Yahoo! Voices Will Be Quieted Soon Though It Is Where I Found My Voice
It was in December 2008 that a retired Air Force acquaintance suggested to me that I should submit a patriotic piece I had written to a site called, "Associated Content" (AC). I did not think that anyone would want to read it, but I looked into it and decided to sign up on December 19, 2008.
What I had written as a way to reconnect with my military past has since been published and shared with many veterans all over the world. I even developed that piece into a 10-minute speech version I have delivered many times in the past five years.
I did not believe that anyone would ever want to read what I had to write, hear what I had to say. I had "lost my voice" decades earlier, often times telling people what I thought they wanted to hear. So many times, I would never disclose what I really wanted to say. The reason I started to write was to find my voice.
I was not a very prolific writer, nor did I seem to have a niche. I continued to write about things that I found interesting or that were on my heart. I had a lot of breaks where I suffered from "writers' block," though I think I was not used to the honesty and vulnerability that I shared.
I was surprised that AC started to target me for submissions. There were some articles that I was commissioned to write, and was paid 25 dollars upfront for one particular article to one of their partners. I received by-line credit, but was unable to retain any rights. I started to learn more about freelance writing.
I think it was in early 2010 that Yahoo! Voices bought Associated Content. It was also the year that I decided to try writing more often and opened myself up to following things that seemed to generate a lot of traffic . It was also the year that I had the greatest amount of success.
The Bachelorette with Ali Fedotowsky and Roberto Martinez became a bit of a "cash cow" for me when they were in the news. I felt as if I were selling myself out.
It was in 2011 that I stopped writing as much, as I became consumed with life's changes. My mother was rather ill and eventually passed away in June that year. I submitted only 10 times that year, most being emotionally driven pieces, often poetry. I also submitted the eulogy I delivered at Mom's memorial.
In 2012 and 2013, I submitted only three small pieces to Yahoo! Voices. I began telling my own stories of dealing with a diagnosis on my blog, as well as signing up with another writing site, Bubblews. Even though I had not written for AC, nearly every month I have received a small payment of two dollars based on traffic.
Now, five and a half years later, Yahoo! Voices will go quiet and the content I have written there will also go quiet and will be removed.
Of course, I have four weeks to go back and download/copy and archive all my material so it will not be lost forever. It is in these moments that I wonder why I did not do it five years ago!
There is a sadness for me in these changes, even though I have not been active there in several years. I had plans of resurrecting my presence on the site. It is as if I have found out that an old friend has passed away and I never got to say, "Goodbye."
I am eternally grateful for the opportunities I have had by making that first submission and each subsequent piece I have ever written. If not for AC and Yahoo! I would not have learned what I have about writing and myself. Nor would I have made the long-time friends I have made, whom I followed to the other sites, and some of whom have become my family.
And though Yahoo! Voices will soon be quieted, my experience there has taught me to never be afraid to say what needs to be said.
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