Creative writing how to get rich
And I’m going to show you how to use it to find your dream job as a creative writer.
The first step is making sure everyone knows you’re a top-performer. You do this with competence triggers.
In the video below, I’ll show you a few key competence triggers for writers — these are subtle signals that show a hiring manager you deserve the job…and you’re not some desperate wannabe writer.
That’s option 1. But if writing in a corporate setting doesn’t sound appealing, you have other options.
Bonus: Want to turn your dream of working from home into a reality? Download my Ultimate Guide to Working from Home to learn how to make working from home work for YOU.
2. Get paid to break into a creative writing career
You can earn a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars per month working as a freelance writer.
Think of all the written materials even a tiny company puts out.
Imagine a software company with 5 employees. Their annual report doesn’t write itself. They need a blog to keep up with the content marketing war. The sales team sends out sales letters and brochures to prospects.
The prospects want white papers, case studies. Not to mention technical papers for the actual software.
Someone has to write it — and the truth is, they don’t know how to do it. And they don’t want to learn.
Do you know how much they’re willing to pay for someone to just do it for them?
That’s where you can help. There are thousands of people looking for freelance writers every day. But the best writing gigs are usually unadvertised. Most struggling writers never find out about these jobs.
Fortunately, I have a simple process for finding the highest paying clients and making them want to hire you as a creative writer.
This is probably the easiest way to get started. If you’re interested, just enter your name and email below. When you do, you’ll get instant access to my free material on getting your first client in less than 6 weeks flat. Or you can keep reading below to learn how to make $60,000 or more next year by building your own business.
3. Turn a blog into a business
This is my personal favorite way to make money with creative writing.
With an online business, you get to talk about things you enjoy: your hobbies, interests, and even weird things like your love of hot sauce or your amazing ironing skills.
I know it sounds crazy, but there’s an audience for almost anything. And even if you’re not sure how to do it right now, you can build a business based on your unique skills and experiences.
Take me, for example. When I started this site back in 2004, it wasn’t a business. It was just a simple blog I wrote out of my dorm room at Stanford.
And I had no idea what I was doing. Look how bad my design was:
Early I was clueless. I had no idea how to get traffic, how to build an email list, or how to design a webpage.
After awhile, I built up a following of a few thousand readers. And I thought, “You know what? Why don’t I just create a small product and see what happens?”
So I decided to launch a $4.95 ebook. It was called, “Ramit’s 2007 Guide to Kicking Ass.”
My first product: a terribly priced, terribly positioned ebook.
I was terrified that nobody would buy it.
But then the orders started rolling in:
My first sale — a measly $4.95, but it was a start.
Fast forward a few years. I’ve created 18+ products that have generated millions of dollars in sales.
It’s easy to look at the chart above and say, “must be nice.” But in reality, it all started with the simple decision to keep writing my blog and turn my passion into a real business.
Your first goal: Get 3 writing clients
Complex marketing strategies like SEO, blogging, and viral marketing appear both easy and discreet, when in reality they’re often an excuse for you to avoid the hard work of finding actual people who will pay you for your services. Do you know how long “SEO” takes to work?
Stop building complex marketing strategies for clients you don’t have. Your first goal is to get 3 clients. Do you really need a blog to do that?
And notice I said 3 clients, not just 1 — that could be a fluke. Get 3. Once you have 3 clients, you’ve proven that you have a reliable base of people who’ll pay you for your services. You can test service offerings and prices on them. And now you can start with more complex marketing strategies.
Remember: Skip all the fanciness and get 3 people to pay you first.
Getting your first client is a 2-step process that I call Locate and Communicate.
Step 1: Locate freelancing clients
Who is your exact client, and where do they go to look for a solution to their problems? Where are people already looking for solutions to problems and how can you make a match between them and your service?
Identify very specific leads in your very specific target market and figure out where they go to look for a solution to their needs.
Here’s how you find them:
First step is to niche down your market. Do not try to find every business that might need writing services — reports, copywriting, websites, emails, etc. NICHE IT DOWN. By location, size, revenue, type of business, and so many more options.
Next, find out where they go to find writers. Get in their heads.
Research your audience. Email a few people. Take them out to lunch.
Could you pitch one potential client each morning? You probably could if you created an email template. How about 10 over the weekend, playing with different headlines/offers so you can see which ones work better?
It doesn’t have to take a long time, and it doesn’t have to be agonizing…which brings us to step 2.
