Last week in my Facebook group, The 1% Writers Club (you can join the group here—it’s free), I asked: who wants to be a full-time writer?
Out of the 65 people who responded, 60 said HELL YES, that’s me!
And it makes sense. Most writers who were born to write want to do it full-time. That’s kind of a no-duh, I think.
Problem is, most writers don’t know what it really takes to be a full-time writer (and most aren’t willing to do the work—but that’s a whole other thing). They just imagine Stephen King or J.K. Rowling and see themselves sitting around all day drinking coffee and writing fiction.
And that’s totally fine. We’ve all imagined that scenario before.
But a lot of times it doesn’t quite happen that way. And when you look at most writers who are making a full-time living from their writing, you’ll find that, nine times out of ten, they’ve diversified.
They’re not just writing novels. They’re also writing nonfiction eBooks, freelance articles, doing some editing and creating digital products and services, for example.
A writer who makes a full-time living from their writing knows you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. At least not at first.
Unless you really do want to stay in your day job until you can write fiction full time. (That could take a while.) If you do, then go ahead and wait.
But if you’re totally impatient like I am, I want you to know that can actually make a living from your writing in 8 to 12 months (maybe even sooner) if you diversify and don’t just try to do one thing.
And really, why would you want to do just one thing? Owning a writing business and being a full-time writer is so much more fun when you’re doing lots of different things.
When I first quit my job in 2012 to take my writing business full-time, 90% of my money came from freelance writing projects, including writing copy, blog posts, emails copy, and social media content for companies. The other 10% came from my eBooks and coaching writers.
After a couple years, those percentages shifted, and most of my money was coming from coaching, writing services (like editing) and selling digital products.
And now, after years of dreaming about it, a decent chunk of my income each month comes directly from my books (like this month, for example, I’ve made $1,190 so far… and the month isn’t even over yet).
Did this happen overnight? No.
Did it happen from one book? No.
Did it happen from doing only one thing? No.
It came from diversifying. From writing fiction and nonfiction. From creating digital products and doing virtual workshops. From offering writing services and private coaching.
I no longer do freelance writing. I no longer take on writing projects where I’m required to write for someone else.
All of the writing I do is stuff I actually want to be writing. It’s writing I want to be doing.
The point of all this is to show you what it really takes to make a living as a writer. And also to inspire you to see that you don’t have to wait until you’ve made enough money from your books to become a full-time writer.
You can start right now. Here’s how:
> Act As If—whoever that writer is you dream of being, be that person RIGHT NOW. Pretend you’re already a writer who makes a full-time living from your writing and then ask yourself every single day, what would I do if I was already that writer? When you absolutely believe at your core that you ARE that writer—even if your reality says otherwise—you WILL become that writer.
> Start Doing Some Freelance Writing—there are tons of websites out there that list paid freelance writing gigs. Some pay more than others, but even the lower paying ones can be great experience for a writer who wants to get a foot in the door. One of my favorite freelance gig sites is: jobs.problogger.net.
> Get On A Freelance Site—sites like fiverr.com and upwork.com are great places to offer writing services, depending on the kind of writing you enjoy. You can set up a profile and then offer yourself up as a writer-for-hire.
> Ask Around—let people know that you’re looking for paid writing gigs. You never know who has a connection or contact. When I first left my job I reached out to all the people I used to work with and asked them if they knew of anyone looking for content marketing and social media services (which is how I was using my writing back then) and I ended up with several new projects only a couple weeks later.
> Write A Self-Help Book—now you should only do this if you’ve accomplished something worthwhile or if you’ve got a lot of knowledge and experience in a certain topic. But in 2014 (the most recent stats I could find), self-help was a $10 billion dollar industry, a big chunk of which included books. Just imagine where it is now! And the reason?
People, more than ever, want to learn, grow and achieve things in their lives. They want to save money and learn how to do stuff themselves. They want to self-heal by using advice and experiences from people who’ve gone through what they’re going through and came out the other side.
So writing a book about something you’ve been through or know a lot about is a great way to jump-start your pro-writing life and, if you do a good job, make some money.
There are so many ways for you to start your pro writing career RIGHT NOW TODAY. You just have to be flexible and open to the idea of diversifying.
Yes, we’d all love to do nothing more than write and publish our novels (or nonfiction books). And, yes, this can absolutely happen.
But it’s not gonna to happen fast (in fact, it could take years and years and years). Whereas you can literally start freelance writing tomorrow. Money in hand, writing out in the world.
Pro writer, baby.
A lot of writers who see themselves as making a full-time living from writing only see themselves writing books. And while you can do that, you’re much better off diversifying.
There are a lot of different ways to get in the pro-writer game, so don’t limit yourself. Explore all of your options and push yourself to try new things.
Your full-time writer self will thank you for it.
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Which of the 5 options will try to start getting your writing out there and making some money.
2 Replies to “5 Ways to Make Money From Your Writing”
I’m a legally blind African American writer who is struggling trying to find a literary agent for my first novel completed February 2015. Unfortunately, what I have discovered is that the book buying public is very subjective, and my work, which fits no specific category could be labeled cross-genre, because it touches on everything. In any case, my income is very fixed as an outcome of being visually impaired, and therefore, the highs and lows to stay passionate about my craft has been a challenge, because I only saw the dream of a road to be published by acquiring a literary agent. I see that my work will more than likely be on the route of self-publishing, however, that will take time, so in the meanwhile, I need to make money, and at the same time, cut my teeth, for I have something to say from the slice of life marginalized eloquently, and never bombarding readers accustomed to the riches of mainstream society. I believe my work addresses everyone. I also must admit, that living life with a disability an especially a visual impairment, unable to drive, no social life, economically improvished borderline, and a semmingly permanent disconnect from family that refuses to see my circumstances, another essay or book idea altogether , I have lacked the confidence to make myself available for opportunities, which is to ultimately be vulnerable, a writer’s talent.
Thank you for your advice
@LOM You’re welcome! Glad it was useful for you.