Making A Living As A Writer: Writing For Business

by Randy Murray on April 13, 2011

I’m a writer and I make a good living at it. But very few people I meet have ever read anything I’ve written, outside of this blog. I’m not embarrassed by this. Frankly, I find it amusing. And it’s a reminder that many people like myself make a living doing things that others never see, don’t understand, and might not even realize needs to be done.

A lot of people are surprised that one can make a living writing without having a book on the best seller list. But it’s true. In fact, there are a great many writers who have never written a book or published a magazine or newspaper article and yet make a nice living writing.

In fact the opposite is true. The vast majority of published authors do not make a living out of book sales. Very few do. It’s like acting. Only a few actors make a living and they make a killing. Everyone else, people you recognize on TV and in movies, but not the stars, struggle to get buy, take other jobs, and have a difficult time making it work as a full-time job.

But you can make a living as a writer. You just have to know how to go about it.

Take a look around you. Almost any product you buy has words as a part of the way it’s sold, packaged, and used. There’s the advertising. A copywriter was part of that process. If it’s complex, it will come with instructions. There’s a technical writer (I hope) writing that. Every web site for a company is filled with words. Every brochure, white paper, technical brief or sales sheet — someone wrote those. There are proposals and Requests For Quotes to be written. There are speeches, presentations, and blogs. All of these things need writing. The ones that really work are written by professional writers like me.

And they’re relatively easy to spot. If the instructions or documentation are difficult to understand or follow, they didn’t use a professional writer, but should have. If a company’s web site is uninteresting and fails to convince or sell, they didn’t use a professional writer and are paying the price for it. The presentation that a corporate CEO gave that blew your socks off? He or she didn’t write it. A pro did.

Everywhere you find a graphic artist you’ll find writers near by. Every marketing agency has writers. Most large companies have many writers (although they may not have the word “writer” in their title). Words are part of the equation, the deliverable. And beyond that, there are a great many words that are required that no one outside the organization ever sees. All of those internal reports have to be written. The corporate report, the stockholder report and shareholder communications. There’s so much to be written.

The ability to write well, to write clearly, is a very valuable business skill. You can make a living writing, but you’ll need to expand your horizons, consider more than just making money from your blog or that hoped-for breakthrough novel. If you want to earn a living as a writer, consider becoming a writer for business.



The Making A Living As A Writer: Writing For Business by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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