For as long as you can remember, you’ve dreamed of writing for a living.
And you’ve been willing to do whatever it takes.
But you’re feeling tired.
Tired of working your butt off.
You’ve been putting in the writing hours, and your latest masterpiece is nearly complete.
But you know this isn’t the end.
When this writing project ends, you’ll begin another, and another after that.
It’s what you do.
So, you write, and you write some more.
And every day you tell yourself you’re getting closer.
Every day you tell yourself you won’t always be short on cash, always struggling to make ends meet.
But you can’t lie to yourself any longer.
And you can’t go back, either. You just can’t settle anymore.
- You’ve tried other careers, and you were miserable.
- You’ve tried all sorts of day jobs, too, and they were equally awful.
You need to make an income without sacrificing your goals, without burning yourself out on another dead-end job you don’t like, working with people you like even less.
You need to find a job writing, a way to earn while you learn.
Let’s take a closer look.
Earn a Side Income as a Freelancer
The term freelancer keeps evolving.
In today’s market, it has many connotations.
With countless websites and blogs searching for cheap, quality content, you’ll find no shortage of opportunities; however, you’d be wise to exercise a little caution.
Yes, you can succeed, but you’ll benefit from a little research.
After all, you value your time and your skill set, and you’ve spent years honing your craft. You’d rather flip burgers or bag groceries than waste your time and talent writing for a content mill.
You know better options exist; you just need to know how to find them.
Consider opening an account at Upwork. Create a profile, and upload a few of your best writing samples. You can advertise a set fee or negotiate with clients on a project-by-project basis.
Head over to Carol Tice’s Make A Living Writing site for advice, tips, and freelance writing income opportunities.
With a little research and creativity, you can land jobs writing articles, white papers, and sales letters.
Partner With an Advertising Agency
No matter where you live, you’ll find a half-dozen advertising agencies in your local area. Ad agencies need writers to write copy for their clients’ brochures and marketing materials.
Today, ad agencies dabble in everything: SEO, copywriting, social media, PPC advertising, blog content, and more. They may hire you to proofread and/or edit another writer’s work. Contact a local agency, and find out what they need.
After reaching out to local companies, expand your search. From your home computer, you can reach a global audience.
Investigate Grant Writing
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Each year, public and private foundations award billions of dollars in grants, sums of money that are intended to advance a specific objective. Grant writers help to match funders with projects they want to support.”
Almost everyone in the nonprofit sector hates writing grant proposals.
This is good news for you!
Many grant writers report earning $25-$100 an hour.
You can receive training and/or certification online as well as through traditional colleges and universities.
Become a Ghostwriter
You can also earn a living as a ghostwriter, writing e-books for clients. Take someone’s memoir, fiction piece, or nonfiction outline, and turn it into a book.
While you won’t achieve fame for this work-for-hire venture, it can supplement your fiction-writing income nicely. According to Payscale, the average pay rate for ghostwriters is $45 per hour.
Other benefits include turning over the manuscript without worrying about marketing or sales figures. You won’t have to do book signings or interviews, either.
You can detach yourself from the end product, from marketing and sales issues, focusing all of your energy on writing.
Become an Editor for Hire
Writers are everywhere, and their skill levels vary. Despite differing levels of expertise, everyone can benefit from a quality editor.
Sometimes an author needs a fresh set of eyes on a project. Other times, writers need an overhaul.
Whether you’re editing for content or style, your input can be essential to a writer’s success.
When you turn your attention to editing, you’ll find that those grammar and punctuation drills from high school and college weren’t a waste of time.
To prepare, familiarize yourself with a few style guides. Start with Associated Press. If you’re editing for fiction, try the Chicago Manual of Style. For academic writing, check out APA and MLA.
With a little research, you can find out the most appropriate style manual for the genre.
In addition to online freelance sites, check out Monster and Craigslist for local and remote editing jobs.
Mentor Other Writers
If you have the skills and the patience, consider mentoring other writers. Never underestimate the value of the experience you’ve acquired over the years. You have expertise to offer.If you have the skills and the patience, consider mentoring other writers. Never underestimate the value of the experience you’ve acquired over the years. You have expertise to offer. Click To Tweet
Just getting through the writing, editing, and publishing process makes you invaluable to other writers wishing to follow the same path.
Create a web page, and advertise your services.
Market yourself on social media. Offer free tips in your updates, and link to your mentoring business.
Create an e-book aimed at beginners, and offer it as an opt-in bribe to build your email list of potential clients. Place ads in the services sections of online classifieds websites.
Teach Writing and/or English Classes
Many successful authors spent time teaching before receiving their big break.
J.K. Rowling, George Orwell, and Frank McCourt taught English.
If you hold a master’s degree in English, you can teach college composition courses at a local university or community college.
If working from home is more your style, approach nationwide colleges offering a distance-learning option. Look for openings at Higher Ed Jobs.
In addition to these traditional paths, multiple digital education companies hire instructors to teach online courses in fiction, poetry, or magazine writing. If you already have an author website, consider designing a course to sell to your readers.
Become a Tutor
Your writing skills offer many diverse applications.
You can tutor students of all ages and ability levels in English, Writing, and Reading. Help them with ideation, grammar, punctuation, and organization.
You’ll find opportunities at K-12 institutions as well as community colleges and technical schools. And like many of the teaching opportunities out there, you can travel to a student’s home or offer your services from an established learning institution.
Look into becoming a licensed paraeducator in your local public and private school systems. A reliable paycheck with fixed hours can help finance your fiction-writing career.
Advertise on Your Author Site
Years ago, you could make a living on Google Adsense ads.
Nevertheless, If you have an established author website with traffic, you can make money as an affiliate, promoting writer-related goods and services. You can sell books and courses. You can also receive commissions from Amazon products.
What’s your favorite method for moonlighting?
How have you successfully leveraged your writing experience into a supplemental income?
Tell us about it in the comments section below.