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From Hobby to Paycheck: 5 Ways to Make Money by Writing

Oct. 21, 2013
Managing Money, Personal Finance
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For centuries, writers have struggled with turning their craft into cash. But thanks to the internet, figuring out how to make money from writing has never been easier than it is today. From blogging to writing copy for websites to self-publishing, the options are more varied than ever.

1. Blog

Yes, blogging is still a thing and is a great way for any unknown writer to publicize his or her work. At the least, a blog can garner some small revenue through advertisements and sponsors. But the real money in blogging comes from building a name for yourself as a writer. Think You must write frequently and publicize your blog diligently to get noticed. The luckiest bloggers have turned their sites into their careers. Most bloggers won’t reach that level of success, but transforming your writing into a brand can still help build your career.

2. Write as a citizen journalist

As the newspaper industry works to adapt to the Internet age, more and more papers are looking to lay writers, rather than professional journalists, to fill their pages. Take a close look at your local papers and see what kind of feature stories or opinion pieces they are interested in, and pitch a few ideas to the editor. The most lucrative pitch would be for a regular column or series of stories on whatever general topic you are passionate about.

3. Freelance

Magazines and websites are always looking for good content ideas. Or they have ideas but need writers to produce the content. Magazines do not limit themselves to staff writers, but will publish quality content from freelance writers. Your best bet to work your way into the freelancing market is on the internet. Sites like Freelance Writing Jobs or even Craigslist will provide an easily searchable list of options.

Another way to look for freelance work online is to find a website that caters to a topic you are knowledgeable in. Many large sites focusing on subjects like travel, finance, fashion, or crafting have blogs. Someone has to write those blogs. Find websites you would like to write for and inquire about their needs.

4. Self-publish

The inventor of the printing press had no idea how easy it would someday become for a writer to put his or her work where millions of readers could have instant access. Thanks to e-readers and subscription sites like Scribd, any would-be novelist can now reach an audience without having to find a publishing house to finance production of a book.

5. Submit pieces to literary magazines or contests

There is a paying market for short fiction and creative non-fiction pieces as well as poetry. Finding the magazines or contests that will pay for accepted submissions requires nothing more than a web search engine and a few minutes. Websites like Every Writer’s Resource and Poets & Writers also collect and publish submission links as well as editorial guidelines.

It requires legwork and patience to turn your writing hobby into a source of income, and even more to turn it into a day job. A writer who wants to make money off of her craft cannot sit back and simply wait for opportunities. But if you are willing to put in the time and effort to get your name and work out there, though, you can find a way to turn your passion for writing into a paycheck.