5 Tips To Stay Afloat As A Struggling Writer

Becoming a writer is a dream for so many. Those romantic ideas of long nights spent at the computer with pot after pot of coffee coming from the kitchen as your novel just screams itself onto the page. Of course, followed shortly after by your very own New York Times Bestseller. Yes, I’ve been there too.

The unfortunate reality is making it as a writer is one of the most difficult things you can attempt to accomplish. Every year millions of books and articles are published—thousands of which aren’t bad—and still the average person only knows around three authors’ names, one of those inevitably being Shakespeare.

Ok, so maybe your chances of becoming the next JRR Tolkien are slim, but thankfully these days there is a lot you can do to stay afloat as a struggling writer.

Here are 5 tips to help get you started:

Become a Freelancer

Maybe you meant to become a fiction author, you don’t want to write these stupid articles. You want to write big fiction books with wild plots and unique characters. Well, sadly, if you’re struggling, it may be time to give up any ideas about what type of writer you want to be and just start producing. 

There are a number of freelance writing websites that accept submissions from outside sources. That means as long as your article passes the editor’s approval process you can be published on their site. Whether it’s poetry or stock market analysis, there is a website out there for you. These are great resources for struggling writers looking to practice their skills and earn a couple of bucks on the side.

Some example publications that accept submissions from outside sources include:

  • Poetry Foundation
  • Slate
  • Carve Magazine
  • Story
  • Ideomancer
  • Brevity
  • SeekingAlpha

Try Self Publishing

If you just can’t give up on your dreams of becoming a fiction writer or publishing that biography, then maybe Online Self Publishing is right for you. Online self-publishing may not be your first choice for publishing that novel you’ve worked on for so long, but it is undoubtedly the most likely to be effective. 

Online self-publishing has become the way to go in 2020. In fact, according to a survey by Bowker, there were an estimated 1.68 million ISBNs issued to self-published authors in 2018. That’s not including self-published books on Amazon which often don’t require ISBNs.

Online self-publishing is now easier and more profitable than ever, so if you already have your novel in the bag, don’t be afraid to put it out to the world in 2020.

Practice Makes Perfect

This next tip isn’t a way to make money, rather a way to improve your marketable skills. The most crucial aspect of becoming a writer is consistent, quality practice. If you aren’t writing constantly, you won’t improve. 

Many writers, especially those who are struggling, forget to practice their craft. If you want to make a living from your writing skills, then they should always be improving.

Hunter S. Thompson, the famed American writer, once said that he would commonly rewrite entire works of literature word for word so he could get the feel of how that great author once wrote. Everyone practices, if they don’t, you will never know their names anyway.

Take A Writing Job

Taking a job can be a difficult choice as an independent writer. Still, sometimes it pays to improve your writing skills and resume with a writing-related job. For full-time gigs, you can find anything from copywriting to tutoring, although freelance in-person jobs are also often posted on job sites like Indeed or Glassdoor. Freelance gigs may pay even more hourly and can have more interesting subjects. 

Often, it’s a life experience that makes a truly great writer. Even if you are forced to take a job that feels beneath you it can be a life-changing experience. 

And if you’re ever feeling down remember, Harper Lee, the author of To Kill A Mockingbird, was an airline ticket agent while she wrote her famous novel.

Go Back To School

As an independent writer, it can be tough to make the call to go back to school, but if your skills need refreshing it may be the only way to achieve your goals. Thankfully, you don’t have to go back and do an entire bachelor’s degree to improve your writing—although it may be the right choice in some cases.

In 2020, there are a number of courses available online to help improve your skills.

Some of the best of these are:

  • Masterclass: $100
  • American Writer’s and Artists Inc.(Accelerated Program): $459
  • CreativeLive: $20
  • Udemy: $19.99

Worst comes to worst these courses can help you practice your writing, or inspire you to write something new and different.

Being a writer is a tough business, but in 2020 there are a number of tools and options that can make things bearable. 

Writers like to complain, but these days there really isn’t much to complain about if you’re a struggling writer. It’s far easier to publish, earn and learn than ever before. If you work hard, and your writing is good, you will make it. 

Don’t give up, that New York Times Bestseller is closer than you may think.

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