1. Radhika
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    Radhika Member

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    Making a Full-Time Living Writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Radhika, Mar 3, 2011.

    All of us here love writing with an indistinct passion. How many of us, however, make a full-time living or have attempted to make a full-time living from writing? If so, for those of us who would love to lead their life writing (like me!), what steps did you take to reach that goal?
    I did find one article, if anyone would like to read it - Click Here.
    However, most of the research I conducted said to live towards Freelance.
    What is your opinion on this?
     
  2. juliuswrites
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    juliuswrites Member

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    Well, I'm unpublished at the moment but there are a few ways to get published. one is to get in contact with a literary agent, you can find extensive lists just by searching "literary agents" or you can self publish, if you want to do that i recommend going to http://www.lightningsource.com/ and they will print your book and ship it for you, free of charge, all they ask in return is a certain percentage of your sales profits.
     
  3. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Imo writing for a living would push me to rush my work.
    I like taking my time, thinking things out, from different angles.
    But if I have a deadline even a flexible deadline, it would encourage me to
    assembly line my work.

    I want to be published eventually, but I don't think I want it to be the thing I pay my bills with.

    Kind of like a movie script compared to a tv series script. The tv script is weekly, so not alot of work can go into the piece, and they have to keep coming up with interesting storylines. The movie script has more time to perfect the work, and is more flexible. They don't have to work with the same characters for each movie.

    Much like a painter that paints for his benefit. He sells the work if someone wants it, but has no preasure to dole out painting after painting. He could sign a contract to produce, but there will be the preasure that was not there before.
     
  4. Zadkeil
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    Zadkeil New Member

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    I think freelance online writing and self-publishing are the way of the future. e-books are becoming more and more popular with first time book writers. You don't have to put up with agents and editors. The trend is definitely away from paper publishing (dead tree technology).
     
  5. juliuswrites
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    juliuswrites Member

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    Well actually the only time you'd be rushed to finish a work by a deadline is if you signed a multi-book contract with a publisher. And if you self published there would never be any rush.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    what is that supposed to mean?

    as for making a living exclusively with your writing, only an extremely rare few of the many who'd like to do so, ever get to that point, whether by freelancing or otherwise...
     
  7. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think trying to pursue a fulltime career in writing is like chasing smoke. The best option is to assume you'll never make enough money from your manuscripts to pay the bills, because the odds are you won't( By that I mean 99.9999%)

    You have a passion for writing. Let that be the only reason why you write, and if you hit the jackpot and stumble into a hundred thousand dollar contract with a publisher then you can count yourself lucky and be pleasantly surprized.
     
  8. Rawne
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    Rawne Member

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    Though if you want to make a living from writing, you'd probably be looking for the money and the elusive lucrative advance.

    But if you want to write, and do write, and happen to get paid for it, well that's awesome.

    I tried to make a living from it a few years back. I lacked both the ability and the self-discipline to make much money at all. I was simply not capable of writing regularly enough to churn out enough copy for websites, or with enough discipline to return to the same piece of fiction enough times to finish it, let alone hit a second draft.
     
  9. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes but there is a reason that agents and publishers exits; they only accept QUALITY work. I skip 99.98% of all self-published stuff I see, because I assume the quality is not as good. Is that true every time? I doubt it. Is that the stigma? Yes definitely.
     
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  10. Radhika
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    Radhika Member

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    Freelancing meaning freelance writing, articles and such for various services.

    When I say I want to make a full-time living writing, I'm chasing it for the passion. I don't want to work in a cubicle for 8 hours, I want to write during that 8 hours.
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agree! I would like so much to get published (im not - yet, but i have only given it half a try so far) but i wouldnt let my entire survival depend on it. Besides i think it would be too much of a pressure which would probably kill the inspiration (at least for me), i think there is some point in those who says "Dont quit your dayjob", :) for me its a hobby, a passion, yes but i prefer having another job too.

