Monday, June 10, 2019

Earning a Living While Writing Fiction

This article isn't about earning a living from writing your own fiction. It's more just about how you can earn a living while writing in your spare time. In other words, these are jobs you can do if you have the skills of a writer. I'll start off with how I get by and then list a couple of other ways to earn a living.

Ad Agency

Working as an Advertising Copywriter

Writing fiction doesn't pay. At least, not to me. And not on its own. So, I work as a copywriter, designer, marketer and general creative person. I've done that since December 2000, when I started my first job as an advertising copywriter. My plan is to return to writing books one day, but for now I have to earn a living. I've worked for plenty of agencies over the years, and the new one I'll be working for is a design agency in Harrogate. It's a creative agency dedicated to bringing out the best of brands, whether through design or advertising, and because of this the work is varied -- which is just the way I like it. 

Teaching English 

Another way for writers to earn a living is to teach English (or, whatever you first language happens to be). You can do this through your country's school system or have greater flexibility and teach English to foreign speakers (also called ESOL or TEFL). The trouble with this method is that the pay isn't always amazing, but if you live frugally you can still save and the job itself can be very rewarding. It's also possible to travel with this one, making a great choice for people wanting to experience other cultures. Just make sure you have the right visas in place.


Most (but surprising not all) writers are fluent in their own language. Some are also pretty good at at least one other language, their second language. So, if you have skills like that you can earn money from translation work. But you have to be more than pretty good in your second language, because you need to understand idiomatic phrases and modern usages. This is also another career that might not pay brilliant per individual job, but if you get a lot of translation work you can make ends meet.

And that's it, a short but sweet list of three ways to use your skills as a writer to earn a living.

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