This is an article which holds mixed opinions. While some state writers should make writing top priority, others err on the side of caution and forewarn any aspiring writer the potential dangers and pitfalls on placing such a craft before a day job.
When should you prioritize writing?
I’m in the former, in full belief that if you are serious about making full-time income someday as a writer, you must put writing before anything else within reason, that is. For instance, if you have a family, obviously there are other priorities but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t still shoot for your dreams.
Why not strive to hand your boss a certificate of divorce?
We live once in this life, so we need to make the most of it.
Now, don’t think for a single second I’m giving you a ticket to call off work to write or even to sneak your laptop into your office cubicle and write when on the clock. Trust me, I’ve done both and the results were never pretty.
What I am saying is if you’re asked to work overtime and you’re caught up on the bills, be real with your employer.
If your friends or co-workers are going out on a Friday or Saturday night, tell them you have something else to do.
If they try to play the old peer pressure card, ignore it without guilt. Don’t worry about what others will say and do to try and get you to join them at a local bar on even Super Bowl Sunday. It’s not worth it.
Instead, your writing must come first, and yes in some cases even before your day job so long as you’re making ends meet—at least in the short-term.
Am I saying you can’t go out and have fun?
Well, I’m a believer in the 90-10 rule, meaning 90% of the time you need to focus on your writing ambition if it really is what you want and enjoy yourself with other activities 10% of the time.
You don’t need to be the all-or-nothing hard nose like me and make this thing 99-1, but you need to prioritize it high. If not, it means you aren’t serious about attaining your writing dream.
Fantasy Versus Reality
This is something a lot of people try to discourage others from pursuing their ambition in any artistic craft.
The average royalty for an indie-author is fewer than $500/year, they point to. But for me, it doesn’t mean to throw in the towel and admit defeat.
You need to be a deep thinker as to why this is the case. For one, there are dozens of successful indie-authors who make six-figure (and a few make seven-figure) incomes who made next to nothing for a year or two. One author I came across made an “astounding” $95 in royalties in her first year and now makes a full-time income off writing.
It shows that fantasy is the expectation and reality is what really happens.
But you can turn fantasy into reality.
The question should be this: What keeps the majority of indie-authors from making a full-time income off their writing?
My answer to this has always been the usual—they feel writing is a ‘get rich quick scheme.’
They’ll upload a book to Amazon, believing the world will buy their book, royalties will pour in, and they’ll fire their boss.
Problem is, they never even did so much as to research a target market. They didn’t create a blog or anything to state, “I have a book series.”
Know what they did?
They bombed social media to the point their friends and followers either muted or axed them.
When someone constantly posts a buy-link to their books, are you motivated to buy that book?
After their failed attempts to sell their book due to lack of research and unwillingness to do what all successful business owners (if you’re an indie, you’re an entrepreneur) do and that’s to invest their hard-earned money into their product.
They made a cover for free which is the last thing you need to do.
They neglected to use Amazon keywords, they strung together a book description consisting of about five sentences, they didn’t fill out their Amazon Author Page, they didn’t link their blog to Amazon if they even bothered creating one. The list never ends.
Then, they blame people and state that people just don’t understand them before becoming disillusioned altogether and end up stuck in the dreaded day job for the next thirty or so years.
And by the way, when they thought they’d make passive income off a simple upload they neglected their writing career. They partied, spent their money on other things since they thought they’d have an endless flow of cash coming in, they gambled, went to sporting events, bet on sports, went to lavish restaurants, you name it, they’ve done it and spent thousands.
That’s why most indie-authors fail; they put their writing first only until it was uploaded onto Amazon. Then, they put pleasure first, thinking passive income will roll win without the need to lift a single finger.
Know when you should put writing first?
After you’ve published.
Fantasy Versus Reality II: Work Comes First
I’m not contradicting what I wrote earlier. Read me out.
Yes, the DDJ needs to be a top priority, but not the top priority.
Again, I’m not giving you a ticket to slack on the job for your writing.
What I’m about to say here goes hand in hand with what I’ve said in the above section.
Remember where I said all successful business owners make investments?
Welp, it’s about time you’ve done so, too.
Your day job serves two functions early on:
1. Pay bills and make sure there’s a roof over your head.
2. Invest, invest, invest, invest. Paid investment always beats free promotion.
Work doesn’t come first. Instead, think of your day job as a necessary evil that serves these two functions at your disposal. You can’t succeed in writing without the day job early on.
The good news here is that you will be able to scale back on hours at the day job as your paid promotion, blogs, guest blogs (they work), and other strategies put you on the fast track to earning book revenue.
But it can be more than just book revenue. Some of you writers following me here are bloggers, some might be freelancers. The same applies for blogging and freelance, but as I’ve stated so many times before, SEO will give you free exposure in the search engines, but that’s for another article.
So yes, work comes first, to an extent. Work is a necessity that will serve as a launchpad for your true gig, your primary gig, the career path you’ve chosen to undergo.
So, do yourself a favor and learn that the DDJ will take your writing to the next level and your boss won’t even know it.
If you can’t stand your boss or the company you work for, wouldn’t it feel so good when you walk in one day with a two-weeks’ notice in your hand, stating on the notice that they were ‘the long con?’
Hey, nothing wrong with letting that inner-con artist come out.
See, now you’re motivated to get to work, as you have a mission in place to collect the loot, make smart investments into your business, build your business at the expense of the business you’re working in, and bam, walk in there with a pink slip for your boss and tell them ‘they’re fired.’
Yes, You Can
So yes, it’s possible to make a full-time income as an indie-author, as a blogger, and as a freelancer. Some do all three, which only increases cash flow, so you’d be smart to try it.
Yes, you can, you can, you can, and you will, so long as you realize that making such an income writing is:
1. A long, uphill climb.
2. Just like any other business, where sound investments create income.
3. Passive income is the final product of your hard work, and it will allow you to make money 24/7, but passive income is the result of long hours working for free. Many forget this fact, but if you remember it you’ll no longer have to beat yourself up over a day job that you hate. In time, such 24/7 income will reward you like none other.