a sitter. So your writing will fund more writing.

    I hope I’m making sense? I just see it as good, but I’m not a ‘money is evil’ gal. I think money is a great tool to get the other tools you would like. Plus. when I can shout you a coffee, I don’t have to stress that I actually bought the book you recommended but didn’t press the button on your blog – in fact, I can hire the book from the library, send you $5 for a cup of good organic coffee, and send you a message about how it was all inspired by you!

  5. Have been pretty bloody close to “How Could I Get Up in the Morning…”

    Please don’t let the money change your ways, though, CJ- I’m worried you’ll get more ‘reward’ for some types of blogs and be encouraged to try to please us.

    And don’t consider this cash- if I were nearby I would so take you out for a coffee, or have your kids for a morning, or something. This just means that.

    As for circumventing The Man, I love it in principle, but I am concerned about taxes. I think my (husband’s) taxes are spent pretty badly here in the UK, and even worse in the US, and I am home educating, but I still want to support public education, for those who need it. And some version of the police. And I’m glad we have roads. If I opt out of the system, how do I contribute to things like that?

    1. i have to admit i’m a bit disturbed that two of my best fans are worried i’ll start writing a shiny blog because 5 people gave me a total of $30.
      i might be for sale people, but not for the price y’all are gonna cough up.

      1. Oh, dear, yes, I panicked a bit and didn’t think about how easily my comment could come across badly. (A shiny blog- that’s awesome. Ha.) I do kind of trample through life, especially these days, with my brain out of gear- sorry, sorry! So full of love for you, and seriously huge respect for your ethics and your attitude. I know better!

  6. I have a tip jar at our blog, and I have a running list of “cast-offs” that localish folks can preserve for us (jars, coupons, etc) but I also have ads, because some folks can afford to give, and some can’t (we certainly can’t) However those folks CAN click ads, and many will, even if just to put a few cents in our pockets and help this new venture along.

    I find myself here for the first time today, and nodding along with you, with your statements on home making and on feminism, your desire to eschew plastic crap and give your kids what really matters in life. You’re further along than I am, I spent too many years married to the wrong man, without the confidence that I could do this thing that I wanted, but I relate to you nonetheless. Thanks for writing, and if I ever find myself in a position where I can give (you’re much to far away for me to send castoffs or the physical fruits of our labour safely and legally) I’ll surely help

    Deni

  7. I’m all for anarchy. Against ads. A tip jar is better, but not as good as handmade rainbow socks. Anyway, I’m a poet, and work for love. As do you.

    1. Lost you as in, you don’t know what I’m talking about, or lost you as in you’re leaving this blog?

  8. See, I’m just not sure I get the issue for your readers… I don’t understand why we shouldn’t get paid to do something we love. If you love to write, and it helps to calm your nerves on those crazy mama days… then I too think it would be wonderful for you to make money with it. Even if it’s only enough money to get a sitter for a bit so that you get more “easy” time to write.

    I think that if more people could do they work they love and get money for it, the world would be a better place. Instead, I am constantly seeing people selling their souls to be salesmen or whatever… when that’s not in line with who they are.

    So, I’ll tip you… I don’t follow one other blog that I love as much as this one. I know I’m a bit of a transparent follower (you don’t see me often) but I literally check your blog every day.

    You could also think of it this way… I go to a meditation center once a week. They operate on dana (donations). I appreciate that they are there… I give them money so that I can come back. If they do something out of line, I won’t give any more money, and I won’t go back. How is this blog any different?… except that it’s been free for a long time!

    That’s my 2 cents… and I’m stickin’ to it!

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