I still have a very long way to go before my work is where I want it to be, but I frequently have to pinch myself to see if all of this is real.
Over the years, so many people have told me that writing is a pipe dream and I believed them. I didn’t even try to write anything I wanted in an effort to earn money until the end of April in 2018.
And I only tried then because I was desperately trying to avoid eviction when my former boss quit giving me clients.
Since then, writing online to earn my living has been a wild ride and I never could have guessed that it would have paid off so well.
Although I know that a single writer’s results aren’t so easily duplicated, I do know that there are certain principles at work with the success I’ve had here.
And I’m not trying to hide any of the steps that have helped me get to where I am right now. To be honest, I wish there’d been much more encouragement out there for aspiring writers every time I thought about pursuing writing.
Or any time it became really difficult.
As simple as it sounds, I believe that one of the biggest keys to success is simply being open to it.
Call it positive thinking or whatever you like. I call it being open to the possibilities.
When I first began writing on online to make money, I was desperate to actually earn a decent living. And I was committed to making it work.
So, rather than having some list of expectations surrounding my stats, earnings, or followers, I just decided to try my best and see what happens.
That’s not the same as a “wait and see” approach because you’re actually making an honest effort. You’re not waiting for anyone to do anything. It’s more about putting yourself out there as much as you can with the hope that you eventually catch a break.
Likewise, it’s never been about entitlement. I never thought, “I’m going to write on this website and they’re going to make me famous.” I don’t feel like anybody owes me views or engagement.
I write because it’s what I love to do, and I do it with the hope that whatever I have to say will resonate with others enough to pay my bills.
You know how people talk about throwing everything at the wall just to see what sticks? This is a tactic I wholeheartedly believe in for creatives.
Look, you can write whatever you think people want to read. And you can write whatever you think might go viral.
But the really big payoff happens when you resonate with your readers on a deeper level. And it’s hard to know exactly what you have to offer them until you start giving all you’ve got.
I’m not under any illusions of being an amazing writer. I know I’ve still got a long way to go with plenty of room for improvement.
That’s partly why I decided to throw everything at the wall in the first place. Early on, I figured that all I really had to give was my honesty and that’s where my driving motto came from:
It’s not about being flawless, it’s about being honest.
Throwing everything at the wall is another way to say you’re not afraid to experiment with your writing. That you’re willing to see what works… and what doesn’t.
Personally, I find it very freeing.
This summer was the first time since April 2018 that I allowed my writing to take a back seat to the rest of my life. And although I’ve still got work to do around my home, I’m certainly ready to get back to work.
Part of that is because this summer has been terribly expensive, and part of it is because I genuinely miss writing full-time.
Yet there are aspects of writing that I don’t love. So much screentime sometimes sucks. Last year when I began upping my output I also began to battle dry eyes and back-to-back styes.
This week, I was barely back to full-time writing for 2 days when I began to feel that familiar scratchy feeling in my left eye, and sure enough, my eyelid is swollen like a balloon this morning.
Sometimes, I forget the toll that full-time writing can take on your body in addition to your mental health. It’s sedentary, lonely, and you’re typically forced to stare at screens all day.
On top of all that there are no guarantees that your work will be well-received or earn good money. And there’s so much rejection.
Writing is an unusual full-time job because you have to be proactive and typically do the work before the promise of reasonable pay.
But an upside of full-time writing is that you get to build a large portfolio of work. Give yourself 8 or more hours a day to write and you’re bound to get somewhere.
A lot of fellow writers vent to me when they’re frustrated about their pay. The common question seems to be why they should even bother writing a certain story if it’s not going to make good money.
I guess I look at the whole process differently. I made a commitment to build my career by writing online back when even earning $20 per story was a dream.
So, I’ve already spent months toiling away at writing and hoping to earn good money when ten bucks was the best a story could do. I used to look around at the top earning writers with highly engaged readers and think there was no reason that couldn’t be me.
Even now, when I see another writing succeeding or doing “better” than me, I can’t help but believe that they are showing me what’s possible. And I find that inspiring.
Last month, somebody made over $20K in the Partner Program. Why would I waste my energy getting mad about that when I could let it motivate me instead?
I quit my job in social media marketing over 8 months ago in favor of pursuing my own writing career. While I have yet to regret that decision, I have never expected this path to be smooth or easy.
On the contrary, I am constantly expecting to hit bumps. As a result? I’m able to keep my head down and write without getting sidetracked by jealousy, frustration, or disappointment.
I’ve got big dreams but I don’t reach my goals every month. Even so, I’m committed to making my career happen even if it means a story I poured my heart into only earns 8 bucks.
It’s not as if I never worry or get embarrassed as a writer. There are plenty of times when a story doesn’t do very well and I do feel pretty stupid about it.
There’s criticism I get as a writer that can ruin my whole day, and I’m not immune to the comparison trap.
But I think what separates me from a lot of other writers is the fact that I let myself feel those things without throwing in the towel.
Sometimes, I think that I’m in a downward spiral where I’m gonna have to just scrape by again. I worry about losing everything and going back on food stamps. I was raised on welfare and I worry about having to raise my daughter in poverty too.
For my first couple of years as a single mom, we were living in poverty and that’s a place I never want to go back to.
So, I’d be lying to say I don’t fear failure. Or that I don’t feel like an inferior writer. I feel all of those fears, but I keep writing anyway.
The truth is that I can’t tell you exactly how to earn $80,000 by writing on a website. All I can do is tell you what’s worked for me and let you know that it’s possible.
Some folks will take my advice and fare better than me and some will earn less. But most people won’t do anything with my advice and continue to wonder why they can’t seem to get anywhere.
I deeply believe in the principles I talk about here and how they’ve benefitted my fledgling writing career. And I know that people who follow the same principles will get further than they ever could have gotten without them.
But you still have to do your own work, and you’ve still got to be smart about what you’re doing.
If you’re not seeing the financial results that you want, then you need to be honest with yourself about what’s happening. You might need to change tactics, or you might need to gain some patience because for most writers, success (and even improvement) won’t happen overnight.
That said, the biggest takeaway that I want you to get from my story is that you are capable of so much more than you think. And that you owe it to yourself believe in your future.
I am 37 years old and I’ve wasted decades of my life because I was too afraid to believe in possibilities for myself. I felt chained to work that I hated because I didn’t think I had any future in writing.
I’m not trying to sell you a pipe dream. But I really do wish that I’d known what was possible a long time ago.
Which means I hope you better understand what’s possible too.