The Shocking Truth about me & Elephant Journal.

babarThis is not what I posted on February 5, 2014.

This is a revision.

Life is a constant process of revision, is it not?

So, the backstory…

I started writing for elephant journal four years ago, in October 2010. About a year an a half ago, Waylon Lewis, elephant’s editor-in-chief, generously started offering an incentive system and thereby paying writers based on our views per month.

On Friday, January 31, I submitted my monthly view count total. I thought the deadline was February 1, since, previously, the monthly deadline had always been by noon on the 1st of the month.

I’d worked hard and written a ton and was set to earn $400. I was pretty proud of myself. Then, I promptly received an email reply from the managing editor saying that I was late and would receive $0. This happened to be the very last day of my four-month unpaid apprenticeship for the site, which involved biweekly group meetings, editing, publishing and sharing articles on social media.

I argued and asked for an exception to be made for me and another apprentice who made the same error. The whole thing blew up fast as soon as I logged in to Facebook and joined in on a chain of comments on a group post that ended with Waylon saying he wanted to part ways. He contacted me privately later. We cleared the air, some. He did pay me the $400, which I appreciated. However, I was no longer welcome.

A few days later, I wrote a blog (this blog) called “The Shocking Truth: Why I No Longer Write for Elephant Journal.” I explained the situation from my point of view at the time, and I attacked elephant journal.

A month later, a friend of mine from back home in Texas read the aforementioned attacking post and took it upon herself to email elephant journal and bitch at them on my behalf—unbeknownst to me. At which point, Waylon wrote a post publishing her email, chewing me out, and linking to my personal blog post. That day in March, my blog received a record number of views: 1,236. (Like I said, it’s miniscule.)

I changed my post’s privacy to password-protected, and no one but me had the password. (No one ever asked me for it, either, though this post continues getting hits every month. In fact, it’s the 6th most popular post of all-time on this blog.)

Elephant’s post about me disappeared into the ether that same day. I wrote my friend, the instigator, and she felt terrible about causing the drama. She realized that she had reacted irrationally and that irrational reactions were a pattern in her life.

I started writing for elephant again in May and have earned money for my efforts for all but one of the past five months.

Today, I made this post public again and revised it to what you’re now reading.

The air needed to be cleared. I fucked up. I made mistakes. I have learned from them.

I am publicly, officially sorry for any harm I may have caused to elephant journal through my un-mindful reactions and actions earlier this year. I hope to be forgiven.

Related posts:

You should write for elephant journal.

Why I’m Writing.

Published by yogafreedom

Michelle Margaret Fajkus is a yoga teacher and freelance writer, editor and translator, as well as the creator of Yoga Freedom. She is a 30-something gringa Gemini in Guatemala where she lives with her family. Michelle learned yoga from a book at age 12 and found zen in California at 23. A native of Austin, Texas, she enjoys reading, writing, hiking, swimming and lounging in hammocks.

Join the Conversation


  1. i received a financial arse kick last month; thank you for the reminder to be grateful. i’ve been reading your work since you started writing there, and look forward to its future. it’s nice that they’re paying, but the requirement to have the writer submit their numbers rather than running the numbers themselves from a list of participants, seems very clunky, if not designed for acrimony.. peace and brilliance to you.

  2. Hi Michelle:

    I’m sorry that our relationship ended as it did.

    I was stunned at how quickly the conversation you are referring to spiralled out of control and have not been able to find words enough to reach out to you.

    Even now, I struggle.

    It was not my intent to shame you—my post in the private group was mostly out of surprise and it was clearly a mistake on my part. Please accept my deepest apologies—it is not in my habit or practice to shame anyone and that you felt that’s what I was doing is deeply saddening to me.

    I wish you well and hope that your writing career takes you to all of the places your heart desires.

    Best wishes,


  3. Thank you, Bryonie.

    I know it was not your intention to shame us, but as I reflected on what happened with Jes, that’s what it felt like. It would have been nice to be notified of the deadline before rather than after the fact, but that’s what makes it a deadline, I suppose. This didn’t come up in December, since I submitted on the 30th of that month, not knowing the deadline was on the 31st rather than the 1st.

    Anyway, the truth is that I was putting *all* my writing efforts into elephant and tallying up numbers and meeting my goal was becoming more important than the writing itself. So, this abrupt ending, difficult as it is to process and accept, will probably, ultimately, be the best thing for my creative career.

    Thank you for reaching out; I appreciate your kindness and compassion.


  4. Hello Michelle,

    Sorry that this happened. I didn’t realize that Elephant Journal was run by bureaucratic assholes in disguise. Is there anyway that you can post your articles from EJ on a more friendlier website so that I can still read them? Sometimes, I will read an article once but do not notice its wisdom until a second, third, or even fourth, reading. Thank You!


  5. Wow. I went to great lengths to resolve an error that was not my or our doing. We do require writers to send us their totals for the month, like any business, we need those who earn money through us to send in invoices, so that we can pay everyone at the same time, and my sweet, kind accountant of 11 years, Samara, doesn’t go prematurely bald.

    That I made an exception for Michelle and the other writer and paid you in full does not merit this rather nasty message. That you are further adapting our training (which we put so many years and hours and so much love and attention into) for your own for-profit training, without asking me, is further evidence that something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Not that Denmark should be blamed for everything.

    As for being fired, wow. I asked you two to take a break from writing from elephant for a few months, months, months, not forever. Why? Because you both “publicly” attacked elephant for having the gall to have a deadline, as in dead-line, not wishywashykindaline, so that we could pay you and other writers. We pay writers a ton of money, and that’s rare online, and we do it because we value writers.

    You are creating discord, rather than understanding. That is not a path you will enjoy walking. But it is yours to choose.

    Yours in the Vision of Enlightened Society,


  6. Dear Waylon and team,

    I did not adapt your training for my own blog, for-profit, without letting you know.

    What I did was update a post of blogging tips that had been published on elephant and posted a revised version of the tips on my personal blog. With the intention of helping novice bloggers. Not stealing. Not adapting something of yours. Not for profit.

    What I also did was write a blog post on my personal, tiny, nothing, speck of a blog about why I am no longer writing for your huge, powerful, important blog anymore. I shouldn’t have used the word “fired,” even in quotes, since I was not fired.

    I am sorry that my friend found it necessary to write you that email, but it was her choice, not mine.

    I don’t want to fight. It wasn’t my intention to smear elephant; I was merely expressing my own, personal, subjective experience on my blog.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: