Writing Full Time, But Only Making a Part-Time Living

Are you writing full-time but not making a living?

Recently, I heard from two writers interested in my mentoring services in the same week, and they both had the same story to tell. They’d been writing for years, but despite working 20-30 hours per week, they were each only making around $10,000 a year.

This sort of thing makes me crazy. Why, why, why? Why do writers go on for years working for peanuts?

I think there are many answers. Some don’t take their writing career seriously because perhaps their spouse makes a good income and they view writing as more of a hobby. Or maybe they don’t have kids, live somewhere cheap, and feel OK about it as they are making enough to subsist.

A lot of people I’ve spoken with have been sucked in by the online content mills and are slogging away making $10 a post. They find themselves trapped like gerbils on wheels. They must crank out so many blogs to make anything! If they took one day off to pitch legitimate publications they might well land an assignment that pays ten to thirty times what they’re making or more, but they’re too afraid to lose the tiny revenue they’re getting now.

Making a living writing requires a certain amount of boldness and willingness to take risk. You can’t be complacent with the stable of clients you have, ever. Keep looking for better accounts!

I used to have one client I worked for who was sort of a control freak. I would often discover he had called all my sources to ask them what they thought of me, or I’d find out he was doing the exact same research I was because he wanted to see if I was being thorough enough to find all the sources he did. The pay was just sort of midrange for me, about $1,500 for a 40-hour week of work.

So what did I do? I kept prospecting for better paying clients who were nicer to work for, and when I found them, I dropped him. I just became too busy with other projects to take his on. You just keep moving up and swapping out slower-paying, more annoying clients as you go, until you’ve got a top-notch roster. It’s not rocket science, but you have to be aggressive about wanting to work for quality clients.

So don’t sell yourself short and keep prospecting!