Monday, October 20, 2014

Can You Make a Full-Time Living as a Writer?

It's been well established that most authors never make enough money to quit our day jobs.

I quit my day job more than a year ago to write full-time.



Granted, I'm not making a full-time living off of writing fiction. Instead, I'm combining fiction with freelance writing jobs I've gotten online.




I set my own hours. I do what I love for a living. I write when I want, go to the mall when I want, and do my grocery shopping and other chores while everyone else is at work. There are downsides, though...



I trade set work hours for having to put in extra work on the weekends. Because it makes more sense to me to do chores on a Wednesday morning at 10 a.m., that means I often have to play catch-up on weekends. But if I want to take Saturday afternoon off, I can. Or I can take all weekend off...I just have to work harder during the week. The point is, I'm in control of my time, and I like that.



I didn't start off making big bucks, though. In fact, I was probably paid $0.0000001 per word at first. But once I'd built my portfolio, I started bidding $.01 per word and gradually went up from there. Yes, many people out there are looking for writers to write for next-to nothing. Experience and talent allows you to gradually charge more.



The truth is, if you're going to be a full-time writer, you'll probably have to supplement your writing income with something. Whether it's paid appearances like school visits, writing magazine articles, doing odd jobs you find on sites like TaskRabbit or Uber Corner Store, or writing--it's up to you. But in today's sharing society, you can do it. That's the good news!

70 comments:

  1. This is such great news. Normally people would tell you to never become a full-time writer. I decided to become my brother's personal assistant last year and I work from home and it is wonderful. I like to think of myself as a full-time writer, even though I am not published yet. But I also do odd jobs for family members as an extra income. I definitely agree with you about working for yourself from home, it is great and the hours flexible. No more mean co-workers to stress about.

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  2. That's great you built up your portfolio and can earn a decent amount with your freelance writing. I admire those of you who do it - writing full time has never been a goal of mine. Too much pressure.
    Now, if I could make enough full time as a musician, that I would do!

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  3. Being in control of your own life and your own time is an awesome thing for sure, something I strive to have someday. Keep on truckin' my friend!

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  4. It seems as though few people actually do something they love in real life. Kim glad you get to do what you love, and in your own control.

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  5. Stephanie, you've probably have achieved more than most workers have in a life time. Being your own boss and loving what you do is a big accomplishment. It's nice making a lot of money but if one hates his or her job, what good is that?
    Congratulations for taking the initiative and changing job and feeling more free.
    Hugs,
    JB

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  6. How wonderful to spend so much time doing something you love! You're right -- it's important to take control of our lives and to steer them toward our passions. It's such a rewarding experience!

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  7. I don't have the luxury of working from home or working when I want, but I have actually made a living as a full-time writer for about 12 years now. :-)

    I still want the best-selling author dream, though ...

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  8. I don't have the luxury of working from home or working when I want, but I have actually made a living as a full-time writer for about 12 years now. :-)

    I still want the best-selling author dream, though ...

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  9. I do prefer being to able to organize my time as I want to, but from time to time I do wish I had a regular working time and normal job even if it boring ... but just to have a normal salary :)

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  10. Ultimately, working as a writer full time is my goal, but I need to make a certain living. Maybe after I sell my first book. :)

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  11. No 9 to 5 and totally in control would be so nice indeed. I keep on striving for it.

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  12. I spent the morning writing about pea gravel...so selling your first book definitely isn't the key to writing fiction full-time. I always say if I won the lottery, I'd switch to fiction full-time, but I'm not so sure. It's kind of refreshing to write about other things (even pea gravel) sometimes.

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  13. It's great that you've found out what works for you!

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  14. I've been kicking around the idea of eventually working from home so this is definitely encouraging.

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  15. I'm a horrible procrastinator. I don't know I'd have enough self-discipline to be able to work at home. :)

    It's great you were able to do what you love doing! Yay!

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  16. I'm a freelancer as well. My friends think I spend countless hours doing nothing and don't believe me I work more hours now. And sick days. Never get them. Paid time off. Please. But still, like you said, the freedom is fabulous.

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  17. TBM--I totally feel your pain! As I tell people, yes my hours are flexible but I still have obligations. I have clients who depend on me, sometimes for articles to be turned around in just a few hours from when they send them to me. When I have a lot of emergency projects, it gets harder to even leave the house, sometimes for days at a time. It's very unpredictable. I could have a week where nothing's happening (rare) or a week where 7 people need 3,000 words each--all within 24 hours!