Step 2: Communicate with your clients
Email will be your most important communication tool for pitching clients. I get pitched via email all the time by freelance writers. The problem is, these emails are usually way too long and have no clear point.
- will power like no other (never lost a “bet you can’t stay…”)
- technical savant (no technology too frustrating or complex)
- people person (communication is a strength, met several C level execs, Sony for instance)
- action oriented, all plans suck without implementation. simple plans plus action work.
- business man. started and sold several businesses
- founder of [Company]
- i save 11% of what i make, split to an IRA and emergency fund. i make very little.
- building a backup information product and breaking the ice of online marketing
- traveled the world while being a digital worker
- self starter, will succeed and see the positive regardless of situation
- educated, technical, fast and i think before i act
Honestly, the guy sounds like a nice guy who wants to offer his services. I think. I’m not really sure.
But instead of getting in my head and suggesting how he could help me specifically, he just listed a series of vague skills that were all over the board.
And the call-to-action is…for me to “connect” with him? I responded, as I usually do to vague emails, with a 1-sentence: “So what would you like to do for/with me?” He sent another rambling email, so at that point I simply shrugged and moved on with my life.
Subject line: I want to work for you for free [Best subject line I’ve ever received]
Love your site, especially the articles about automation and personal entrepreneurship. It’s because of you that I have multiple ING Direct accounts for my savings goals, a Roth IRA, automatic contributions, and asset allocation all set up. [Good buttering me up]
I’m a writer for [Company], a site that gets around 50 million hits per month. I used to do freelance work exclusively, and I’m preparing to make the switch back to doing freelance work ~30 hours / week while I travel and study in China. [He’s in my head: I’m always looking for talented writers and he’s clearly one of them]
In order to start getting myself back out there, I’d love to have the chance to do some work for you, completely gratis. If you like my work and have some paid projects for me down the road, that’d be great of course, but I’d be happy just for the opportunity to network and receive a little advice. I’m sure you have a project or two in the back of your head that you haven’t had time to produce yourself yet; let me do it for you! [I LOVE IT!! As a matter of fact, yes I DO have some side projects I’ve been wanting to do]
You can give me a call at ###, or find me on Google Talk under this address. You can also check out some samples of my work here: [website]
- That was the best subject line I’ve ever received.
- It’s clear, concise and makes me a strong offer while highlighting his experience. I called him within 60 seconds of receiving this email.
Note that if you are looking for paying clients, you can often skip the work-for-free arrangement that I often urge by creating an incredibly niche offer. For example, if he had attended the last 5 video office hours I did and had heard me make an offhand comment about how I’ve been wanting to launch XXX project, his subject line could be: “I can help you launch XXX in 2 weeks.” This could then lay out why he’s good, what he would do, and it could lead directly to paid work.
When it comes to communicating with your prospects, I hear many people complain that they’ve tried to reach out with little success. The truth is they’re often reaching out in the wrong way. But by getting in your clients’ heads, you can fix that and write emails that engage and lead directly to paid work — no fancy marketing strategy needed.
I did it, and since then I’ve shown thousands of people how to do the same. You can, too.
Want to get rich quick? Don’t try writing
My father used to sit deep in his armchair, and get a far away look in his eyes, once he’d given up on seducing divorcees and widows and taking their money. “I ought to write my memoirs. There’s nothing Errol Flynn did that I haven’t done.” The dream of the book that could be written seems to be pretty universal. Mostly, when they’re dreaming, the book becomes what everyone calls a bestseller. I suppose that means it sells millions and makes millions for the author, who becomes famous, which means going on TV (Richard and Judy, or Oprah in the US) and exotic travel and probably meeting the film stars who will play the characters from the book in the movie – which means getting richer, being on more TV .
Rich and famous and writing books are only linked when they’re in that order. If you’re already rich and famous you can get to write a book, though usually that is using the word ‘write’ in a special way, to mean not write. Try it the other way round: book to rich and famous and the statistics take a nosedive. Most writers don’t get rich writing books. Actually most writers don’t even earn an unsupplemented living. But I suppose the idea is that writing is more ‘democratic’ (in that special use of the word to mean “anyone can do it, even me”) and that you don’t need the strict got-them-or-haven’t attributes that someone wanting to be a movie star needs. If you are literate (though it’s getting to be a much less than universal ability) then, the thought goes, you can write a book. If you have a life, a mind that thinks, then you can write a book. Have story; will narrate. So my father thought, though he didn’t actually put it to the test.
