Making Money by Writing Isn’t Easy
One thing that self-improvement gurus like to say is that making money is easy. It’s not. As the saying goes: “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.”
A friend of mine could write a blog post titled, “How I make $5,000 a month working four days a week.” Sounds amazing, right?
It would go like this: “Go to college. Declare an in-demand healthcare major. Study in competitive and tough classes. Graduate and get the first job you can get, for experience. Then jump to a job that pays $5,000 a month to work 32 hours per week. Although, you’ll have to work a lot of holidays and weekends, and stay late often.”
Sound like a lot of work? That’s the point. The people who make a cool $1 million on a game show are the outliers. The rest of us hustle.
I’ve never made it a secret that I’ve struggled to make money as a writer. When I see people who declare they make thousands of dollars a month by writing, I can see that they’ve put the effort.
People who write for a living didn’t just get lucky or stumble upon a secret. They showed up and wrote, day in and day out. When there were a lot of readers, and when there seemed to be nobody, they still pumped out content.
I’ve seen a lot of people get burned out on writing quickly. They didn’t see money or attention soon enough, and they lost interest.
In the show Game of Thrones, a character tells a queen that she must earn a kingdom’s loyalty, not simply expect them to adore her. Writing is a lot like that. You can’t just write a few blog posts and demand that readers follow you. They have a lot of choices. You have to earn their attention.
But you’ve read this far, so you haven’t given up yet. That’s good.
There are benefits to writing as a career. It’s certainly more pleasant than some other jobs I’ve had, such as cleaning houses. But in some aspects, it’s harder. There are no guarantees. You can’t clock in at 8 a.m. and out at 5 p.m. and then get a paycheck every two weeks.
On the flip side, you’re not limited like you are in a job. You can set your own hours. Your output can determine how much money you make. And that could potentially let you earn much more than a lot of jobs.
The barriers to entry are also low. You don’t need a college degree, or the corresponding student loan debt. You don’t need letters of reference. You can just show up and write.
The self-discipline required is great for some people, and terrible for others. It can take awhile to get the ball rolling. Especially with freelance work or writing on spec, money can be sparse at first, and unpredictable. But it is there, so don’t give up.