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Making money from your writing

For writers who are just starting out

This post is an extract from my free course How to Make Money from Your Writing.

The importance of mindset

Making money from your writing is about more than the individual things that you write and try to sell. Making money from your writing is also about your mindset. (There’s a very interesting book called Mindset by Carol Dweck, if you want to read more about it.)

Ask ‘why?’ and ‘how much?’

If you have decided to make money from your writing, consider why? And secondly, how much money do you want to make? As a first step, work out what your living expenses would be, say, for a day, and aim to cover that once a month. Shift your mindset towards thinking about how much time and money you’re putting into the practice of writing, and how much money you want to make from it, and how to treat it like a freelance business.

Submitting to paid writing opportunities

You’ll need to research paid writing opportunities – using the resources inside the course – and take a good look at them so that you know which ones you’re going to submit to. If you decide that only submitting to paid writing opportunities doesn’t quite fit with your values, then you might decide that you’re going to submit to paid writing opportunities half of the time, for instance.

How long does it take?

Know how long it takes you to write and edit a certain number of words. I often talk about ‘chunks’ of 1000 words in my courses. Work out how long it takes you to write that, because then you can work out how much time it will take you to work on any paid writing opportunity.


Know what your values are, and to know why you want to write, as well as thinking about making money from your writing, because those three things – your values, knowing why you want to write and making money from your writing – need to be in balance. Otherwise you won’t feel good about the process.

Writing as a product

Thinking of our writing as a product sometimes comes loaded with all sorts of emotions. Should I really be thinking of my writing that way? But if you don’t put it out there, who’s going to be able to read it? Who’s it going to reach? There are people out there who want to read your writing, and unless you sell it, unless tell them about it, they’re not going to know about it.

If you find the idea of treating your writing like a product emotionally-loaded, then write down what thoughts and feelings you’re having about it. See if you can come up with a positive version of the story you’re telling yourself.

Treat your writing like a job

How have you made money before? It might seem like a silly question, but you can apply the same principles. Writing is something that you turn up to. You treat it in a professional way, you send your writing out so it can be published, you research opportunities, you approach the job of writing in the way that it needs to be approached. Keep records, make notes, know how much time you’re going to spend on it, think about ROI, and research the markets, because all that feeds into your mindset about writing and making money.

Dealing with rejection differently

When you shift your mindset, you start to deal with rejection differently too, because, when you get nos, they’re par for the course. You’re going to get a certain number of nos because you’re sending stuff out a lot. You’re going to start to get a certain number of yeses as well.

Find people who already make money from their writing

There are plenty of people out there who do make money from writing. If you want to join them, find out how they did it, find out what the professional approach actually is, and follow their example.

Try this

  • Work out what your living expenses would be for a day, based on your monthly expenditure. If you haven’t made money from your writing consistently before, set this as your first earning goal. What will your next goal be?
  • Research paid writing opportunities. Which ones will you submit to? What percentage of your submissions will be to paid opportunities?
  • Find three people who make money from writing and look into how they did it. Pick people in different professions. For example, a copywriter, journalist and self-help book writer. Have they been interviewed anywhere about how they started out? What training did they undertake, if any? Who publishes their work? Who inspires them?

This post is an extract from my free course How to Make Money from Your Writing. If you’d like to sign up, just follow the link.

More soon. Until then, happy writing,


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