Nowadays, he would have joined a creative writing course, that marvellous money-spinner for cash-strapped universities. It’s always been the case that people will find a way to cash in on daydreams. What’s new is that educational institutions are ripping off their students – customers, these days, like any other business. Buyer beware. You can take a narrative to a creative writing course, but you can’t make it a fine novel.
Then there are those who want to write, not because they want to be rich and famous, but because they know that’s what they ought to be doing. Almost invariably how they go about it is to write. Sometimes they get stuck on the fear that they can’t be the quality of writer they want to be. To feel yourself a writer and also to think you may not be good enough, is terrifying. There’s no safety net for the chasm of turning out to be less than you wanted of yourself. All you can do is get on with it. You find out how to write by writing, just as you find out what it is you are writing by writing it, not by going to a creative writing class to be told about what page the first ‘inciting incident’ should be on.
These are two different daydreams. I don’t suppose that those who want to make a bestseller really fancy spending their working lives alone in a room every day having to invent things that aren’t already there, to be compensated by going to the same party with the same people every Thursday.
Really the job of writing is for those, like myself, who are socially dysfunctional. I actually want to be on my own a lot. I hate parties. And I don’t have the slightest desire to do any of the things that people seem to do when they are very rich (aside, of course, from not having to worry about money – though I suspect that the very rich have to worry about money more than I do).
There are much better ways of getting rich. Though he wasn’t very good at it, my father’s efforts as a con man were much more promising. Being a celebrity is good – being famous for being famous. People knock it but if you’re sociable and have no other plans, it’s probably a dandy way of getting rich. Sleeping with famous people has its drawbacks, I imagine, but it’s got to be better than sitting in a room writing a book if you’re not temperamentally suited. Robbery and business obviously have the advantage of communal endeavour over a solitary writing life, and though in both cases you might end up in prison, it’s a lot less isolated (here I assume it isn’t robbery or business with violence) than getting 90,000 words on paper in the right order.
Get a grip, people, either get on with it and write your book, at the weekend, after work, before work, during the vacation, or on a pitiful part-time income, or choose a proper way to get rich and famous. No one is really going to teach you how to be a writer. You need a pile of books (not ‘how to be a writer’ books, but books writers have written), some paper and a pen or a word processor. There are a few of the more expensive creative writing courses that are really designed not to teach you to write but to introduce you to agents and publishers, to slip you into those parties you will be begging not to have to go to if all goes well. They’re more like finishing school, designed to give you an advantage over others, but trust me: you’re still going to be dumped when you don’t make the sales. My view is that we desperately need independent publishers. If you’ve got the money and are thinking of going on a creative writing course, ask yourself if you really are a writer, and if the answer is not a grim and absolute ‘yes’, then save up the money, go into business or sleep with a footballer, and when you get rich, start a publishing company that is only interested in writing.
How To Make Money As A Creative Writer – 9 Solid Creative Writer Jobs
posted on November 27, 2020 This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclaimer for more information.
So you’re passionate about writing creatively, and you’d like to try your hand at making money online as a writer.
But, after scouring the web for creative writer jobs, you end up finding a lot of gigs for content mills, copywriting, or academic writing that isn’t quite your style.
How do you turn your passion for creative writing and skills into paid work?
Well there’s several avenues you can take.
Creative writers are always in demand, whether it be for television, advertising, or books. All you need to do is find the job that is right for you.
If you’re wondering how to make money with creative writing, keep reading to find out exactly where your creativity and writing skills can take you!
Creative Writing vs Content Writing – What’s The Difference?
It’s good to understand the difference between what you do– that is, creative writing– and the general concept of content writing.
The reason for this is that much of the work you find in the world of freelance writing isn’t creative writing; so you need to steer clear of these gigs.
The main difference between writing creatively and writing for content is the purpose, or goal of the end product.
Creative writing is often done for artistic purposes or for personal enjoyment, and is usually subject to literary themes and typical storytelling structures.
Content writing, on the other hand, is intended to be consumable and persuasive to a specific targeted audience.
This form of writing has to be clear, concise, and easy for the reader to consume. Oftentimes, content writing jobs also require understanding SEO.
Because of this, it usually involves strict rules or guidelines to follow, in terms of tone and structure, with less room for creativity.
Typically, content writers are contracted to develop content for advertisements, blogs, branding, and more– with the general goal being measurable results in terms of visibility, traffic, and profit.
If you’re a more creatively inclined writer, you may be worried that you are confining yourself to a life as a starved artist.
Luckily, there are many ways you can channel your creativity into more lucrative outcomes.
