Write. For. Money.

Whatever your practice is, that thing that is the engine of your growth as a human being, the time will come when you’ll need to get paid for it.

A strong practice doesn’t want to stay in the 45 minutes a day you give it around your job in IT. It grows as you grow. And ultimately it will demand your full time and attention. Because that’s what it takes to get to the highest levels of any practice.

You’ll recognise this time because you’ll start to find that you CAN get paid. It’s not that it’s hard to make a living as a writer. It’s that it’s hard to get good enough at writing to earn a living. What sets seems to set successful practitioners so far above others is a kind of virtuous circle. The better you are, the more you can earn, the more you can practice, the better you can get.

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If you want to get to the point where that virtuous circle kicks in, you need to look hard at what professionals in your field actually get paid for. Usually it involves some level of compromise. Even the most soulful singer has to suck it up and keep smiling through the 200th set of the same material. But it’s still practice, even if it’s also the grind of work as well.

Writers are faced with far more options to write than they can possibly fulfil. You can publish little stories in small press ‘zines till the cows come home, and come no closer to getting paid for your practice. At some point in the development of your writing practice, the question “does this pay” become a central one. Don’t be shy of asking it.


Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.


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