“There’s no money in writing.”

A friend of mine said this to me the other day. I’m not really sure how I feel about it. After I was dropped from that job in July that would have seen me make decent money from writing, I’m beginning to wonder.

What are your thoughts? Is there money in writing? Can you sustain yourself in an industry that seems to be somewhat on its way out? Or will there always need to be some sort of a catch?

146 thoughts on ““There’s no money in writing.”

      1. I have this worry constantly. But more and more, I find myself unable to give up or quit. I have been lucky enough to surround myself with supportive people, but the fear of never being able to sustain myself on writing is always there. Part of the problem is that I’m incredibly shy – I’m trying to fix that though.

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  1. Years ago, I told an old lady who owned and worked in her own coffee shop that I wanted to be a writer. She told me outright “Find a different job. You won’t make any money.” Her comment pissed me off and made me do it anyway with even more gusto. I was a journalist for awhile, and it didn’t pay well. Then I got a job where the work did pay well, but it wasn’t creative. It was news attribution. Then, two layoffs and an unrelated overseas teaching job later, I’ve come back to the idea of writing for a living, but I think in the end you have to accept some things.

    I believe that yes, it is possible to make a living as a writer. However, I don’t think you can just quit your job right away and expect to pay the bills on your ebooks and short stories. I think that eventually, with some luck, intelligence and know-how, you can get to that point. But you have to be willing to work a day job while writing in your spare time for awhile. Plus it depends on what kind of writing you’re talking about.

    I wouldn’t say that writing as an industry is on its way out, and I say that for a few reasons. 1.) There isn’t one writing industry. There are many types of writing and different levels of demand for the different types of writing. You’ve got technical writing, medical writing, legal writing, creative writing, nonfiction writing, educational writing, academic writing, etc. They’re all very different and require different knowledge and experience. 2.) Some industries appear to be dying, like publishing and journalism, but it’s just changing. People are struggling in these industries, yes. I was one of them. My roommate was too. But it doesn’t mean neither of these industries will exist in the future.

    It’s an interesting question, and I hope that you can find a way to continue to do the things you love and live at the same time! Every person you encounter will have an opinion on what you want to do. But in the end, the only one who has to live your life is you, so your opinion is the one that matters the most.

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    1. Sounds like a grouchy-ass woman you saw at the coffee shop. I don’t care what someone’s dreams are, they should never be stomped on like that.

      Thank you for the motivation about finding my place in this writing world. It’s something I’ve thought soo much about and I question so often. Motivation is always a help.

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  2. In my experience people pay you for two things 1) Being good at something and 2) being committed to the thing you’re good at. If the thing you are good at and committed to is writing you will eventually get paid for it.

    It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.

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      1. That’s a very important point, and extends beyond writing to practically any creative discipline. When I was in college I had a youtube channel, which I created using school equipment. It never really took off, but my friends enjoyed it. After I graduated my creative impulses were stymied by the fact that I no longer had access to the equipment I had had while I was a student. If I had really started writing and jumped on the wordpress bandwagon at that point in my life I would be way ahead of where I am right now on a number of fronts.

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      2. More because I now realize that I don’t need that equipment to communicate in a creative way. I don’t see myself being a serious YouTuber at any point. It takes an incredible amount of time to make videos, and I think I click better with this platform anyway.

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  3. Don’t give up! You have something important to say and share. Try volunteering your talents with a non-profit that touches your heart. Read to kids. Get an education degree or MFA and teach while you write creatively. What you think and write matters!

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    1. Thank You! I do actually do design work for two charities. Writing, they have covered though. But it’s a good thought, I will look into it and see if there’s anyone I can help!

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