Keep reading to find out the ways you can make money writing, without compromising your writing style.
Making Money As A Creative Writer – The Options
Now, there isn’t a cookie-cutter way to make a living as a creative writer.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for freelancers to take on multiples types of projects and to have a variety of income sources.
However, these are some common ways you can make money writing about what you love.
1. Enter Writing Competitons (And Win!)
It’s sometimes hard to find steady work as a creative writer.
Creative writing contests on the other hand…now these are pretty common!
Much like other passions and hobbies, there is an entire competitive side to creative writing, one which offers publicity and large cash prizes to those who dominate it.
Not only will you be financially motivated to produce your best work, but if you enter enough competitions, you’ll have a portfolio full of completed and polished works to share in a very short period of time.
A good place to start is Writer’s Digest magazine. They run several competitions throughout the year to cover different styles of creative writing, including poetry, e-books, short stories, and personal essays.
Don’t see your genre? No problem!
Try entering their Annual Writing Competition, where anything goes!
The grand prize winner receives $5,000 cash and an interview in the magazine, and there are also pretty great payouts for 1st-10th place winners in each of the many categories.
Looking for more? Here are a few other competitions to checkout:
2. Publish A Book Or EBook
While it might seem intimidating to take a crack at publishing your own book, you actually have a few options here.
For starters, if you’ve spent a year or so trying your hand at writing competitions, but found that they don’t turn enough of a profit for you, the good news is that you will have generated enough content to release an anthology.
Alternatively, you can take your best story and work to expand it into a fully-fledged novel.
Amazon is one great selling platform for indie writers, especially if you know how to market yourself and make sales.
While it’s many writers’ dream to get published and have their book occupy physical shelf space in a bookstore, it’s unrealistic for many and not nearly as profitable as you may think– unless you smash out a bestseller of course.
If you do manage to get your book published the traditional way, it’s still a great way to make a name for yourself in the writing world.
Just know it’s not really a reliable way to make a living.
It will take the same amount of self promotion and work as self-publishing, with less pay– however, it can definitely help your career to have your book readily available in bookstores.
Note: if you go down this route and want to keep yourself afloat while trying to finish your book, I suggest looking into gig economy apps or considering a second job.
3. Turn A Blog Into A Business
Another way to make money with creative writing is to start your own blog and to grow it as an income source.
Now, this is definitely harder than writing a niche blog, following strict SEO, and approaching a blog like a business.
However, it’s possible to make money blogging through a variety of methods, and you don’t necessarily need thousands of monthly visitors to make money…a small and devout following that like your stories might be pretty powerful!
The above screenshot is a snapshot of advertisement revenue for This Online World from Mediavine, a premium ad-network for bloggers.
This might be tough to reach with a blog that just focuses on creative writing, but you can make money with other sources like affiliate marketing, subscriptions, and selling your own book!
So, if you can be patient and work hard, there’s money to be made from blogging, especially if you’re putting out good content and attracting the right audience.
You can start by finding the things that you’re interested in and writing about those.
The more content you can turn out, the better.
Gaining an audience is a slow process, but regardless of how it goes, you will still come out with a pretty impressive portfolio at the end.
While it may take you longer to make any money from blogging, there is something to be said for the connections and networking opportunities that you can make along the way.
The blogging community is massive and you can easily find people in your industry who may have some advice or are willing to help you advance your career.
Ready to start blogging? I suggest using SiteGround for your blog hosting because they’re affordable and the same host I use (and love) for all of my websites.
4. Write On Medium
Making money on Medium is one of the easiest ways to dip your toes in the world of writing for income.
In a nutshell, Medium pays you when Medium members spend time reading your content.
The top writers on Medium can earn five figures per month, which is insane.
Tom has earned over $1,000 by writing on Medium to date, most of which has been passive income.
You need to build a decent following and write stories with captivating headlines to get the ball rolling, but Medium is incredibly beginner friendly.
On Medium, you don’t have to worry about setting up your own website, growing organic traffic, or even marketing your work that much; Medium’s massive platform already has an audience.
Plus, Medium is also great for creative writers.
Some categories with massive followings on Medium include:
- Human parts (humanity).
- Slackjaw (humor).
- Poetry (general topic that’s popular).
- The Writing Cooperative (writing).
- Personal growth.
- Better Humans (self-improvement).
In short, making money with creative writing is possible on Medium, and there are so many niches you can explore!
5. Write For Online Publications
If you’re looking for creative writer jobs with a bit more structure than blogging or entering writing contests, your best bet is to write for online publications.
