Lesson #5 is the most painful
My 10-year writing experience has been a bit of an on-off affair. I didn’t earn $65,438 consistently over 10 years. I earned it in chunks.
It’s important to know that I’ve never considered myself to be a writer. I earned this money despite thinking that.
I should also mention that my earnings include some overlap with other areas. It’s not purely writing pay. I’ll explain as I go along.
Before I get on to the lessons learned you should know how I earned the money.
My writing journey started in 2012 when my wife and I set off on our long-term travel adventures. I decided to blog about our trip without any thought of making money from it.
The blog gained traction fairly quickly so I started to monetize it. Over 3 years it made a total of around $60,000 from a combination of affiliate income and the sale of the blog. You can read the full story here.
While writing was the main part of the blog, it also involved taking photos, promoting the site, building the site, and other tasks. So it’s difficult to apportion an exact amount to the writing. The writing was the main part though.
We tend to travel slowly, spending a month or more in each place. This gives me plenty of spare time to focus on ways to earn extra money to help with our travels.
I decided to write a Kindle book. It was an instant success and I ended up writing 8 Kindle books altogether. I made around $4,500 from these.
Even having written 8 books I still didn’t consider myself a writer. I know it sounds weird but I felt more like a blogger and side hustler.
My next venture that involved writing was building niche websites, getting them to rank in Google, earning money from AdSense, and then selling them on Flippa.
I made around $12,000 from this but haven’t included any of that income in my earnings for writing. While I wrote some articles myself, most were written by other writers. The topics were mainly in areas that I had little knowledge or interest in.
If you can write about a wider range of topics you might be able to make money doing this.
Between around 2015 and 2021 I wrote for a few of my own blogs but none were successful. Not everything in life works out.
Other than that I was busy traveling and enjoying life.
That gives me Medium earnings of around $938.19.
For all my writing I have earned around $65,438.19. This could be a few thousand higher or lower in reality, as I no longer have the exact figures.
One of the biggest lessons for me is that you don’t have to be a great writer to earn money from writing. You just need to provide the reader with value.
With my travel blog, some of the most popular posts were how to get from A to B. If you’re traveling around places like Southeast Asia it can be difficult finding current and accurate information on how to get around. I provided that and readers appreciated it. The posts were very basic. But that doesn’t matter. The readers want to know how to get from A to B. They’re not expecting a story from a great writer.
The second lesson I took away was that you can earn an amazing hourly rate. With my blog, I probably averaged an hour a day working on it. That’s 1,095 hours over 3 years. That means I earned around $54 an hour. Not bad at all.
For the travel blog, you also need to realize that I was spending time out and about taking photos as well. But I would have been doing that even if I didn’t have a blog. That’s why I haven’t counted that time.
I wrote my first Kindle book in around 10-12 hours. As the book made around $4,500 that gives an hourly rate of $375-$450. That is pretty amazing.
There were times though when I wrote other books that didn’t sell. During these times I earned $0 per hour. Ouch!
It’s too early to know what my hourly rate works out with my Medium writing.
The third lesson, which is my favorite one, is that you can earn good money writing about what YOU want to write about. You don’t need to write for someone else and let them dictate the topics.
If you like writing about travel, then write about that. Writing about what interests you means you’ll enjoy it and need to put in far less time for research. If I just traveled from A to B, I know exactly how I did it so can write it up in 5-10 minutes.
It was the same with the Kindle books. I wrote about topics I knew well.
The more you write, the easier it gets. I found it difficult to write at first but nowadays I can usually write a whole article from beginning to end in one go. I rarely get stuck partway through, as I used to in the beginning.
Writing daily certainly helps with this. I noticed that during my blogging days and in recent months writing here.
This is the most painful lesson. Even if you write with the best of intentions and try to provide as much value as possible, there will always be someone that hates what you say and starts arguing.
Trolls are everywhere. They will argue about anything. Even though you’ve written about a country you’re currently living in, some troll that’s never visited it will claim you’re wrong.
What lessons have you learned from your writing career?