After nearly a decade of writing for a living, I’ve learned something important. If you want to make money as a writer long-term, you have to, ironically, embrace writing as a lifestyle, not a job.
Writing is not really a job, it’s…
Of course, you should take your writing seriously enough to keep writing every day and continue to work on your writing skills. And you should certainly share your writing with others, even if it’s nerve-wracking at first– especially if those people are willing to pay you money for your writing.
However, if you’re only focused on making money and keeping hours, and not your writing itself and the process of writing itself, you will likely get burned out quickly and hate what you’re doing. Or grow apathetic to what you’re doing, which will lead to dull writing. You’ll also be missing out on the best part of being a writer for a living: writing.
Writing isn’t a typical kind of job because writers are always working. They don’t clock in and out. They don’t even really take vacations from writing. They’re always observing, reflecting, or thinking about something to write about in their heads, or drafting intro paragraphs to their next piece in their heads… and this is all-consuming most of the time. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s not. But regardless, it’s an entire lifestyle. The practice of writing is never switched on and off for a writer. It’s a way of existing in the world.
More about writing as a lifestyle
Writers who have been writing and perfecting their craft for years likely know what I mean when I say that in order to be a successful writer, writing needs to be incorporated into one’s lifestyle. Or, writing must be your main lifestyle. Sure, you can keep certain writing hours and solicit your writing to publications to make money, like writing is your job. Of course, that’s important. But if you don’t write every day, as if writing is and always will be a part of your life no matter what– especially when the page stays blank or you receive another rejection email or bad review–you won’t stay writing for very long. And likely not long enough to earn a decent living long-term.
To be a successful writer, you must put your writing first. Then, do with your writing what you must.
You will want to write something every day, to maintain a lifestyle of writing. Otherwise, you’ll lose your creativity and wit much quicker than you think you will. You’ll encounter writer’s block more frequently too. [Side note: check out this post Two ways to avoid writer’s block.]
If writing something every day–even if it’s only 500 words of a short story or blog post–doesn’t sound fun or enticing to you, then maybe writing isn’t for you. While writing can earn you a decent living, it rarely leads to one becoming a millionaire or billionaire. So, you need to enjoy the process of writing, more than what it earns you.
One of the many reasons I created this blog, Daily Drafts & Dialogues, and recently started sharing Daily Writing Prompts on it, is to ensure I maintain my own writing habit. And hopefully, I’ll inspire other writers like you and do some good in the world in the process too. I’m starting to complete some of the daily writing prompts myself and look forward to sharing some of my drafts with you in the future on the blog. Stay tuned.