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  18. Hi Stephanie, thanks for stopping by my blog! Yes, that is a deck out from the kitchen. The house has a walkout basement and the deck is nice to have to walk out on. My daughter is excited and working hard on cleaning and painting getting it ready to move into.
    Wishing you much success with your new book! ~Cheryl

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  19. Yay for no more day job! I definitely enjoy the freedom that comes from not having to go to an office every day, but the instability not so much. Thanks for sharing your journey; you're an inspiration!

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  20. You love what you do so you put in so many hours, probably, that you don't notice. You can take a break and do some groceries or take a walk or blog but then you get back to it again. I say congrats to you for taking this step and persisting and thriving at it. One day you will be full time and make tons of money at something you love. Heck you are doing something most dream about already

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  21. That's great you can work from home. I like the idea of being "employee of the month" every month. And it includes a killer parking spot too. :)

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  22. I'm glad it's working for you. That's what counts. You're doing what you love on your terms.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  23. Being my own boss is something I dream about every single day; especially while I'm at work. But your right, Stephanie, we have to start somewhere. By working hard and getting paid to do other gigs like school visits or freelance editing, we can make it happen. Thanks for giving us some inspiration today!

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  24. Hi Stephanie! It takes a lot of guts to leave your job for writing. I did the same thing, but I did have my eyes wide open. A friend of mine said "You'll never get rich writing", and boy is she right!

    But I do feel compelled to do it, so I'll keep plugging away. I am so proud of you though! You have started from the bottom (where I am!) and moved your way up and up. So encouraging! Keep writing :)
    Ceil

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  25. I quit my day job when my daughter was born. I said if I didn't make enough money a year after my first book came out, I'd get a part-time job once my daughter went to school. That never happened. :) I love writing and editing. I might not make millions but I love what I do and that's worth so much more to me.

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  26. I'm glad you're making money writing.

    If I ever get to quit my day job, I am worried about workplace arguments--with myself.

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  27. I'm glad you've been able to scratch out a decent living from writing. Most of my income comes from music. I don't think I'll ever make a substantial amount from writing, unless I write a best seller - which might happen. ;0)

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  28. I love this. SO inspiring...doing what I love and being my own boss has always been a dream of mine.

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  29. Love that you are making your dream work.

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  30. I supplement my editing income by being an ex-wife. I had to work very hard for thirty years to become an ex-wife.

    Love,
    Janie

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  31. At least you make your living from writing something, even if it isn't just putting out novels! Congratulations.

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  32. This is fantastic! I'm glad you can make your living by writing. Very inspiring.

    And hey, writing is writing, fiction or not its wonderful and of course great practice ;)


    S.K. Anthony: Time Management Tips

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  33. WOW!! That's fantastic!!! My first royalty check was maybe $40.00. And my last was close to that amount!!!

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  34. This is really, really inspiring and what I needed to hear today. This is exactly what I'm trying to do.

    Sarah Allen
    (Writing Blog)

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  35. It's so wonderful that you get to do what you love. All the best!

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  36. I love that you are able to do what you love and set your own hours. Of course you have to keep to your schedule and to your deadlines but other than that, I think it would be fabulous and so rewarding once you see your work published.

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  37. Steph, that is awesome that you are living your dream... it is wonderful to be in control of your own life and time... and yay to wearing pajamas to work :)

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  38. This is a great encouraging post! Thank You!!

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  39. Good for you for making it work! It is good to be able to make your own schedule and work around how you want to work, knowing what your income demands of you so to speak! While I don't write at home, I do work at home and believe you me, the commute and not having to worry about a wardrobe are definite advantages!

    betty

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  40. Man, I'd be thrilled to just have to work part time. Love how you've made it work :)

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  41. Oh I would absolutely adore working from home. It does seem like a ton of work to get started making financial headway, but in the end, it would be completely worth it. Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

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  42. The hours might not be that great, but they're your own and you get to do what you love.

    Hopefully, I'll be in that position someday :)

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  43. It's great to hear that it can be done. Congrats to you for making it work!

