When writing doesn’t pay the bills


A few months ago, a high school girl told me she wanted to become a journalist when she got older and wanted my advice.

“Don’t,” I said, and immediately laughed.

I did give her some honest advice: get a great education. Intern. Get lots of experience. Learn the industry.

Also, be prepared to work a second job; journalism is undergoing a shaky transition from print to online, and many jobs do not pay well. (Try to freelance, and you will see exactly what I mean). And if you ever get married, I told her, make sure your husband makes a good living.

Even if you don’t work in journalism or have a paid writing job, you can still blog. And journal. And write down your thoughts on whatever issues tickle your fancy. Maybe you won’t be published today, this week or this year, but perhaps someday that can happen.

Post comments here or e-mail them to richardzowie@gmail.com.

2 comments on “When writing doesn’t pay the bills

  1. What are your thoughts on ebooks and self publishing as a leap off place? I just took a webinar about the changing face of the industry, where rather than writing being the main event, its more like support material for self marketing.

  2. I would advise anyone who wants a freelance writing career to learn a few more skills: namely sales skills, customer service skills, and bill collection skills. You also have to be your own best marketer.

    I do recommend Peter Bowerman’s “The Well-Fed Writer” to anyone who wants to try to make writing pay the bills. I haven’t tried everything in that book yet, but he’s got a ton of great suggestions too. 🙂

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