If writing is a hobby for you, perhaps you wish you could make it a full time career. Imagine never having to commute again: you’d save a lot of time. This is time which you could spend with your family, or doing the things you enjoy.
So let’s look at how you can moonlight your way to a writing career, and make more money than you’re making now.
“Moonlighting” means taking a second job to supplement your day job’s income. Many writers moonlight, and then go full time when they’re ready. You can speed up this process, with the following four tips.
1. Writing full time is a decision – make the decision now
You can make the transition to a full time writing career from moonlighting if you decide that that’s what you want to do, and make plans to achieve that goal.
When planning the transition, here’s what you will need before you quit your day job:
* Savings – aim to have a cushion of several months’ income;
* An “anchor” client.
You’ll need to have some savings. Save up the income you make from moonlighting until you’ve saved the equivalent of six months’ salary. This gives you a cushion and some security. You may become ill, or a family member may become ill, so having savings is essential.
You also need an an “anchor” client. This is a client who pays you enough to pay your rent or mortgage. Having an anchor client who pays you regularly means that your most pressing bills will be paid, even if other clients pay you slowly. You may have several clients who buy from you each month, and who make up that anchor client role.
2. Make time to write – get up an hour earlier
The easiest way to get your writing done when you’re moonlighting is to get up an hour earlier, and write then. You’re fresh, your mind is uncluttered by the stresses and strains of the day.
The danger of waiting to write until your working day is done, is that you may never get to your writing. When you’re tired, you’ll give in to the seduction of the TV, or the demands of others in your household.
3. Your career is just words away – making contact with the people who can buy your writing
When you’re writing as a hobby, finding buyers for your writing can be approached haphazardly. However, when you’re moonlighting, making writing your full time career depends on how quickly you can both write, and find buyers for your writing.
Therefore, make marketing your writing a task you do every day. If you only have an hour a day to moonlight, spend half an hour writing, and the other half hour sending your writing to the people who can buy your writing.
4. Starting out is hard: it gets easier
Keep a writing log. Write down how much time you’ve spent writing, what you wrote, and what you’ve sent out to editors and clients. Your writing log is important, because you can look back at your log, and see that you’re making progress, even when nothing seems to be happening.
When you start selling your writing, it will take three to six months before you’re selling consistently. Because your progress seems slow, it’s easy to lose motivation. So enter everything you do into your log: it will motivate you until sales provide their own motivation.