    I cant but agree with you on this. I dont think i will ever take the road to self publishing only because no one accepted my work at the publishers. I would rather take it as there isnt such a strong market for the kind of books that im writing and then whats the point? I mean, what i want from publishing my books is more the acknowledge from people that knows what is good and what sells, more than just plain satisfaction from seeing my own work in print. If no one wanted to publish it, going self publishing would never give me the same satisfaction.
     
  12. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I have not read many self published books.
    I have read good short stories that were published online(free).
    If you can over look the typos and spell check word changes(changed to the wrong version of the word) the stories are fairly entertaining.

    I guess agents and publishers weed out the bad, amatuers just do it for fun, and self publishers don't take no for an answer, no matter how bad it is.

    The amatuer works I like, probably start with lower expectations then a story I look to buy or get at the library, so is more impressing when they are good.
     
  13. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not sure they only accept quality work. Not all books out there are good...

    I agree with the self published 'stigma'. It's definitely there... although there are exceptions to the rule.
     
  14. Terry D
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    Terry D Active Member

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    The only opinions which count about your work are yours, and the end customer -- the reader. Publishers are only a means of getting your writing into the hands of the end customer, and because of their financial limitations -- which manifest themselves in an overdependence on marketing, and a reduction in editorial staff -- it is terribly difficult for good new writing to find a home. Not impossible, but tougher than ever before.

    Self publishing is an option to get your work into the customers hands. And, as in all other forms of commerce, if the customer likes the product, if they see value in it, it will sell. If you don't worry about making scads of money -- because marketing a self-published work is not for the faint of heart -- you can get a real feel for what readers think about the words you write.

    Hundreds of books accepted by publishers every year fall flat on their faces and sell next to nothing, even with the editorial, distribution, and marketing advantages 'traditionally' published books have. Why? Because the end customer doesn't like them. Which is the better book? The one accepted by a traditional publisher which fails, or the one self-published which is read and recommended. For me it was a matter of finding out what readers think of my book.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i know what 'freelancing' means, since i've done it... i didn't ask what it meant... this is what i asked about:

    so, what is that supposed to mean???
     
  16. nhope
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    nhope Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Rant -
    I really don't think anyone should say you can't make a living from writing. I think that's bs. Many, many people make a living from writing and are damn happy about it.

    You have to define what "making a living from writing" means to you. Does it mean have enough to pay the bills? A little more? A summerhouse? Winterhouse? Double your current salary? Top 100? Generate any amount of cash?

    I can't help but feel pissed when anyone makes that comment. There are billions of people in the world and you don't know what they all do and what they all make. And don't throw statistics at me either because they can be altered to show one thing over another.

    Done.

    oh by the way...I make a living from writing.
     
  17. katica
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    katica Senior Member

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    You are awesome. I loved that rant!

    What do you write? Fiction or non-fiction? Articles, novels, short stories, or books?
     
  18. Radhika
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    Radhika Member

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    When you research this topic - making a full-time living writing - the majority of resources tell you to go freelance, and only one, the article I linked, talks about books. Supposedly, freelance is steadier.
     
  19. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    Nothing wrong with setting your goal. No one would be a known writer if they didn't try.

    However, don't denigrate the cubicle world. I work a great great company (in a cubicle) and have a very interesting job that allows me to be both creative and analytical...I need both sides of my brain to be worked and my job gives it to me. Don't attach a stigma to something if you haven't experienced it. People say they don't want 'that' kind of job but may never have experienced it. People do things in those cubicles and some of us even get to enjoy it.
     
  20. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    In my opinion, freelancing is a good way to go to make some money writing. Depending at the speed you write and your ability to send your stuff out, you can make quite a bit of money from freelance writing.

    However, as someone else pointed out, is making a living basically making money? If it is, you can absolutely make a living by writing, but it requires hard work, determination, consistency, and a few would probably add skill in there too.

    It also requires a "fire and forget" mentality when it comes to submitting your work--this is where I have the biggest problem in my writing. Well, I have the problem with my book-length pieces, but not with the short stories. Basically this just means when you send your work out, forget about it and continue on with the next project. Don't wait around for that yes or no answer from an agent or publisher, but move on as if the answer doesn't matter (or has already come).

