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Think You Can't Earn a Living as a Writer? Yes You Can!

It seems as if the news for writers is always bleak. Anyone who has been writing for more than a week or two knows the crummy truth: Writing is at best a challenging career, a complicated life, and an inefficient method of accumulating wealth. All of these are reasons I advocate writing to write—writing for the love of it—rather than writing to make money.

Yet, the economic picture for writers is not all bad, and since there are writers out there determined to make money with their skills, I want to share some rare Actual Good News for writers. Yes, there are jobs out there. And, if you have real skills, a tiny bit of self-marketing savvy, and some flexibility about what you’re willing to write, there are livings to be earned in the writing world.

The market is growing for full-time professional writers who can create online content. 

The National Endowment for the Arts has released a report on publishing-related careers, including careers for writers, that indicates increased job opportunities between now and 2018.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of positions for full-time writers in corporate settings is expected to increase about 6% over the coming decade. Yes, this is slower growth than the average job (since when has writing ever been an average job?), but the point is that it’s growth.

Most of this growth is in online writing. “Skilled writers are needed for online publications, websites, and newsletters to attract customers,” states the NEA report. The fact is, companies need people who can create and edit strong,compelling online content. Furthermore, with a little experience under your belt, you can earn upwards of $60,000 a year at the work—and have the time to write that novel on the weekends.

New technology is creating an increased need for writers.  

New gadgets are everywhere. People can’t get enough of them. But no matter how useful, well-designed, and totally cool a new piece of technology is, it won’t sell if people don’t know what it’s for, how to use it, and what they’ll gain by owning it. That’s where writers come in. A skilled writer who can explain a device and get consumers to buy it is an invaluable asset to a corporation, and corporations know it.

According to writer/entrepreneur Monica Carter Tagore, “if you are a writer who can produce catchy, entertaining, and informative copy, [businesses] want you. Better yet, they need you. They need writers who can turn their hard-to-explain products into sales. They need writers who can make their offerings seem interesting.”  This is one reason the projected growth in jobs for technical writers over the next decade is especially high—closer to 17%.  

If you refuse to accept the conventional wisdom that writers must resign themselves to lives of poverty and/or teaching, hone the skills you need to land good corporate work and prove the world wrong. Writing can be a labor of love, done for the sheer joy and spiritual fulfillment of it. But there's nothing wrong with taking that skill into the market place and reaping some economic reward.


2 Comment count
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Hurray! 'Bless your heart for

Hurray! 'Bless your heart for giving us hope and incentive!

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I'm glad to hear this gave writers a boost!