If you’re anything like me, someone once told you something like this:
“You never make any money writing.”
This comment, though well-meaning, often damns the dreams of Ernest Hemmingways and John Greens to be.
It’s the “any money” which always made me think. Not ANY money? Not enough to pay the rent? Not even a single dollar?
Wanting to crush the money-making myth, I took to Twitter and asked a simple question.
The responses were… well, a little overwhelming.
Have you made a single dollar from writing?
I want to talk to you
Reply below and I’ll take it from there
— Todd Brison (@ToddBrison) June 4, 2019
What isn’t shown in this embedded tweet is the number of responses… over 950 at the time of writing!!
Although I have learned something from almost every single reply in that thread (and I know I’ll be sorting through answers for weeks to come), one thing is clear:
You CAN make money writing.
How much you can make? How long does it take? What type of writing do you have to do? Can you quit your day job?
Those are other questions to be answered.
But those two words – “you CAN” – fill my veins with hope.
Today, I want to give you some hope as well.
Here are REAL PEOPLE who make REAL MONEY by writing words. My goal with this post is to show you different avenues of doing so.
Maybe it will inspire you to believe in the dream you long since stuffed under the rug.
Mitch Roush – Copywriter, Theater Writer, Teacher
Marketing strategist + lead copywriter, words are literally my full-time job.
$50-$150 per online piece for a platform. Or larger fee for overall marketing strategy/consultation.
Have a few plays published = royalties.
Community College adjuncting too.
— Mitch⚡ (@MitchRoush) June 5, 2019
Amy Dickinson – Syndicated Advice Columnist, Bestselling Memoir Author
I’ve managed to make a good living as a writer. Put some kids through college; paid for my parents’ care at the end. I feel very lucky.
— Amy Dickinson (@AskingAmy) June 5, 2019
Amanda Filippelli – Full time writer, editor, and publisher
Full-time writer, editor, and publisher here! So all my income comes from writing!
— Amanda Filippelli (@Editor_Amanda) June 5, 2019
Renee April – Fiction Writer
A stupid amount during 2015-16. It’s why I don’t brook any argument about self-publishing not being valid. THIS IS THE HILL I WILL DIE ON.
— renee april (@reneeapril92) June 5, 2019
(After a brief chat over email, I learned Renee’s “stupid amount” of money made included a breakthrough where she sold 76 copies of her book overnight.
The lesson? The books had already been on the market for a year… patience is important 😉
Jessica Lynn – Freelance Writer, Social Media Content, Blog Post
$500 or so on Upwork doing blog posts and social media content.
$52000/yr as a freelance writer on retainer for my biggest client
$35-50/hr as a freelance writer for other small clients
Nothing yet for poetry but that’s the dream
— Jessica Lynn (@JessTheWriter33) June 5, 2019
Anonymous – Dungeons and Dragons Crowdfunded Guide
I learned what one person did via direct message, and he wishes to remain anonymous. Even though he isn’t a professional writer and doesn’t intend to be, I can’t overlook the fact he made a neat chunk of change for what was a fun project anyway.
Writing a D&D guide?? Who would have guessed?
Kesav Wable – Film Writer and Producer
Yes. Wrote and produced a short film that aired on @HBO
— Kesav Wable (@bKwable) June 5, 2019
(This one is AWESOME. For Kesav’s work: You can check out the trailer here.
Melissa Rivero – Contract Writer and Published Author
Yes, traditionally published and I write contracts for a living.
— melissa (@melissa_rivero) June 5, 2019
(This setup was pretty common, actually – the “writer by day, different writer by night” scenario. As someone who also still holds a day job and loves it, this makes me happy.)
Amelia Mellor – Playwright, Contest Winner, Poet
Yep. I’ve won a bunch of contests and sold a few hundred copies of my plays (and got some goods and services in the mix as well). I even wrote poetry for money on fiverr for a while.
— Amelia Mellor (@Amelia_R_Mellor) June 5, 2019
Ian Barr – Living the Reality Many of us do 🙂
Does working on my book whilst at my day job count?
— Ian Barr (@RoyalsNRogues) June 5, 2019
(I’ve been there)
Noah Bogdonoff – Writing for Practice Standardized Test
Maybe five hundred bucks over three years for my short stories, but somewhere around $30,000 from writing passages for practice standardized tests
— Noah Bogdonoff (@yaybody) June 5, 2019
Mike Chen – Traditionally Published, Technical Writing, Content Marketing
Yes. While I’m traditionally published with Big 5, I’ve also been a technical writer and content marketing writer.
I’ll let you guess which one pays the least out of that.
— Mike Chen (@mikechenwriter) June 5, 2019
Kasey Anderson – Writing on Medium
Yes. I’ve made most of my writing money through medium. I wrote an article on it here:https://t.co/T3r3URiEpr
— Kasey Anderson (@9393usak) June 5, 2019
I had trouble deciding how to cap this post. Should I leave you on an emotional high, or a reality check?
I choose both.
Reality check: Probably 97% of people who replied to this tweet are NOT full time writers. Meaning, they do not make enough money to live off writing alone.
The ones that do have been at it for years, dogged and determined to figure out how to make it work.
Even if that’s the case, what if you would pay your water bill with something you do anyway? What if you could pay off some debt?
What if you don’t need to be James Patterson to still enjoy your life?
My takeaway from this whole adventure – You can make as much money as you want, IF you are willing to figure out what it takes.
Whatever you do – don’t stop writing
PS – Share this post with someone who may be interested!