Is your goal to finally make a living writing? Whether you're ready to quit your day job to earn a living as a writer full-time or you're looking to increase your existing writing income, the opportunities are practically endless.
If you aren't sure where to start, or if you're worried that there aren't enough potential writing gigs to go around, consider this. Just about everything involves a writer in some way.
The news and information we consume involve writers. The books, films, television shows, radio programs, and websites we entertain ourselves with involve writers. The products we surround ourselves with were likely sold to us with the help of writers, and we and businesses, rely on writing on a daily basis with things like blogs and social media updates. Because of that, it's easier than ever to make a living writing, no matter what kinds of projects you want to pursue.
Not everyone wants to, or can, handle all of their own writing projects, and that's where freelance writers come in. But there are also plenty of opportunities to make a living writing for yourself as well -- such as monetizing your own blog or publishing books and e-books.
Need some examples of types of writing projects you can pursue this year? Here are 105 projects that can help you make a living writing.
105 Ways to Make a Living Writing in 2015
Make a living writing:
- Ad copy
- Advertorials / sponsored content
- Annual reports
- Audio scripts
- Blog posts
- Book back cover copy
- Book Proposals
- Booklets / pamphlets
- Books (ghostwritten)
- Business letters
- Business plans
- Calls to action
- Case Studies
- Children's books
- Clinical reports
- Comic books
- Comic strips / cartoons
- Consumer magazine articles
- Contracts and other legal documents
- Course supplements
- Cover letters
- Curated content
- Direct mail pieces
- E-books and guides
- Email marketing copy
- Employee manuals
- Fact sheets
- Family histories
- Flash fiction
- Forms and worksheets
- Game scripts
- Grant proposals
- Greeting cards
- Industry Reports
- Infographic content
- Job descriptions
- Jokes / satire
- Knowledge base content / FAQs
- Landing pages
- Linkbait / Sharebait
- Live event coverage / commentary
- Marketing plans
- Media advisories
- Medical documentation
- Mission statements
- Newsletter articles
- Newspaper articles (journalism)
- Nonfiction books (other than those already listed)
- Online features
- Packaging Copy
- Personal letters (anything from love letters to consumer complaints)
- Pitch letters
- Position papers
- Presentation scripts
- Presentation slides
- Press kit / Media room content
- Press releases
- Product descriptions
- Product Manuals
- Public service announcements
- Real estate listing copy
- Repair manuals
- Sales letters
- Scientific / technical reports
- SEO web content
- Short bios (professionals, musicians, etc.)
- Short stories
- Slogans and taglines
- Social media profiles
- Social media updates
- Summaries (of books, events, audio, etc.)
- Survey / poll questions
- Technical spec sheets
- Television scripts
- Test questions
- Trade publication articles
- Travel guides
- Video scripts
- Web copy
- White papers
I have no doubt I missed plenty of writing projects in this list, so leave a comment and tell me how you plan to make a living writing this year. What kinds of projects do you plan to take on? Will you write mostly for yourself or for freelance clients?
35 thoughts on “105 Ways to Make a Living Writing”
I would love to get a novella I’ve been working on published this year, but I’m not sure how to do it. I’m not an accomplished author, so I don’t think a traditional publishing route will work for me. Should I do a self-pub and use it as a way to build an audience and showcase my writing? Should I go the ebook route? Or maybe submit it in a competition or some online publication? Just some things I am thinking of, but not sure the right path to choose.
Telling you what path to take would be entirely inappropriate of me. In the end, that’s a decision you need to make based on your goals and what you want to get out of the project. But here are some things to consider:
1. Indie publishing isn’t an easy way to build an audience. It requires a lot of work up front (such as bringing on an editor you trust) and more revisions than many self-pubbed authors take the time to do. And it requires a lot of continuing work to promote that book on your own (or money to hire marketing and PR help).
2. Indie publishing isn’t guaranteed to help you get the attention of traditional publishers later. Can it happen? Yes. Does it usually? Doubtful. At the same time, if you don’t sell well as an indie, you run the risk of hurting your chances of landing a traditional publisher later. So it’s important to know up front if you’re going indie because it’s truly what you want to do, or if your hope is that it will lead to a traditional deal later.
Indie publishing is a great path to take as long as you understand what’s involved and you’re willing to embrace that.
It sounds like your biggest concern right now is building an audience. Rather than using your novella to do that, you have another option (if you prefer). You can start building an audience before that novella is released. I see you have a website, which is great. By chance, does it target the same type of readers you wrote the novella for? If not, do you have a site (or do you plan to launch one) targeting those readers? That, or even pitching and publishing shorter work like flash fiction and short stories, can help you build interest in your work early on. Then, when you release your novella — in whatever way you decide on — you’ll have an audience ready and willing to buy it. 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to respond in such detail. The novella would target some of the same type of readers that I get on my website, especially the more political topics I discuss.
I definitely have some things to consider before I commit to the indie publishing route. I’ve been to a few writing groups where guest speakers have discussed indie publishing, and I do have some concerns.
I think I will continue getting my best draft written, bring on an editor, and then maybe see about pitching the novella. My research suggests there isn’t much of a market for novellas, especially since I’m not an established author. But I think pitching would be a good experience and maybe, as you said, could help build interest for future endeavors.
Lots to think about. Thanks again.
You’re welcome Andrew. I hope any route you choose works out well for you. 🙂
This is the best explanation I know for the paths to publishing in 2017, by Jane Friedman: https://janefriedman.com/key-book-publishing-path/
Thanks for the neat list. I’d add:
I’ve been focusing on translation for the past several years and hope to do a lot more of it in 2015.
