How Writers Make Their Money

I saved this article on how writers make their money a few weeks ago and finally got around to reading it. And can I say, this is exactly why I want to start my Side Gig Life podcast.


How Writers Make Their Money


How Writers Make Their Money


One thing that continually bugs me is the attitude around success. You have to make x amount at y job and you must spend all hours of the week doing it. That is the most unattractive life I can imagine.


(On a related note, I guess I really need to buy this book by Emilie Wapnick, who I totally fangirled over at ProBlogger the other year, and even moreso when she emailed me for permission to use a photo of her I had taken and how I’d sooo love to ask her to be on my podcast one day when I’m not sick and actually have the energy to start a podcast.)


I want to talk to people who write and do other things. Or create and do other things. Just so long as we’re not perpetuating the “we are all only our jobs”. Am I getting judgey here? Yes and no. My sole income right now is my day job. I don’t judge your choice, maybe it’s that I judge the lack of discussion around interests, hobbies and income? I’m honestly still trying to work out where I stand on a lot of things and I’m already getting the sense that the first season of Side Gig Life will ask a lot more questions than it answers. But that’s also true for a lot of my blog posts, so what’s new? 🙂


I listen to podcasts of a few US based digital nomads and there seems to be (what I’m calling for lack of a better phrase) a cultural fear of people who step outside of the college-big full time job; relationship-house-kids course. I’m not saying that the fear doesn’t happen anywhere else, but it seems to be really common in the US. I wonder if Australia’s backpacking year is common enough that even if you don’t personally do it, no one is surprised to hear of someone doing it.


I also want to talk about it on the podcast from a blogging perspective. The full time, 6 figure blogger (and don’t even get me started on the 6 figure myth as a topic!) seems to still be held up as the main marker of success. But what if you don’t want that in the slightest? I don’t want that. I had the chance to take my blogging “further” when I was working part time and you know what? I get more blogging work done when working full time. It’s just what works for me.


I expect I will be working full time even when I publish my book Fuck Should (psst, you can sign up here to make sure you don’t miss the launch of it). Of course, I still need to work out in what order and priority I will be doing all of these things, but that’s something that can wait until I’ve recovered from surgery.


Anyway, these are all topics that I’m looking forward to exploring in the future, and I get excited when I see mainstream media also talking about them in some way.


How do you feel about the image vs reality of writers (or any creative)?


16 Replies to “How Writers Make Their Money”

  1. I don’t want that either – the bloody thing. What I do want is to eventually make enough money selling my books so I can wave goodbye forever to the day job – which pays for me to publish books. It’s part of the creative reality, but we do what we do because we have to do our art.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I hope you get to that point some day. What a great day that would be!

  2. I’m less focussed on blogging for money now and relate less and less to Problogger and similar sites as time passes. The thing they always used to talk about though was diversification and multiple income streams. I suspect that works for life in general as well!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I think their advice can certainly be applied to other types of business, especially the stuff about diversification.

  3. Interesting discussion, Vanessa. I’m quite an unfocussed blogger. I don’t have the drive or discipline to take my writing beyond the blog. I admire those like you who are!

    SSG xxx

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I’m half driven haha. Half full of wannabe naps.

  4. It was a real challenge for us when we decided to travel Australia in a caravan in 2001, turning our backs on the rat race. But we have never ever regretted it, and hope to do it again as grey nomads! I’m kinda weird though in that I love my work these days, and am gagging to get back to it. Told ya I was weird 😉 Mind you I don’t earn big bucks but that’s not that important to me.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I’d love to do that one day but the lack of both internet and medical care puts me off. And that I don’t particularly enjoy driving (and am terrified of windy roads) but want to do road trips. One day I’ll work out how to reconcile that.

  5. I loved your thoughts about this subject. I also hate how the “6 Figure Blogger” is bandied around as the pinnacle of success. Actually by then I think you are not a writer, but you are a fully fledged online marketer, because that’s what it takes. So the writing takes a back seat and the thing you loved doing in the first place, and the reason you started blogging is heaped under a whole lot of other stuff you have to do!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Oh yes, you’re much more than a writer – a big multitasker! I also need to incorporate a rant about 6 figures into my podcast when I start it haha.

  6. For a little while I got swept away in all the Problogger stuff and the thinking I could make money from my blog thing but then common sense appeared. Nope – not gonna happen. Also, I don’t want that! I don’t want a super busy business. I am at the winding down phase of my life where ME is my priority for the first time in a long time. I walked away from the Corporate life and my very good salary but for good reason. I have earned a little here and there since but nothing ongoing. I have some ideas and may earn again when I’m ready but never with the aim of earning big bucks again or getting too busy again. I need more balance in my life these days. 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I don’t mind if and how people make money from their blogs, but the most common type of stuff (well was, not so sure now) like sponsored posts – everything I got was just so irrelevant to me. Or for people with babies. And I just don’t shop that much so I don’t want “stuff”. Just never suited me.

  7. Can I just say that I am very poor starving writer. Even though people see my book series as hugely successful it’s not putting food on my table. But as far as feeding my creativity, getting to connect with my readers, seeing the delight in kids eyes and making my dreams come true is concerned, I am rich beyond money.#teamlovinlife

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I love your love for your book series though.

  8. It’s taken me 20 years in developing my writing career to a point where I could let go of my full-time, then part-time jobs. I have replaced my former salary, but I don’t make a cent from blogging. I make my income from using my business skills and qualifications in small business marketing and copywriting. I gave up trying to make money from my blog ages ago … although I have made a teeny tiny bit 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      It’s a long haul, that’s for sure! I miss the days when sponsored posts were easy money though – I never did many but they were good while they lasted.

Leave a Reply