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What You Can Expect to Make as a Writer

By: Angelique Caffrey - Updated: 19 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Creative Writer; Performer; Freelance;

“How much can I make as an author?”

That’s the burning question on many creative writers’ minds especially those who would like to take “the plunge” into full-time (or part-time) freelancing.

Though there are no perfect answers, the best response would be: “How much are you willing to put into your art?” Without a doubt, your willingness to invest time and, in some cases, money, will have a direct reflection on whether your bank account grows or remains stagnant.

If you’re contemplating moving into the world of paying markets by selling your written “wares”, ask yourself the following pointed queries. Each is designed to help you think a bit more practically about the overall process, thereby upping your odds of earning some pounds.

Question No. 1: How Much Time Can You Spend on Writing?

Yes, you want to become a professional creative author, but if you can only realistically spend 2-5 hours a week on the process, you cannot hope to make much in the way of income. After all, many gigs take an hour or two to finish… at least. And in this competitive market, they might not pay much (especially for a new writer with few published clips or samples).

However, it’s still better to devote those few moments to writing excellent copy and searching out freelance opportunities rather than simply quitting your regular employment in the hopes of “making it”.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with setting aside a certain time – say, Sunday evening or every weekday morning for an hour before your family awakens – to trawl the Internet looking for jobs or write new imaginative musings. But be pragmatic and understand that if you can only devote bits and pieces of time, you won’t be able to build a network of clients – or an impressive income stream – right away.

Question No. 2: Are You a Self-Starter Who Can Motivate Him- or Herself?

As a professional freelancer, you have to be willing to work even when inspiration has flown out the door; otherwise, you’ll be unable to keep attracting new job offers. If you have trouble getting out of bed to write or you need someone looking over your shoulder to keep you busy, you’re unlikely to make much money in the freelance industry.

However, you may enjoy taking your creative writing skills to a different sort of job arena – the corporate world. Invest a little time in exploring what marketing or advertising copy openings may be available to you in your region. That way, you’ll be paid to write (though not necessarily always about what most interests you) but won’t have to worry about finding the motivation to create on your home computer at the end of a busy day.

Question No. 3: Can You Accept Rejection?

Writers, like performers, models, and other creative individuals, hear the word “no” quite frequently.

You have to be able to maintain a sense of humour and a thick skin when trying to build your reputation as a solid freelancer. Otherwise, you’ll become despondent during those inevitable periods when all you’re getting back in response to queries or submissions are “thanks, but no thanks” responses.

Even the most prolific authors are turned down again and again; it’s those who keep coming back to the well to try another time that eventually make money in the field.

Question No. 4: Are You Organised (or Willing to Become Organised)?

Organisation is one of the keys to being a competent, paid freelancer. If you cannot keep track of deadlines, clientele, jobs, research, income, and expenses, you won’t have much chance of getting far in the industry.

Take a course in basic accounting, buy home business software for your laptop, and/or pour over some basic books to educate yourself on the best methods of organising your freelance career. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in awkward situations when you repeatedly miss deadlines or lose important emails.

Question No. 5: Can You be Patient?

Finally, you must have the willingness to set aside your desires to want money and focus instead on the goal of achieving a positive reputation as a creative writer. Generally speaking, few very persons get “rich” in the writing industry; however, that doesn’t mean you cannot eke out a truly comfortable existence doing something you love.

Regardless of your age or experience, exercise a little patience and start slowly. If you give yourself time to gradually acquire new jobs and methodically plan for future growth, you’ll have a much better chance of making your freelancing dreams come true.

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