Writing is work. It takes a lot of time and effort to brainstorm, outline, research, and then finally put into words a topic or story. Then afterwards there’s a lot of editing, revising, and proofing. Electric Literature published an essay about how writing is a job, even if it doesn’t really pay:
The fact that writing is hard and there are many hobbyists doesn’t mean it isn’t a job either. It is very hard to be a professional athlete or a head chef, and many people practice sports or cooking as hobbies. But we would not pretend an NBA player or a head chef doesn’t have a job.
The argument is that if we think of writing as a hobby, it will be treated as a hobby, and then only people who can afford to write as a hobby will be writing. This reminds me of when I was in college and went to see Jeffrey Eugenides give a talk. I remember he told a story of how people don’t really think of writers as having a real job. He meets someone new and they find out he’s a writer, and the reaction is, “You know, I’ve always wanted to write a novel, I just haven’t had the time.” And Jeffrey said he thought that was strange, because you’d never go up to a heart surgeon and say, “You know, I’ve always wanted to operate on someone, I just haven’t had the time.”
Obviously, the two are not the same, but both take a certain set of skills that take time to develop. So in the spirit of treating writing as a job, here are some tips and ways you can earn money from writing:
- 22 History Magazines That Pay Writers on WritersInCharge: A list of magazines and their rates, plus what they’re looking to publish. And there’s a link to other types of magazines that pay writers.
- How To Sell Two Million Self-Published Books With Rachel Abbott on The Creative Penn: Having readers can help fuel your writing.
- How To Sell Nearly a Half-Million Copies of a Poetry Book on Publisher’s Weekly: Find your niche audience and reach out to them.
- Think Long Term. Create a Body of Work on The Creative Penn: There’s no such thing as an overnight success, and it takes years of hard work to become good at something.
- How to Become a Content Machine and Why Your Success Depends on It on Publisher’s Weekly: Write at least three to four times per week.
- Have Trouble Getting That Book Done? Try Doing Less on Jane Friedman: Break down what you need to do into small steps, and remember to take care of yourself.
- Wrapping Up Our Look at Best Seller First Pages on Live Write Thrive: The first page of a book should be concise and show a strong character.
This post was originally published on January 16, 2016.