‘How to Make Money Writing’ Has a More Complicated Answer Than You Might Expect

It’s not a bad question. But don’t expect a simple answer.

It’s the question all beginners ask.

“How do I make money writing?”

It’s not a bad question. Most people just expect a simple answer.

The reality is, how to make money as a writer depends on too many factors for experts to be able to provide a simple answer to that one question.

Are you trying to make money through a blog? As an aspiring novelist? Are you experienced enough to sell services like coaching to newer writers? Are you expecting to be able to make a living as a freelancer within the first few months?

It doesn’t just depend on what you want to do. How far you want to go, how hard you want to work, to get there — within reason — also matters. Are you trying to turn a side hustle into a full-time gig by working nights and weekends in addition to your “real” job? Are you trying to build an audience on a platform like Patreon so people will pay you to make content every month by spending most of your free time in front of your computer?

Writers make money doing several important things.

  • They start out working many hours for free or for very little money.
  • They spend months, some even years, gaining experience and building up a collection of writing samples by blogging, self-publishing, completing internships, and other proven methods.
  • They do all this not just to get better at writing, but also to learn the kinds of content and subject matter(s) they’re good at/most willing to produce in mass quantities over time.
  • The more they write, the more their audiences grow. The more exposure they get. The more they can charge for their work — and the more people are willing to pay them to do it. Ideally.
  • They find multiple outlets for making money and they just keep doing it. And doing it. And doing it.

There is no one proven method that is guaranteed to work for everyone.

Everyone’s path toward “becoming” a writer is different, even when end goals are the same.

Some people end up making a living doing one thing. Others make less income from many separate things that all add up to something reasonable.

Many keep their day jobs even when their writing takes off. Others do not.

Some never earn enough money writing to support themselves and/or their families. And that’s OK.

There’s no right or wrong way to do it. There’s no time frame or limit.

There’s no rule that says you can’t be a writer unless you do it full-time.

How do you start? You pick one thing — a blog, for example — and you put as much energy into that as you can. And then you slowly, gradually, branch out. Start collaborating, reaching out to others, trying to get clients, whichever route you want to take. No one can tell you which is right for you. Only you’re capable of making that choice for yourself.

Making money doing something you love usually doesn’t come easy.

It’s not impossible. It’s just a challenge. If you’re willing to accept that challenge, and navigate your way through the obstacles, and do what it takes to make it work, you will. I promise, as long as you keep going, you won’t regret it.

Maybe my experiences can help spark some inspiration.

This is The First Step to Making Money as a Writer

How to Land Your Dream Writing Job

How Hard Do You Need to Work?

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

5 thoughts on “‘How to Make Money Writing’ Has a More Complicated Answer Than You Might Expect

  1. Once again this was absolutely incredible advice Meg! You really are quite brilliant and share the best advice I have ever read. I appreciate everything you have to say and you really do inspire me with each post! Thank you so much for all of your shared and fantastic knowledge!

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