It’s a party, a meeting, or a gathering of sorts.
People are gathered and as usual, it’s time for introductions. Everyone needs to know one another because that’s what it’s usual when people gather together, you know.
Men and women rise and proudly talk about themselves. They talk about their professions in glowing terms. Lawyers, engineers, and medical doctors. Scientists, economists, and business consultants.
It’s my turn and I rise to introduce myself. Amongst all other things, I proudly say, “I’m a writer. I create content that help personal and organisational brands to gain visibility in the marketplace, woo prospects, and gain patronage.”
I look around. Eyelids are closing and opening. You can sense a mix of different feelings. You can literally see the thoughts elope from their minds and stand visibly on their heads.
I sit down. Almost immediately, the woman near me leans over into my left ear, and asks, “Do writers really make money?” I smile. It’s a question I’ve heard so many times. A lot of people have asked me this question especially those on the brink of quitting their day jobs.
Many times, I see people who have a passion for writing ask me if writers like me who do it full-time, make enough money to pay bills. They wonder if they should follow their passion or make offsetting bills with their salaries a priority.
When I quit my job after 10 years of working in an organization to focus on my passions (writing, thought leadership and public speaking), a lot of people thought I was mad. My family wondered how the bills would be paid. They gave me several examples of hungry writers and motivational speakers hawking their books in traffic. The question they all asked was “Can writing pay the bills?”
There are authors like G.R.R. Martin, the famous creator of Game of Thrones, Brian Tracy, James Paterson, Lanre Olushola and our very own Chimamanda Adichie; writers and thought leaders who earn enough money writing. They live full time on their earnings. (Someday, my name and yours should be on this list). This is excluding freelancers on Fiverr, Upwork and Freelance who make a decent living writing full-time.
This is my advice for you: If you are good at what you do and you have started to market what you do, you can pay most of your bills through writing.
As a young writer, I’ll advise you to just start. Before you leave that job of yours for writing, make sure things are in place to skyrocket your writing career.
Have a plan on what you want to write, build a tribe that will encourage, support and buy your works and have some savings for the rainy days.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Before the big bucks start coming in, you have to make do with the small bucks.
The key is starting. Just start.