How to Make a Living from Writing

It takes a lot of courage to replace a steady wage-packet with pitching for paid work and managing sporadic payments.

Freelance writing might seem like the ideal career path.

Rolling out of bed and onto the computer, working in pyjamas, fitting in the childcare and chores between commissions… But the reality is that becoming a successful freelance writer takes dedication and commitment.

First and foremost, it’s about winning some actual paid work.


Build a Portfolio

If you’re reading this article, presumably you’re already fairly confident with your ability to create engaging copy, and maybe already have experience of writing in a professional capacity.

If so, an online portfolio is a great tool to present your work professionally and attract new business.

There are a number of websites that will help you do this. Check out Writer’s Residence and Writerfolio for inspiration.


Identify Your Client

Be honest: what are you good at writing about?

Where do you have the most knowledge, and what level of ability and experience are you at?

Identifying your market and those publications whose content matches what you write, will help you ascertain the most effective way to manage your workload and income.

Writing for a high-profile magazine or newspaper is a very different beast to writing blog articles or landing page copy for a local business.

Once you have identified your market, there are a number of websites, such as Freelance UK and Journalist Directory where you can create a directory listing as a freelance writer.

An old typewriter used to write long time ago

Be Proactive

If applying for freelance work from job listings, increase your chances of winning work by applying for multiple jobs at once.

This way, you eliminate the risk of work drying up, whilst increasing your chances of being able to choose your work.

Try to complete your job search all in one sitting either once a week or once a fortnight.  That way, you can leave your schedule free to concentrate on completing paying work for the rest of the week.

So, you’ve snared some paid work: what next?


What to Charge

Putting a price on your services is one of the biggest challenges freelancers face.

First thing’s first: make sure you’re covering your running costs, including:

• Salary
• Taxes
• Monthly overheads
• Rent

And don’t forget to add profit margin!


Beat Procrastination

Working from home presents a number of natural obstacles to your productivity levels: Jeremy Kyle, Facebook, the Daily Mail Online, Loose Women… the list is endless.

Keeping track of your time is vital to ensure that you’re working effectively and, most importantly, making money.

Free apps, such as Teux Deux are really useful to make the process quick and easy.


How to Charge

There are a number of ways to charge clients for your work:

1. Retainer: you set an agreement with the clients to work a predetermined number of hours within a time period.

2. Word: payment by the word

3. Hour: payment by the hour

4. Project: a set amount is agreed upon in exchange for completion of a set project – be careful to find out exactly what the project will entail however, before submitting costs.


Writing may be what you love doing but it is also your profession, and clients are paying for you to offer a service.  Too many freelancers are apologetic about charging for their work!

4 thoughts on “How to Make a Living from Writing

  1. HELLO Erik…
    Nice post..Yes one can take writing as a profession and in present so it becomes slightly simple by using websites such as Journalist Directory.So many writer made it.Thanks for nice sharing.

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