Getting paid to write is something that many people dream about. Who wouldn’t want to make money writing about things that they love?
*types into Google: How to be a freelance writer*
A lot of us have been there, myself included.
Unfortunately, while many wish to make this a reality, few people ever do. They think the chances of making a living in this field are slim. That you have to be an expert to make this your full-time gig.
The good news? If this is what you want to do for a living, you absolutely can do it. Once you explore the different ways you can make money writing and understand how they work, it becoming much easier.
The truth about how to get paid to write
You can make money as a writer without experience. Take it from me. I started offering writing services in college when I didn’t know much about the industry or have any connections.
Still, this doesn’t mean that getting writing gigs consistently will be easy. This path is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes work. If you’re willing to put the time into honing your craft and exploring different avenues, it is possible to find success.
The important thing is that you choose to pursue a method of making money writing that you enjoy. If you don’t, you may burn out before you ever get the chance to make a name for yourself in this space.
7 ways to get paid to write in 2021
If you aren’t sure what method to use to make money writing, you aren’t alone. It can be difficult to choose because there are so many different options out there. Here’s a list of seven ways to get paid to write, with insight from writers that are making money right now.
1. Self-publish your own book
Dreaming about becoming a published author someday? You don’t have to wait. You can self-publish your own ebook to start earning revenue. Seraine Page, the author of Freelance Writing 101: Everything You Need to Launch Your Writing Career, says that one of the most important steps to take if you want to earn money from your book is to validate the topic.
“You may have the coolest idea in the world for a book, but if no one else is interested, it’s going to flop. Look at ways you can validate that your idea is of interest. Connect with and talk to the audience you wish to write for. You’ll get a good idea of the types of topics that need coverage, especially if you’re writing a non-fiction book.”
Once you’ve validated that there’s an audience for your book, it’s time to get writing! If you want to make a living writing, you’re going to have to do the work…every day. This can be more challenging than it may seem at first. Set time aside in your schedule on a daily basis to work on these projects.
Interested in Seraine’s book? You can find it here.
2. Publishing guest posts on other blogs
Writing for another blog for pay can be beneficial to new writers and experienced writers alike. For new writers, it presents a chance for you to get your writing out there and gain experience working with editors. For experienced writers or those that already have a portfolio, writing guest posts allows you to get paid to write about a subject you know well and build authority.
To get your post accepted on another blog, you’ll need to follow their writing guidelines closely. Check some of your favorite websites for a “write for us” page, where any rules for submissions may be published. This is all about creating blog posts that fit in with their tone and audience. If you can do that, you can start making a name for yourself as a writer and make some decent money along the way.
Note: Make sure you understand the compensation a blog offers before you pitch. While many blogs do pay, there are many more that don’t.
Want to know more about writing for free? Check out this post where I tell you everything you need to know about when to consider it and when to avoid it.
3. Start your own blog
Don’t want to start searching for potential clients to get paid to write? You can start your own blog and monetize it by placing ads on your site, doing affiliate marketing or selling your own information products. Many people choose to start this as a side-gig and transition to running their blog full time as it grows.
Morgan Overholt, Owner of Morgan Media LLC already has a successful graphic design business. She’s pursuing blogging as another income stream with a site she co-founded.
“While I am extraordinarily grateful for my ability to work for myself and earn that kind of money as a freelancer there’s a downside to freelancing that very few ever address … and that’s the fact that you are trading time for money. And time is a finite resource,” Morgan said.
That’s part of the reason why she co-founded the blog TheSmokies.com. She’s chosen to invest some of the money from her successful freelance business into this new blog. The goal is to ultimately create an additional income stream that is more passive and doesn’t require her to always trade her time for money. Now, the site is bringing in thousands of dollars every month.
Other writers can follow this same path if they don’t want to live a life clocking in and out. It does take time to build up a blog, but all of that effort can turn into a semi-passive income stream if you’re willing to invest the time early on.
4. Post on Medium
Join Medium’s partner program and get paid to write on the topics that you love. This is a good way to start building your freelance writer portfolio and start bringing in a bit of cash. This platform is a great place to tell personal stories and build an audience of readers to engage with your work.
