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Monetizing Creative Outlets

This article has been generously donated to InfoBarrel for Charities.
By Edited Sep 27, 2016 2 4

Some times I would hear individuals speak of specializing in a single field and or outlet because their focus is more concentrated. Focusing on a single thing hasn't been a strong point of mine for quite some time and the result is fairly positive; more or less depending on the kind of day I'm having. Zoning out and constantly changing my mind is an issue.

Growing up, one of my favorite past times was and still is drawing. This was followed by writing and playing video games. Writing took off quite well during my elementary and middle school years to the point of getting recruited by teachers to read my pieces to their class.

Of my drawings, there were at least two that were used in exhibitions for wildlife shows. I had a thing for sea turtles and illustrated them somewhat well in elementary school. Nowadays, my past times include a little bit more than the younger days.

What do I do with this basket of creativity? Put it to good use. 

Writing in the Details

Writing is one my first creative outlet that was utilized to generate income. It went from brief snippets to full fledged writing tasks of varying lengths. My strong points are rhyme-line poetry, haiku and creative writing.

Research writing or writing based on research is a strong suit that was put to use on Yahoo Answers for an extended time frame; which included but wasn't limited to homework assistance, anime/manga suggestions and just general responses. Somewhere along the way  Squidoo surfaced on radar where I started writing "lenses", Info Barrel equivalent to articles,  based on topics that were within my personal knowledge base. Of the 40-something pieces written: 3 focused on book reviews, 3 focused on educational funding while the bulk of the rest revolved around computer games.

Wanting to expand beyond a single writing outlet I signed up with iWriter because payment was based on articles written successfully for each client; you chose the client and the client determines if they like your end product. Its not, at the moment, consistent since there are requesters that try to undermine things. Still a good outlet that I've participated on alongside Squidoo.

IWriter is still wonderful and I have been placed on 3 to 4 buyers best writer lists. Of the 3 to 4, there is actually one where I can churn out articles for in no time because the topic is simple to write about. Recently they sent several articles - one after the other - for me to write and none have been rejected*.

Then things began to get a little meh with Squidoo. There was a wave of changes that resulted in a couple of my pieces getting knocked out of the rankings; one of which was a book review. So I started a blog on Blogger and posted the book review there**.

Getting views wasn't difficult because there was a strong following of the initial post so all I had to do was contact the books name sake on Twitter and let them know of the new location. Then it finally happened; Squidoo announced it was going bye-bye at the worst possible moment.

A BIG thank you to whoever wrote that blog post that directed me here. In the brief time I've been here, a month and some days, more earnings were generated when compared to three months on the other site.

So to recap the sites thus far:

  1. iWriter
  2. InfoBarrel
  3. Blogger

Elance and fiverr are considered honorable mentions because despite having an active account with these here folks, the competition is either fierce or the purchasers are trying to find ways to not pay what is owed. However that could just be me.

*One of the best clients I've had.

**The article was pretty much utilized as testing grounds for stating and maintaining a blog.

Leather Wallet with Dollars and a Gold Credit Card
Credit: VectorStock Provider, dunkan

Leather Waller with Dollars and a Gold Credit Card

This was the perfect vector I came across some months ago for an article where I needed to cover as many basis as possible wilst utilizing a single image. This vector was illustrated by dunkan of whom has a plethora of intriguing pieces within their VS portfolio.[1]

Drawing and Illustration

What started as a hobby/past-time became a nice outlet. The closest I came to generating income from my drawings was from entering and placing in contests. From here, I expanded to some art sharing sites.

DeviantART was the first since it was all schoolmates talked about while I was in school. My main submissions to the site are traditional drawings, computer illustrations and poetry. Photography is another medium I dabble in that gets submitted but on a few occasions with watermarks.

There are at least two ways in which to earn from your creative work while on the site. You can earn through their print shop which involves choosing your best work and offering it for purchase as a premium printed piece. Another method which varies throughout the year is earning through their hosted contests.

The last two or so contests that were held, that I can recall, are their contests for Final Fantasy Lightning Returns and Diablo 3. There is a current one on-going where dA has teamed up with the Art Institutes; if I'm understanding the wording accurately. Am hesitant to participate but will give it a shot.

