Most people become writers because they love the written word. However, it’s nice to make money from your writing. There are many ways to make money from writing: work for a company in an office in a writing-related position, work as a freelance writer, publish your personal writing, and work as a teacher of writing. I will discuss these options in detail below.
Work for a company in an office in a writing-related position
There is a misconception that there are not many writing jobs out there. However, the fact is just the opposite. There are over 15 major writing positions available to writers on the market. The popular ones are: technical writer, content writer, journalist, copywriter, editor, proofreader, copyeditor, screenwriter, and more. If someone discourages you from taking up a career as a writer, you should tell them about these options. In fact, in every company, they hire writers to create content for their websites, marketing materials, policy information, and more. So, pursuing a professional career as a writer, or a career related to writing, is not whimsical.
For these positions, you’ll need a solid resume, previous experience, a professional portfolio of your work, and at least a bachelor’s degree in a writing-related discipline. Your resume should be checked by someone you trust, and should also be catered to the positions you are applying to. Employers often ask for a few years of experience, but having only an internship under your belt can be enough. A professional portfolio is commonly asked from employers, or at least samples of your writing. Therefore, it is important to compile your pieces of writing in a variety of tasks in order to showcase your skills, style, and competence. Your portfolio should be edited thoroughly to make sure no mistakes are present in the samples of your writing. In terms of education, to make money writing, it is important to have at least a bachelor’s degree related to writing. If your degree is not connected to writing, you can still land jobs, but it is more preferred to be a specialist in writing.
Working in an office as a writer is often valued by people who connect well with people, who enjoy teamwork, and like an atmosphere that is professional. Extroverts do well in an office environment, whereas introverts are more drawn to freelance work. Also, office work for a company is often more stable in terms of payment, vacation time, and scheduling. So, if this resonates with you, then you should take up office work related to writing.
Work as a freelance writer
The key elements to making it as a freelance writer is creating a blog, providing a niche service, finding ideal clients, having samples of your work, having a strong social media presence, pitching regularly, diversifying your income, and composing a plan for your career.
Your blog as a freelancer is like your calling card. It has to be professional-looking, without any mistakes in the content, and demonstrative of your skills and personality. You can attach your blog to your social media accounts and even your resume.
In providing a niche service, you will become a specialist and also clients will know exactly what to hire you for. If you make your services too expansive, you will not become an expert in many fields, and clients will not know how to pin you down. Therefore, finding a niche to work within is ideal to make money writing.
You should know which clients are most attracted to your niche service. You should also determine what kind of clients you would like to work with. This includes knowing your rate and the adaptations you can make to your rate for certain clients.
Having examples of your work for clients to view is vital. The samples should relate to your niche service. The samples should also be heavily edited and shown to peers in order to get appropriate feedback on them. You can correct your samples based on commentary from those you trust.
Being a freelance writer, you need to market yourself in order to have a continuous flow of orders. This means creating at least one social media account to promote your posts, to showcase your personality, to let people know about your personal life, and/or to offer deals to them. You should not sound too official or businessy when writing for social media, and you should only rarely talk about your services directly. It is better to be a teacher and personality in order to gain attention. You don’t want to sound preachy, or sound like you are begging for work.
As a freelancer, you need to pitch regularly to keep your workflow going. Even if you have several projects going on at the same time, usually these projects are temporary. In light of this, it is essential to have future orders to work on after your contracts or projects are finished.
Also, your income is not always that stable. Therefore, it is vital to diversity your income by having several different ways of making money writing. This can include combining part-time office work with your freelance work, or finding work not related to writing to keep your main career afloat.
Having a plan for your career is ideal. Many people jump into a freelance writing career without much of an idea about their goals and aspirations. They usually enter into this market with a concept to make easy money. However, having a concrete goal in mind for your career will help you achieve more success and have more motivation.
Publish your personal writing
Although not the most profitable, it is usually regarded as the most enjoyable way to make money writing. Writers can make a decent salary by publishing their articles, essays, books, and so on. However, unless you become a staff writer at a newspaper, journal, or magazine, it won’t be easy for you to drive home a comfortable income. There is a thin line between fame and poverty in the life of an author. Even famous authors remain poor.
That is why it is essential to have other ways of putting food on the table. Combining part-time office work or freelance work can be an option to keep yourself afloat. To say you will only work on your own will limit your sources of money greatly. In this case, you would have to be ready for poverty, or at least ready to find ways to survive through assistance from family members, friends, or donors. Commonly, authors treat publishing their own writing as an obsessive hobby at first, and wait until the time they hit it big. This way, you don’t starve, and you can enjoy working on your personal writing without worrying about living on the streets.
However, if you can land a contract with a book company, you might be able to sustain yourself. Keep in mind, though, that book contracts can be only a limited amount of money and not enough to comprise a salary. Therefore, in order to live normally, you would have to get a contract from a major publishing house.
Work as a teacher of writing
This is the route of many people who get a degree in English, writing, editing, or journalism. This is because it is one of the most fulfilling professions. Not only that, it provides a decent pay, a good chance for travel and intriguing experiences, and an assured retirement (usually). The pay is not always great, but it is a well-respected position.
Though there is a saying that, “Those who can’t write, teach,” I believe this statement is false. Becoming a famous author is not everyone’s cup of tea, and plus, it is extremely rare. So, besides becoming an office worker, the option of teaching writing, and writing-related disciplines, is a fine choice.
Besides knowing how to write well, you have to understand the fundamentals of grammar, punctuation, formatting, styles, genres, history, and much more about writing. You also have to obtain a degree in teaching, usually. There are some colleges that allow teachers to be staff members solely based on their writing accomplishments, but this is not the common practice. The majority of professors and teachers have a formal education in teaching. In order to make money from writing, a variety of people from different writing background apply to be teachers as high schools, colleges, universities, and different types of institutions.
To make money with writing, you need tons of perseverance. You have to battle against not only what society thinks of you, but also the fact that not many people want to hire inexperienced writers. Taking on internships is helpful, and even volunteer work is fine as well. Also, you might get low-paying jobs first just to have something on your resume. It is almost like any other career choice where you have to climb the ladder. However, the ladder for writers might be a little more rickety than most. This is because finding work as a writer can be tricky. You have to know what you want to succeed in: freelancing, office work, personal publishing, or teaching. Often, it is a combination of these to make ends meet.