This week: Paid MembershipsEdited by: Jeff
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"You never know what you can do until you try,
and very few try unless they have to."
-- C.S. Lewis
About The Editor: Greetings! My name is Jeff and I'm one of your regular editors for the Noticing Newbies Official Newsletter! I've been a member of Writing.com since 2003, and have edited more than 350 newsletters across the site during that time. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me via email or the handy feedback field at the bottom of this newsletter!
With The StoryMaster recently modifying the benefits of a Premium Plus membership, I thought it might be a good time to write a newsletter focusing on paid memberships on this site, and the idea of paid memberships in general.
First, let's take a look at paid memberships on this site in particular. "Compare Free and Paid Membership Benefits" will give you a great breakdown of what's included in every membership level here on Writing.com, and I won't take up your time by going into too much detail, since the chart speaks for itself. For anyone who may have missed it, the Premium Plus membership (WDC's highest paid membership tier) used to be $420/year and have a number of custom web hosting functions. Those functions didn't really catch on, so The StoryMaster dropped the Premium Plus membership to $260/year and added much more storage space for the kinds of things many members have been wanting (more email capacity, the ability to host more books, documents, shop items, etc.).
If you're a regular member of the site and want to take advantage of everything this site has to offer, chances are the portfolio limit of 10 items on the free account will quickly get maxed out. Not to mention that you're ineligible for some really great contests like the official monthly writing contests which offer up millions of GPs' worth of prizes every single month! Ultimately, the level of membership you need here depends largely on what you want to do with your time here. By and large, Upgraded and Premium Memberships are the most common options for those who are heavily involved in activities on the site, and don't want to hassle with having to frequently delete items out of their port to make room for new ones.
Your membership level may also be limited by the amount of money you have for discretionary spending, although one of the great things about this community is that there are a number of groups and organizations (like "RAOK Upgrade Brigade Group" ) that gift paid memberships to those in need, and you can always run your own fundraiser to pay for your membership. Since paid memberships can be funded with Gift Points, it makes Writing.com one of the easier paid memberships to maintain if you're proactive in the community and don't mind putting in a little legwork to earn the GPs necessary to pay for your membership.
The second thing I want to talk about in this newsletter, though, is the importance of paying to support the things that are important to you in general. And this isn't just about Writing.com (although, to be fair, it is one of those things that's important to me). One of the best things that we can do for the businesses and causes that we like, is to support them with our dollars. Financial support allows them to keep doing what they're doing, and if you're someone who is benefitting from their work, it makes sense to support them in this way. That's not to say that you should ever put yourself in a position where you're spending money you can't afford. But if you can afford it, paying for a membership to something you use frequently isn't unreasonable.
Many of us are conditioned from an early age to be frugal. We're taught not to pay for things we don't need, and to avoid paying for things when we can get them for free. But that only makes sense to a point. Where it stops making sense is when it's inhibiting your enjoyment of a thing, or when the ancillary costs become untenable.
This happened to me with YouTube. As most of you know, YouTube is a free video service. You don't need to pay money to watching videos on YouTube. You do, however, have to watch a ton of ads in order to get that content for free. YouTube does offer a "YouTube Premium" subscription option for $10/month, which among other features, gives you ad-free videos on the platform. For me personally, it's worth that $10/month, because I use YouTube a lot, both for personal and professional reasons, and the ten bucks every month saves me countless minutes and hours of sitting through ads before a particular video I want or need to watch finally loads up. For me, the paid subscription to YouTube is more desirable than the time I'd lose by keeping a free account instead.
The same is true of Writing.com. I recently upgraded to a Premium Plus membership to take advantage of the new features that were being offered. Was it strictly necessary at this point? Not really. But there will be a point in the not-too-distant future where I will use up my portfolio space, or where I'll need to create more than the 25 book items that my prior Premium membership allowed me to create. And, at that point, the extra $120/year will be worth it to not have to spend a ton of time figuring out what I want to delete from my port to make room for the new stuff.
Now I know that $260/year for a membership to a writing website might seem crazy to some of you and, honestly, it probably is a little bit. But I've also been here for nearly 20 years, and it's not a stretch to say that I visit this website every day, even multiple times a day. I spend countless hours on this site every year, so $260 each year ($0.72/day) is a worthwhile investment to make sure I'm able to experience everything this site has to offer. Especially since some, if not all, that $260 can be paid for with Gift Points that I've earned throughout the year by participating here on the site. For many of you, that will be way too much. Maybe you're a more casual user of the site and therefore it makes more sense to maintain a $50/year ($0.14/day) Upgraded Membership, which allows you to do almost everything on the site, only with less capacity.
There are a lot of reasons not to pay for something. And I'd argue that's a good thing. You'd go broke giving money to every person and every cause that asked it of you. And it'd be foolish to waste money on things you don't or won't use. But this newsletter isn't about those situations. This newsletter is instead about those situations where you do get something valuable out of a service or community or opportunity, and making sure you support those things with your dollars, to whatever extent that makes sense for you.
I work in the entertainment industry, and part of my job includes keeping up on the popular movies and television series that are released. So I pay for a lot of subscriptions to streaming services that someone like my dad probably thinks are a waste of money (and, to be fair, for him they would be because he wouldn't use them), and it doesn't really bother me. On the other hand, my friends and family spend a lot of money on things that I don't think are that important (including but not limited to: wine, cars, in-app purchases, etc.), but those things are important to them, so it makes sense that they'd spend money on those things.
This isn't a sales pitch to try and get you to buy a Writing.com membership if you really don't want one. No judgement if you're a casual, infrequent user of this site and want to keep it that way. It is a sales pitch to try and get you to buy one if you do want one, would use one, and the only thing holding you back is the idea that it's somehow a waste of money or ill-advised to have a paid membership when you currently have a perfectly good free one. It's important to financially support the things that are important to you, and especially so when you get something out of the transaction that will make your life easier, more enjoyable, etc.
So whether it's a membership here on Writing.com, or a favorite author asking you to contribute a dollar a month to their Patreon, or a streaming service that has a show you really want to watch, or a hobby that you really enjoy ... take the time to evaluate whether you can afford to spend money on supporting that thing and, if you can, consider giving yourself permission to do so. Paid Memberships (to whatever you are okay paying for) are an important part of the economy and in showing your support for the things that are important to you.
Until next time,
If you're interested in checking out my work:
"What I'm Talkin' 'Bout"
"New & Noteworthy Portfolio Items"
This month's official Writing.com writing contest is:
I also encourage you to check out the following items:
EXCERPT: The thing about loving is you never get enough of him.
EXCERPT: Sorry, it's been so long. I felt like I had told you everything. Like my tears fueled the river of words that flowed so easily to you and now…Now my thoughts store back up in the clouds, waiting for the right moment to fall and flow again.
EXCERPT: Her eyes glistened with the desire to begin a long journey called life. Radiating an overwhelming sense of happiness, the infant baby girl began to smile at the two people who she now knew as her parents.
EXCERPT: The little blond girl peeks into the living room. 'Perfect' she thinks. All the adults are too absorbed in the game to notice her spying.
EXCERPT: After school Izumi went up the tallest building and sat down as it was a place that she would go when she needed to calm down. Then she heard a loud boom that shattered the fragile tranquility of the roof. Clouds of smoke covered the sky and in the distance plums of flames ominously flicked below the black vail.
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Feedback from "Noticing Newbies Newsletter (March 10, 2021)" about WDC newbies not necessarily being new writers:
From Sumojo :
I so agree with you about newbies, perhaps a new name for new to the site, experienced writers.
It's an interesting idea, but sometimes having too many categories to divide people up into can get cumbersome and difficult to manage. In this case, how would the site vet experienced writers in order to differentiate those "newbies" from new writer newbies? In general, and especially in the absence of that kind of detailed knowledge, I usually find it easier to just treat people like they're just as experienced as you are, if not more so ... at least until they prove themselves otherwise.
From K.HBey :
Newbies are authors too and all of us have been newbies first. Also, whatever is our writing experience we always learn new things.We are in a continual learning and teaching.
This wonderful web site is a big literature school indeed.
Newbies need a great editor too indeed.
I'm glad that you enjoyed it. Thank you for taking the time to submit feedback!
From CircAid :
You are spot on! I am an older person, published in a minor way, who now has more time to write. Just a couple of days here, and I have found excellent writing from fellow black cases. I look forward to readinf and writing more.
Welcome to the site! I'm glad you've enjoyed the experience so far, and have connected with fellow writers. Good luck with your goals of reading and writing more!
From Jace :
Welcome to the Noticing Newbies NL editorship. Great article, Jeff--spot on. I've found Newbies to be a source of fresh, often interesting information and insight into the workings of WDC. And I continue to learn from that.
Thanks, Jace! I'm looking forward to getting more plugged into the newbie community here than I have been in a while. I agree, newbies can be a great resource for new, fresh perspectives on things.
From Trav :
I have been writing ever since grade school. I think I have gotten a bit rusty since I wrote the Aquaman Movie.
I've been writing since grade school too! My very first short stories were assignments for my fourth grade class.
From dog pack:saving4 premium renew :
Submitted item: "TOGETHER SEPARATELY " [ASR]
I agree and am glad you wrote about the subject. I believe we can learn from each other no matter our level of writing, amount of time on WDC, or amount of time on earth. Writing is a process and the more we write, and learn from doing this activity the better we can become. Sharing knowledge is a precious gift.
Safe travels and many blessings.
Very true. Experienced members of a community can learn a lot from the fresh eyes of newer members. There's often an inclination to value experience over everything else, but a lot of times some of the most creative ideas come from thinking outside the box rather than inside of it.
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