It is NOT a pipe dream, the idea of making a living as a writer.
Lots of people do it successfully.
But here’s the secret: you have to be more than a writer.
You have to be an expert on a topic or a creator or an entrepreneur or a salesman — or maybe a combination of several of those. Writing may be your core skill, but how you use it is what will make your living.
Take, for example, how I pay my rent. My income comes from three main sources: helping small businesses and startups with social media, creating and selling digital guides and courses, and writing the occasional freelance journalism assignment.
That first category, social media consulting, might not seem like it qualifies as making a living as a writer, but writing is the core skill for the job. I’m good at turning information into status updates or tweets that people want to read. And a large part of why that works is because I’m a quality writer.
Except. If I was only a writer, I’d never make a living that way. On top of my writing skills, I have to be knowledgeable about social media and understand how to communicate ideas in an interesting way. (Thank you, journalism.)
And selling my eguides? Sure, the bulk of the work is in writing them, but I also have to sell the product. Which means I need to be a salesman, and I need to know how to create a community — this blog — so people will actually buy what I’m creating. Even if I only wanted to write (which I don’t), being a writer simply isn’t enough.
One more example: becoming an author. Too many could-be authors shun the idea of self-promotion, saying they just want to write. Which is fine — if you’re not hoping to make any money off your books (in which case no publisher would buy them). If you want this to be your job, if you want writing to support you, you have to be more than a writer.
How are YOU more than a writer?