There are so many online articles that you can easily find one geared to your interests or writing style.
Cracked.com and The Onion will publish humour pieces, and offer a good platform to increase visibility as well.
Longreads accept well-written non-fictional stories that can be relatable for others, and they pay very well for publications.
There’s even options to write about policy and foreign policy, travel, feminism, and plenty more. If you have a favourite online publication that you love to read, it may be worth checking if they accept submissions!
6. Write Snippets & Features
Some magazines will actually pay for submissions for smaller filler sections.
Small written sections are essential to any printed subscription piece, from recipes, jokes, lifestyle tips and tricks, and just about anything else you can think of.
General lifestyle and conversational magazines like Reader’s Digest are always looking for additional content, as well as the family sections of magazines like The Guardian.
Don’t let the length of these submissions fool you…there is still a professional rate to be made from this type of work.
It can be an excellent supplement to your income and also presents an awesome opportunity for new writers to step into the print world.
As with other submission work, the pieces will likely be subject to specific guidelines in terms of format, structure, and style, so be sure to do your research before completing your work.
7. Write Storylines For Games
If you’re already familiar with game design or if it’s something that you would be interested in learning about, you could use your creative writing skills in the gaming world.
When it comes to game development, smaller teams usually place the storyline on the bottom of their priority list.
However, the right gaming studio will know the value of having an actual creative writer to craft their storyline, and you can stumble across gigs for this sort of thing.
You can actually find storyline gigs online, or even on forums like Reddit For Hire:
Admittedly, this creative writing job is probably best for gamers who also like creative writing, but it deserves a spot on this list nevertheless!
8. Get Into Television Writing
Breaking into the world of TV writing is tough, but if you have a knack for it then it could be your chance at a big break.
Beyond your writing skills, it’s good to have extensive knowledge of television history. You need to be an expert in the genre you’re writing for and know why other shows in that genre either failed or succeeded.
There’s also a lot of work that you’ll need to do before landing a show.
Take master classes, enter TV writing competitions, and network with industry professionals. All of these things will give you a leg up in the working world.
Once you feel ready, you should write a speculative script– otherwise known as a spec script– which is basically a script that is not commissioned by a network.
It can be your rendition of an episode of an already existing show or something original, but it’s intended to be used by your manager to demonstrate your creativity and skill to possible networks.
9. Become A Copywriter
Copywriting is essentially writing for advertising.
There’s an end goal involved, which is usually to make a sale for a product or service or to tell a better brand story.
Companies hire copywriters all the time for things like website redesign, advertising copy help, and creating brochures or marketing material.
The great thing about working as a copywriter is that you can work your way up to an insane hourly rate.
I mean, checkout this copywriter salary data from Payscale.
The median hourly rate is awesome, but the top percentile of copywriters can make an amazing salary.
Now, if you want to succeed with copywriting, you definitely want an extensive portfolio of work to show when you’re applying for the job.
This will take time to build, so you might have to start out with some smaller website projects and lower-paying gigs to grow.
Another tip is to write about anything and everything that you’re interested in and publish it on Medium or your own blog.
The more work you have to show the better. Not only will you have an extensive portfolio, but your writing is guaranteed to become better.
The other option is to use freelancing websites to pick up short term or one-off jobs.
Fiverr, People Per Hour, and Upwork are all good options, where you can browse tons of listings to find jobs that suit your skills.
It’s important to note that these platforms are super competitive, so you have to be good at selling yourself and be prepared to charge competitive prices for your work (which may be a lot less than you’re used to).
The upside is that once you’re well established in the community, you can be pickier with what work you take and will have the ability to manage your own schedule.
There are so many ways to sell your skills online as a creative writer….it’s all about finding the right avenue for your specific talents and to find work that makes you happy.
While some creative writing jobs are definitely more lucrative than others, you can definitely get yourself some steady earnings if you devote your energy into any of the above options.
Regardless of what option you choose, the main takeaway is just to get writing.
Having a good portfolio– no matter what the contents are– will not only make you a more viable option when applying for positions, but it’s guaranteed to make you better at writing.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you figure out how to make money with creative writing!
If you want other ideas to maximize your income, you can also checkout:
Selena Fulham knows how valuable having a side hustle can be. She’s a freelance content writer with a focus on SaaS, B2B technology, social media, and the art of making money online. Currently based in Montreal, Quebec, Selena can usually be found either drinking coffee, hiking up a mountain, or snowboarding down it.