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  44. Hi Stephanie. What a positive post. I have just found an author/mentor and she has over 60 books published and shoots out 2 per month now. But does that lady work hard! She does a F Scott Fitzgerald in that she writes in best-selling genres which make the money so she can write what she likes as well. I'm cutting back teaching to 3 days a week next year so I can devote myself to getting my work finished/published. Good plan.

    All the best to you!

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  45. That's very true, Stephanie. Being a full-time writer means piecing all sorts of writing jobs together, but the freedom is definitely a plus. Doing what you love is a great thing. Congrats to you.

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  46. Being your own boss would be wonderful! As would going to the grocey store when no one is there.:)

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  47. It must be so wonderful to be able to write for a living and I'm glad you were able to do that!

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  48. It's nice to be in control and doing something you like.

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  49. Thanks for laying out both the positives and negatives of life as a full time writer. At the end of the day I'm sure doing a job you love far outweighs the bad.

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  50. Awesome. It was never my ambition to work full time, so I've been happily hobby writing for most my life, but that's because I could rely on my hubby's income. (And I was home schooling 3 kids.) My sister freelances and loves it, and I think it's an awesome career opportunity. My hubby keeps telling me if I wanted to find a full-time writing gig, it would be cake. Heck, his company would hire me. I don't want to be hired. Know what I mean? I'd rather write for fun.

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  51. ABSOLUTELY, Crystal! The freelance writing I do and the fiction writing I do are two different things. The fiction feels like "fun writing!" The other writing is basically the most fun I can have while being paid to do something, if that makes sense. I can't think of anything I'd rather do besides write fiction for a living--but it is DEFINITELY work. You're writing to someone else's specifications and you have to bend to those. You aren't really writing what you want to write, but it beats anything else I can think of doing for a living that isn't writing fiction!

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  52. Right now, I tell people that I write to help feed my academic habit (being a professor, which horribly, pays MUCH less than it should, like below the poverty line less). Someday I'd love to just have one job, or make enough to chose what I do. Someday! :)

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  53. Taking the leap is hard, but you're doing a great job, and I know you're enjoying the heck out of it,

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  54. I love those e-cards! So true.

    Focusing primarily on writing is a wonderful thing. For the most part, I've worked a part-time day job for extra income, but writing is my main job. I do work a lot on weekends!

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  55. Awesome. My goal is to get a book published. I'm still looking for an agent. But my passion has always been writing.

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  56. There is something POSITIVE to be said for working for yourself... unless you are not a good task master. Sounds like you have it under control, though:)

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  57. That's awesome! I definitely don't make enough to write full time, but I'd love to one day. I try to write a few articles, but nonfiction is not my strength.

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  58. That's really great, Stephanie! It takes a great deal of self discipline to maintain your hours and meet deadlines but well worth it. Very inspiring post!

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  59. I just tweeted this. I did the freelance thing for a while. The only thing I miss by working at home is that Friday Feeling when you leave the job at 5 and know you don't have to see it again for two whole days.

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  60. Glad to hear you're doing so well.

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  61. I have to head off to work now (bleh I bet you're so pleased you don't have the same problem hahaha.. not that its a problem! Im grateful to have a job!!) but wow I would love to swing by later and read about the jobs you've gotten online etc.

    My DREAM is to write - freelance for magazines and newspapers, novels - anything and everything. Writing is my life.

    To me, you are the luckiest woman in the world x

    www.bohemianmuses.blogspot.com

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  62. Hi, Stephanie,

    Like you, I freelance too. But with varied "hats"... I am an interior designer, book designer, blurb writer, creative editor, and baker... LOL. Yes, I earn $ in all of these venues.

    But I wouldn't have it any other way. It's usually feast of famine with me, but I'm used to it and I am too old to change now. LOL...

    It's a good life to own your time...

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  63. I'm so terrible at writing non-fiction that I have't dared dip my toe in the freelancing pool, but it's so inspiring to hear you're making a living being a writer full time.

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  64. For me, the downside of being home instead of "clock punching" is the lack of community.
    But... that's what blogging is for. No, it isn't exactly the same. But people like you make it feel like it could be. So thanks for being awesome!

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  65. This was inspiring for me to read as this is a goal I want to work towards. I really admire that you have built this business for yourself and are succeeding - congrats! And thanks for the inspiration. :)

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  66. I love that you went for it and are doing what you love..writing, in whatever form or shape that takes you.

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  67. Congrats on being able to make your writing work for you. Being able to do what you enjoy makes it all the better.

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