Making a Living as a Writer: What Does That Mean?

I’m going to be sharing a series of posts on making a living as a children’s writer (though much of it will apply to writers of all stripes). Then I might expand those posts and create a Children’s Writer Insider Guide. We’ll see what happens…

Before I start digging deep, I thought it might be good to define what I mean by earning a living as a writer. Because that means different things to different people. For example, a lot of people who say they’re earning a living as a writer earn most of their money through sales of webinars, affiliate products, speaking, etc. They are mostly selling products to other writers. And that’s totally valid! I love to teach (and I know Lisa does, too), so mentoring writers and writing books and blog posts and such for teachers is a natural extension of an activity we love. But if I find 95% of my time is being spent on learning new tech skills for promotion, taping webinars, etc., then–for ME–that doesn’t feel like a writing career. I speak, teach, mentor, do tech stuff for promoting my work, and so on. And I enjoy most of it! But I don’t love it as much as writing. So my personal definition of making a living as a writer is to earn at least half, if not 2/3, of my income through writing books or articles or poems or stories.

Don’t get me wrong. I could earn more money if I focused more on my writing STRICTLY as a business. If I only focused on building my mailing list to 30,000 people and then selling those people products. If I created websites that were all about SEO. If I wanted to be a salesperson instead of a writer.

But I want to be a writer. So, yes, I do these other things to help me earn the income I need to earn. But I want even my side activities to be book-and-word-based. Writing what companies/publishers need. Helping other writers write better. Marketing my own books that I love. I have to earn a certain income, but I want to keep it all “as close to the book” as possible.

I once tried building a website (food-related) with the plan of putting great content on there and monetizing the site to supplement my income. Long story short–I wasn’t excited enough about it. Every time I looked at my task list, I thought, “I’d rather be writing.” Or, if I had to do all these marketing tasks, I at least wanted them to benefit my kids’ books.” I don’t want to be a marketer as my career(Though there’s nothing wrong with that if that idea makes you happy!) I want to be a writer.

How do YOU define making a living as a writer? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and they’ll help shape my future posts, too!

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About Laura Purdie Salas

children's writer, poet, reader, visiting author, speaker/teacher, mentor, copyeditor, freelance writer
This entry was posted in Making a Living. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Making a Living as a Writer: What Does That Mean?

  1. Pingback: My Ideal Writing Life | Mentors for Rent

  2. Pingback: Making a Living: Shifting the Seesaw | Mentors for Rent

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