4 Failed and the 1 Successful Avenue I Tried to Become a Full-Time Writer
When you turn your passion into your profession, growth is never a straight line.
Welcome to a brand new edition of Be Your Best Friend with Anangsha - the weekly newsletter that keeps reinventing itself so better versions can emerge from the shambles of what it once was.
Today’s edition is my story of all the avenues I tried and failed to become a full-time writer.
It’s also one of the most honest pieces I’ve ever written, so please be kind, and don’t forget to let me know your thoughts by leaving a reply to this email.
Writing has always been my passion.
When I was four years old, my first poem was published in a local English newspaper.
Since then, I’ve authored thousands of poems, short tales, and essays. I’ve also won several local and national writing competitions. But I never pursued writing as a career as it was always intended to be a hobby.
I did have a long-held desire to work as a professional writer one day. But it took me several years to overcome all of my challenges and become a full-time writer in September 2021.
I understand that the path is difficult. That’s why I’ve put together this post to assist new authors who’re just getting started. In this post, I’ve listed all the different platforms I used to make my dream a reality and which of them actually worked in my favor.
If you’re a writer, then keep reading for valuable tips that you can immediately replicate and apply to your life and take your writing career to new heights.
1. Writing for Freelance Clients
I tried my first freelance writing job when I was in college.
It was for a client who paid me a mere 25 paisa per word for writing at least two 500-word pieces per day (that’s less than $2 for one article).
And what’s even worse; these stories were about “baby food” and “bridal gowns,” both of which I was completely uninterested in.
Problem: Too little money for too much work
Every day, I stared at my computer screen for hours and beat my head against the wall trying to think of ways to string words together and form a coherent sentence.
I hated writing these essays so much that I stopped enjoying the process of writing. The money was okay, but it wasn’t enough to compensate for the hours of frustration and dissatisfaction spent staring at random websites.
As you can guess, I was unable to commit to this position for more than three months. Following this experience, I resolved to never work as a freelance writer again.
2. Self-Publishing Books
If you ask the average person what it takes to be a writer, they’ll tell you that a writer is someone who publishes books.
I had the same notion too!
When I graduated from college and was looking for jobs, I decided to try my hand at self-publishing a book on the sidelines.
Over the years, I published three books, all of which fared really well personal branding and credibility-wise. They helped me build a community of loyal readers, many of whom still follow me on social media today.
Problem: Low return on investment
What did Tashi do? — the longest book I wrote was 200 pages long. This took me about a year to complete. The money I earned from it was barely enough for six months’ worth of expenses.
Based on the time and effort I spent, the money I got from publishing books didn’t feel reasonable.
Even though the fame and credibility it brought were insane, deep down, I knew I deserved better money-wise.
And so, for now, my childhood dream of being a best-selling novelist proved to be an illusion (for now).
3. Writing for Platforms
In the year 2020, I found amazing sites such as Medium, NewsBreak, Vocal Media, and others that compensated writers based on how many views their pieces got.
For me, this seemed like a dream come true.
All you had to do was compose an article with viral potential and then make money while sleeping as people read your posts over and over again.
Unfortunately, the reality was far from this golden dream.
Problem: Too much uncertainty
On the outside, writing for platforms may be lucrative, but it comes with a ton of stress. You must produce new articles on a regular basis to keep your profile relevant. Also, these pieces are only shown to readers if the algorithm decides they’re interesting. Meaning that you cannot write anything keeping your readers in mind. Instead, you must please the computer algorithms to stand a fighting chance.
Aside from that, there’s the continual anxiety to check your stats page every day to see what articles are performing well and which aren’t.
All of this was so insanely demanding that I was completely exhausted after only five months of writing for platforms. I knew this wasn’t sustainable. Working paycheck to paycheck would take a massive toll on my mental health.
4. Having a YouTube channel
Building a successful YouTube channel is every creator’s dream.
The idea of being able to record yourself talking about topics you care about and then earn money based on the watch time of the video sounds so alluring. This prospect drew me in too.
Problem: The “struggle period” is too long
I launched my YouTube channel in July 2020.
Since then, I’ve made over 200 videos but I’m yet to earn anything from it.
Without a shadow of a doubt, YouTube is still a big part of my personal branding strategy. And while it has provided me with many intangible benefits, my YouTube channel is still a long way from being a reliable source of income.
So, What Finally Worked For Me?
I know this sounds crazy because after my bad experiences in college, I promised myself that “I’d never do freelance writing again,” as mentioned at the beginning of this article.
But I made that promise before I recognized how much of a difference a good freelance client can make in your life.
The mistake I made all along
Earlier, I’d collaborated with low-paying clients who demanded an account of every hour I worked for them. Furthermore, I was met with resistance and ferocious bargaining whenever I attempted to raise my rates.
But it wasn’t until 2021 that I realized that if you target the correct keywords, post on social media, utilize the right strategies, and deliver a killer pitch to the right sort of CEOs, you will succeed.
If you know the correct pitching and portfolio-building secrets, it’s possible to land high-paying freelance clients who would give you a five-figure income for working just five or six hours every day.
I presently have two fantastic freelancing clients who pay me for writing about topics I’m passionate about, and have helped me design the life of my dreams.
Unexpected perks of freelance writing
I finally understand the importance of freelance writing and the enormous possibilities it has.
I don’t have to rely on algorithms.
I don’t have to continually censor my voice out of the fear of offending some platform.
I don’t have to predict how much each article will earn.
Thanks to my fantastic freelancing clients, I have a steady income at the end of each month. And they reward each and every word that I put my thoughts and hard work into.
It took me eight years to finally reach this point where I can work for 5 hours a day and live a relaxed, balanced life. A lot of experimentation was involved to ultimately finding the perfect path to becoming a well-paid full-time writer.
There were struggles involved, no doubt. If I had to turn back time and correct one mistake, I’d teach myself pitching skills and learn to approach high-paying freelance clients sooner in my career.
I hope this post provided you with some helpful information to help you begin your writing career.
If you’ve tried and succeeded in other ways, I’d love to know what worked out for you and what you think of the strategies. Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments.
If you want to be a successful freelance writer but are struggling to find good clients, I’ve got something for you.
Check out my 90-day guide to finding your first high-paying freelance client.
You’ll find 5 pitching secrets, 2 email templates, and a solid framework to get your freelancing career started.
Note that I create this newsletter for you every week with lots of love. If you’d like to support me, here’s a link to buy me a book.
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That’s all from my end today. I’ll see you again soon. Till then, stay strong. Keep smiling and be awesome.
Mam, I am a regular reader of you, and remind my daughter who herself is a subscriber to your newsletter. Wondering if it’s possible for you to formulate a plan for those who wants to take a baby step in writing