The Measure of Success For A Writer

Hint: It’s Not Making Money

If your primary measure of success as a writer is making money, prepare for a lifetime of disappointment.

A survey of 1,500 bloggers attempting to make money blogging found:

  • 10% of bloggers make no money at all
  • 28% of bloggers make less than 30 cents per day and
  • 63% of bloggers make less than $3.50 per day
  • 4% of bloggers made a six-figure annual income

Two things to take away from these figures:

  1. It is possible to make a full time living as a blogger. one out of every 25 bloggers who are attempting to make money pull in a six-figure income.
  2. Odds are you probably won’t make a fortune from your blog. Two-thirds of bloggers earn less than $3.50 per day. That’s not even enough to cover a single Pumpkin Spice Latte.

I am not trying to discourage you from having big goals of making money from blogging. I’m an economist who primarily writes about personal finance I am totally in favor of you trying to make as much money as possible.

If the only reason you write is to make money, I would advise you to take a look at the above statistics about blogging income and encourage you to rethink your plan. There are far easier ways to make a buck online then by writing.

Chances are you started your started your blog because you had a passion for a particular subject. I’ve been writing about personal finance for six months. My initial motivation to write was to help clear my head. I am rather obsessed with personal finance, my brain is constantly plotting new ways to earn more, save more and invest more money. Putting some of these ideas down in writing was an effective way to give my brain permission to turn off.

In the past 6 months, I’ve written over 100 original articles. In the past 30 days, I’ve published a new article every day. Right now I have a post queued up every day for the next two weeks. I’ve actually begun to make a decent amount of money from my writing and now consider it a bonafide side hustle.

November is going to be my most lucrative money writing but I’ve felt extremely frustrated over the past 10 days. The first two weeks of November I had several stories pick up significant traction. Each story had thousands of views. In the past 10 days, my new stories have not had the same level of traction.

That’s when I realized my primary motivation as a writer was not making money. If its money was my primary motivation, I would be happy that November is my top earning month to date. I was feeling frustrated because my primary motivation as a writer is constant forward momentum.

I am obsessed with the topic I write about. I believe a lot of people experience a lot of needless pain because they don’t know how to manage their finances. Problems managing money is not a problem reserved for the “poor”, plenty of “rich” people live paycheck to paycheck too.

If I don’t feel like my writing is not reaching more and more people, I feel frustrated as hell. When my articles aren’t receiving as much engagement I try my best to honestly assess if my latest articles aren’t as well written or if it is a random fluctuation.

I go back and review my most popular articles to learn why people engaged with them and how I can apply those lesson to my future work. I start engaging with other writers that I respect looking for inspiration. I reach out to my fans on Twitter and ask them questions to learn what they want to read about. As frustrating as the loss of momentum can be, it forces me to become a better writer.

So yes, it is an amazing feeling to earn money from writing. But it feels much better to know my writing is reaching, and hopefully helping more people every day.

Economic policy wonk by day. Personal finance writer by night. I write about investing, debt, and all things related to money. Editor of Making of a Millionaire

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