And Now a Word From Our…

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Courtesy of BlueDiamondGallery.com

Sponsor? I have no sponsor, and my accountant says that’s a problem because it also means I have no blogging income. Thus, after a year of blogging and accurately filling out the appropriate Schedule C form itemizing the costs I incur in this endeavor, I am in serious danger of slipping to the wrong side of the law.

According to my accountant, I will no longer be able to take those vast deductions, which could possibly reach all the way into the stratosphere of triple digits. 

I find it offensive to tell the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that I’m retired; it’s also not true. So I am seeking suggestions and guidance from my virtual friends in the blogging community who do monetize your blogs—or from anyone else with good, non-larcenous ideas. How do I make some money from this effort and allay my CPA’s concerns? 

It needn’t be a fortune, obviously. I love what I’m doing and will continue even if I don’t resolve this dilemma.

Blogging provides the ideal format for fulfilling my strong writer’s itch. As I’ve noted before, I am one happy blogger. But it would be quite nice to be able to cover my costs and then have a bit more to add to the retirement nutshell.

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I certainly do not intend to deny the IRS folks any monies due to the government. Still, my accountant is a straight arrow, a cautious soul, and she wants to make sure that if we’re audited, everything is copacetic. Apparently, she sees Annie’s Schedule C as a red flag. 

I’m not sure why she thinks the IRS would zero in on me, as they are no longer auditing billionaires—or nearly anyone else (except, of course, the President, which is the reason he can’t possibly show us his tax returns, even though the entire accounting world has said that’s a bogus excuse). Anyway, this post isn’t about income inequality, which I’ve addressed before and will again.

I find this IRS concern a bit annoying. I am a bona fide blogger with the statistics to prove it. I spend a good deal of time on my posts. I do a fair amount of research, and I like to print out articles so I can underline the points I want to include.

And the toner—wow, my printer eats through that stuff as if it were cotton candy. (Bad simile: cotton candy is definitely not something one wants anywhere near a printer!) 

And then there are the WordPress and domain fees, the fee for the relatively new special address that I use as my contact email but have been afraid to switch to elsewhere for fear of generating a techie snafu that would lose you all, and the occasional book I buy to further my research. 

Here’s where I need your help. I’ve read a number of articles about monetizing blogs, and the most prevalent way appears to be via WordPress AdWords. It seems that’s what many of the bloggers whose sites I frequent use. 

As I see it, one problem is that once you sign on with them, you are at the mercy of the bidders who buy their space.

Most of the time that wouldn’t be a problem for me; I wouldn’t mind a single discreet ad following the statement: “This post is ad-supported.” I’m not bothered by ads for Motley Fool, Wayfair, or AARP, which have all proliferated from time to time. 

But for a while, there was a gastroenterologist whose photo of a piece of intestine, cilia upright, was everywhere, and I found that picture odious.

Oops: I just got some key and slightly creepy information from a very smart techie relative who knows about such things.

Apparently, the ads you and I see are different: these ads are targeted to what the advertisers know about us.

So those of you who have never searched for anything gastro-related have probably been spared the intestinal cilia ads that inundated me for weeks.

Sometimes there are several ads breaking up the text; I would prefer that not be the case with my pearly prose.

If you use AdWords, what do you think? I’m not asking for your finances, of course–simply whether based on your experience, would you recommend this method to me?

Or do any of you use other approaches? I’ve rejected ideas that will require me to seek money from my readers; why would you want to pay for stuff you’ve been getting for free? (If I ever collect my posts into a volume or two, I may reexamine that conclusion.)

I eagerly await your responses. The end of the year approaches, as I have been procrastinating about this matter for months.

It seems appropriate (I’m not sure why) to end my request with a haiku:

Incandescent goal
Blogging fuels both head and heart
Bureaucracy bites

Annie

PLEASE NOTE: I had a tech snafu that whisked away my Comments box. It’s now back, so I hope if you’re revisiting, you’ll respond to my query–or say anything else you care to about this post. Thanks–and sorry for the inconvenience.

UPDATE: Many thanks to those who offered suggestions. I’ve decided to keep things as they are–absorbing the costs of continuing the blogging I love, and accepting the fact that in the eyes of the IRS, I am simply “retired.” So be it.

OMG! What Would Albert Schweitzer Have Said?

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This is not my victim.

Last night, I committed premeditated Murder One.

Specifically, it was beetlecide. Doing so was not my first preference. If a nearby window had been open, I would happily have deposited the little being where it belonged. That is my normal modus operandi.

Albert Schweitzer had an influence. Schweitzer, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 for his philosophy of “Reverence for Life,” reportedly believed that

“The ethical person goes out of his way to avoid injuring anything that is living; he doesn’t tear leaves from trees or step on insects…”

But this particular insect was wending its way along the parameters of a plastic bag to the left of my bedroom bureau—where I keep an untidy, in fact helter-skelterly overflowing mountain of such stuff to recycle as liners in our wastebaskets.

The fact that it (the beetle) was in an area so close to my bed raised the stakes vis-a-vis its imminent fate. Bedbugs would have been terrible, but bed beetle was not, to my mind, much better.

So while the beetle clung to the edge of the plastic bag, I carried it into the bathroom, where I committed it to an untimely watery death. At least I think I did. But who knows?

Lacking an entomology background, I couldn’t do an adequate I.D. It might be (present tense) a water beetle, in which case it could be gleefully swirling in the toilet eddies, soon to reascend—and possibly head straight toward my bed. It might even, next time, be accompanied by some compadres. So many tiny legs, marching in unison…

Still, I felt hypocritical. Last week, my post quoted the great spiritual leader Ram Dass about loving those one protests against as much as one loves oneself. Perhaps the beetle was lovingly calling my attention to those dreadful plastic bags—showing me that they had no place in my home—even if reused:

“Remember the post you wrote about climate change recently, Annie? Do you realize what damage you’re doing with all that plastic?”

(Wise emissaries show up in odd forms sometimes, don’t you think?)

And what did I do? I did not return its love. I did not even think of its possible message until it was too late. Instead, I used that pernicious plastic bag to transport it to what at best was a locale it hadn’t chosen to visit at that time. 

Where was the lovingkindness that’s so central to my mindfulness experience? I take it very seriously. And yet, without a backward glance, I had flushed it down the toilet. (To my regret, the ambiguous “it” in the previous sentence is both literal and metaphorical.)

Perhaps Ram Dass will forgive me? But I don’t think Albert Schweitzer would. As to my Inner Critic, the voice in one’s head that we imperfect mindfulness meditators know we must accommodate and not fight against or dwell upon—well, let’s just say we’re negotiating.

Alas, I just looked up a photo of a water beetle. No resemblance. Hence, my act was irretrievable. So the least I can do is create a memorial.

Haiku for a Dead Beetle

Merely existing
Luminescence and strangeness
Undeserving end

Annie