To me, my work isn't even close to those produced by others on the site*. Yet this doesn't stop me because there are other outlets through which to sell my work. VectorStock is, as the title suggests, a stock site that houses a plethora of vector graphics created by users tagged as Contributors.

My portfolio is one submission strong and am currently working on other pieces to submit; still fairly new. Fotolia is another site where I have a stronger portfolio with eight (8) pieces strong; one of which was sold recently. GraphicRiver and iStock Photo are two other sites that I'm working to get established on.


Vector Stock, Fotolia and Graphic River are my outlets for vector graphics and select design pieces. There are items in the works that will be utilized to bring my ports (porfolios) up to date.

*I nitpick too much when it comes to my work but am fully capable of producing mind blowing illustrations.

Making the Most Out of What's Available

There are a variety of venues/outlets through which one can utilize to generate income. One venue is good but more than one is great. Even survey sites count as a venue.

Should your specialty include writing, then focus on writing platforms like InfoBarrel, SquareSpace, Blogger, WordPress, etc. For quick write outs explore literary magazines as well as greeting card businesses that need content written for their products. These can pay out anywhere from pocket change to covering one to two month's worth of rent; for the neighborhood I live in anyway.

You can go larger with the writing by going the route of novelist by writing and publishing your own written work. Some good outlets are Amazon and eHarlequin; there are others but these two I'm most familiar with. How about teaming up with someone who specializes in illustration?

There are illustrators that inquire the assistance of their writer friends to help write dialogue for serials they're working on. This can be anything from a comic strip to a full fledged graphic novel. It can even be to write a story based on illustrated scenes and or characters.

Speaking of illustration, you can compose illustrative pieces and sell them to interested parties either through third party sites or a site of your own. Remember the snippet where I mentioned deviant ART? Well make use of dA by utilizing it as an advertising platform.

A good example of this is through dA users redheadstock (Stephanie) who runs the ObsidianDawn site along with Lunarieen UK who makes and sells custom jewelry. They showcase their work on dA and provide links to where their products can be purchased. There are other users that do this as well that fall into the illustration category; at least a handful of the illustrators are recruited/invited to participate in big projects.

The same can go for other creative outlets like photography, design (all branches), architecture, cosmetology, etc. Even those skills that don't fall into a specific category like sand sculptor, sand artist, graffiti artist, model maker, costume player (cosplayer), costume designer, candy wrapper weaver, et cetera can be performed and expressed in a variety of ways; be it online, through an established business or in person via sales booth.

Ignore the Nay-sayers

There are countless individuals that will generate negative noise about those that have specialties encompassing creative ingenuity. It gets intense to the point where you just want to up and quit. Do yourself and others a favor by continuing what you do best.

You can't quit every time something doesn't go the way you expect it to on the first go; I speak from experience. Utilizing any and all resources at your disposal will grant many opportunities to express your skills to the right audience including potential clientele.



Oct 10, 2014 10:50pm
I agree with your attitude of never give up. And ignore the knockers, many sites really knock some of the writers for asking to them simple questions. Instead of trying to help them they give them a hard time. The newbies will often give up instead of ignoring those remarks and continue and in time improve. When doing any type of writing I think it is a continual learning process. We learn from our mistakes.
Oct 12, 2014 8:30pm
So true. After my stint with Squidoo, I've given my articles a major overhaul.
Oct 13, 2014 10:12pm
Ohh, so now I understand more about deviant art - catchy name. Keep on going along the path that feels right for you. We need to be unique voices on the internet (not copies of whoever "claims" to be the most successful). Yeah, you go girl!
Oct 5, 2015 9:28am
I like your advice about "ignoring the nay sayers." If I had listened to them, I would never have done anything creative or risky.
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  1. dunkan "Vectors by dunkan." Vector Stock. 17/04/2010. 2/10/2014 <Web >
  2. Robert Lee Brewer 2014 Writer's Market. Cincinnati : Writer's Digest Books, F+W Media, 2013.
  3. Lunarieen UK "Lunarieen Gallery." deviantART. 4/10/2015 <Web >
  4. redheadstock [ObsidianDawn] "redheadstock's Gallery." deviantART. 4/10/2015 <Web >
  5. Obsidian Dawn "Photoshop & GIMP Brushes, Photoshop Tutorials, Images, & More!." Obsidian Dawn. 4/10/2015 <Web >

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