    James Patterson wrote four books (I think it was four) before he switched careers from advertising to writing. Nowadays, he works on up to 30 projects at once, which to me means if you want to make a living or be successful at writing, you must treat it like a job. You must work at it everyday with the same effort that you would put into a well-paying career job.

    It is no lie that writing is hard. It's hard to treat it like a full-time job because it takes a long, long time to reach any payouts for the work invested in it, and sometimes those payouts never come. But it can be done. You just have to want it bad enough to really work at it.
     
  21. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends what you mean by making a living - I have worked in situations where I have been able to use my writing, or speaking skills. Sometimes that means volunteering to do extra work and going that extra mile in your job. When I worked in an old peoples home - I could read stories to them, when I worked in a library I used to do story times and add the odd made up story, the same for working in a school situation, in a museum situation I got to write labels, background, leaflets so I included the odd short story. When friends have been writing their books I have helped out and given opinion written parts they are struggling with, helped choose pictures, researched etc Whilst I haven't been paid for the latter and remain unpublished (well technically I guess I would be - there have been odd things in the past) I have the satisfaction of seeing my influence in several published works, even the odd paragraph I have helped write.

    I have been saying I have only been writing for a year, I didn't consider the other work, 'work' but you can find ways of using your writing skills or storytelling skills in many ways. Enid Blyton started out writing for school publications as a teacher.
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    to me, 'making a living' at something means it provides income sufficient to pay all bills/rent/mortgage, etc. without needing any additional income from other sources...

    so, if anyone here has a writing career that does this, i'd be interested in knowing what kind/s of writing brings that about... and i'm sure it would be helpful info for any here who want to make writing their career...

    nhope... how do you do it?
     
  23. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    My career as a museum assistant brought in a low wage but enough for a single person to manage and included a lot of writing. In a small museum you have to do a bit of everything.

    For me that included writing labels (which involves creativity) - research, writing to people. I wrote leaflets which included stories. Short stories to go along with the exhibits. I helped collaborate on many works that are now published in a variety of ways from finding photographs, my talent for finding bizarre nuggets of information was welcomed, my ability with words. Then there were school visits and children's clubs - I wrote stories for them.

    As an archaeologist I had to write field reports, talks, come up with stories for visits etc In both careers I was able to spend a portion of most days in the office writing or storytelling in some capacity (I also had to sweep floors and clean glass).

    My friend is a librarian and together we often write stories, promote books etc

    Thinking outside the box and going that extra mile in many careers can allow you to 'write' perhaps not fulltime but a lot of the time and get paid for it.
     
  24. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm similarly curious about the definition of "making a living from writing". Writing can be a plain ordinary nine-to-five, answer-to-the-boss job.

    Making a living from your own books or stories or columns, written more or less under your own supervision and inspiration, would be the dream. Of course, you'd be influenced by editors and publishers and what would sell, but this seems to offer the maximum writer control.

    At the other extreme--and my apologies if I'm showing a lot of ignorance of the industry--would, I think, be folks like tech writers, who write about a very specific assigned subject in a pretty specific way, and presumably answer to a boss. I'm not saying that tech writing doesn't require plenty of skill and creativity, but it seems to me that it would have far less freedom.

    So I'd guess that the first category is what people are talking about?

    ChickenFreak
     
  25. alter-ego
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    alter-ego Banned

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    I'd have to disagree there, if you've ever submitted your article to an editor who although published it, re wrote it where he thought appropriate without your consent, which they are entitled to do, you'd know what I mean! :)

    I have a friend that has 3 published books now. Non of them were particularly successful although one did have the movie rights purchased. She did impress me that she took that notoriety and turned herself into a writing guru who now teaches paid courses at adult educational classes.

    I have another friend who is a copy writer. She pours her creativity into making a can of soup sound appetizing, or a nuclear fallout area sound like the best place to take a holiday, and then scribbles her own stories at night.

    I have another friend that is the speech writer for a CEO of a top fortune 500 company.
     

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