That’s it: I received my first paycheck for writing stuff. So I’m an official author now. The articles I write deal with all kinds of FLOSS, but the first article was about KDE.
Thanks Troy for encouraging me to answer a call by a German Linux magazine for a needed article about KDE’s Kontact: that started it all. The next thing I know was that I was writing for a specialized, high profiled German Linux magazine about Kontact’s groupware/enterprise features from an Administrator point of view. After some days of reading, local testing and chatting with the developers (thanks for the review, Tobias!) I finished the article and sent it in – and the editor was very pleased. Well, at least he told me so 😉
Anyway, the article was published (the magazine is really specialized, one issue costs more than 80,- €, so unfortunately no link here), and I was paid. At that point another magazine was already waiting for more articles, and I wrote them as well. This time it was about the basics of building rpms (on OpenSuse, with some hints for Fedora) and the basics of the screen recorder recordMyDesktop. And the next article is already on the desk of the editor, again about a KDE topic.
How did it start?
I never estimated that I would really get money out of writing: I started blogging almost a thousand days ago just for myself. The blog was a place to write down my own thoughts and opinions and was mainly used to form them into real words. Also, it was simply fun.
Later on I transformed it into a place to improve my English language skills while I was abroad anyway. That was a great training, and I kept on blogging in English since the audience is much larger. As a result more and more people picked up the blog, left comments and encouraged me to write more and more. This made me a bit a “part of the community” – not as a coder but more or less as some kind of a “reporter”. One of the side effects was that my blog – and therefore also my name – got known in certain communities.
This again lead to get in contact with these communities – the best example is most certainly the KDE community. Another good example is the Fedora community were I am also a small package maintainer.
And finally Troy told me that an author for a computer magazine article was searched.
Of course this has influence on my blog: writing in more professional ways helps me to improve my skills. Also, it forces me to stay informed and therefore continue my work on this blog. Also, I already used some of the money to buy a webcam and wrote about my experiences here.
But since I’m not allowed to post the stuff I’ve written for the magazines here in the blog I wonder myself if that influences the content I post here. This might be, I’m not sure. But then I have a long, long queue of to-be-done blog posts anyway and I have only very limited time due to the fact that I’m close to handing in my final thesis. Also, the articles I write for computer magazines are either high specialized, long and need much of time (and therefore are not suitable for blogs) or are howtos explaining things which most of my readers know anyway.
In the long term?
Until now I’ve just written a set of articles due to the already mentioned thesis. (For the same reason I blogged less and less in the last weeks and even months, btw.)
However, I realized that I can really imagine myself as a reporter/writer/journalist for tech related media: in Germany we have several big, high quality publishing houses with printed magazines but also online news and I could imagine myself working for these. Also, there are some English media out there and I would love to continue writing in English! Besides, while I’ve studied physics now for years and really enjoyed it I think that a break for like 6 months wouldn’t be that bad. My experiences in writing my final thesis are quite manifold and a pause from all this could do me well.
Anyway, I could make some money in this way to fill in the gaps after my thesis but before I get a real job. The money I get depends on the needs of the magazines and the ideas I have myself, and as you can imagine I have several ideas in the line all the time, so the problem is more my own time and of course the needs of the magazine publishers. So maybe after handing in my final thesis I will check around for more Linux/FLOSS related magazines and ask them if they need articles. Would be a nice change, actually.
Last but not least, one of my dreams was and is to work at an Open Source company. Since my coding skills are not good enough for working as a developer, writing articles could make it easier for me to apply for a job as a consultant or similar at some point. Who knows?
First and foremost I’d like to thank Troy – he was the one who encouraged and supported me to get it started. Second I’d like to thank my girlfriend JuVlai for also supporting and encouraging me in the difficult thesis time to take this article job to get a feeling of it.
And of course thanks to all the other people and community members who encouraged me, gave me constructive feedback and just visited my blog and enjoyed it. There are much too many names to list them all here, but to all of them: