Many people dream of being a writer, but the reality is that most writers need to have a day job in order to provide for themselves and their family. In this article you will learn how to be a writer without quitting your day job. At the end of this article you will find a link to an interview with a full-time writer who explains exactly how she manages to write and publish novellas while holding down a day job.
What does a writer do?
Writers tell stories. If you can write, you can be a writer. Once you have learned how to create the worlds and characters that populate your story, you need to learn how to put them on paper or electronic text so someone else can read it.
Before jumping into writing full time, consider what kind of stories you enjoy most and whether they would appeal to others as well. This article will teach you how to write faster with minimum editing, so start small by telling the story of something that happened in history or fiction (no fair writing about yourself or your friends, sorry). When you feel comfortable with the process of writing and publishing a short story, consider how many stories you can write and publish per week. This will help decide how much time it would take to make a living as a writer based on your writing speed.
After some practice, you will find that you don’t need to work on each story for very long. You may even be able to write as fast as one story per day if you spread things out over the course of the day (don’t expect this for at least two weeks after starting to write regularly, however).
Is writing a viable career?
If you love writing and can write faster than one story per week, and it doesn’t bother you to not get paid for the first twelve months or so while you build up your audience, then YES. You should definitely consider making a living as a writer if that is something you would enjoy doing.
If there were no such thing as money, and all writers wrote solely for their own enjoyment (and the enjoyment of anyone kind enough to read what they had written), we wouldn’t have any stories at all — because nobody would be driven to create them.
Contrary to popular belief, even aspiring novelists need money in order to live and make time in their lives for writing. If you think you might like being a full-time writer, then start making time for it now and consider ways that you can make money (or continue to make enough money) while writing.
Recognize Why you want to be a writer.
If you want to write because writing is your passion and it is what you would naturally do even if you couldn’t get paid, then WRITE. Do it for the sake of doing it and tell people: “I’m a writer.”
If you are thinking about making this your career, though, take some time to think about why. What will motivate you to keep going when times are tough? Money? Recognition? The sheer joy of storytelling? Knowing that someone out there in the world is being entertained by something that came from inside your head? How can you use this motivation when writing becomes difficult or boring (it will)?
Can I be a full-time writer while holding down a day job?
You can. You just need to keep your day job until you can make enough money from writing that your writing becomes a full-time gig. Many people decide to work part time, instead of quitting their jobs entirely, because they are not yet confident in how fast they can write or what kind of stories will sell. If you have the time, it is always better to wait until you are sure before quitting your day job completely. Compare this option with being able to take off for two months at a time, though, and the other option becomes much more attractive.
Why would you not want to become a writer
Authors that write as a full-time job (especially those with large families) may have to sacrifice the quality of their work. If you spend all day writing, especially if you do not have an existing audience already eager for your next release, then there is a good chance that most of what you write will never be read by anyone else. Even if it is published and available online or in stores, the chances that someone stumbling upon it would give it a second look just because they saw your name on it are slim. It might even get lost among all the other new titles available each week at most bookstores.
Determine the kind of writer you want to be.
Someone who is paid by the word (for example, for short articles)? Someone who is paid per piece (such as a writer for hire), someone who only writes fiction, or someone who focuses on non-fiction? Did you want to be a freelance writer, technical writer, or just do your own thing with self publishing? Which type(s) might earn you more money and why?
Consider if writing may be a hobby rather than a way to make money. If so, what will your motivation be when it comes time to write something you aren’t particularly in the mood for? Take this time to determine your goals and motivations — but remember that these things will change over time. Write down somewhere special where you can go back and read them when you need to remind yourself of why you are doing this.
How do I prepare for a writing career?
Create a plan for yourself and stick to it. It may help you to write down your goals, just as it may help an aspiring actor or musician to create a resume.
It is important that you take the time at the outset of this career to prepare yourself just as if it were any other job — because that is exactly what writing professionally will be: work. You will spend most of your day doing it (not necessarily all of your time), and there will be tasks, strategies and steps involved in becoming successful at it (even if those steps seem like fun — they are still work.) Otherwise, we’d all have jobs as professional gamers or rock-star musicians instead!
Don’t forget why you want to do this. If you create a plan to start this career, determine what you will do in order to accomplish it and remember your motivation when moments get tough, then you are already well on the way to making writing your full-time job.
Do not forget that someone needs to pay for all of this. You need to make sure that they are getting a return on their investment or else they will stop investing in you — and there is a good chance that they WILL stop if you let them down. Remember: even successful writers have editors who did not buy what was originally submitted.
How to make a living as a full-time writer
To make a living as a full-time writer, you must do two things:
1. (Write) You must write something that people are willing to pay money for.
2. (Market) You need to find enough people who want to buy your story or article, and you need to convince them that they should give you money in return for the privilege of reading it (or watching it or listening or whatever form your writing might take).
Writing offers all kinds of “jobs” that will allow you to follow your passion, be it short stories or poetry, working with non-profit organizations or public relations, sports writing or screenplays. You can write for others or create your own blog about any topic that interests you. Even freelance writing is a viable option if you are particularly proficient at English and enjoy researching topics online!
