The beginning of the month is often fraught with earnings concerns. What's it supposed to say? Is it taking too long? Here is the norm:
Your earnings for the month, on the "My Earnings" page, will say "Carryover" at first. It will say this even if the total for the month has not updated. It usually changes within the first day, but it can take longer if it's on a weekend. (And sometimes takes longer just because eHow is like that.)
If you have accumulated more than $10 in earnings, it should then switch over to "Pending." (If you've made less than $10, it will remain at "carryover" until you have earned enough to be paid - i.e. "made payout.")
Sometime within the next week or so, they will start processing payments. You will start to see reports trickle into the Community Chatter forums that payments are in, but the overall processing seems to take a whole day or two - not all at one time. (NOTE: eHow's policy is that they have a month to pay you - however, they usually process payments in the first two weeks.)
When you get paid you get an email from Paypal, and sometimes an email from eHow too.
If at any time in this process, your status says "Failed", go to the Feedback forum and check to see if there is already a discussion thread for people who have "failed" payments. Either add a post to that discussion which says you have the problem too, or if there is no discussion, start one with the following title:
BUG: earnings say "failed"
It's important to title your discussion properly or it may be deleted or ignored. Also they really hate if there are duplicate topics, so be sure there isn't already a topic before you start a new one.
Finally, if you find your earnings status is out of sync with the rest of the population (if it says "carryover" or "pending" more than a day longer than everyone else, for instance), then you should also check the forums and if necessary start a topic on that subject.