April 24, 2024

Well Earned & Well Spent: How Intuition guided me to spend my First Payment from Elephant Journal.


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{*Did you know you can write on Elephant? Here’s how—big changes: How to Write & Make Money or at least Be of Benefit on Elephant. ~ Waylon}

I became a writer the moment I learned to hold a pen.

Ever since I discovered the magical technique of turning lines of ink into letters others can read, I’ve written down everything I could. I fell in love with the way I can move the world that exists inside my head onto a paper and turn it into something I can touch. Something real.

My first short story won a writing contest for children and got published in one of the largest newspapers in Hungary when I was seven. Most of my work ended up collecting dust in my drawer, but the more confident I got in my art the more of my work was sent out into the publishing world, both print and online.

Writing has always been a way of expressing myself and what lives in me. I do it for my sanity. I do it even if no one cares—but boy does it feel good when you get offered a paid writing position, doesn’t it?

For a while, I worked part-time for an online magazine and I felt like I had made it. I earned some money from my articles, which covered my groceries each month but then writing became a chore instead of a way of creative self-expression. So I looked for other sites where I could publish articles about the things that really interest me. That was when, after being a reader for years and only dreaming about being published on Elephant Journal, I took a leap and published my first article.

It felt so liberating. No more writing stuff just because it sells, no more Victoria’s Secret model diets, no more “nobody cares about your Hungarian things”—I was free to share whatever flew through me. And there was a lot.

Almost every day, I was typing the words for my next piece in my home office, the sun rays shining through the window beside me, filling the room with warm amber lights. One day, a familiar bing of an incoming email pulled me out of my flow. I looked up and thought the outside world looked so beautiful I should go on a walk, so I almost didn’t check that email. But I did, and the excitement it caused was beyond my measure.

My boyfriend thought a bug bit me, as I let out the strangest scream he’d ever heard from me. The email was from Elephant editors and was congratulating me for being paid for one of my articles that was a hit. This was the first time ever! I nearly fainted—I was so happy, proud, and grateful my eyes even teared up.

For the next few days, I told everyone, “I got paid for my article!” The weeks went by and my excitement settled until the first of March when my payment showed up in my Paypal account.

I was on a walk again by the river that flows around our town like some wild serpent when I came back around on the trail and ended up by Aldi, a chain grocery store. I rarely come here to shop because it’s 2 km from my house and I like to visit the stores but don’t want to carry my bags for 20 minutes. But this time, I felt the store was pulling me like a magnet. I didn’t need anything, so naturally I became hesitant and tried to out-reason my intuition to go in but I gave in.

Nothing good ever came from me ignoring my intuition, especially when it was calling me so loud and even if it’s for a minor thing like dropping in a grocery store. So just to calm my thinking brain I told myself: “Okay, I’ll just drop by and see if they have any agave syrup and then go. It’s gonna be quick.”

Guess what? It wasn’t.

At the door, I was greeted by a sweet French lady, who held a paper bag and a flyer and was explaining something passionately, only to get disappointed by my “Je suis désolé, je ne parle pas français.” (Sorry, I don’t speak French.)

It didn’t stop her though, and she continued. It took me a good 10 seconds to realize that she wasn’t speaking French anymore, but English with a strong accent. I refused to take a bag at first but I only made it about three steps and turned back around. “I changed my mind; please give me a bag.” I felt terrible, like I was doing something wrong but she was so sweet explaining what the bag was for, and I appreciated her efforts. Not many people in rural France speak English, or at least, they say they don’t, but for me, even a few English words are helpful since my French is still so basic.

Also, the paper bag she offered was for a good cause. They were handing them out so when customers shopped they could put items in it that would be donated to people in need. In that moment, I knew that this was the reason why I was called into the store that day. I didn’t need anything—but someone else did. And if I am in the fortunate situation that I can afford to buy food for someone else, why wouldn’t I?

So I paced the aisles and filled up my paper bag: pasta, tomato sauce, oil, canned fish, ratatouille, polenta. Whatever I found useful and healthy and in family pack went into the bag. I had a vision of a family in front of me who’d be able to eat well from these ingredients for a couple of days. Bless them.

As I arrived in our tiny apartment and was telling my boyfriend about my hike and how I ended up in Aldi to grocery shop for an unknown family, another email notification chimed in. I checked my phone. The payment from my article had been converted from U.S. dollars into euros—and the amount was exactly the same as on the receipt from Aldi.

Well earned and well spent, I thought with a little smile that warmed my heart.


{Please consider Boosting our authors’ articles in their first week to help them win Elephant’s Ecosystem so they can get paid and write more.}


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