"Master Dayton" might be humorous, (I mean if Ph.Ds are called "Doctors," shouldn't MFAs be called "Masters?") but in all seriousness I have made a living freelance writing and after several years I have tons of information I want to share to help out my fellow writers, regardless of age, experience, goals, situation, or background. This blog isn't pretty-but it will help if real freelance writing information is what you want.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Master Dayton Freelance Writing Blog: 50th Post

Celebrating the 50th Freelance Writing Blog Post

For some blogs, maybe the 50th post isn't a big deal, and doesn't seem like much at all. But when I started this writing blog, it was a side project, something I enjoyed, and had nothing to do with me personally making any income or building my online businesses, so this was never meant to be a post daily or weekly blog, and 50 posts is pretty good for me. I tried to think of something special to do, but being in the midst of a crazy month shooting for crazy writing goals, my brain isn't firing on all cylinders when it comes to putting together a blow your socks off post. So instead of something new and absolutely brilliant, I'm putting together a clips show.

I've actually been amazed at how many interesting and really cool things have happened in my life due to this blog, and also to writing online in general. I've met some really cool people, learned a ton about making money online, passive income, and how the possibilities of what you can do online can change your life. Jobs that resulted from my online writing have seen me move across continent from Alaska to Texas and back to Iowa right in between, and I've managed some pretty good stories and across the world invites whenever I finally get that darned passport.

So some of this freelance writing blog post will be rambling, some will be freelance writing advice, and a lot of it will be looking back at links, posts, people, or events that have made a particular impact on me over these past 5 years of writing online, and the past 2 years with this blog. So kick back and smile if you enjoy rambles, because none of this post is thought out ahead of time and it's going to be a happy scatter shot from here on out :)

So before I go into making lists, there's one blog post I did that stands above and beyond all of them. At the time it was one of my longest blog posts, and it is my personal favorite, in addition to being the "favorite" of my readers based on comments. Even despite the hugely increased following I received after that post, it remains the single most read and commented on post I've ever done on this blog, and it doubled the number of followers I have (that show on the feed or contact me by e-mail), received a lot of link love, and I noticed a huge jump in traffic that has stayed ever since. "Master Dayton" is also now searched for on Google monthly in the double digits, which I just think is cool. So hands down, the "BEST" blog post I ever wrote was this:

Why I'm Not Ashamed to Be a Freelance Writer

That one would have otherwise been on every single other list had I not set it apart, and that one post really did put this blog on an entirely new level by virtually every measurement I make and keep track of. So with that post getting its due, from there I thought the common sense way to start off would be to mention my 5 favorite blog posts, which were:
  1. Setting Ridiculously Ambitious Writing Goals
  2. Freelance Writing & Gambling: How the 2 Relate
  3. Freelance Writing: The 4 Year College Plan
  4. Passive Income vs. Active Freelance Income
  5. Why Is Full Time Passive Income So Hard?
While these are my personal favorites, if I'm basing the most popular posts on number of comments, then the 5 most popular posts of my blog are:
  1. Setting Ridiculously Ambitious Writing Goals (we all seem to like this one)
  2. 50 Things Beginning Writers Should Know
  3. Constant Content Review
  4. Entry Level Freelance Writers: Don't Get Discouraged
  5. Freelance Writing & Blogging
It's kind of funny to me how that one post strikes a major chord, but otherwise there's a pretty good divergence between the posts I liked most and the ones most popular with readers. Then again, some of them make sense. Writing about the 50 things beginning writers should know might not interest me because I've been there, done that, and have long since moved beyond many of those lessons. On the other hand, what a great post for writers who are literally just getting started in freelancing.

The success stories I've been e-mailed by some of my readers just encourage me beyond belief and make me really happy that I'm doing this. Because time wise versus monetary return, this blog should have been abandoned long ago. But I really enjoy helping others, I like being able to talk about freelance writing, and although there are the occasional trolls, it really is a small price to pay for the people I've met, the online friendships developed, and for the other places I think this blog (and my writing in general) are going to end up taking me. I want others who are on the fence or afraid to be encouraged and to work for more, and to dream of more, than they otherwise would.

