It’s been one year since I started my writing journey and six months since I started treating writing as a full-time job. This month I managed to make $2000 from my work, which means that I’m finally in that place where writing has become my main source of income.
Although some could say I’m fairly new to the game, I’ve learned some valuable lessons that taught me a lot about writing, work, and success and altered the way I approach all these three things.
Because I wish smeone had been brutally honest with me a year ago and taught me these invaluable lessons, that’s what I’m gonna do today in this article.
Here are six honest, unconventional, and rarely given pieces of advice that every aspiring writer should bear in mind.
When I first decided to begin my journey as a writer, I had no idea where to start and no one to offer me advice on writing. I remember reading dozens of articles by established writers who offered useful tips and recommended some places for beginners.
One of them recommended a website that piqued my interest and I almost instantly decided to start writing there.
Long story short, after writing dozens of articles that got 5-star reviews, and accumulating a decent amount of money, my account was blocked out of nowhere…and the money was never transferred to my bank account.
After a bit of time and some thorough research, I found out that they had done the same to numerous other writers as well. And it made me realize that when you’re new to the world of online writing, falling for a scam is insanely easy.
What you can do about it:
- Make sure you do thorough research before you join a writing platform.
- Think twice before you start writing for a content mill or a mass platform that has meager reviews.
- Never send your full work to a customer before getting paid, and don’t hesitate to ask them to sign a contract — otherwise, they could just disappear with your work in their hands.
If you ask any beginner how many success stories have they read, they’ll probably tell you that they have lost count long ago.
I know that I had read so many articles that I felt my head was going to explode from the numerous pieces of advice, instructions, and screenshots that showcased the thousands of dollars these writers had earned through their writing.
Now, reading stories from successful and established writers can be indeed inspiring and teach you some useful lessons. But you should always remember that they (almost) never tell you the whole truth.
For example, most of them won’t tell you that it took them years to get established and start earning these huge amounts of money. Or that they still get rejected from various editors, or that they might earn $2000 one week and $200 the next.
What you should do about it:
- Don’t overdo it with the success stories. Read some if they help you get inspired, but always take what’s written in these articles with a grain of salt.
- Remember that at the end of the day there is no “right” or “wrong” way to write. It’s different for everyone and just because someone became successful by following certain steps, doesn’t mean you’ll reach success too if you do what they say.
When I first started writing, I was under the impression that once I reached a certain “level” the whole process of writing would get much easier and simpler — in terms of inspiration, choice of words, time management, and my content’s quality.
The truth is that when it comes to writing, the bar is constantly raised, not only by others but by yourself as well.
On the one hand, you’ll constantly witness new writers appearing and old, “unsuccessful” ones climbing higher. On the other hand, what concerns your own writing, there will always be an ongoing struggle to keep it fresh, organic, engaging, and of high quality.
The more success your writing reaches, the higher will the bar be raised.
What to do about it:
- Don’t fall into the pit of comparing yourself to other writers. I know it can be hard, but try to remember that in the long term it will only bring you unnecessary stress and negative feelings, and make the process of writing miserable.
- Keep experimenting with your writing — your narrative, formatting, or choice of words. Always search for ways to become better, without, however, getting obsessed with success and losing yourself in the process.
Out of all the aspiring writers I have talked with, the grand majority were under the false impression that writing equals quick money.
I must admit that I believed that too, when I first started. It only took me a couple of weeks to understand how wrong I was. In reality, writing is a long game. Most writers I know earned far less than the minimum wage for months.
In my first month of full-time writing, I earned $58. You read that right. Fifty-eight dollars. It took me another two months to earn my $100 and another four to reach $1000.
I don’t say that to discourage you from writing, but rather to prevent you from giving up if you don’t see the results you expected right away. I’m gonna say that again, because it is very important: writing is a long game. It takes time,
patience, lots of effort, and persistence to succeed.
What to do about it:
- Don’t give up, even if you don’t reach the success you’ve dreamed of right away. If you keep putting in the effort, showing patience and persistence, success will come.
- Don’t rush to quit your job for the sake of becoming a full-time writer. Start writing as a side hustle, to make sure you will have a steady source of income until you start earning a decent amount of money from your writing.
- If you have decided to become a full-time writer, try to diversify your income streams. You shouldn’t make the mistake of depending on a single income stream, because you never know when that source will stop bringing you enough money.
Something I keep hearing/seeing about succeeding as a writer (often used as a piece of advice) is that you don’t need luck when you have talent or when you work hard.
I couldn’t disagree more. I can explain.
You never know when an algorithm is gonna work its magic and show your article to thousands of people on a writing platform. You never know which editor is gonna check your article and pick it for their publication, or which book publisher is gonna decide about bringing your book to the public. One might like it whereas another might hate it.
The takeaway is, although you won’t go far without hard work, patience, and persistence, luck is always an important factor when it comes to success.
What to do about it:
- I’m gonna borrow an old piece of advice and say that the harder you work, the luckier you get. Since you can’t control your luck, the only thing remaining is to keep writing, keep working hard and remember that when your work is good, people will notice.
- Accept and learn from your “bad luck days” and try to make the most of your “good luck days”.