Jyssica Schwartz is a writer that publishes content on Medium and sees the benefits of using it as an income stream. You can find posts on her page about how much she makes on the platform and how that fits in with some of the other things she does to make money, including working with clients.
It’s worth noting that there are very few people that make a full-time income from this platform alone. Reader engagement determines how much you can earn. So, writers that do well here often build up a loyal following or often get their articles curated by Medium.
This is, however, a good place to work on your writing chops, tell personal stories and start making money without trying to figure out how to attract potential clients.
5. Break into print media
When searching for advice about how to get paid to write, most of what you’ll find are tips on how to get online writing gigs. However, there are still opportunities in print media, including magazines and trade publications.
Freelance writer Hailey Hudson explored trade publications as an option and she was able to see why this route is attractive to so many:
“I realized that writing for trade pubs was lucrative work without being too time-consuming or difficult. It also allowed me to write on more specific topics that I was interested in,” she explains. She also notes that for other people wanting to break into publications, it’s important to cast a wide net and reaching out to the publications you’d like to write for.
Think about the topics you have a lot of interest or experience in, then send your story ideas or essays to editors in print media. Much like guest blogging, it’s important to look for and understand the guidelines for any publication before you get in touch.
6. Get your own freelance clients
Connecting directly with people that can use your services is another way to pick up work. You can do this by using job boards to apply for open gigs or pitch clients directly. All you need to do is reach out to potential clients or business owners and briefly explain how they can benefit from your skills.
Often, this is easier when you’re pitching on a job board because you already know exactly what the client wants. You can speak to their needs and position yourself as the best writer for them.
Cold pitching clients is another method worth trying. Especially if you want getting paid to write to be more than a side-hustle for you. In fact, cold pitching is what helped me grow my business and become a full-time freelance writer.
Sound scary? If you’ve never done this before, it can be. That’s why I’ve created other resources on this topic to walk you through exactly what to do. Here are a couple of other posts about how to write a pitch:
How to Write a Pitch That Wins Freelance Clients (in 7 Steps)
9 Simple Freelance Pitching Tips to Help You Land Clients
7. Enter writing contents
Looking for an avenue to make money writing that offers even more of a challenge? Search for writing contests online and submit your posts and stories.
Chris Fielden is a writer that has won writing contests, and to succeed here, he says that focusing on creating well-developed work is key. In a post on his blog, Chris writes:
“If I could go back in time two years, I would tell myself to spend less time angsting over what contest judges wanted to read, and more time actually writing well-developed, contest-worthy stories.”
Here’s the thing you have to know: winning writing contests requires a specific skill set. You could enter contests and win on your first try, or you may have to enter several times to win. The important thing is to find contests that you are genuinely interested in participating in. Otherwise, it’s likely that any story or article you create will fall flat.
What method should you choose to make money writing?
If you aren’t sure what to choose, think about what’s most important to you right now. Do you need cash? Applying on job boards or pitching clients directly is your best bet. If you want to take more time to work on your writing skills, start with Medium or try your luck in a contest.
How do freelance writers get paid?
I couldn’t wrap this post up without talking about this. Knowing where you can get paid to write is one thing, but there’s another part to the equation: payment. How does that money actually make its way to you? It varies.
Some of the options above will pay out on a specific day. Medium, for example, requires you to set up a Stripe account, then pays once a month. If you are guest blogging, you might find that you get paid on the day your work is published.
If you’re working on client projects, you’ll often have to send your client an invoice to pay. No matter what avenue you choose, do some digging into how payments will work in advance. This will save you a lot of headaches and administrative work.
Ready to get paid to write?
Don’t wait months to pitch your first gig. Don’t waste time struggling to find the perfect niche. If you want to create your own income stream from writing, the most important thing to do is start. Today.
Want to learn more about how to get freelance writing jobs? Sign up below to get on the email list and get access to my free course. You’ll get more tips, tricks, and experiences from my journey as a full-time freelance copywriter. Newsletters are sent every two weeks.
Have more questions about making money writing? Let me know by dropping them in the comments below.