TANSTAAFL – There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch


“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” – attributed to Robert Heinlein in his 1966 book The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.  It is a great book.  Buy it and read it if you haven’t already.

When I set out writing this blog one of the things that I fully intended to avoid was giving bad or unsound advice.  Therefore as a beginning writer I feel that I have no business writing “How to” articles for example.  Unfortunately I nearly broke my own code recently in a fit of enthusiasm.

Every day I trawl the internet for ideas for this blog; creative writing, science fiction, general education and such like.  As is typical for the internet some of what I come across is rubbish and occasionally some of it is gold.

Well, I recently came across what I thought was gold and was tempted to blog about it here.  Of course the idea seems like a good one and there is a huge urge to share, but I have absolutely zero idea if it actually works!

While I was writing a long and enthusiastic post Heinlein’s words were ringing in my ears along with other wisdom such as “If it looks too good to be true, then it probably IS too good to be true”.  Maybe the cynical old goat in me won in the end.  Accordingly, I will explore the truth or otherwise of the situation and only post when I have some facts.

So what was my great idea?  It is hardly a new one, but it is something that I hadn’t actually seriously considered before.  It relates to writing articles online for cash, for sites like:


At the moment I am writing maybe one blog post a day, one short story a month and a novel maybe later this year.  The blog is mostly a labour of love, although I might kid myself it will help me become better known.  The short stories, even if all were published they will net me maybe £2-300 each.  The novel and its mythical advance payment is a totally unknown item.  None of these things are going to reliably feed me.

The sensible side of me knows that if I am to earn a living as a writer (one of my long term goals) then it will likely be damn hard work, so when a website offers me hard work and a little cash I jumped at the idea – only later considering if it was a real offer and not just hype and a con job.  Even writing this now I am no wiser.  The only solution is to try it and see.  Maybe I can make some lunch money?

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