It sounds like a stupid title when you think about it. After all, surely the way to make a living as a writer is to write? At the heart of the topic, this is true, but getting the work that pays is the tricky part. It’s not easy to find those long-term clients that can replenish your bank balance.
Let’s take a look at how you can go about making a living as a writer.
1. Establish a Portfolio
To get these clients who’re going to keep you away from poverty, you must establish some form of professional portfolio. This portfolio should highlight the best of what you can do. What your portfolio contains depends on what you’re doing.
A specialist writer should stick to in-depth pieces on their specific trade. A writer specializing in generalized work should aim to publish a series of pieces in a diverse range of industries.
2. Figure Out What You Need to Survive
You can’t make a living as a writer if you don’t know what a living is to you. This depends on your circumstances and what lifestyle you want to lead. For some people, it’s no more than a hundred dollars a week because they have a partner working a job within the corporate rat race. Others need to support an entire household and require thousands of dollars per year.
Write down your expenses on a piece of paper and add it all up. This is your baseline. It’s what you need to earn to keep a roof over your head.
3. Build Up a List of Clients
Freelance writers must take time to get to that point where they can support themselves entirely through their writing. Building up a list of clients with regular work requires you to cultivate a relationship with them. This means having the patience to listen to them and meeting their expectations. You’re in business and you must act like a professional.
Take note, most clients you deal with will have a single project and then they’ll never want anything to do with you again. This is normal because businesses don’t often need someone to write content for their websites.
Stay patient. Don’t get disheartened that your clients are only ordering once from you.
4. Continue Your Professional Development
Part of being a successful freelancer is continuing to improve. There are so many ways you can improve the way you work and the service you’re giving to your clients.
You can call in an editor who can read through some of your work and offer tips on how you can enhance your writing. Another way is to attend conferences in your locality. Listen to podcasts. Read craft books. Look at the work of your competitors. Figure out how to improve your marketing efforts.
Anything you can come up with to develop yourself as a professional will increase your ability to make a living as a writer.
It’s a Long-Term Process
Please remember this isn’t a career choice for someone who wants lots of money now. It’s not a form of ’get rich quick’ scheme. The top freelancers made it to the highest peaks because they put the work in. It takes years to earn the huge salaries some writers boast about.
What’s important is that you stick with it through the good times and the bad times. Every writer encounters a time where they feel as if they can’t do this and they can’t make a success of themselves. Writers who desire to make a living from what they do will brace against these obstacles and push through.
Keep improving your writing and keep getting better at running a professional business. In time, you’ll make it to those lofty heights you targeted when you initially started.