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How to Make $7.88 Per Year

Today I did something that scared me.

Not something that scared me a little (like opening a tube of refrigerated biscuit dough), but scared me a lot (like hand-serving a select portion of my insides on a platter to Hannibal Lecter and, for some inexplicable reason, finding myself hoping he likes it).

I wrote something and submitted it to an online publication.

Well that’s not a big deal.  You do that practically every day on this blog.

True, but I can write whatever I want on this blog.  There are virtually no restrictions except for the ones I place on myself.  And the people who read this are not under any delusions that I’m an “actual” writer – I’m just a girl with a blog.

Well I checked out the link and it looks like anyone can submit to that site.  Just like anyone can write a blog.  That shouldn’t be scary.

Theoretically, no.  It shouldn’t.  But this is the first step of a process through which I am trying to gain viable freelance writing connections and start building a portfolio.  I’m trying to get them to like me.  (And they will even more if you read my posting and hit “save” – you might need to sign in to the site to do so.)

Haven’t you ever been the new person at a job and you’ve had to head to the break room for lunch on your first day, frozen Lean Cuisine clasped in your nervous little hand, wondering how the hell you’re going to break the ice with these people?

Photo source

That’s a little what this feels like.

The editors at Trazzler are going to judge me based on 124 words over which I agonized for over an hour.  (Wow, it kind of sucked to admit that.)

What lit this fire under your ass?  We thought you were happy with this blog and your renewed passion for serving people food and alcoholic beverages?

I do love the blog.  And I’ll choose to ignore the food comment.  But honestly?  This stemmed from a surprising little email I received with the subject line:

Demand Media, Inc. sent you $7.88 USD.”

And I was all, Who sent me $7.88?  In U.S. dollars, no less?  And how do I get them to send me more?

Turns out I finally got a payout from for an article I wrote… I don’t know… about a year and a half ago.

But did the tiny payout deter me?  Heck no.  Turns out this is exactly what I needed to realize there is just a slight possibility that I could actually get paid for something I write.  I’ve just never tried, because I’ve never known where to start.

Turns out you start by writing.

So that’s what I’m doing.

I know there will be rejections.  I know there will be failures.  But in the end, I’d rather have the feeling that I failed after trying than failing without trying at all.


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Dennis Hong

Hey, if you’re already working for Demand Media, you can always try (they’re owned by Demand). They’re pretty tough to pitch for, but you do get a ton of insight into comedy writing, if not just popular writing in general:

If you do sign up, say hi to me in the workshop! ;-)


Thanks! I’m not sure I’m “witty” enough for them, but I will definitely check it out. :)

Dennis Hong

Yeah, that’s what people always say. Invariably, though, they get new writers popping into the workshop who think they’re the next Jerry Seinfold, but who are just awful writers (and comedians, usually).

For what it’s worth, Cracked is more interested in writers who have good ideas, and in fact, their guidelines are pretty specific to that. After all, it’s easy for them to add jokes to your quality article. It’s a lot harder to build a quality article from a bunch of disconnected jokes that may or may not even be that witty in the first place.

Anyway, if you’re serious about freelance writing, at least sign up for the workshop, and you’ll get an idea of what works and what doesn’t work for internet writing. I know I’ve learned a TON just from hanging out there.


Good for you!!!


Don’t ever sell yourself short, Katie. You’re an excellent writer. All of the elements that keep ADD-afflicted nerds like me from getting back to my video games and Battlestar re-runs are present in your writing. Thanks for keeping us entertained. Seriously. Now, back to the post-apocalyptic Mojave wasteland and killing giant scorpions…until your next post.


WTG Katie I have always enjoyed your blog and I am sure who every you write for will feel the same.


YAY! I’m so proud of you!! Your first writing paycheck!! You should print out that e-mail and frame it as your first paid venture :)


Awesome! About 100,000 more of those checks and I can come move in ;)


Thanks for the encouragement, everyone! I’ll let you know how it goes… :)

Girls with Prius Envy

You can die knowing that you are a paid writer! CONGRATULATIONS! They are pretty generous… whew! Don’t forget to report that on your 1099 this year.
PS: Is the fear of the biscuits kind of like a champagne thing? Like you’re afraid something is going to hit you in the face? Hilariously weird.


Hahaha – the slap in the face was that they actually DID send me a W-2. WTF?? Isn’t there a tax limit on below poverty level income?? And the biscuit thing… how do I explain this? It’s like the anticipation of that inevitable pop is too much to bear. I seriously jump out of my frickin’ panties every time it happens. So it’s not really the fear of getting injured…. although who knows? Maybe I was killed by an errant piece of foil in a past life…?


I wish it was that easy to get ALL women out of their panties! Well next time I need you naked in a hurry, I’ll pop a dough tube. ;)

Marisa Wikramanayake

You’re going to be more famous than me as a writer someday – do you realise that?


Nope… first I’d have to get off my ass and start actually submitting stuff for publication. ;)

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