Critiques are a great option that I hadn’t considered. Thanks Amel! I remember Xandy Sussen stopping by a while back and talking about her screenplay treatment services. That would be one example along those lines. But really, you could offer critique services for just about anything — book manuscripts, resumes, and plenty of business processes I’m sure. 🙂
Super list! So many things on here I hadn’t considered.
I’ll add a few, too —
Thanks Lori! 🙂
Wow! I’ll play, too. 🙂
Continuing education/license courses (various niches)
Post card scripts
Thanks Cathy! 🙂
Quite the list, Jenn! I’d add:
All good projects Paula. Thanks! 🙂
– Staff memos
Just got hired recently to write staff memos for a local business & really enjoyed the challenge! It can be very difficult to write an effective staff memo that gets the point across while getting/keeping everyone on board with you. Sensitive topics can create contention and resentment if approached the wrong way. But done correctly, a good staff memo can get your point across, plus increase the feeling of working together on a team 🙂
Great addition KeriLynn. That sounds like a unique gig. But it just goes to show all the ways businesses really do need top notch writers. Anything less can present real risks!
What an absolutely fabulous list Jennifer!
I am a freelance translator and I’ve been sent a great variety of documents in these areas which is so much fun.
I would add website content, social media content & marketing, product reviews, hotel reviews, package descriptions and so much more!
This made me smile and motivating me to do what I love which is writing and translating.
All the best to you!
Keep up the great work 🙂
Translations are certainly another great option for making a living with these kinds of projects. Maybe that would make for a good follow-up post next month — other jobs writers might consider if they’re looking to branch out (translations, editing, etc.). If that’s of interest to anyone, let me know and I’ll keep it in mind when I finalize February’s content calendar. 🙂
Just talked with a coaching client who said among other things he writes stock tips….
pretty complete list, Jenn and fun, too. I’d add
tips for real estate agents since I do some of that on a regular basis, and
info about sweepstakes of all things!
Oh and sex therapy
lol, what a group we are – and tips for writers? It does seem to go on.
Stock tips are certainly another project type writers can take on. When you start digging into specialties and how all of these projects can be tailored to a certain niche or industry, it’s a wonder any writer could complain about there being a lack of opportunities. Yet I hear it all the time from new writers. Sometimes it’s not a lack of potential gigs. It’s about us neglecting to look beyond the obvious. 🙂
Nice list. I agree that writing is an essential part of humanity. You should have maybe went into a little detail and explained some of the listings.
Thanks for your thoughts Andrew. Are there any project types that aren’t self-explanatory? If there’s something specific you’d like me to clarify or link you to more resources about, let me know. 🙂
Great list! Thank you for sharing. I’d like to add Business Requirements
Business Process Flows
Those are some other great examples. Thanks Giselle! 🙂
I am a trainee counselor and would like to write mental health related topics , presentation etc. so, where can i submit these and can make money through online ?
I want to write for extra income. I am considering writing a biography.
I am willing to write anything for income, and willing to work hard to learn the process and put lots of effort into making it work.
Please advise on my next step in this process.
Thank you, Hope
I’m going to give you a bit of tough love Hope. It doesn’t sound like you’re anywhere close to ready. “Willing to write anything for income” is not a sound business plan. Neither is learning on the job. You need to focus on learning first, then deciding exactly what you want to specialize in (certain topics, types of writing, or types of clients you’d want to work for if you freelance), before you worry about any next steps. It doesn’t sound like you’ve taken the first yet.
Decide what you want to focus on. Then spend some time reading blogs and books on the topic. That’s how you’ll figure out the best way to proceed. The information is out there. You just need to spend some time looking for it.
I love the list and the additions in the comments section. People have been rather discouraging about me writing full-time and I always say the internet could not exist without writers, someone even wrote the stuff on your cereal box, but no one really seems to take me seriously.
Also I think its great that you take time to respond to all the comments.
I’m glad you liked the post, and I’m sorry to hear that people in your life have been discouraging you from pursuing writing. Unfortunately it’s something many of us go through early on. In my case, that attitude didn’t change in the people who had it until they saw exactly how much money I was making at the time. Until you get to the point where the numbers speak for themselves, it’s often best to try to ignore them and find support elsewhere, such as among your fellow writers. Join a forum or two where you can share experiences and get specific advice for your career. Being surrounded by professionals doing what you want to do, and having a support system in place when you need help, can make all the difference.
I didn’t see this in the comments above. Writing textbook test questions is also a way to earn money as a writer.
Loretta H. Campbell
Thanks for the addition Loretta!
This is a fantastic list, and I love how comprehensive it is. I would wager to guess that any of these offered in a different language than English would pay more than the English versions! I’m learning Spanish in college, and hopefully it will help me with my freelance work in the end.
Comprehensive list! Thanks for sharing.
E-book and blog writing are the most effective of all. I’ve actually earned quite well with those two forms.
Jennifer’s post here is a great read. She’s right that there are a lot more avenues than people think. You likely won’t get rich quick, but it’s possible to get “rich” (or at least a version of it) eventually.
I recently posted an article about this that some might find helpful, titled “How to Make a Living as a Writer.”
I love the shortlisted list of writing. Am eager to write children books like science experiment for kids and also a practical Biology Lab Manual for secondary school. I don’t no how to start. Can you pls advice me on what to do?