There are a lot of aspiring writers in the world, who dream of making a living writing novels. The sad truth is, however, that very few of them will actually make a living doing this. The biggest problem, as I wrote in a previous post ‘What is A Writer’s Biggest Obstacle To Success?’ is obscurity.
If you look at the number of writers publishing novels each year, it’s astronomical. Just getting your name out there and promoting your book is a seemingly impossible task.
You Still Can Make A Living As A Writer
If you’re not married to the idea of just being a novelist, then you can still make a great living as a writer. This means working for yourself with no boss or petty office politics to deal with.
One of the easiest ways to do this is setting up shop as a web content writer. You’d write everything from a client’s homepage copy, to articles and blog posts. Even in 2014, content is still king. When you visit a website you want to be either informed or entertained. Even if you’re buying something, you need to read something about the product/service before making a decision. The internet still runs on content.
I’ve done exactly this when I started my own web content business called Direct Writing Solutions. It’s still in it’s very early days, so I’m not raking in the dough, just yet. But people do pay upwards of $100 or more for quality content.
Freedom To Still Be A Novelist
Yes, if you’re writing website copy you can still be a novelist. Since you’re working for yourself, setting your own hours and don’t have a nagging boss to answer to, you can push out a few articles in the morning (trust me, it’s not that hard), and have the rest of the day to work on your more ‘serious’ projects.
I guess you can think of it as financing your novels with easier, higher paying work. F. Scott Fitzgerald lived off the money he earned by writing short stories, allowing him to concentrate on writing his novels. Adjusting for inflation, he made a great living doing this.
How To Start Writing Web Content
This is the biggest question budding writers have: how do I get started? If you’ve never written an article before in your life, don’t worry, getting a few under your belt is very easy.
You’ll need a portfolio (even if it only has a few pieces in it) to show potential clients you’re a skilled, confident writer. To get those portfolio pieces, you have two options. The first is to just start writing some samples on your own. They don’t have to be for anyone in particular.
But why not get paid to build your portfolio? I’m probably going to take a lot of heat for recommending this since it’s really frowned up. Sign up for one of those article writing services like iWriter or Hirewriters. You’ll get paid a dollar or two per article when starting out, more as you gain experience and good reviews.
Keep in mind you’re only doing this temporarily to build a portfolio. Writing for those sites is no way to make a living. Though you can make some extra spending money. I’ll confess that I’ve been writing for peanuts to build a portfolio and make some extra cash. I’m not proud of it. The work is a little demeaning. And I feel like a dirty prostitute.
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
The good news is there are a lot of people willing to pay good money for good writers. If English is your native language – you’re golden! Write for those sites while laying the foundation for your business (building a website, portfolio, marketing, etc).
Being a novelist is a very nobel dream and I think it can be done. Realistically speaking though, the chances of making a good living (not living in a crappy apartment eating Ramen Noodles every day) are still slim.
Give commercial writing a shot. Stretch your writing muscles and show the world what you have to offer. You really have nothing to lose.