The Internet has been a double-edged sword for writers. On one hand, it opened up a whole new world of blogs, web content, and rapidly expanding cyberspace in need of words to fill it. On the other hand, it has also seriously increased the pool of competitors. Today, you don’t need to consider yourself a “writer” to get paid to write. Anyone who thinks they’ve got the skills goes for writing jobs part-time, or on the side, telecommuting from home or freelancing.
This shouldn’t spell the end for writers trying to earn money, though: for every site that is willing to hire anyone for pay-per-click articles, there are several sites publishing quality content that are in need of truly skilled writers. Separating yourself from the hungry pack is the key to securing income, working in web journalism, government proposal writing, blogging, or any of several other areas.
Before you begin attempting to earn money, there are a few questions you should ask yourself:
Is writing something that I truly want to do? Can I be fulfilled or happy doing it?
Do I want to work in a specific writer area? Fiction, nonfiction, blogging, advice, journalism?
How much time can I reasonably devote to writing?
The answers to those questions will inform how you approach earning money.
How It’s Done
- Become a Blogger. This is a tricky business, because it’s the most popular way writers try to earn. But if you’ve got something real to say, you can make it work. Join a blogging site and begin posting content. Don’t think about the money for a while – just focus on quality. If you begin to attract readers, the money will flow. The subject of your blog can be anything, but successful blogs typically offer advice, a humorous escape from everyday life, or useful information. Public “journal” isn’t advisable.
- Work in journalism. If you have a background in journalism, or want to develop yourself as a writer in that lauded field, there are avenues to pursue. Most major print publications have developed a powerful online presence, because of the demand for immediacy in information. If you aim your resume toward Net-based reporting, you can attempt to find work at great news sites like Slate, The Economist, The Post, and a slew of others. Most experts agree that the future of all news is online, so get ahead of the pack! And don’t worry that you’re not working in print – the world is on your side, and respect for digital journalists is in full swing.
- Work as a proposal writer. Government proposal writing is a specific and extremely in-demand skill that requires research and a knack for a certain kind of prose style. When you’re writing specifically to gain funding for a project, your track record is important. To break into the field, look at what the experts are doing. Take a course, and offer your services to non-profits and other agencies in need of such work. If you have the knack for it, your reputation will begin to speak for itself, and you command a real income.
Tony is a writer who makes a living exclusively through free lance online writing.