Interview: Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

If you want to make money as a writer, follow Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen‘s example. She’s got six successful blogs and four ebooks, and yes, she earns a decent living from her writing without pitching articles to magazines. It can be done, and she’s doing it. She’ll talk more about that and gives other helpful tips below.

Enjoy this interview!

I’ve gushed about your writing for a long time now, and for good reason, your articles are wonderful. How did you get started writing online?

Thanks, Cherie — you’re a dear! 🙂 I started writing online with Suite101 (as the Psychology Feature Writer) in October 2006, and realized a few months later that I could be writing for myself. My own blogs, my own topics, my own format and style. I started my blog series about a year later, and I now have six “Quips and Tips” blogs. I love them, and can’t believe I found a way to earn money writing without feverishly pitching article ideas to editors! I’ve written for several national magazines — freelance writing — and am grateful for the experience, but don’t want to pursue it.

You have degrees in education and psychology. What attracted you to these subjects?

Psychology, because I’ve always loved thinking about people, human nature, and why we do what we do. And, I love learning how to be emotionally healthy! My mom suffers from schizophrenia — she is an identical twin; her sister who also had emotional and mental health problems — and living with her no doubt increased my thirst to learn about the human brain and behavior. And, I got a degree in Education because I thought I wanted to teach. I taught high school and grade 8 for three years, and that was enough.

You’re the author of three ebooks and creator of six successful blogs. Not only that, you’ve made blogging a successful venture financially. Any lessons you’ve learned or tips for newbie bloggers looking for make their site a success? Any more ebooks in the works?

I’m now the author of four ebooks — I just released my fourth ebook a few days ago: 80 Ways to Say “I Love You.” I share tons of writing and blogging tips on Quips and Tips for Successful Writers. I now earn over $150 day from my “Quips and Tips” blogs (which doesn’t count the money I earn from Suite101) — and I explain how to do it in 75 Ways to Make (More) Money Blogging. It’s a guidebook that I myself refer to every month, to make sure I’m doing all I can for my blogs.

There are so many lessons I’ve learned about blogging and writing! Two that are begging to be released: 1) Figure out what makes you a “real” writer — and develop a hunger for it. That is, if you feel like a “real” writer when you write for an hour a day, then build that hour into your schedule and do not let it go. If you don’t know why you want to write — or what defines you as a writer — then you can’t hunger for it…and you’re less likely to succeed. 2) If you want to make money blogging or writing for sites like Suite101, you need to buckle down for the long haul. Making money as a blogger is a small business venture, and it needs to be treated as such. And, you need to keep experimenting with different ads, ad formats, and affiliate programs until you find what works for you. I’ve found six affiliate programs that I love working with (ClickBank, Commission Junction, Google Adsense, ShareaSale, Amazon, and Mort Fertel). They work for me — but it took time to find them, and find the products that help my readers.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

Why, 73 Ways to Fire Up (or Just Fire!) the Muse, of course! Ha ha, I’m just kidding (it’s the first ebook I ever wrote). I can’t answer this question. The most interesting novel I’ve read recently is Bel Canto by Ann Patchett — we just discussed it in my book club last night. I love the nonfiction Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen because it changed how I view disease and death. I read all the time, and have loved so many books for different reasons.

Favorite authors?

Lots, so many, too many to name, where do I start?!

Book you’re currently reading?

I’m really enjoying The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks — it’s a nonfiction book about reaching your full potential, and pushing past fear and other obstacles. I love books about success, achieving goals, growth….which reminds me of how much I enjoy Malcolm Gladwell’s books! He be good.

Any type of writing ritual you have?

I don’t think so…I get up at 5 am because I’m too excited to sleep. Is that a writing ritual? Oh, and I stand while I write. I can’t sit for more than an hour or two.

In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?

To me, a successful writer is someone who can make a living by writing.

Advice for other writers?

Ride your horse in the direction it’s going.

Where can we learn more about you?

Why would you want to learn about me? Go visit my Successful Writers or Achieving Your Goals blogs — and apply those tips to your writing career or life plans!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for this opportunity, Cherie…it’s been a pleasure!

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2 Comments on "Interview: Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen"

  1. Cherie,

    Thanks for interviewing me — I love the way you pulled it together!

    I have another tip for freelance writers: join a business club. I joined one about 2 months ago, and we meet for breakfast every Tuesday morning. I turn down work every week from my fellow business owners — they have tons of leads, tons of potential work! But I’m happy with my blogs and current writing projects.

    Networking with other writers is a great way to pick up assignments, but networking with other entrepreneurs and business owners is even better — especially if you’re skilled in SEO and social networking!

    Tally ho,
    Laurie

    [Reply]

    Cherie Reply:

    Laurie,

    What a great tip. I think this is important, because freelancers sometimes feel they are “too busy” for business groups, but you have to look at as a way to learn from other entrepreneurs (and freelance writing IS a small business) and also it can provide a way to get referrals.

    You are very inspiring and I learned a lot! Thanks again.

    [Reply]

  2. Great inspirational interview Laurie! You are so right, it takes time to build an online small business and you have to have commitment to keep going and not give up when the earnings are tiny in the beginning. Congrats on your success and thanks Cherie for doing the interview 🙂

    [Reply]

    Cherie Reply:

    Helen,

    Thanks for your comment. I loved that Laurie talked about time involved, because sometimes new freelancers get frustrated when the money doesn’t immediately roll in. But Laurie is proof that it does, with persistent promotion, get writing, and yes… time. 🙂

    [Reply]

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