I also want to take time to mention resources I would encourage beginners and intermediates in the freelance writing and passive income business to check out. These are good informational sources, each one I personally approve of and would have no problem recommending someone to.

Jade Dragon @ Innovative Passive Income
Allyn Hane @ Blogger Illustrated Video Blog
Grizz @ Make Money Online - first of the honest blogs about making money online that I've found, and this guy has influenced so many people he's like the "Godfather" of the honest make money online bunch.
Courtney Tuttle @ The Keyword Academy
Lissie @ Passive Income Ideas Online
Felicia Williams @ No Job for Mom

These blogs cover the gamut from freelance writing to affiliate programs, SEO, AdSense, passive income, and everything in between. If you want to learn how to become an online freelance writer, or make passive income online, it doesn't get any better than those sources. After that, it's just a matter of taking some type of action each and every day towards accomplishing your freelance writing goals, because even a small step is still one that gets you a little big closer to your freelance writing dreams than before.

There are two other sites I'd like to share. I haven't had correspondence with these individuals, or comment back-and-forths or anything like that, but I enjoy their blogs and think some people will enjoy them, as well.

There's Justin at Life of Justin, I think formerly it was "Digital Nomad," but I'm not 100% sure on that one. Enjoyable blog that also tracks how he went from corporate job to being self employed and being able to "go mobile" to enjoy life a lot more and still get the income to live well.

Then you have Ben over at Making Money Online with SEO. I have absolutely nothing but mad respect for this guy. You know how sometimes you think "If I just write 10,000 articles I'll have enough to make x a month?" but then you never follow through because that number is so ridiculously high? Well Ben learned SEO, keywords, finding good niches, and then he put in 18+ hour work days for months on end to prove that sheer volume, when done right, is enough to get to a full time online income pretty darn quick. If you feel yourself slacking off, reading the work he does acts like one heck of a kick in the pants to get you going again. And once again - rock solid information, and just like Grizz's blog, read all the comments.

There's the shout out to my friends. Sharing some of my favorite pages or "surprises," does come up with some issues. I'm not going to share my best money making pages, because giving away your niches is the best way to lose them. But I do have pages I wrote for fun which led to other opportunities, and those I'll be glad to share.

Some pleasant freelance writing surprises:

My Coen Brothers Biography on Squidoo. My first venture into passive income came when I was starting a new job in Austin, Texas, and my boss wanted me to become familiar with Squidoo. This was the first page I wrote, and it's made me $215 and makes about $20 a month. Strangest thing, for the longest time I couldn't figure out how the heck it was getting 300 visitors a month from search engines. Now I've figured it out and am going to be doing some experimenting. I'm not going to give away that secret, but I will say it's one of those "that's so stupid I can't believe it's working," things. Gotta' love when things bounce the right way. Another plus of this Squidoo lens: it led to a print publication as a Coen Brothers expert in the .Cent international arts magazine. Freaking cool.

Along the same lines, other Squidoo lenses that have done well for me include: Sinclair Lewis Novels, It Can't Happen Here as a Prophetic Warning, and Best Dystopian Novels. All of these have led to a wide variety of opportunities including being a specialty guest on radio and Internet radio shows on multiple occasions, and guest speaking at a high school and college on these topics. Once again, all really cool stuff, and it makes my "Academic Resume" look really good. Never mind that I'll probably never apply for a professor's job again, but eh, still cool. Strengthens a safety net, as well, and I like my options :)

My original page helping freelance writers is also on Squidoo, and doing well and helping people, but I'm not linking back to that one, because that's one of my best links to this blog and I don't want it to be reciprocal.

Writing on HubPages has led to a lot of hubs that haven't made me money (although there are plenty that are) but several I've made have led to some amazing conversations about philosophy, Alaska (love the state), pros/cons of legalizing marijuana, and a wide variety of other topics. Writing there and seeing detailed but civil arguments or discussions in the comments section has been a real cool thing. Writing for HubPages also almost got me in a story for USA Today. Granted, this story would have been cooler if I actually ended up there, but hey, it shows the possibility is at least there.

Probably my best story is how a little read article (only a few hundred people) resulted in me getting a thank you note from a king. An article I wrote for Associated Content about an new charity resulted in the King of the Isle of Man (and yes, I realize there are arguments over this, but the title has been granted to him) reading it and sending me a thank you note. So I'm one of the few people on this Earth who can say I've received a thank you note from a King.

Among other pleasant surprises, my article on the 10 best post apocalypse movies is probably my favorite. I know from testing that articles like that don't end up converting in AdSense and they don't get people to buy the movies, so it looks like "worthless traffic," so I like getting paid on a per view basis for that type of traffic. And this article makes me $12-20 a month in page views, and has made me well over $200 for what was about 70 minutes of work.

Which brings me up to a bit of advice, if you're writing for Associated Content and you want to get anywhere remotely close to a decent passive income stream from it, then you want to write list articles. Out of my top 20 monthly earners, 17 are list articles. So are #21, #23, and #25, for that matter.

On this blog, I'm seeing more and more attention, more and more search engine visitors, and more consistent lurkers and registered followers. I'm beginning to see more natural backlinks to the blog, which means bit by bit I'm ranking for more terms for Google, "Master Dayton" is becoming a more recognized moniker, and more people are finding me every day. This is all really cool, and as my passive income from freelance writing continues to grow, I think the many amazing stories and opportunities from writing online are only going to continue.

So that's it for now. Read some of my friends' blogs, get some writing done, and if the idea of a "new lifestyle" from writing seems odd, I do recommend The 4 Hour Work Week. I use the stories as more of motivation and tips for staying productive than a set business plan, but it's a pretty cool work, and one that gets you thinking.


  1. Congrats on your 50th Post. I think that’s a major accomplishment (too many folks quit before they reach 50 posts). When I see the length of your posts and the amount of work you do in addition to your blog (your mind blowing March freelance writing goals), I’m amazed at your ability to produce so much in such a limited amount of time.

    It leads me to ask this question: Do you ever sleep? :)

    BTW, thanks for the NJFM shout out.

  2. Hi Felicia,

    Good to "see" ya' again! Appreciate the kind words. I have a long way to go before getting to your 500+ neighborhood, LOL. The ambitious writing goals for this month are ones that I am extremely proud of, and the benefits of setting those goals are already becoming crystal clear to me.

    I do occasionally sleep, LOL, but I'm really trying to work above and beyond now to reap higher payments by the end of the year and beyond. I have figured out that I feel at my best when I'm sleeping 4.5-5 hours a night instead of more. So my natural cycles do see me at my best with a few more hours than most people have.

    No problem for the shout out - it is very well deserved :) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Thanks a lot for linking to my blog! I'm really glad to hear you enjoy it.

  4. Hi Justin,

    Not a problem. I'm also a fan of the cities you choose - I lived in Austin for 2 years (and was there when I found your blog) and I've spent a lot of vacation time in Tampa the last 2 years trying to get into a position to move there myself, lol. So I enjoy the blog, and definitely approve of your choice in cities. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Well done Master DAyton - seems just yesterday you were starting out - now who's getting old LOL

  6. LOL - well I hit 30 in December, which is a weird psychological one, that's for sure. Doesn't seem like I've even been out of school that long, and here I am as an adult. Wonder when that happened, lol. Things are going swimmingly so far this year, hopefully I'll just keep hammering away and hit that breakthrough month here before too long. Just fell a few cents short of my first $20 AdSense day - so that's definitely a far cry from getting excited over my first 30 cent click :) Good to see ya' around!

  7. I just noticed the plug for my blog. I'm honored to be listed with some really great bloggers. Thanks for the vote of confidence and the traffic Master Dayton.

  8. Hey JadeDragon,

    Not a problem - it is very well deserved, and sorry about wherever I mentioned you as a "she" instead of "he." Kind of ironic since I have the same thing happen to me from people who I guess don't look at the picture - or assume I'm the bearded lady at the circus, maybe? I didn't even know "Shane" was a girl's name until this blog really started getting traffic, lol. Thanks for the kind words.