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How to make money from your writing

Money mindset for writers

“Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

― Lewis Carroll

What are you believing about making money from your writing?

Does making money from your writing seem impossible? Perhaps overwhelm and not knowing where to send your work is holding you back? Or perhaps you haven’t considered making money from writing before now. I’m here to tell you that it isn’t impossible. In fact, I know for certain it’s possible to make money from writing and that you don’t have to be a genius to do it. How do I know that?

  • I’ve done it
  • I know people who’ve done it
  • There are plenty of working writers who’ve done it

Even if deep down you believe it’s impossible for you, you have to agree that the above is true!

The four levels

For sake of argument, let’s say there are four levels to making money from your writing:

  1. Making to odd amount here and there, on an ad hoc basis
  2. Earning enough to support yourself part-time, and you break even (you can earn enough in a day to cover your expenses for a day)
  3. Earning your living from writing and writing-related activities, like leading workshops
  4. Earning millions from writing

A mindset thing

All four of these ‘levels’ are possible. How do I know that? Because I’ve done the first three at different points in my life, and there are writers who’ve earnt millions from writing – they exist and they’re human beings with 168 hours in a week just like us. So it definitely not impossible. Here’s the thing: it can seem impossible, but that’s a mindset thing, not reality.

In fact, as with many aspects of the writing life, making money from your writing is more about mindset than you probably think it is. The stuff that isn’t about mindset is either about honing your craft or getting organised. So put simply, to make money from your writing, you need:

  • A shift in mindset
  • To hone your craft
  • To get organised

What do all four levels have in common?

You know what all of the writers in my above list of four levels are doing? Something you have to do to make money from your writing? They’re all sending their work out into the world. It sounds obvious, but that might be your particular stumbling block. The writers in each of these categories – making an odd amount here and there, earning enough to write part-time, earning their living from it, earning millions from writing – are all sending their work out into the world in different ways and in differing amounts, as follows:

  1. On an ad hoc (and possibly impulsive) basis.
  2. In a systematic way, but in small amounts.
  3. In a systematic way, more often than 1 and 2. They’re likely to have to have support from others, and some of their time is spent on writing-related activities.
  4. The writer who’s making millions is most likely:
  • to be single-minded
  • to have support from others
  • to be proactively building and maintaining an author platform
  • to know their readership and what they want
  • to have a system set up for producing and promoting at least one book a year
  • to have a backlist

What’s the difference between the four?

What’s the difference between the four levels? 1 has no obvious system. Then the systems get more complicated as you move from 2 – 4. In fact, if you’ve been writing for a while, it’s possible that shifting your mindset so that you focus on creating systems is the most important thing you can do right now in order to earn money from your writing. What’s stopping you from taking the steps I identify under 4 above?

Try this exercise

  1. Work out how much it costs you to live for one day: food, bills, childcare, rent / mortgage etc.
  2. Now work out how much you would need to sell and what kind of writing you would need to write (and how many words) in order to make that amount. In other words, what’s your break even amount? What’s stopping you from achieving it?
  3. Now, what’s your goal? How much would you like to earn?
    How many words would you need to write and what kind of thing would you need to write in order to reach your goal? What’s stopping you from achieving it?

This is partly a thought-experiment, one that I first did in a workshop run by coach Hannah Martin at a conference. Because of that, it may bring up thoughts and feelings for you. I suggest getting these down on paper, preferably in a journal so you can come back to them. So what can you do if you’re curious and you want to learn more? Read on.

What you can do about it

In my free mini-course on making money from your writing, you’ll go through three steps:

  • the concept of exchanging words for money and the mindset issues involved.
  • why being systematic is the key to making money from your writing and why the opposite approach doesn’t work.
  • how to make your writing good enough for the opportunity, not only in the general sense, but by making it an excellent fit.

In the final video, I’ll teach you how to earn the money to do my premium course in making money from your writing, where I go into detail on these concepts and more.

I hope you get a lot out of How to Make Money from Your Writing in Three Steps. I made it because I want more writers to know how much mindset and systems affect our ability to make money from writing. It’s definitely not lack of opportunities or lack of resources that’s holding you back. Find out more inside the course.

More soon. Until then, happy writing,

Lou xx



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