Compare these options by thinking about what type of writer might make the most money. Someone who writes for websites? Someone who creates graphic novels? The kind of pay rates vary wildly by medium and genre, but if something else besides money drives you to become a writer then this should not matter so much.
What if I don’t like writing enough to make it my career (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)? You can still write as a hobby. Maybe not poetry or novels — but most other forms of writing are still available to you after all! If this is your goal, then check out some books on the subject at your local bookstore to find out what you need to know. If you have a story or idea that just won’t leave you alone, then it is time to write!
Free ways to promote your book
There are many ways to promote your book (even before getting it published) in order to get the best possible chance at success. Readers will want to know about you and your background, so take some time to craft a biography that might entice them into reading your work. If you grew up in New York City, were born with six fingers on each hand or spent several years abroad teaching English — all of this is important information! People like knowing who they are dealing with even when they are just browsing for something new to read. It helps personalize the experience and makes them feel more connected to you, which means they will be more likely to buy your writing if it suits their tastes.
Why writers need mailing lists
A mailing list can help you form a community of people who want to buy your work and support your career as a writer. You can share new items, hold contests or send out newsletters — whatever is right for the situation will be entirely up to you and the needs of your fans.
You can also use social media like Facebook and Twitter for this purpose, but email tends to have more staying power with users since it requires them to actively sign up instead of just “liking” something from their newsfeeds. It’s also easier to track responses that way! How much does it cost? In most cases, nothing at all! Mailchimp offers free plans that allow you to make this happen without any investment besides time.
Create realistic goals and expectations
Many authors have different ways of approaching their writing career. For some, it is a way to express what they see in their minds; others want to be able to share their personal experiences with other people. Some write because they are good at it and enjoy doing so; others may write simply because that’s what they know how to do or for whatever reason inspires them.
One of the best ways of setting realistic goals is to see what other authors have done. They can give you examples into what you need to do and what you can expect when you get there. Everyone’s path is different, but this will help you start to formulate some first steps. Know what it will take to get you where you want to go, and do not be afraid of the hard work involved! Take ACTION every day, even if it is only a little bit. Once you have done this for a while, then revisit your plan and make adjustments as needed in order to continue moving forward in a positive direction.
Steps on How to Build a Writing Career
Become a regular reader to help prefect fiction writing
This does not mean reading fewer books or magazines, but rather reading more in general. Try to read everything you can get your hands on, including the advertisements and fine print. If it is interesting, then write it down. When I was younger, my friends used to laugh at me when I would suddenly take out a notebook during our conversations and start writing what they were saying. Believe me, I was not doing this because I wanted to make fun of them (much). Rather, I wanted to remember the things they said so that when we were finished talking I could go home and try writing some stories about them!
If you spend five nights per week watching TV shows with paranormal elements in them (ghosts or time travel for example) then you will want to write stories that include paranormal elements.
Know what you enjoy reading and why, and try to figure out how to do it better than everyone else! This is an ongoing process that does not stop when you begin your first draft. Even if the story idea has already been done many times before (as is often the case with fantasy novels for example), remember that each version is still different than all the ones before it! The more knowledge and understanding of techniques that you have, the better chance you will succeed; but even if someone publishes a book similar to yours down the road, remember that your story can still be better because it is YOUR version!
Enroll in an online creative writing course
There are many websites that can help you get started. You do not have to pay a lot of money either! Sites like YouTube will offer videos on how to improve your writing. You can also join a professional course site like Masterclass.
If these options are prohibitively expensive, try asking at the bookstore (or library) if they know of any classes or clubs that meet in your area. If you don’t like taking classes in person then try enrolling with an online writing course such as Writers Online Classes. Another source is Brandon Sanderson’s YouTube videos. Brandon offers advice on how to write characters well, how to set up your story so it can be told in a way that makes sense (hint: “show don’t tell!”), tips for getting over writer’s block, understanding genre conventions without being too much of a slave to them, etc.
Every writer’s journey is unique. However, while there are many paths to becoming an author, the one thing every successful author has in common is dedication over time. Whether it takes ten years or ten minutes, you will never accomplish your goals if you don’t make the choice to get started today.
“Write drunk, edit sober” (Write every day)
The two most important things for a writer are persistence and dedication. I’m not talking about becoming an alcoholic or doing drugs to get yourself in the mood, but rather using whatever tools you may have on hand (such as listening to music while writing your book) to help get into the proper mindset.
When you start something new, do it every day. Take time after work or school; try playing with your kids or practicing your hobby of choice outside , etc.. Soon enough, this will become part of your daily routine (or at least it should be if you wish to make writing a career). Write only when you feel like it; write even when you don’t feel like it! If there is nothing else that can motivate you more than the publication of your first book, then I do not know what it can be!
Practice becoming more conversational
This doesn’t mean to mimic the way you speak (although it would be interesting if everyone did this to some degree). What I mean is that you should try not to get too caught up in using big words or complicated sentence structure when you don’t need to. Even if your story takes place on another planet, do not write like the people there think and communicate like it is their first language! This does not mean to talk down at your readers; instead, write for them as if they were sitting right beside you listening closely.
Making things easier to read means that readers won’t be stopped by large words or awkward phrases. This will make it easier for you to convey the important information; and even if they go back later to reread something, they won’t get bogged down in over-complex language.
Everyday apply what you have been learning from your writing course about grammar and punctuation
In our conversations we often use contractions (“I’m going home” instead of ” I am going home” ), but when we start writing or typing out a story, most of us forget to change the phrase into its full form. This occurs because most of us were taught by others that one is supposed to always write things in their expanded forms! The same happens with grammar rules: whether it be a comma usage question or a tense debate, just do what sounds and feels right to you and if it works then don’t worry about what anyone else says.
While that part of writing is mostly up to you, here are a few helpful things to remember : 1) It’s always better to use short words than long ones whenever possible; 2) Always try using the simplest grammatical form of a word (e.g., not “will have been” but rather “have”). When you feel like doing so, go on an internet research binge and find as many variations as possible on how different grammar rules can be put into practice; this way, even when people tell you that your story was written improperly or incorrectly, you will know how and why they may be wrong. (Remember: If all else fails, know when to give up!)
Work with the tools a professional writer would use
All writers have a different routine when it comes to making notes about their story. Some keep a regular notebook handy at all times, while others will write down key points in a program like Microsoft Word. I personally use Evernote for this purpose, which is free and available on all platforms (you could also use the popular OneNote from Windows).
In addition to your day-to-day notes you should also be sure to make details about specific characters and settings. WorldAnvil and CampFire both offer tools to build worlds. These will often change as you write, so these tools help you find continuity mistakes. It is very important for every writer to keep track of how much time they spend writing and on which days. This can be done by using word counters or timers. Word count programs are also available, but these are more expensive than timers. The most popular timer is the Pomodoro Timer, which divides an hour into 25-minute intervals with short breaks in between. If you don’t want to use a timer, you can just set your phone’s alarm clock for an hour and then take a break when it goes off . It may seem like common sense to some people who have been doing this since childhood , but if you need help coming up with ideas for what to write about, there are many different websites that offer prompts.
When you’re done writing use your word counter to keep track of how many words you’ve written that day. Some writers who are not sure how long their story will be write down the number of words they think they’ll finish by the end of each day, so if at any point they fall behind it is easy to know what else needs to get done.
After finishing a chapter, go back and read through it. If anything sounds awkward or confusing, take the time to edit it. You can also print off this chapter and read it on paper or in an e-reader like Kindle (which I recommend for anyone who does much reading). This will allow you to see everything clearly while making sure no key details fell between the cracks!
Finally, it is extremely important to find a beta reader, someone who reads your work before you publish or show anyone else. They are the first step in making sure that your story flows throughout the entire thing. Also, be sure to save what you’ve written every few days either on an external drive or cloud-based storage, since computers can fail at any time!
Becoming a writer while balancing work and family
While it is great to be passionate about your work, remember that you must make time for your family. This is the most important part of life, so try not to get too caught up chasing after some big dream! I am not saying this to discourage you, but rather because of what I see happening more and more these days.
If you are an adult with children , then you have a family that needs time from you just as much as they need food on the table every night. Be honest with yourself about how much writing time can fit into each day without neglecting them in any way. Do not forget that if everything works out well, the enjoyment your family gets will help motivate you even more.
Find a place to get real critiques
While constructive criticism can be difficult to take at times, it is usually worth putting up with if you have found a group of people whose opinions are well-informed.
Remember that these are people who actually take the time out of their lives to read whatever piece of fiction you send them just so they can give their opinion. If they care about making your work the best it can be then I suggest you do everything in your power to ensure that they are happy! This means being open to changing whatever needs changing about your story.
No matter how awkward or painful this process may seem initially, try not to let it get you down. This is the only way to see your story become as good as it can be; if that is not enough incentive, then I do not know what else there could be!
As far as setting up a group like this, you can either set one up yourself or join an existing group. But whatever you do, make sure these people are honest and wise about what they say. There should never be any reason to fear anything someone might have said to you too harshly – unless of course their advice was just plain wrong , in which case ignore them completely.
So, what’s the secret to becoming a writer? Well first you need to ask yourself why. Once you know your “why” it is easier for you to find out which type of writing and genre suits your style best. Knowing your why also helps in determining how much time and effort should be put into publishing content that will make people want to buy it. When we say publish worthy material-we don’t just mean write about topics that are popular or trendy–although those can help too! We also mean writing with an engaging voice and tone, using varied sentence structures and word choice, capturing attention by creating suspenseful scenarios, developing characters who feel like real people instead of one dimensional caricatures or simply talking at someone without actually saying anything, and finding a way to build off of what has been said before while still being unique in it’s own right. When you have compelling writing, you’ll find it’s much easier to sell and call yourself a writer.
Do you learn better watching a video? Here is one that can help you become a writer: