3 Lies That Stop Writers From Making Money

Sometimes, a mindset shift is all you need as a writer to make your dreams come true and earn a living by creating magic out of your words.

3 Lies That Stop Writers From Making Money
Anangsha Alammyan on Instagram

Sometimes, a mindset shift is all you need as a writer to make your dreams come true and earn a living by creating magic out of your words.

I’ve been writing online every day since 2014. I’ve published thousands of articles on various online platforms and written 3 books. But I never made money from my writing until 2020.

My friends joke that it took a pandemic for me to realize my potential.

In truth, it’s a little more than that. Yes, there’s been a significant up-gradation of my writing skills since 2014, but the main reason I started earning was because of some mindset shifts that helped.

When I look back at what changed between early 2020 and now, I realize I’d been telling myself 3 lies that stood in the way of me turning my passion into a successful side-hustle. After mentoring several new writers over the past few months, I realized other writers, too, struggle with similar limiting self-beliefs.

In this post, I’ve listed these 3 lies that stop any writer from successfully monetizing their writing. If you find yourself nodding to them, don’t worry. I’ve also listed actionable steps you can use to re-wire your brain and get past these beliefs that hold you back from realizing your true potential.

The only way I can earn from my writing is if my book becomes a bestseller.

The money I made in the last 6 months of 2020 is almost 1.5 times my entire annual salary from my day job. Guess how much of it came from book sales? Less than 1%.

I’m not saying writers can’t earn from book sales. That’s definitely not true. But hoping to make money only from book sales is more wishful thinking than practical. In my country, India, even popular authors like Durjoy Datta, Preeti Shenoy, or Ravinder Singh — who are at the top of the bestseller charts — need other income sources to supplement the money they make from their book sales. Several writers in India turn to four major sources of income: TV, journalism, books, and movies.

As for me, I never tried any of these platforms. But what worked like magic was writing online. Several websites and online publications pay writers anything from $25 to $300 per article.

I need to be an expert before I can monetize writing online.

While getting started with writing online, I used to be intimidated by the quality of work published on various platforms. The quality was so good, and the experience of the writers was so extensive, I was sure I’d never be able to emulate that level of writing in my life.

I was right in a way. But in truth, I didn’t need to emulate anyone else to get noticed or start making money. If you’re a writer, your audience is paying to read your story, not judge you by the quality of your experiences. If you’re authentic, you don’t have to be a subject matter expert to write about a topic.

Your journey is as valuable as your destination. If you document your growth, the lessons learned along the way, and all the steps in reaching your goal, you’ll do a fantastic job of enthralling the readers.

People are drawn to honesty. You don’t have to flaunt a list of achievements to be your rawest, most unabashed self as a writer.

I only write <insert genre>. No one would be interested in paying me for that.

That’s the magic of writing online. You don’t need to stick to the whims of some impulsive client and only write about topics they tell you to. As long as you keep the reader in mind and provide some valuable, actionable takeaway, you can write about any topic. Of course, there are some constraints:

  • You have to be passionate about what you’re writing. If your sole motive is to make money, the piece might fall flat on its face. Readers are smart. They can tell when the writer’s heart is not in what they’re writing.
  • You’ve to have some knowledge about what you’re writing. Even if you don’t, you can always do some research and add your insights and takeaways into your articles.

The truth is, you’d never know which genre or niche pays unless you try it. You won’t find out if your writing is worth getting paid for unless you put yourself out there and experiment.

The question is: are you audacious enough to try?

Final words

Making money as a writer is not that difficult. But to become successful, you have to let go of your limiting beliefs and experiment with the kind of content you’re producing. If you’re hell-bent on becoming a published writer, that’s awesome. But according to a 2018 survey, of all the writers in the US, only 21% make their living from book sales alone. The rest have other sources to supplement their income.

For me, this was online writing. It could be something else for you.

The platform or the source of income doesn’t matter. What matters is your mindset. If you’re willing to unlearn your old beliefs, re-wire your brain, and constantly keep yourself updated with the recent goings-on in the world of writing and publishing, nothing can stop you from becoming a well-paid writer.

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I create content in many different forms related to self-improvement, body-positivity, and feminism on several other platforms. Join my email list to make sure you don’t miss out on anything new.