Yes, You Can Write For A Living Online
1000 hubs and several years later, I think its safe to say that I'm a bit of a Hub Pages veteran and that I've learned a fair bit about making a living being a writer. Is it possible to support yourself as a writer? The good news is that the answer is yes. The bad and otherwise interesting news follows.
We live in an age where every Tom, Dick and Harry is focused on personal fame. If you work online, you're going to be told that you need to start half a dozen social networking accounts, get on the face book, get on the twitter etc. You're going to hear a lot of twaddle about 'establishing a personal brand'. If this sounds like a tedious waste of time to you, I have some good news, it's entirely unnecessary.
That, young padwan, is a deeper question than you may be able to fathom at this time. That brings me to the NUMBER ONE rule you need to learn about being a mildly successful writer. I'll put it down here all by itself so it makes impact and whatnot.
NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOU (Seth Godin said that, and he was right, oh so right.)
That's important. People may enjoy what you write, but they'll generally like it because it reinforces their pre-existing world view. If you're any good as a writer you will develop an audience over time, but it is important to remember that your audience is usually only loyal as long as your content satisfies them in the way they expect to be satisfied. There are always a few loyal fans, and god bless those people, the people who will read almost anything you write, but remember those people will always be a very small proportion of your reader base. Most people will read only what interests them, and that is quite right and proper.
This rule exists at every level of the writing profession.If JK Rowling decided to write a detailed history of the Falklands War, her reader base would likely not follow her. If Stephen King decided to suddenly start putting out books about organic gardening, they would surely not see the success of one of his horror novels.
The idea then, is to write about subjects which passionately interest you, and build up a readership around them. Don't waste your time writing about subjects that don't fill you with fire and vigor because on the Internet, someone who cares more than you is probably already writing about them and doing it better than you ever could.
As a writer, you are less of a mouthpiece of wisdom and deep knowledge and more of a monkey dancing for coins. If you want to passionately change the world, don't try to write for a living. Keep your day job and advance your agenda in your own time. It is possible to parlay that kind of passion into a career, but with no real expertise behind you, you're just another nut with a keyboard.
Don't let the idea of becoming a writer go to your head. Don't fall prey to the tempting pride that comes with having the ability to put words on the Internet. Don't think you're special because you have a few hundred people who return to your writings everyday. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you are some kind of leader, because you're not, what you are, is a slave to the whims of your reading public. You exist only so far as you fulfill their needs. Change your message or your subject matter and all the readers that followed you so passionately will melt away like snow in a furnace.
There's nothing wrong with writing on several subjects, however you should be aware that people will generally follow you for their own reasons and not for yours, so don't be upset when you have to begin to establish an entirely new reader base when you branch into other areas.
It is possible too to have anti-fans. Sometimes, whether through sustained efforts, or simply because you end up writing for a reader base that is inherently ideologically opposed to you, you will develop ant-fans. These people will have the sort of fanaticism that you could only wish your pro-fans had. They will remember everything you've ever written and they will spend hours of their lives concocting hate-filled mail. If you've got any sense you'll start your own I Hate (insert name here) fan-club and sell them merchandise.