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How to Increase Your Chances for Success as a Writer

Updated on October 13, 2016

Trying to make money as a writer can be tough. This is why many writers prefer to keep a 9-5 job and write in their free time, enjoying passing thoughts of grandiosity that will likely never blossom into anything else. Before we get into the more technical aspects of making money with your writing, let's examine what intrinsic skillset you'll need to build before you can add value to the market:

1. Adaptability- It's okay if you tend to specialize in a certain type of writing (i.e. copywriting or poetry), but if given the opportunity, could you write in a different style or genre? The more adaptable and flexible you are, the more opportunities you will be granted. Your resume will also look more impressive if you show a diverse range of writing abilities.

2. Actual Skill and Talent- Before you try making money as a writer, make sure you have the skills to do so. It's crucial to ask yourself the following questions:

* What makes you feel you are a good writer?

* Have you received feedback on your strengths and weaknesses as it comes to writing?

* Do you feel confident you can communicate a message effectively (and interestingly) to a reader?

However you can, make sure you can gauge your current writing skills objectively to sell yourself well. Try trading your work with other writers to have them assess the quality of what you've written so you can improve.

3. Full of life experiences- Have you lived a life full of rich experiences? Or learned most of what you know behind a book or in a classroom? Now, many people may challenge me on this, but this is my particular belief: to be a the best writer you can be, try immersing yourself in as many life experiences as possible. Whether it be travel, experience dating lots of people, trying out several hobbies, embracing different lifestyles...This is going to give you the ability to try on different perspectives and become a more flexible writer.

Now that you've learned what I think is most essential for a writer to have in her or himself, let's examine what things you can do to increase your chance of success in terms of making money as a writer.

1. I'm not going to lie to you: writing can be as black and white as any other industry. And like other industries, you either succeed with consistent, active income or passive income that trickles in. Simply put, here are the three ways you can make money as a writer:

* Create a masterpiece and get paid royalties (passive income forever).

* Actively contribute work consistently- Write articles, guests posts, or copyright blurbs for different businesses, magazines, and websites so that you can make enough money to eat.

* Invest in a form of work (whether it be a book, website, etc) and put money IN to promote it well so that hopefully it can give you royalties over time. This is different than creating a masterpiece, which by definition, will speak for itself. You can still live off royalties if you don't have a masterpiece, but it's going to require more work on your end in terms of promotion.

2. Sign up for freelance sites such as Upwork or Guru. These sites pay relatively well and are free to get started with. Freelance sites can be a great way to build a resume and make connections with companies looking for consistent work from writers. That being said, some writers are totally cool with staying as freelancers and there's nothing more to it. They get relatively consistent work getting paid to do what they love. And the work on these freelance sites comes in a huge range- from journalism to copywriting to fiction erotica novels. But if this isn't how you see yourself making money long-term, then continue reading.

3. Get into ghost-writing: For a flat rate, companies will pay you a couple hundred bucks to write them a fiction or non-fiction book. Your name won't go on the cover and you won't receive royalties, but if you need to make a couple hundred or so a month, this is a great way to do it. It can be a great way to develop connections and keep your mind sharp as you practice adapting to other people's visions while you write.

4. Sign up for newsletters on different writer-friendly sites so that you can always see what opportunities are out there. Freedom With Writing is a great site that sends you updates daily of what writing jobs are currently open across the United States.

5. Have your writing resume, writing samples, and the template for your cover letter ready to go. Although most of the time, as a writer, you'll have to be actively looking for work, sometimes, in the rare occasion, work will find you. It is always best to be prepared and have your writing samples and resume ready to go so you don't miss out on an opportunity.

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It isn't easy making consistent, good money as a writer, but as long as it's worth it to you and you enjoy what you're doing, then keep moving forward. We can't all be world-famous writers, but that shouldn't stop you from making whatever money you can by using your talents to the best of your abilities.


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    • CeeJHicks profile image

      CJ Hicks Gathright 15 months ago from Meridian, Mississippi

      Great tips. I will look into the concept of creating a masterpiece for royalties. Thank you.