Lots of people out there dream of making a living as a writer. Working on your own terms, being paid to be creative and getting to work in your pyjamas from time to time sounds like a pretty good gig. But how can you make that dream a reality? Here are a few tips on how to make a living as a writer:
Build a Portfolio
No-one is going to hire you as writer because of an excellent essay you wrote in high school. You need a portfolio of work, ideally work that has been published somewhere online. If you don’t have much to put in your portfolio, find some free writing gigs to get you started. Lots of start-up companies and charities without the money for a professional writer are on the lookout for voluntary writers looking to make a name for themselves.
Decide on What Kind of Writer You Want to Be (And then be Flexible)
What kind of writer do you want to be? You may dream of writing a best-selling novel or cutting edge articles for a national newspaper. But you also need to be pragmatic if your aim is to start making money fast. Content writing and copywriting offer some of the easier routes into making a living as a writer. But don’t let your dream fall by the wayside. Keep your long term goals in mind and you can work towards them as you earn money from other styles of writing.
Find Work and then Keep Looking for Work
A large part of a freelance writer’s daily routine is the search for new work. Root out the best places to find writing jobs. It could be on a freelancer website, on standard job boards or by contacting digital agencies directly. And then set aside some time each week to find new clients and opportunities. As a freelancer you inevitably experience very busy periods and periods that are a little quieter than you would like. Regularly seeking out work will help you to manage the ups and downs a little better.
Hone Your Craft
No good writer should rest on their laurels. You should always try to improve your writing skills and hone your craft. Reading helps. It can inspire you and give you practical pointers too. Also look back over your work with a critical eye. Find ways you can bring originality to your copy or convey ideas more succinctly. Every writer, no matter how experienced, can find ways to improve their skills.
Have A Back-Up
Making a living as a writer is easier said than done. Even when you have a small income coming in, it might not be enough to cover all of your expenses. Have an alternate source of income for as long as possible. You could hold on to your day job as long as you can write on the side. Alternatively, you could find something that you can do from home and that fits more easily around your writing schedule. You could learn to trade and earn some money on the stock or foreign exchange. You could sell unwanted belongings online. Or you could take in a lodger.
Making a living as a writer isn’t just about tapping away happily on your keyboard day to day. It requires a lot of dedication, excellent time-management and the ability to network and sell yourself. If you feel you’re up to the challenge, there’s really no time like the present for giving a career in writing a go. It could be the best decision you ever make.