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May 2020 Income Report

UPDATE: My monthly income report is now sent by email. Please sign up (box on the right) if you would like to receive them!

SUMMARY: I made £0.00 in May (my first official, proper month of blogging).

I am currently sitting in my bikini, in the shade on my patio, writing this on my iPad. It’s a whopping 26º out, which is a proper heatwave here in the UK. I spent the morning at the beach with the kids, and this afternoon I had one goal – get this blog post up.

Just over a month ago I decided to commit to writing full time. And in doing so I also realised I first had to clear all the clutter and other projects out of my life to support that goal.

This is my first monthly check-in.

Writing

I set a rather low goal of 100 words a day. This is because I knew I would be focusing on clearing the decks of other stuff.

In May I wrote a total of 1945 words, all on two short stories I have started but not finished. I did nothing on my novel.

Considering I wrote nothing at all in April, I’m happy with that.

Blogging

This blog is the foundation of my new writing plan mainly because it keeps me accountable, but also because it helps me to build a potential audience for my writing, and because if I were able to monetise it even a tiny bit it would help contribute to my ability to remain writing rather than working in the Co-op. Hence the importance of an income report.

Here are my monthly WATR stats:

WATR site visits in April: 2.1k users
Facebook follows: 914
My twitter follows: 310
Pinterest followers: 518
Pinterest monthly viewers: 84.5k
Mailing-list: 20


WATR site visits in May: 1.8k users
Facebook follows: 914
My twitter follows: 313
Pinterest followers: 574
Pinterest monthly viewers: 86.3k
Mailing-list: 23

So, my website visits went down, Pinterest went up a little, not much other change.

I didn’t complete any blog posts, although I did start one. Again, I’m focusing at the moment on clearing the decks, so this is okay for now. I have nothing in the way of a social media strategy, and I am rarely present. That is something for much further down the line.

The Backlog

This is my nickname for all the distractions, failed projects, dead projects, incomplete projects and other stuff in my life that stops me from focusing on writing full time.

I really want to get this writing thing right, so this month has been about closing off and getting done all the crap that makes me procrastinate.

Some of the stuff I’ve worked through this month:

  • I reduced my personal email from ~1,500 down to zero.
  • Went through all my other email accounts (other business and blog ones) and zeroed them all as well.
  • I completely deleted an online business I bought a few years ago. I spent quite a lot of money buying this website but very quickly realised I had bought something that made zero profit. ZERO. Lesson learned – do your research very carefully before you buy a business, do not just rely on what the seller tells you. Sometimes I would spend a whole day just thinking about the fact that I should have been doing something with it… but then doing nothing at all. The thing is, the business data and followers were all several years old. Most of that data would be dead. If I’d had the time and commitment, I still believe I could have built something out of it… but at the end of the day, it was a venture I had gotten into because I thought it would eventually buy me the time to write by providing an income. So I deleted everything – all the social accounts, the website, all the emails. Gone. I did think about shelving it, but I am terrible with distractions of any kind. Shelving it would mean it was always an option. I don’t want options. I want to write. Selling it was a possibility, but I’d have gotten very little for it and the admin of the sale seemed like a waste of time. It was a very expensive mistake, but once it was gone, I felt a huge sense of relief.
  • Deleted my self-employed company website and Facebook page (I have clients I am still working for, but I am not taking on any new ones).
  • Sorted and cleared all the digital files off my desktop and out of my downloads folder.
  • IT Training: I have access to training for a new IT qualification until 5 March 2021. I am shelving this for now. I can’t get any refund on what I’ve paid, so if the writing looks like it’s taking off it will just be another cost written off in my often misguided quest to find a path to success and a balanced lifestyle for me and my three kids…
  • Organised almost all of my photos and videos from the last few years and got them off my phone and onto my hard drive in year order folders.
  • Noticed that I am a member of around 75 Facebook groups. I dumped almost all of them and unfollowed the ones I want to keep so I can dip in when I want to, and not have them under my nose when I take a Facebook break.
  • Sorted through the last of my late mum’s digital accounts and closed them all down except her email (which still has receipts in it for things I’m still not sure what to do with… )
  • Sorted through the last box of my late mum’s physical possessions. A task I’ve been putting off for so long.
  • Sorted out all of the old photos from my Nan and my Mum and put them in albums, labelled and dated for the kids if they ever want to look through them.
  • Cleared out the entire filing cabinet.
  • Completely cleared and tidied the entire garden (mainly because the weather has been astonishingly good)
  • Sorted through the kids’ artwork and it’s now ready in piles to be made into photo books.
  • Started clearing out the garage – sold two balance bikes and threw a lot of things away. This is still ongoing.

Why Bother With An Income Report?

I’m sharing an income report each month because I’m so tired of seeing posts titled “How I made $10,000 in one month blogging”. These posts are often from blogs that teach you about blogging.

For a bit of inspiration check out 40 Aprons latest income report (a food blog). It’s been going 10 years – this is what consistency can do!

I’m starting right at the beginning so you can see how a new blog genuinely grows (or doesn’t), and I’ll share with you what I do along the way.

There are two reasons to have a blog:

  1. You want to pour your heart out about everything that happens in your life or every opinion that you have on the world, and connect with other people doing the same.
  2. You want to finance your work-life balance.

Blogs really do fall into one of these two categories. People that blog for the love of sharing their thoughts don’t care so much about monetisation (this was me for many years). On the other hand, many bloggers are here for one reason only – to make money out of their hobby/interest/ability to work hard.

What An Income Report Does

Blogging for money is NOT an easy endeavour. I know this because I’ve blogged on and off for 15 years at various sites and I have made nothing more than pocket money. But I have also not really taken blogging seriously as a way to earn money.

That’s where an income report comes in. A monthly account of what my blogging efforts are returning monetarily is motivation to keep trying to find a way to provide you, my reader, with something that you find valuable. It will also, in theory, go some way towards financing my writing and towards building an audience of people that will enjoy my writing.

Detailing what this blog makes each month is my way to measure if my efforts are up to par. If I’m a crap blogger and a crap writer, I won’t be making anything in 6 months.

As a proof of concept, I have a goal of £100 income in one month from this blog. I’d like to achieve that before the end of the year. It would pay for my hosting and other little bits I spend (like my Adobe subscription and backup software), with some to spare. And that means it’s worth it in terms of time, money and connecting with other writers and potential readers for my work.

Next Month

My children should all go back to school in September after lockdown (my youngest will be starting school), and at that point I’d like to be able to write every day.

In the meantime, especially with the kids home so much, I plan to work through the following hugely overdue tasks:

  • Clear out the cluttered garage (including selling certain bits I no longer need).
  • Clear out the kids rooms and sort out all their clothing and toys.
  • Dispatch all the stuff I’ve listed on eBay!
  • Lots of little odds and ends jobs from the stuff I’ve cleared out so far.
  • Take a pile of stuff to the tip.
  • Create two artbooks for the two youngest kids.
  • Work on sticking to a weekly routine that enables me to keep the house straight, feed everyone, exercise and write.

It shouldn’t take me all summer to do these things (in theory!). Once done I can then really knuckle down on the strategy for this blog, my writing and a solid routine going forward.

Next month I hope to have lots of good things to report. I might even have finished that blog post by then…

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