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The Truth About Earning Money Writing Online

Rohan quit a job as a copy editor to become a musician. He finds the going tough but has no intention of giving up just yet.

Learn some harsh truths about the difficulty of making money via your online writing.

Learn some harsh truths about the difficulty of making money via your online writing.

The Bitter Truth About Working as an Online Writer

If you are under the illusion that you can make a sizable income writing online, this article is for you. Be prepared for some harsh facts from a person who has toiled for years and has very little to show for it.

  1. It's Slow: It will take forever before you see any meaningful cash. Don't quit your day job yet (if you have one). You certainly won't get rich anytime soon.
  2. You'll Be Stuck to the Computer: To make even a little money, you will have to be stuck to the computer all day and pretend you're your own boss. Writing online and earning something decent these days is akin to working a full job. You will be in your room all day with your children throwing tantrums or a spouse / parent asking you to do chores!
  3. Earnings Are Low: You will have to write many large articles daily. The days of fairly easy cash ended with the global recession of 2008. Earnings from online sources have plummeted since then.
  4. You'll Encounter Scams: Many will cheat you or steal your work. The worst thing is that in your desperation to earn, you will overlook some glaring red flags. Your confidence and psychological health will take quite a hit each time you are taken for a ride by a scamster.
  5. It Will Be Frustrating: You will face more than one person's share of frustration due to all the hard walls you hit. You will stop and start over and over again, all the while wondering how others make it but you can't.
  6. It's Not Creative: Commercial writing has very little to do with creativity. You will have to follow some very boring briefs for some incredibly boring topics.
  7. Nobody Wants Your Poetry: No one will be interested in your first-person accounts. Creative articles in the first person and poetry will have the fewest views of your content.
  8. Others Will Judge You: Your friends and relatives will think you are unrealistic, and you probably are.
  9. Freelance Sites Have Tough Competition and Low Pay: On freelance sites, you will be have to write loads for next to nothing. You will be forced to compete with those willing to work for free. Also, the sites themselves will take a cut from your earnings, reducing them a fair bit.
  10. You Will Run Out of Ideas: Writer's block will make your life hell. The truth is, one cannot come up with effective writing ideas so many times a day. It isn't realistic. When writer’s block strikes, you must cool off for a fair bit even as clients nag you for their submission.

No Pessimism, Just Hard Truths

The purpose of this article isn't to be pessimistic but only to put real facts in front of you. There are way too many websites that paint a rosy picture of the online writing market. Don't be too hopeful. You need to be smart and try to subvert the paradigm. Having a fair bit of money to invest in something can be useful; you're here, though, because you hardly have any money to spare!

There are way too many websites that paint a rosy picture of the online writing market.

Do enough research on your client before you begin working on content for them.

Do enough research on your client before you begin working on content for them.

Best Practices for Success With Your Writing

There are things you can do to keep your tail up when the going gets tough.

  1. Take Breaks: Take breaks loads of times. Rest your strained eyes and take a walk, meditate, or grab something to eat.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Drink loads of water. Writing most of the day will drain you like nothing else can.
  3. Leave the House: Make sure you get out of your house to meet friends or visit some relaxing places as often as possible. Being cooped up in your room all day will make you blue. Do things to get your mind off writing.
  4. Play Music in the Background: Listen to some decent instrumental music as you type. No harm in making a dreary task more interesting!
  5. Don't Use Social Media When Working: Block your access to social media when you are working. If not, you will waste a ton of time scrolling aimlessly on Facebook or Twitter.
  6. Take Payment in Advance: Take at least 50% of your payment in advance. If not, some scamster will make use of your work without paying you, and you will be miserable.
  7. Read Site Reviews: Check the reviews of freelance writing sites before you begin writing for them. Watch out for red flags.
  8. Don't Spam Facebook: Don't keep posting your writing-related links on Facebook. No one will look at them, and soon, your friend list will start shrinking!
  9. Choose Realistic Projects: Make sure you are capable of fulfilling the brief given to you. Often project requirements on freelance sites can be unrealistic.
  10. Stand Up for Yourself: If the person assigning you work tries to force you to do more than initially agreed upon, stand up for yourself.
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Never Give Up!

Don't let anyone demean you or your abilities. You are the best, regardless of what some stranger online has to say. Keep your tail up, and never give up!


This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2017 Rohan Rinaldo Felix


Rohan Rinaldo Felix (author) from Chennai, India on November 11, 2017:

Good observation, @mabaig! "Pulse" is a great word.

mabaig on November 10, 2017:

Though it is cumbersome process toearn money on online writing but if continious effort is made it will bear fruits in long run.only thing is we need to catch up with pulse of online writing

Rohan Rinaldo Felix (author) from Chennai, India on November 08, 2017:

I believe that as long one has the wherewithal to persevere, online writing can be given a shot.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 07, 2017:

It’s good that you provide a realistic perspective, as it is not easy. I enjoy it but it’s certainly not for everyone.

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